Today, we look at a second blend from Foundation Cigar Company’s Olmec line, the Olmec Maduro. Olmec debuted at the 2022 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show, and like many lines in the Foundation Cigar portfolio, it pays homage to a particular culture. In this case, the culture is the Olmecs, the earliest known major Mesoamerican civilization. They flourished in the period of 1600 to 400 BCE. According to Foundation Cigar Company, not only were they among the first to create mathematically precise pyramids and calendars, but they were some of the earliest tobacco users. The epicenter of the Olmec civilization is in the tropical lowlands of Veracruz, Tabasco and San Andrés, Tuxtla. This is the same region that grows some of the finest San Andrès Negro wrapper tobacco. Thus, San Andrés tobacco was used for the Olmec line, and it is offered in two variants: Maduro and Claro (a lighter San Andrés wrapper). For this assessment, we dive deeper into the Toro size of the Olmec Maduro.
As Nicholas Melillo has built his portfolio of brands, one theme seen in many offerings is paying homage to different cultures globally. Some of these have included Nicaraguan Folklore (El Güegüense, The Wise Man), Biblical Culture (The Tabernacle, Menelik), the State of Connecticut (Charter Oak), British Culture (Highclere Castle), and Jamaica (The Upsetters).
Without further ado, let’s turn our attention back to the Olmec Maduro Toro and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
As mentioned, the Olmec Claro and Maduro both use a San Andres wrapper. The Maduro is the darker variant. Both blends incorporate Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. The fillers come from the Estelí and Jalapa Balleys. After fermentation, the filler tobaccos are bale-aged for three years before arriving on the production floor. AJ Fernandez handles production.
Wrapper: San Andres (Claro or Maduro)
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua SA
Olmec is offered in five sizes for both Claro and Maduro blends. Currently, the vitola sizes and shapes are identical for both blends. Each is presented in 12-count boxes.
Corona Gorda: 5 1/2 x 48
Robusto: 5 x 50
Toro: 6 x 52
Grande: 6 x 60
DBL Corona: 7 x 52
The San Andres Maduro wrapper of the Olmec Maduro Toro had a milk chocolate bar color to it. There was a very light sheen of oil on it. The wrapper had some visible veins and some visible seams. Like the Olmec Claro Toro, the Olmec Maduro Toro had a sharper, firmer box press instead of the soft Cuba box-press style (with some subtle rounding) that many cigars opt for.
A straight cut was used to remove the cap of the Olmec Maduro Toro. Once the cap was removed, it was time to commence with the pre-light draw ritual. The cold draw delivered a mix of cocoa and earth. While this wasn’t an overly complex or exotic pre-light draw, it was still excellent. With the pre-light draw experience completed, it was time to toast up the footer of the Olmec Maduro Toro and move on to the smoking phase.
The Olmec Maduro Toro opened with chocolate, coffee, earth, and black pepper. Early on, the chocolate and coffee notes moved to the forefront, with the pepper and earth settling in the background. There was an underlying creaminess to the chocolate notes. While I often refer to the fusion of chocolate and coffee as mocha, these notes seemed separate and distinct. Both the coffee and chocolate alternated in intensity as to which was the dominant note. Meanwhile, the retro-hale delivered an additional layer of pepper.
At the start of the second third of the Olmec Maduro Toro, the coffee and chocolate notes remained in the forefront, with the pepper and earth in the background. During this stage, the chocolate notes gradually shed their creaminess. There also was a slight increase in the pepper notes. Just past the midway point, the earth notes began to increase in intensity.
By the final third, the earth notes joined the coffee in the forefront. The pepper notes increased some more, but these remained secondary notes. The chocolate notes were also present in the background but became more distant. This is the way the Olmec Maduro Toro came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The burn for the Olmec Maduro Toro was excellent. This cigar didn’t require frequent touch-ups to maintain a straight burn path and relatively straight burn line. The resulting ash had a silver-gray color. This ash was skewed toward the firmer side. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both maintained ideal levels.
As for the draw of the Olmec Maduro Toro, it was on the open side, but it wasn’t loose. If you have read my past assessments, you know I prefer a little more resistance on the draw. At the same time, there was nothing in the way of adverse effects on the smoking experience.
Strength and Body
For the most part, the Olmec Maduro Toro delivered a medium strength and medium to full-bodied experience. There was a slight increase in the intensity levels of both attributes, but the cigar remained in medium strength, medium to full-bodied range.
Throughout the smoking experience, the body maintained an edge over its strength.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
My comments on the packaging are the same as when I assessed the Olmec Claro Toro.
I’m not the biggest fan of the black, yellowish, and white bands of the Olmec. My more significant issue isn’t so much the bands as much as it is challenging to tell the difference between the Claro and the Maduro releases without making some physical note (and there is no cello, so other ways will need to be utilized). In fairness, I have the same problem with Padrón regarding their natural and Maduro offerings.[/blockquote]
When I assessed the Olmec Claro Toro, I mentioned that when you have a two-blend series such as the Olmec, it’s fun to compare which is the better blend. When I assessed the Olmec Claro, I said I was not ready to make a comparison. Now with the Olmec Maduro Toro assessed, I can make that comparison and give the nod to the Maduro. Both cigars came in with a score of 89. Regarding the assessment, the Claro offered more complexity, but the Maduro had richer and better favors. In this type of head-to-head battle, I’m still inclined to go for a cigar with the richer and better flavors. Like the Claro, the Maduro smoked consistency each time. This is a cigar I would recommend to any cigar enthusiast; It’s a cigar that I would buy and smoke again. I also want to explore some other sizes in this line.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Chocolate, Earth, Pepper, Cream
Draw: Very Good
Complexity: Medium minus
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
News: Foundation Cigar Company to Introduce Olmec at 2022 PCA Trade Show
Brand Reference: Foundation Cigar Company
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop
Originally posted on September 27, 2023 @ 5:18 pm