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Staff Reviews

The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT 142 Staff Review

Zack D. D's picture

Zack D.

I’m smoking a 5-by-50 Robusto from Foundation Cigars called The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT 142. Foundation brand founder Nick Melillo has been pumping out a steady supply of small-batch blends for the past ten years. Melillo spent around a decade working at Drew Estate before launching his own brand, The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT 142, a cigar that’s based on the original Tabernacle blend, is handmade in Nicaragua at the AJ Fernandez factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.

As you may deduce from the cigar’s name, Havana Seed CT No. 142 is a reference to the cigar’s wrapper leaf – a Sun Grown Cuban-seed wrapper that was cultivated in Connecticut. Melillo, who is from Connecticut, is a big fan of the premium tobacco grown in the state’s Connecticut River Valley, so much so that he moved the headquarters for Foundation Cigars there. The crops he sources for the wrapper on The Tabernacle Havana Seed CT 142 are fermented for three years to achieve the smoothest possible flavor. Beneath it is a dark San Andrés binder covering a complex blend of Nicaraguan long-fillers from Estelí and Jalapa, as well as some tobacco from the Jamastran Valley in Honduras.

Like other Tabernacle cigars, Hailie Selassie, the 225th King of Abyssinia, adorns the cigar bands. Selassie’s legacy goes back to King Solomon whose temple housed The Tabernacle where the Ark of the Covenant was secured according to The Old Testament. Melillo, who’s studied a fair amount of history, references biblical and historical themes in the brands he develops. It takes a moment to sort through Melillo’s use of seed varietals, and you’d have to crack a few history books to get to know the characters on the bands on boxes. Luckily, I don’t need a degree to smoke the cigar.

When I crack a fresh box of The Tabernacle Havana Seed 142 open, the cigars shimmer with a noticeable oiliness. They smell amazing too. When I slide a Robusto from the batch, its dark-brown wrapper is smooth to the touch and shows minimal veins. Cold floral aromas of hay and leather emerge when I take a deep sniff of the cigar from head to foot. I can taste peppery notes of peanuts and a succulent floral sweetness after cutting the cap off and taking a few cold draws. The Tabernacle Havana Seed leaves a promising first impression.

As soon as I toast the foot, notes of black pepper and dark-roast coffee coat my palate. The texture is somewhat buttery in the beginning. Notes of wheat toast mingle with the cigar’s earthy and nutty flavors while hints of sweetness can be tasted. The retrohale leaves bitter traces of citrus in my nasal cavity, but after an inch and half of smoking, a firm ash develops and the cigar’s nutty nuances shine.

Notes of cashew, sunflower, and peanut layer the palate with plenty of rich flavor through the middle of the Robusto. This cigar definitely has a sweet spot, and the middle portion is where it comes to life. Creamy, nutty, and peppery notes blend perfectly before a long and woody finish follows each draw. The aroma is still slightly tart, but not overbearing. A crisp pilsner would taste excellent with this cigar.

By the time I peel off the cigar band, I’m committed to finishing the nub because the flavor is exceptional, but I’m smoking the final inches slowly. This Robusto burns hot at the end if you puff too aggressively, but if you take your time, the finish is complex and lingers with a pleasant and creamy zest.

I’m giving The Tabernacle Havana Seed 142 a 89-point score, a point higher than I did for my earlier review of the original Tabernacle cigar from Foundation. Havana Seed 142 is a touch smoother, more complex, and more approachable.


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