Foundation cigars is a relatively new brand, but the company’s accomplishments indicate that Foundation is headed straight to the top. After the 95-rated Wiseman cigar was awarded the #3 ranking on Cigar Aficionado’s 2018 Top 25 Cigars list, it became obvious that Nick Melillo was no pretender. With a reverent passion for Connecticut Broadleaf, his blends will be filling humidors for many years to come.
Naturally, it all started in Connecticut.
As a boy, he says he was “always surrounded by the aroma of Connecticut broadleaf.” That’s thanks in part to his grandfather, a worker at the old Winchester (as in rifles) factory in New Haven. He says that living in one of America’s most historic cigar tobacco regions helped in part, but it was a first cigar, shared with his granddaddy and brother, that sealed the deal and made him fall in love with “the ceremony of cigar smoking.”
He graduated high school in 1996, and started running the humidor at the Calabash Shoppe while studying International Business at Quinnipiac. One fine day, who should happen to breeze through but Jonathan Drew, owner of Drew Estate cigars! The pair connected and kept in touch. After graduation, Drew asked Melillo if he was interested in moving to Estelí to learn the cigar business.
Off he went, learning things from the ground up and then rising to become Director of Tobaccos and Production, and then VP of International Operations. Clearly, he learned what he needed to know in his years there, because almost immediately after he went off to start his own company, he started having success. Big success. Of course, his most famous blend so far is “El Gueguense” aka “The Wiseman,” named after a dramatic work of historical importance to Nicaragua. He said he felt the need to honor the country.
Nicaragua has given him a lot, and now he’s paying it forward to the entire cigar world.
Please browse our selection of Foundation cigars at your leisure.