You all remember how awesome the dumpster fire of 2020 was, right? The decade began with a pandemic and had us all stuck at home binging Netflix and smoking cigars. During that time, a handful of veteran buddies from Minnesota recognized how well cigars connect people, even in the midst of a social distancing practice. They decided to create the Founders Cigar Company "to empower others toward the same, drawing on the rich history of the American experience to deliver timeless smokes with distinctive profiles that fuel conversation, inspire friendship, and build community." Founders also have partnered up with Operation: Cigars For Warriors and donate a portion of proceeds to help get cigars into the hands of deployed U.S. service members. This was certainly a new company that I've had my eye on and was pumped to see it in the Ash Quarterly Halloween Mystery Pack. Let's dive in and see how it went.
Cigar: Founders Douglass Habano Robusto
Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Ecuadorian Habano 2000
Filler: Nicaraguan Estelí & Condega, Dominican Villa González
The wrapper has fine veins and excellent seams. When I run my hand down the cigar while rotating it has a nice & evenly-round feel. The cap is a little rustic, and while I do like the old school founding father look, I expected the papery band to be an issue when removing. It was...luckily I could slide it off when the time came and I didn't have to pick pick pick at it.
There was a beefiness to this 50 gauge so I went with a side-by-side double punch and made sure to not manhandle it. The result was a very nice draw and no additional chopping was needed.
The first 1/2" had me thinking that Douglass was going to be on his game regarding burn. Things quickly became wobbly though and the many corrections only kept it from going completely bonkers. It did seem to burn on all edges when puffing, but apparently some areas just wanted to go faster. No wrapper explosions, cap tumbles, or any other annoying issues except for the burn line, which was a bit rough.
1/3 - Dry oak shavings kick things off. There is a dustiness like Nana's attic with moderately aged leather. The profile is very light during the first third, even at it's end when a charred brown sugar emerges.
2/3 - As the charred brown sugar continued into the beginning of the second third I was expecting the typical habano spiciness to roll in, but the flavors took a hard left. Wet hay and sometimes mossy notes hold a good portion of the pie chart. Mushrooms are noticeable and way in the back hardly seen are red & green peppers. For a short while I felt like I was eating a western omelet. All flavors are subtle as the body & strength are still easily in the Light category, approaching Light+ by the end of the second.
3/3 - The overall dampness has turned more stew like. Bolder in earth. Spiciness finally arrives leaving those tingles on the lips after a few puffs. Morning camp fire with a hint of cinnamon doing it's best to be present. At it's peak, and only for a short while, it did reach Medium.
This was not the flavor profile that I'm used to and perhaps the least habano-ish habano that I've ever had. Notes of wet hay, moss, and mushrooms are not high on my list of favorite notes, but I think it still managed a 7 since it was so light in body. It's saving grace is that the flavors were not in your face. I think I'd like to try a larger vitola. Perhaps I'd enjoy the toro or churchill better. I wanted to like this more because the dudes at Founders seem like down to earth fellas and I appreciate their efforts for U.S. service members. While not a traditional habano taste in my book, I'd still recommend grabbing a single and try for yourself.
**Number of cigars smoked for the review: 1