So far I’ve made recommendations for mild and medium smokes that you may find in your local humidor. You might smoke the Oliva for a change of pace. You might smoke the Mi Querida early in the day, but what you really crave is an intense, rich Nicaraguan cigar. You want a blast of upfront pepper smoke to get things started and you want that Nicaraguan coffee to lean more the direction espresso and the chocolate closer to a cocoa bitterness. Congratulations, your pallette is leaning in the direction of the typical American cigar smoker in 2018. You probably prefer the Liga Privada T52 to the Number 9. You like Oliva’s Melanio V, but wish it had a little more ass behind it. And the Rocky Patel Fifty Five may very well be your favorite stick that Rocky has put out in several years.
How do I know all these things about your cigar preferences? Because this is where my cigar preferences live too. Even on your typical Sunday when I start with something light and work my way into medium and fuller bodied sticks, the end game is to settle into a cigar that is something I would smoke on the patio or on a beach, listening to the waves crash.
Full bodied sticks should push the envelope with flavors. For most cigar smokers in this realm, you’re looking for the same richness that you may find in a more complex medium bodied stick, but you’re also looking for an intensity that you aren’t getting in the medium bodied smokes. Whether you’re looking for intense spiciness, sweetness or bitterness is up to you, but expect these bold, cigars to engage your senses more completely than their milder counterparts. They may or may not have a stronger nicotine presence, but, since flavor is paramount to your enjoyment of a stick, I’m covering these blends as full flavored cigars, rather than as strong cigars.
In 2016, at IPCPR, General Cigar released, through Foundry Tobacco Co, Foundry Time Flies. The blend is aggressively packaged, featuring an impossible to miss holographic Dia de Los Muertos-esque skull on the band. It comes in the familiar sizes and shapes that we’ve grown comfortable with: a 5×50 Robusto, a 6×60 Gordo, a 6×52 Toro and a 7.25×54 Churchill. It probably comes as no surprise that I’m reviewing the 526 Toro. It’s comfortably priced at $8.69 in my local market, with the other vitolas running from $8.29 to $9.69 for a single stick.
The construction on the Foundry Time Flies doesn’t leave anything to be desired. The Nicaraguan filler and binder are tightly wrapped in an unassuming looking, if not somewhat trendy, Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. It’s not excessively dense and it doesn’t exactly look the part of a full bodied smoke in a world where a lot of cigar smokers assume that deep Maduro wrappers automatically translate to strength and body. The burn is predictable, leaving
If I’m being honest, all of the packaging on the Foundry Time Flies served more to put me off from trying the blend more so than it ever convinced me to pick one up. The band is over the top and almost looks silly. Invariably, if someone wonders into the shop looking for something spicy and full bodied, but wants to try something outside of the latest Ligero offering from La Flor Dominicana or a Liga from Drew Estate, I’m probably going to lead them to this. For the first inch, this cigar blasts out black pepper. I know other cigar friends who are not a fan of black pepper getting out of balance, but I’m just not one of them. I’d much rather taste an immediate burst of black pepper than an acrid, bitter leather flavor upfront. But as you get through the first inch of the cigar, that pepper spice relaxes some and develops into a blend of cinnamon, leather and nuts. The spice lingers throughout the smoke and I tend to get some woody and nutty notes mixed in with all the upfront spice and cinnamon. The cigar does mellow considerably during the final third, setting you down fairly gently.
Foundry Time Flies Final Thoughts
So, aside from being what I think is just a fantastic bargain of a smoke, at under $10, I recommend this cigar for a couple of reasons. Most importantly, all of us need to remember not to judge a book by its cover (more aptly: judge a cigar by its band or wrapper). Foundry Time Flies has some gimmicky labeling and the Habano wrapper doesn’t stand out when it gets lined up against other full bodied cigars, but it does take you on an uncommon ride. One of my favorite cigar shop moments is suggesting this stick to someone who gives me that look of contempt with all of that shiny, silvery, skull band, only for them to get halfway through the first third and realize that I did point them in the right direction. For me, given all the Nicaraguan involved in the blend, it’s fun to hund for all the coffee and cocoa and never really find those flavor notes in the blend.