Fans of cigars and the TV period drama "Downton Abbey" rejoice. A cigar based on Highclere Castle—the show's primary regal setting—is coming to the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers trade show.
Named after the castle, the cigar was blended by Nick Melillo, owner of Foundation Cigar Co., who partnered with Highclere Castle Cigar Co. to create the new brand. The cigar will be distributed exclusively by Foundation.
The idea, according to the two companies, was to create a premium smoke with the flavor profile and smoking characteristics of a cigar from the early 1900s—a cigar that might have been enjoyed by the ancestors of George Herbert, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon and current owner of Highclere Castle and its 5,000 acres.
Herbert is a partner in the cigar brand, and joined Melillo in Nicaragua to view tobacco fields and tour A.J. Fernandez's Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua, where the cigars are rolled.
"I've gained a deep appreciation for the passion and skill that goes into making a super-premium cigar," Herbert said. "The cigar itself is an excellent representation of that, and I think my ancestors would be proud it bears the Highclere badge."
To bring a supposed aristocratic cigar from post-Edwardian England to the 21st century, Melillo took an Ecuadoran Connecticut Shade wrapper, a Brazilian Mata Fina binder and blended it with filler tobaccos from Nicaragua. According to Foundation, some of the filler leaves are grown from a hybrid-seed called Nicadán.
Retailing from $12 to $16, the line will come in five sizes: Churchill at 7 inches by 48 ring gauge; Toro, 6 by 52; Corona, 5 1/2 by 46; Robusto, 5 by 50; and Petit Corona, 5 by 42.
Highclere Castle will be showcased at the IPCPR trade show next month and launch at select retailers in the United States on September 1. Availability at the Highclere Castle estate and international cigar retailers will follow shortly after.