While some might be very familiar with the term “Steampunk” it isn’t a word that normally finds itself in the cigar world. But General Cigar Co. aims to change that with Foundry, a new brand that incorporates elements of the Steampunk genre into its packaging and even into its cigar blend.
Firstly, what is Steampunk? Essentially, it’s a literary, fashion and visual design genre that is informed by a Victorian-era notion of futurism—science fiction from an industrialized, 19th century point of view with a bit of mysticism thrown in there, too. If you can imagine a steam-powered time machine full of old iron levers, mechanical gears, burnished hydraulic pistons and steam whistles, then you’re starting to get it. Readers of Jules Verne or H.G. Wells are well acquainted with such imagery. Now cigar smokers can be too.
General’s new Foundry brand “entices the premium cigar connoisseur to take a bold step back in time and a quantum leap into the future to envision the artistry of handmade cigars through the lens of unbridled innovation.” So, General sought to do this by building Foundry around a proprietary wrapper that they’ve dubbed H-47 Pleno Sol. General, which has large tobacco inventories, says the wrapper is eight years old.
The blend is rounded out with an additional five tobaccos from four different countries.
The four sizes of Foundry are named after influential figures of the Steampunk movement: Wells (as in H.G.) measures 6 inches by 50 ring; Lovelace (as in Ada), 6 1/4 by 54; Talbot (as in Bryan), 5 by 60; and a pointy 6 1/2 by 60 figurado called the Cayle (as in Sir George). The shape even looks like one of Cayle’s flying machines. Clever. They’re set to land in shops by October and should retail in the $7.95 to $9.45 range.
True to its genre, Foundry will come packaged in boxes that nod strongly to Steampunk’s industrialized roots. An actual metal gear comes curiously fastened around each individual cigar band, and every box is a decoupage of distressed metal surfaces, antiqued patterns and other period motifs you might find in the fantasy world of Victorian sci-fi—minus the triode vacuum tubes and coal dust, of course.