According to Michael Giannini, Creative Director for General Cigars, his new company Foundry is all about "bold innovation." The initial release, I think, was pretty mixed. I mean, I am a huge fan of the crazy packaging--because as an artist, that sort of beautiful mania really appeals to me. But the blend itself (4-country, 5 tobacco blend--undisclosed) was met with lukewarm to good reviews. Many people felt the concept was gimmicky. The 'concept' in this case, was a re-imagined retro-Victorian meets Steampunk cigar foundry. This was evident in both box and label design--& each cigar shipped with a small metal 'gear' that surrounded the cigar band. Additinally, the four blend don't use conventional tobaccos--which gives them a unique and unexpected flavor.
Bring on the gimmicky with me, you'll never disappoint, but I understand where the scepticism and distaste stemmed from.
The original four releases: Cayley, Lovelace, Talbot and Wells are all named for innovators of the Victorian Era . Each cigar had an 8 to 10 year old Connecticut wrapper (H47 Pleno Sol), made exclusively for Foundry, and the fillers and binders have no Dominican, Nicaraguan, Honduran or Mexican in them.
Cayley: The Sailfish/The Rocket Bomb 6.5x60x56x43 Figurado with cut foot
Lovelace: The Computer Programmer 6.25x54
Ada Lovelace (12/10/1815 – 11/27/1852) was an English mathematician and writer chiefly known for her work on an early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Anylytical Engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. Because of this, she is often described as the world's first computer programmer.
Talbot: The Beautiful Impression 5x60
William Henry Fox Talbot (2/11/1800 –9/17/1877) was a British inventor and photography pioneer who invented the calotype process, a precursor to photographic processes of the 19th and 20th centuries. Talbot was also a noted photographer who made major contributions to the development of photography as an artistic medium.
Wells: The Time Machine 6x50
Herbert George "H. G." Wells (9/21/1866 – 8/13/1946) was an English writer, now best known for his work in the science fiction genre. He was also a prolific writer in many other genres, including contemporary novels, history, politics and social commentary, even writing textbooks and rules for war games. Wells is sometimes called "The Father of Science Fiction"
With the 2013/2014 releases of Foundry's expanded line: "War of Currents" and "Elements, Compounds and Musings," the original four are old news, very well and thoroughly reviewed. But one intriguing item that there's been scarce information about is Foundry's humidor--an item that was supposed to make use of the unique metal gears that came with every (original) Foundry cigar. It was a really cool idea--shipping each cigar with a sort of metal decoder ring--that could eventually be used to 'unlock a secret item.
The secret item was revealed as the humidor, with a locking mechanism that can only be released using the Foundry Gears. Creative Director Michael Giannini said that the humidor, once opened, could also be imagined as a "Victorian Era tool chest." Now, in point of fact, the humidor is small--far too small for tools--too small for some cigars even. But, the idea is great, the humidor is quite fun.