Highclere Castle may be the iconic face of the Emmy-Award winning television drama, “Downton Abbey,” but this Victorian-era English mansion has come to life—in the form of a cigar.
On Thursday (Nov. 2), Southington’s cigar lounge, Mickey Blake’s, will host a launch event for the new Highclere Castle Cigar—a cigar reminiscent of those enjoyed at Highclere Castle during the 19th and 20th centuries. The free event is open to the public and will take place from 6-p.m.
Created by world-renowned cigar producer Nicholas Melillo, the Highclere Castle Cigar was pre-released to the cigar trade in July. Owner of the Foundation Cigar Company, Melillo, is a partner of Highclere Castle Cigar Co., which operates its headquarters in Bristol. The Highclere Castle cigar was crafted after hundreds of hours of travel and research in Central and South America. Thanks to Melillo’s relationships with small tobacco growers throughout the region, Highclere was able to select from very small lots of the finest tobaccos grown by family farms known for their excellent products.
After getting access to Highclere’s archives, Melillo was able to create a cigar with a similar flavor profile as the cigars smoked at Highclere Castle—where members of the Carnarvon family have shared the finest tobaccos with friends, visitors, and royalty.
Highclere’s rich cigar history dates back to 1862, when England was first introduced to cigars.
“We had a vision to create cigar that was reminiscent of the types of cigars that would have been smoked at Highclere Castle,” said Adam von Gootkin, co-founder and CEO of Highclere Castle Cigar Co. “Cigars have been a big part of life at Highclere Castle since the mid-1800s—they’ve been importing cigars from all around the world.”
During the launch event, cigar aficionados will have an opportunity to meet the 8th Earl Carnavaron, owner of Highclere Castle and partner of Highclere Castle Cigar Co.
Customers also can speak with von Gootkin and his partners about the history behind the cigar and how the cigar is made. The cigars, which have a cost range of around $15, will be available for purchase. Samples of Onyx Moonshine also will be served.
Hand rolled in Estelí, Nicaragua using a Connecticut Shade wrapper, the cigar has a creamy and elegant smoke with notes of pepper, citrus, leather and fireplace.
“We wanted something that would stand the test of time,” said von Gootkin, adding how the cigar will transport folks back in time. “It’s a cigar that Earl Carnavaron’s ancestors can be proud of, and something that will continue to give people a reason to pause, relax, sit down in good company.”
Since Mickey Blake’s opened in 2011, von Gootkin visited the cigar lounge frequently, and even met Melillo there. For von Gootkin and his partners, Mickey Blake’s seemed to be the perfect place to host their launch event.
“The idea and the conversation around this cigar really came to life in the Mickey Blake’s lounge, so we felt that it was a really cool thing for us to honor that by having the first real cigar for Highclere there,” said von Gootkin, who also is the co-founder of Onyx Spirits Co.
Besides Mickey Blakes, the cigars are also available at cigar lounges nationwide and throughout Connecticut, including The Owl Shop in New Haven, and North of Havana in North Haven.
Customers also can search for the cigars online through a store locator at foundationcigarcompany.com/store-locator/.
For more information about Highclere Castle Cigar, visit highclerecastlecigar.com/index.php/main/index.