The best resource that I’ve found for new cigar recommendations is the r/cigars sub on Reddit. I like to tap into the hive mind of those little weirdoes to find out what’s new and worth paying attention to. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Join the r/cigars subreddit
  2. Sort by ‘New’. This is important. If you sort by ‘Best’ or ‘Hot’, the posts that get the most clicks/comments bubble to the top. These posts are usually just some rich prick that posts a picture of the 87 boxes of Opus X’s he just bought.
  3. Scroll through and look for trends like you’re Rainman at a blackjack table. Don’t automatically believe every random person that exclaims that ‘insert some cigar you’ve never had or heard of’ is the greatest cigar ever produced. Buuuuut, if over several days/weeks/months you notice that several people have also said that ‘insert some cigar you’ve never had or heard of’ is pretty solid, then it’s time to make note.

Anyway, all of that to say that r/cigars is how I stumbled across this *spoiler alert* little gem of a cigar (and many others).

One other quick sidebar:  The story goes that Steve Saka and this dude Nick Melillo rocked into Drew Estate back in the early 2000’s when it was still just a boutique ‘infused’ cigar operation. These two beautiful geniuses didn’t really dig that potpourri bullshit, so they started making smokable cigars together. This became the almost universally beloved Liga Privada line. At some point they both decide to bolt from DE. Saka forms Dunbarton Tobacco and Trust, and Melillo starts Foundation Cigar Company. Melillo and Foundation make the Tabernacle and others. Saka and DTT make a bunch of other cigars that are amazing including the Sin Compomiso, Sombremesa Brulee, Mi Quirida, etc. Full disclosure: I didn’t actually fact-check or research any of this. “Aren’t you sitting in front of a computer? Is your Google broken?”, you may ask. Yes, but I’m obviously busy smoking this beautiful cigar and typing this nonsense. Plus, I really don’t care. If I found out that Somali Pirates were rolling these cigars, I’d still probably buy them. Check out halfwheel.com for a professional review.

I’m smoking the Tabernacle Broadleaf Maduro Robusto 5” x 50. I love the band on this thing. It’s got this dude in a crown in profile. Again, I’ll leave the Googling to you, but this dude looks like he’s seen some shit.

Ok, now onto the cigar, finally. I’ve been rambling so long, that I’m already halfway through it. The first half has been full bodied with tons of different flavors. There’s a spice that hits me a lot in the back of the throat. It’s not a bad spice, though. It’s like eating good spicy food. It’s enjoyable. There’s also a flavor I can’t quite explain… Floral maybe? It’s unusual, super enjoyable, and really interesting. I should probably smoke another one of these without rambling about Reddit and the good old days at Drew Estates and really pay attention.

The ash hangs on all the way past the point when I remove the aforementioned badass band. I’m in the middle third, and cruising on the Smooth Smoke Express. I love when cigars do this. They kick you in the teeth in the beginning, and then mellow out into this full bodied but smooth smoke show.

To me, the Tabernacle Broadleaf tastes a lot like a Liga No. 9. It’s like the chef left and opened his own restaurant, but took the secret recipe with him. Maybe this is true, or maybe this is just in my head because I know (sort of, maybe) the backstory. Although, in my defense, I never had this thought smoking my way through Saka’s DTT lineup. The final third is where, if my recipe hypothesis is true, the cigar differs for me. My favorite part of a Liga No. 9 is the end. It’s so good that I actually thought about finding a pipe to finish the whole nub off with. The end of the Tabernacle is good, but it’s not ‘lick the plate’ good. That unidentifiable ‘floral’ flavor and smell is gone. The pepper and the heat are now amped up along with some harshness.

Short story long, this is an excellent cigar. It’s full bodied, has tons of smoke, burns like a champ, and tastes delicious. It’s a cigar that deserves to be paid attention to while smoking. I loved the first two thirds, but only liked the final third. If you’re looking for a great Liga No. 9 proxy, this is your stick. It’s half the price, easier to find, and pro-cheapskate-tip, you can usually use coupon codes on Foundation cigars with online retailers.

Overall score: 90

Recommended drink pairing: Irish whiskey, neat

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