Putting Jamaica back on the map for premium tobacco 

The Upsetters represents the next level in the evolution of the infused-cigar smoking segment. Beginning with our unique use of Jamaican cow tongue leaf, The Upsetters fillers evenly pair this rare and ancient tobacco with only the finest Nicaraguan leaf available.

 

Utilizing a tradition established thousands of years ago, The Upsetters flavor and profile further benefits from a carefully measured technique known as “Caribbean atmospheric herbal fusion.” All said The Upsetters full line of premium cigars reflect a certain elegance that is sure to appeal to both the experiential and adventurous smoker, as well as the most ardently traditional smoker alike.

“Most people don’t know this, but Jamaica has a long history of growing tobacco that rivals Cuba.”
-Nick Mellilo

Jamaica also has an interesting history of hailing the underdog—the anti-hero who battles against the odds. Upsetters stir things up. They’re the rude boys who, in the 1960s, watched old spaghetti westerns and identified with gunslingers like Django and films like “A Fistful of Dollars.” Upsetters created reggae music, fought tyranny, battled Goliath— and smoked old-style Jamaican cigars.

 

Melillo is a longtime admirer of Jamaican tobacco and the island’s culture in general. “I first smoked a Macanudo Hyde Park in 1996 made in Kingston Jamaica,” he said. “Apart from the old Broadleaf brands from Connecticut, it’s what got me into cigars. Since then, the industry has faded away due to many issues. But that is all changing with THE UPSETTERS. I want to put Jamaica back on the map for premium tobacco.”

Melillo traveled to Jamaica for Bob Marley’s 70th birthday in February, 2015. After the celebrations, he went searching the island for cigar tobacco and the old style Jamaican blending technics. In the mountains outside Montego Bay, Kingston, and the town of May Pen he found both. Melillo met one of the oldest cigar tobacco growers on the island, growing cow tongue, a tobacco cultivated and blended in those hills since indigenous Arawak planted it thousands of years ago.

 

THE UPSETTER’S story continues in Nicaragua, 500 miles to the west along an underwater Caribbean shelf known as the Nicaraguan Rise. There, another tobacco growing region thrives: el Valle de Estelí in northern Nicaragua, where Melillo’s roots lie and where Foundation’s production is based. “People don’t realize how close Jamaica and Nicaragua are geographically and their history together. The east coast of Nicaragua is also known as the Reggae coast. The combination is perfect.” says Melillo.