Macanudo, still rumored to be the best sold brand worldwide, but never has it been one of my favorite brands. I tend not to like cigars from the big companies as to me those cigars lack soul and character. I mean, compare it to McDonalds vs a one off hamburger joint with quality products and passionate staff, its a world of difference. Brands owned by the big companies tend to be the same, instead of making great cigars and earning a living with them its making as much money possible with tobacco no matter what, to satisfy the shareholders. Those companies have no pride in what they are doing, while the family owned companies pride themselves in the quality they produce. I mean, look what Davidoff did with Camacho, it was a great product, Davidoff bought it, rebranded and reblended it and now its nothing but a marketing product without a soul. The moment Imperial Tobacco took a 50% stake in Habanos the quality went down considerably and now its all about limited editions, regional editions etc but the quality and the soul of the cigars dropped or are lost. Scandinavian Tobacco, owner of General Cigars, is the worst and I lost all my respect for them when I found out that they supported the FDA ruling about premium cigars.
Now I’m not saying that everybody in those accountant & marketing managers run company have no passion about tobacco, I had the pleasure of talking with Benji Menendez while he was still working for General Cigars, I met Rick Rodriguez on several occassions and those guys have a passion for cigars, I bet there are more people like that but they don’t run the company. Ernesto Perez Carrillo sold his La Gloria Cuban to General Cigars and was contractually stuck there for 10 years but the moment the contract expired he started his own company again where he makes cigars with a soul, with character. Now there are always exemptions, a company like Gurkha is small and privately owned yet for me they fall into the categorie of the soulless cigars as its nothing but a marketing scheme and Hantosia doesn’t even smoke cigars as far as I know, thats a company without passion either.
Now on the cigar, a few years ago General Cigars released a new blend, at first just for the European market, Macanudo Inspirado. The blend consists from a mixture of Nicaraguan, Honduras and Dominican filler with a Jamastran, Honduras binder and a posada wrapper from San Augustin in Honduras. It later got released in the United States too, there were line extentions, a second and a third Inspirado line were released but this 5 1/8×42 mareva was created especially for the ‘cigar smoking world championship’ organized by my friend Marko Bilic. Now I see cigar smoking as relaxation and for me a competition with cigar is an absurd idea, but the world championship is a success so I’m probably in the minority with my opinion and that’s okay.
The cigar comes in cellophane and once unwrapped I see a medium brown but pale wrapper. The wrapper looks fine when it comes to veins and all, but the color is a little pale as I said. The construction feels good and the cap is beautifully constructed. The ring is fine, its a reddish orange with golden outlines, a golden macanudo logo and lettering over some faded white text, the gold print is actually very well done. The cigar has a pretty strong aroma that I can only compare with cow manure but I couldn’t smell any ammonia so thats good.
I cut the cigar guillotine style, the cold draw is very easy and I can’t imagine people being able to smoke this cigar over two hours. I taste some raisin, hay and a lot of pepper. I lit the cigar with a soft flame. I taste bitter coffee with a chocolate aftertaste. After a few puffs it’s bitter coffee with sugar aftertaste. The bitterness disappears and makes place for a mild freshness and a woody yet sweet flavor. After a third the flavors are sharp and a little harsh. Halfway the flavors are less harsh, I now taste cedar with herbs and spices. The sugary sweetness is still there too.
The draw is easy but not too loose. The ash is medium gray and layered. It’s also quite firm. The burn is a bit uneven. The smoke is plentiful and medium thick. The cigar is medium full bodied and full flavored. The body flavor ratio and the evolution are good. The smoke time for me is about an hour so if I competed I wouldn’t even be close to the top of the charts.
Would I buy this cigar again? I love the vitola, I don’t love the cigar though as it lacks soul and character.