This year General Cigar Co.’s Macanudo brand celebrates its 50th anniversary. Typically, the approach to the celebration would be a high-priced limited edition release to commemorate the event. Only, the newest Macanudo is anything other than typical.
That is because for the first time in its history, the company has released an infused Macanudo. The M by Macanudo is a three vitola line of coffee-infused cigars that incorporates “nuances of gourmet coffee” in a blend that is wrapped in an Indonesian Besuki leaf, while the interior includes a Filipino binder as well as Nicaraguan and “other fine tobaccos” in the filler. The cigars are packaged in boxes of 20 that began shipping to retailers right after its debut at the 2018 ICPPR Convention & Trade Show in July.
“With M, we’re once again launching a cigar that defies the conventional notions of what the brand represents,” said Steve Abbot, senior brand manager for Macanudo, in a press release. “This is not your typical flavored cigar. M smokes like a premium Nicaraguan cigar, and the experience is enhanced with just the right amount of coffee flavor. We’re sure that M will be a fast favorite among Macanudo smokers, as it will be for any premium cigar smoker looking to up their game with a dynamic and flavorful smoke.”
The M by Macanudo was launched in three different vitolas, all of which measure six inches long but with different ring gauges:
- M by Macanudo Corona (6 x 44) — $7.49 (Boxes of 20, $149.80)
- M by Macanudo Toro (6 x 50) — $7.99 (Boxes of 20, $159.80)
- M by Macanudo Belicoso (6 x 54) — $8.49 (Boxes of 20, $169.80)
- Cigar Reviewed: M by Macanudo Toro
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: General Cigar Dominicana
- Wrapper: Indonesia (Besuki)
- Binder: Philippines
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $7.99 (Boxes of 20, $159.80)
- Release Date: July 2018
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Visually, the M by Macanudo features a reddish brown wrapper with quite a bit of tooth and a small amount of oil. The cigar is quite spongy when squeezed, and there is the smallest hint of a box-press to the foot. Aroma from the wrapper is dominated by a close to overwhelming sweetness that combines sweet milk chocolate, vanilla, coffee beans, dark chocolate, earth and a touch of floral, while the cold draw brings flavors of strong saccharine milk chocolate, vanilla extract, faint tobacco, coffee flavoring and a touch of menthol.
Unfortunately, the first thing I noticed when I put the cigar in my mouth was the sweetened cap, which—while not overly strong—was easily strong enough to make tasting other flavors on the palate difficult for a short time. As I somewhat expected, the profile during the first third is full of a multitude of different sweetish flavors, all fighting for dominance: sweet milk chocolate, sweet cotton candy, sweet earth, sweet floral, sweet leather, sweet coffee. In fact, the coffee note on the finish is so sweet, it reminds me of International House of Coffee’s Mocha Latte flavor, a beverage which I have partaken in at various times over the years. The draw is giving me just the right amount of resistance after a simple straight cut, while the burn is wavy without being problematic, and the overall strength is virtually nonexistent, struggling to make it out of the mild range by the end of the first third.
As the second third of the M by Macanudo starts, it is obvious that the almost overwhelming sweetness that was made up of so many flavors is receding noticeably, allowing more traditional flavors of tobacco, leather, earth, powdery cocoa, cedar and pencil shavings to fight for the top spot. The sweetness in the blend is still very present on both the retrohale and finish, but the finish is where it is making its stand, manifesting as a sweet and creamy milk chocolate flavor that reminds me strongly of Nesquik. There is also more pepper noticeable in the profile—although it is relegated almost entirely to the retrohale—and both the burn and the draw are now easily some of the best parts of the experience, with neither giving me even the hint of an issue. While the overall strength has increased, it is still only to hit a point about halfway between the mild and medium marks before the second third comes to an end.
The sweetness continues to recede as the final third of the M by Macanudo Toro begins, an almost shocking turnaround considering how dominant it was in the first third. In fact, not only are there even more traditional cigar flavors present, but they are actually strong enough to fight for dominance, with a creamy earth and cedar combination finally coming out on top. These are followed by slightly lesser notes of leather, tree bark, popcorn, toast, yeast and floral, along with the aforementioned sweetness, which now reminds me of cognac. Both the burn and the draw continue to impress, and while it makes a good effort, the overall strength ultimately fails to reach the medium mark by the time I put the nub down with a little less than an inch left.
- I was a bit surprised to find that the sweetened cap was actually more annoying to me than the flavors in the profile, and it was so obvious every time I took a puff that I could not help but notice it.
- The very first sample I smoked featured flavors that were extremely aggressive—even overwhelmingly cloying—for the first third before receding. Thankfully, the final two-thirds of that sample and the other two cigars that I smoked for this review did not follow suit, but the final score definitely took a hit because of it.
- The fact that the boxes say “Coffee Flavor” written on them for this release makes me wonder if there are other flavors of the M by Macanudo in the pipeline.
- As far as I can remember, this is the first time I have tasted menthol in the profile of a cigar, albeit only on the cold draw.
- The construction was good overall on all three samples, although the sample mentioned above with the overwhelming flavors did have to be touched up multiple times.
- The way the fonts for certain words on the brand are printed, the band looks like it reads “This Isn’t Hand Made Cigar” instead of the tagline “Sometimes A Cigar Is Just A Cigar. This Isn’t.”
- General Cigar Co. advertises on halfwheel.
- The samples smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel. General Cigar Co. did give us some samples of this cigar during the 2018 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, but none of those were smoked for this review.
- Final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 36 minutes.
- Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Cigars.com, Corona Cigar Co., Famous Smoke Shop, Serious Cigars and Thompson Cigar all have the M by Macanudo in stock.
After smoking three of the M by Macanudo toros, I can honestly say that it surprised me in multiple ways. The infused coffee flavor—while very obviously not natural—was not nearly as overwhelming as I feared it would be, and the underlying sweetness is nowhere near as cloyingly sweet as the aroma and cold draw made it out to be. In fact, after the first 15 or so shocking sweet puffs, the flavors in the profile begin to mesh together a bit more, with the sweetness in the blend taking a back seat to more traditional cigar flavors, something that I was not expecting. Having said that, the flavors are still way too aggressive for me to smoke on a regular basis, but there is no denying it would be the ideal cigar to smoke if you are trying to get into flavored smokes or as an extremely different change of pace cigar, especially at the price point it is selling at.