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At the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, General Cigar Co. introduced a brand new addition to the Macanudo line that incorporates a very unique type of tobacco. Named Macanudo Mao, the cigar is blended with filler tobacco that was developed over eight growing seasons from the same seed used to create the original Macanudo blend in the 1960s.

Those original seeds were crossed with other samples before being planted in the Mao region of the Dominican Republic, which gives the new release its name. According to the company, the new seed retains the flavor profile of the original tobacco, but is also significantly more resistant to diseases.

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Macanudo Mao

In terms of blend, the Macanudo Mao use a Cuban-seed Connecticut shade wrapper covering a binder from Mexico and filler tobaccos hailing from Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Packaging is similar to General’s Estate Reserve Series, in which each cigar is packaged in individual coffins that open upwards, and each vitola is limited to only 1,800 boxes of 10.

There were three different vitolas of the Macanudo Mao when it debuted in July:

  • Macanudo Mao No. 10 (5 x 50) — $16 (Boxes of 10, $160) — 1,800 Boxes of 10 (18,000 Total Cigars)
  • Macanudo Mao No. 11 (7 x 50) — $17 (Boxes of 10, $170) — 1,800 Boxes of 10 (18,000 Total Cigars)
  • Macanudo Mao No. 12 (6 x 57) — $18 (Boxes of 10, $180) — 1,800 Boxes of 10 (18,000 Total Cigars)

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  • Cigar Reviewed: Macanudo Mao No. 10
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: General Cigar Dominicana
  • Wrapper: Connecticut
  • Binder: Mexico
  • Filler: Colombia, Dominican Republic & Nicaragua
  • Length: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Robusto Extra
  • MSRP: $16 (Boxes of 10, $160)
  • Release Date: September 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: 1,800 Boxes of 10 (18,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The Macanudo Mao No. 10 is covered in a nutty brown wrapper that is fairly rough to the touch and features a small amount of oil visible. The cap has an obvious dome shape to it, and there are a few major veins running up and down the length as well as a few bumps near the foot. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of pistachios, tobacco, earth, leather, hay and manure, while the cold draw brings flavors of creamy oak, dark and bitter chocolate, earth, fresh roasted coffee and raison sweetness.

The first third of the Macanudo Mao starts off with a very dominant bland cedar note, as well as other flavors of leather, barnyard, dark chocolate and ground coffee. The retrohale has some white pepper as well as some slight saltiness, but the finish is quite dry and features a fairly off-putting and odd flavor that reminds me strongly of overripe mangos. The draw has just the right amount of resistance after a simple straight cut, and while the burn is nowhere close to razor sharp, it is also nowhere close to needing to be touched up as of yet. Smoke production is a bit less than I expected—albeit still within normal range—and the strength through the first third is nonexistent, barely making out of the mild range.

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The flavor profile of the Mao No. 10 changes very little in the second third, with the same generic cedar note followed by notes of earth, leather, yeast, dark chocolate and ground coffee. That odd overripe mango sweetness is still making itself know on the finish, while the retrohale has lost most of the white pepper and all of the saltiness that were present in the first third. Construction-wise, the draw continues to impress, while the burn gets into trouble around the halfway point, forcing me to touch it up before it gets out of hand. The strength is the largest change, making it close to the medium mark before seemingly stalling out there for the rest of the second third.

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While the dominant flavor morphs from the generic cedar flavor to more of a generic nutty note during the final third of the Macanudo Mao No. 10, the lesser flavors are all very familiar, including ground coffee beans, earth, dark chocolate, leather and earth. That overripe mango sweetness remains a strong player on the finish as well, and there is a touch more white pepper on the retrohale compared to the second third. The burn has evened up nicely and stays that way until the end, while the draw continues to give me no issues whatsoever, and the smoke production level remains even. Strength-wise, the Mao seems to go absolutely nowhere, and ends the cigar pretty much exactly where it was at the end of the second third, close to the medium mark.

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Final Notes

  • I have to admit, the first time I heard of the name of this cigar, the first thing I thought of was Mao Zedong, who was the founding father of the People’s Republic of China and who also just happens to be responsible for the deaths of between 40 to 70 million people due to starvation, forced labor and executions.
  • While I had to touch up a couple of the samples, the overall construction each of the cigars were fine. Having said that, the ash is extremely flaky, and tended to fall off in small chunks with little to no provocation.
  • This is an extremely quick burning cigar, and the final smoking time for all three samples averaged just over an hour.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were given to halfwheel by General Cigar Co.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the Macanudo Mao cigars, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar, Cigar.com, Corona Cigar Co. and JR Cigar have them in stock.
80 Overall Score

After smoking three of the Macanudo Mao, there is no doubt that the new cigar is a smooth cigar, both in terms of profile as well as strength. Unfortunately, the flavors that are present in the blend are also quite linear, and just did not make much of a positive impression. While construction was quite good overall, the overripe mango note that was noticeable throughout the profile really thew off both the overall balance, and at times led to a cigar that was just not that enjoyable. The backstory on this release is extremely interesting, but is sadly not enough to get me to recommend it.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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