Cigar Buying Guides

CA Report: The Essential Cigar Advisor Guide to Macanudo Cigars

CA’s Essential Macanudo Cigar Review & Tasting Guide

Updated August 2022

Macanudo is among the world’s foremost and most famous cigars…a big-time Dominican, this brand is single-handedly responsible for igniting the premium cigar passion in millions of smokers, and the launch pad to the cigar smoking lifestyle. But it wasn’t always that way. Macanudo really wasn’t on anyone’s radar until the late 1960s, only being known as a nice mild smoke that was produced at a little tabacalera in Jamaica using local leaf – along with some good Dominican and Mexican tobaccos.

Now legendary for its US-grown Connecticut Shade wrapper, Macanudo continues to be known as an easy smoke – just about every Macanudo cigar review calls the Café line a “perfect introduction to the world of cigars.” But many new and different versions of Macanudo have come to prominence since the brand’s core line debuted; because each of those deserve a long hard look, we’re including them in our tasting guide of Macanudo cigar reviews.

For this updated Advisor Guide, we’ve reviewed each of the Macanudo lines available at Famous Smoke Shop. Some of the cigars below are no longer in production; but we think it’s worth having the tasting notes on hand, just in the rare instance that you come across one of these special smokes tucked away in a safe place. We’ll be working in mostly-chronological order, starting with Macanudo’s core blends; after that, it’s on to the Inspirado series, and we finish with M by Macanudo – their most recent introduction. As always, reviews are a subjective thing…but we believe these quick looks should give you a general idea of how each cigar performed, and give you a helping hand in deciding if it’s the right cigar for you. We welcome your feedback and experiences as well, in the comments below.

Macanudo Inspirado Jamao Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: Toro (5¾ x 52)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Dominican Republic Jamao
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua

Construction: Solidly packed, few veins and visible seams
Pre Light: Herbal notes with some woodiness
Toasting and Light: No problems
Draw: Little to no resistance
First Few Puffs: Woody, creamy, herbal, salty
Base Flavors: Creaminess, cedar, fresh green herbs, saltiness
Burn and Ash: Razor burn, firm and dense ash
Aroma: Wood, warm herbal
Balance of flavors: Creamy, smooth, salty, and dry
Retrohale: N/A

Summary: It’s all about the tobacco and soil. Macanudo Inspirado Jamao is a limited-edition cigar and the latest in the Inspirado lineup. Drawing its name from experimental Jamao wrapper, a Jamastran (Honduras) Habano seed grown in Mao, Dominican Republic.

Rich, creamy, and unexpectedly full flavored despite its medium-body, Jamao wows from first light. From the first few draws, I got the sense that this wasn’t another good ‘run-of-the-mill’ Macanudo, but rather, a fuller and richer expression. After the initial wave of creaminess and herbal notes, the addition of saltiness and dry wood flavor enhanced the profile and rounded out the cigar perfectly.

Inspirado Jamao is a no-brainer pick up for fans of the other Inspirado’s, Macanudo’s in general, or enthusiasts looking for an elegant, rich, medium-bodied smoke.

– Paul Lukens

Macanudo 1968 Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: Toro (6”x54)
Strength: Medium plus
Wrapper: Honduran
Binder: Connecticut Habano
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua

Construction: Rustic looking with seams and veins. Wrapper is smooth with some oiliness.
Pre Light: Cedar, cocoa, hay
Toasting and Light: Effortless
Draw: Open
First Few Puffs: Cream, almond, baking spice
Base Flavors: Creaminess, cinnamon, mocha, nuts
Burn and Ash: No touchups, dense ash
Aroma: Toasty and woody
Balance of flavors: Creamy, smooth, and rich with black pepper in the background
Retrohale: N/A

Summary: Surprising and tasty. That’s how consumers must have felt back in 2008 when the Macanudo 1968 was first released. Surprising because the 1968 cigar—honoring the 40th anniversary of the brand—was the first Macanudo that stepped into the medium to full bodied category. And tasty—while self-explanatory—doesn’t capture the full Macanudo 1968 experience.

The cigar opened with the legendary Macanudo creaminess. In fact, I’ll go a step further and add buttery smooth as well. The additions of cinnamon, mocha, sweet almonds, and faint black pepper lingering behind the scenes give notice that this blend is complex and balanced, with the subtlety found in top-flight cigars.

At the halfway point, the flavor range stayed largely intact. What really stands out is, despite the medium-plus strength and body, is how the creaminess and sweeter notes are the perfect complement to round out the blend.

As I burned the Macanudo 1968 down to its last remains, I wondered how many cigar smokers passed it by because they thought it was another mellow Mac. Big mistake. The 1968 is a deep, richly flavored blend that’s enjoyable for those with a refined palate or someone looking for a well-priced, fuller-bodied cigar.

– Paul Lukens

M Bourbon by Macanudo Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: Robusto (5 x 50)
Strength: Mellow-plus
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut Shade
Binder: Ecuador
Filler: Dominican Republic

Construction: Densely packed with visible seams and veins
Pre Light: Oak barrel, bourbon, cherry, bitters
Toasting and Light: Effortless
Draw: Even
First Few Puffs: Charred oak, cherry-like sweetness, creaminess
Base Flavors: Bourbon spice, cherry, cream, bitter (like Angostura)
Burn and Ash: Straight burn, solid ash
Aroma: Fruity sweetness and charred wood
Balance of flavors: Creamy, smooth, spicy, and sweet
Retrohale: N/A

Summary: Billed as an Old-Fashioned cocktail in cigar form, M Bourbon by Macanudo hits the mark. Opening with a volley of charred oak and bourbon spiciness, it wasn’t too long before cherry and vanilla joined the party. And there was a pleasant bitterness hanging out in the background—contrasting perfectly with the sweeter elements—that took this blend to another level.

Mellow-plus, and approaching medium-bodied in the final third, M Bourbon is an infused cigar that even the most hardcore traditionalists can appreciate. Even more, M Bourbon is a versatile blend that would do perfectly well as a morning cigar with a cup of coffee or as a nightcap with a healthy pour of your favorite bourbon.

– Paul Lukens

Macanudo Cigar Review: M by Macanudo

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: Toro (6 x 50)
Strength: Mellow
Wrapper: Indonesian Besuki
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Philippines

Construction: Very firmly packed and weighty feeling. The wrapper is a milk-chocolate brown, matching the aromas coming from the foot.
Draw: A little tough, but not too bad.
Pre-light flavor: Foot: Coffee beans, milk chocolate, earth. Cold draw: A Milk chocolate sensation, like drinking a Yoo-hoo, cedar, and earth.
Toasting & Light: Took slightly longer than average.
Initial notes: Very toasty, sweet, and nutty up front with a creamy, milky flavor and a slight burnt toast note.
Base flavors: Milk chocolate, cream, vanilla, coffee bean, bread and spice.
Retrohale: Vanilla beans, light spice, and coffee.
Aroma: Very aromatic, it smells like someone is baking brownies and roasting vanilla coffee at the same time.
Burn / Ash Quality: Burn is somewhat wavy, but the ash forms solid stacks of white ash.
Balance of flavors: Heavily geared toward a rich, creamy profile- body strength is hardly noticeable.

M by Macanudo cigar review - by Fred Lunt
Smoke this, and you’ll hear it for sure: “That cigar smells great. What is it?” It’s M by Macanudo, their coffee-infused cigar.

Summary: After the initial notes, the M is a full-on chocolate monster. It reminds me of Hershey’s chocolate syrup, very sweet, notes of roasted coffee bean and earth on a short finish in a creamy profile. Further in, a slight salted bread note arises behind the cream, milk chocolate and coffee while a subtle hint of cedar tows the finish. Midway through, a distinct chocolate syrup sweetness dominated the palate, stoutly followed by bread, coffee beans, earth and a light spice.

By the end the smoke was very buttery, the coffee bean and cedar notes are at the top of the tongue while a chocolatey cream and light spice show on the finish. A slow burning cigar, this M by Macanudo took a solid two hours to smoke.

– Fred

Macanudo Inspirado Green Robusto

Size: Toro (6” x 50)
Strength: Medium-Full
Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca
Binder: Indonesia
Filler: Colombia, Dominican Republic

Construction: Well-packed, milk-chocolate brown, and a very satiny feel. Cap was flawlessly applied.
Pre Light: Leathery.
Toasting and Light: Bold and peppery.
Draw: Just the right amount of resistance.
First Few Puffs: Strong and spicy through first inch.
Base Flavors: Sweet tobacco, cedar, earth, wood, and pepper.
Burn and Ash: Straight down the line with a very firm, and highly granular grey ash.
Aroma: Woody and sweet.
Balance of flavors: Creamy and complex.
Retrohale: N/A

Summary: Macanudo Inspirado Green started a bit bold and spicy, and stayed so throughout the first inch. The smoke was dense, creamy, and balanced, offering a decent amount of flavor. The cigar erupted in a rush of sweet tobacco and spicy flavors near the one inch mark, which offered notes of coffee and nuttiness. Up through act 2, Green was medium in strength and full in flavor.

The finale maintained significant sweetness until the full-bodied switch got flipped, resulting in a smooth smoke that was earthier and spicier in character, making the cigar bookended.

My sample was mostly medium plus, quite creamy, and exhibited greater complexity in the mid to latter stages. The flavors revealed mixture of sweet and spicy notes, along with coffee, wood, and pepper…a no-brainer if you love the flavors of zesty Brazilian wrappers.

Macanudo Inspirado Orange Cigar Review

Country of Origin: Honduras
Size: Robusto (5″ x 50)
Strength: Medium-Full
Wrapper: Honduras (Olancho San Agustin)
Binder: Honduras (Jamastran)
Filler: Dominican Republic (Piloto Cubano), Honduras (Jamastran), Nicaragua (Ometepe)

Construction: OSA presents mostly smooth, with an even color and just a bare bit of oil. Excellent roll, firmly packed.
Draw: Somewhat tight, but opens up just enough to keep it going without a burn issue.
Pre-light flavor: Tangy sweetness and hay – very bright and crisp.
Toasting & Light: Notes of sweet spice, citrus and wood.
Base flavors: Wood, tea, citrus/berry and earth.
Retrohale: Hits the nose with a dry, bright spice over oak woodiness.
Aroma: Warm, woody and bready.
Burn & Ash Quality: Burns even with a thin char line. Nearly-white ash stacks neat, tight and tidy.
Balance of flavors: Inspirado Orange is definitely focused on intensity of flavors than on strength.

Summary: Back in 2014, Cigar Journal reported on the then-new Macanudo Inspirado Orange: “Visually an eyecatcher, in taste refreshingly stimulating.” Why we’re just adding this cigar to our list is because the Inspirado Orange was only made available in Denmark, Germany, Spain and Canada – then came to America in 2017 as a brick-and-mortar exclusive, landing at #20 on Aficionado’s Top 25 list that year. If you’re an “epicurean” of any kind – I think you’ll want to put the Robusto to the test, on reputation alone.

This Inspirado’s pre-light flavors are very distinct; I’ve tasted this bright, tangy flavor only a few times before…one was the CAO OSA Sol, which uses this same Honduran wrapper. When I reviewed that CAO, I called it “a dark horse smoke” – this Macanudo is already proving to be the same among the Inspirado bunch.

macanudo cigars guide macanudo inspirado orange cigar review Robusto by John Pullo
Macanudo Inspirado Orange is unapologetic about it’s Honduran upbringing, brimming with very well-defined flavors.

Light up, and you’re met with a huge, sweet berry taste – it’s more of a blast – and follows up with a little rush of spice and wood. As time moves on, the spice comes forward in the mix, and pepper shows up in the retrohale. Halfway, the Inspirado Orange keeps that sweet, fresh berry and tea base note – but now you can feel a spice on the finish, like you just finished a glass of dry red wine.

This Macanudo is a slow burner – but the smoke is creamy, with just the tiniest taste of earth and salt. Get to the band, and I’ll bet you find some combo of what I tasted: oak, dried fruit, lush tobacco, minerals…I’ll even say a little peaty.

General Cigar’s Jhonys Diaz said, “Our aim was to create a cigar for the discerning smoker that was to be stronger than the original Macanudo, somewhat more piquant, savory, peppery and with a creamy sweetish basic tone… [It is] complex, it is also full of variety.” The Inspirado Orange performs as intended and delivers as promised. If you’ve been looking to smoke something different, and “surprising” and “refreshing” are on your hit list – I think you’ll like what this Macanudo has to offer.

– John

Macanudo Cigar Review: Macanudo Inspirado Red

Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: 5″ x 50 (Box-pressed Robusto)
Strength: Full
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano Ligero
Binder: Nicaragua (Jalapa)
Filler: Nicaragua (12-yr aged Ometepe/5-yr aged Esteli)/Honduras (10-yr aged Jamastran)

Construction: Body features well-pressed corners under a silky, chestnut brown wrapper. Nearly seamless wrap job, a well constructed smoke.
Draw: Excellent – very open.
Pre-light flavor: Earth, sweet berries and a touch of cedar; your nose might pick up a faint whiff of coffee bean and leather.
Toasting & Light: Does take a little to get this one going…
First Few Puffs: Black pepper, wood, baking chocolate.
Base flavors: Pepper, earth, wood and varying degrees of sweet.
Retrohale: Big time pepper; gives way to woody sensation.
Aroma: Slightly sweet.
Burn & Ash Quality: Mostly even burn; ash is dark, like the color of ground pepper. Ash holds very well.
Balance of flavors: Macanudo squeezes a couple nice layers of flavor out of the tobaccos here, so let’s call this a bit complex.

Summary: Opens with wood, a big dash pepper, and a hint of what tastes kind of like dry, powdered chocolate. The profile turns creamy pretty quickly; before long, the pepper falls way back, but never drops out of the picture completely. Some sweetness steps up to fill those gaps, along with nutty and earthy sensations. Smoke is cool and creamy – and there’s plenty of it, with a feel that’s not far off from the foamy part of a latte.

Macanudo Inspirado Red cigar review by John Pullo
Fuller than you’d expect from something with the Macanudo name – but turns out to be sweeter than you might expect, too.

About halfway through, most of the Inspirado Red’s flavors drop away leaving only a cool, woody sensation. Fortunately, that doesn’t last long, as it comes to life again – finishing with new layers of tanginess, earth and a bit of dry spice, like vanilla.

This Inspirado is billed as full-body; and at the high point, the Red almost makes it there. The constants here are the hits of wood and pepper, and the whole thing turned out to be sweeter than I expected. Nice…

When we talk about fuller-bodied cigars, Macanudo never enters the conversation. But if a sturdier profile is more to your liking, that discussion has changed now that the Macanudo Inspirado Red is on the table. Try for yourself and see.

– John

Macanudo Cigar Review: Macanudo Inspirado Black

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: Robusto (5″ x 50)
Strength: Medium-plus
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Ecuador Sumatra
Filler: Nicaragua

Construction: Solid construction; the wrapper is an oily, coal-black.
Draw: Pretty tight but a draw poker loosened things up.
Pre-light flavor: Foot: Milk chocolate, earth, raisins, must and anise. Cold draw: Coffee, raisins, and anise with a dark chocolate.
Toasting & Light: It took some patience.
Initial Flavors: Oily mouth-feel. A very smoky taste with coffee, oak, pepper and a creamy and earthy aftertaste. A fruity fig aftertaste develops with heavy earth, leather, oak and pepper notes.
Base flavors: A fruity sweetness, oak, earth, black coffee, heavy cream.
Retrohale: Loaded with black pepper, lightly charred wood, coffee, and chocolate.
Aroma: Toasty and acidic, with a slightly oak aroma.
Burn / Ash Quality: The ash is extremely white while the burn line is slightly wavy but acceptable.
Balance of flavors: Very flavor oriented, full-bodied but smooth smoking.

Summary: In case you missed our panel review of the Inspirado Black, I’m going to break this smoke down as a dark and delicious smoke, consistent and expertly made. After some initial puffs the Black brought a super sweet fruity profile with dark notes of earth, oak and pepper rolling in. As the cigar develops there’s a very heavy cream taste that lingers on the palate with dark chocolate and coffee.

By the second third the oak flavors dominate the palate with a light anise sweetness, earth, and more chocolate and black coffee remain consistent. By the final third a peppery and citrus-tang becomes more prominent and the oak gets a little more intense and caramelized. Nicely balanced and full-flavored, this cigar should stand up well to a dark stout or Bulleit bourbon.

– Fred

Macanudo Cigar Review: Macanudo Inspirado White

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: Robusto (5″ x 50)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut (aged 6 years)
Binder: Indonesia
Filler: Nicaragua (Condega, Jalapa)/Mexican San Andres

Construction and Overall Appearance: A silky, lightly veined wrapper leaf with a consistent “light toast” color; well packed.
Draw: Nice, just a hint of resistance.
Pre-light flavor: Coffee, fresh-cut firewood, dry-roasted seeds.
Toasting & Light: Easy to light; musky and leathery to start.
Base flavors: Wood, barley and leather tied together with a string of light pepper.
Retrohale: More wood, now with dried herbs.
Aroma: Slightly sweet, with a toasty scent.
Burn / Ash Quality: For the most part, a straight burn; tight ash fall about every ½”.
Balance of flavors: Nice layers, good balance.

Summary: The Macanudo Inspirado White gets right down to business…a bite of pepper, and a roasty-toasty sensation that actually hit me like hops and barley. That thicker flavor trails off by the halfway mark, falling back to straight-up wood, toast and dried herbs. Everything that goes into this cigar is well-aged: the wrapper has laid low for six years; the Mexican San Andres long filler gets four years of age, the Jalapa gets two – so those earthy, woody flavors associated with San Andres and Nicaraguan tobaccos are definitely there, just more well-rounded.

Macanudo Inspirado White cigar review by John Pullo
A jump (rather than a step) up from the Macanudo Cafe, Inspirado White displays more complexity – and it’s been noticed: 89 customer-rated, at the time of this review.

The Macanudo Inspirado White keeps the creamy character you’re used to from Macanudo Café; but the finish is a little less dry, and the flavors a little thicker and darker – so more complex. Definitely a notch up in the body department, but intensity of the flavors is what shows – as opposed to the strength. If you’re ready to move on from your golf course Portofinos, Inspirado White is a nice jump – as opposed to a step – with more than enough going on to catch your attention.

– John

Macanudo Cigar Review: Macanudo Vintage 1997

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: #5 (5 1/2″ x 49 Robusto)
Strength: Mellow-Medium
Wrapper: Vintage USA Connecticut Shade
Filler: Dominican Piloto Cubano/Nicaragua/Brazil
Binder: Mexican San Andres

Construction and Overall Appearance: Tough to believe a true Connecticut Shade can get this toffee-brown in color. Hardly a vein in sight; the sheen is there, but the wrapper is more silky than it is oily.
Draw: Very tightly packed; the smoke is thinner, meaning I had to work pretty hard to get a solid thick draw from this Macanudo.
Pre-light flavor: The flavors seemed to be somewhat tangy, a lot like dried fruit – there was something that reminded me of rum, too.
Toasting & Light: This cigar is easy to light, even with the tight draw.
Base flavors: Reviewing this Macanudo ’97, the dominant flavors tended towards the more herbal side, with hints of tea, fruit and a toasty sensation. There’s also something very nutty about the flavor of this cigar. Expect to find a slight pepper lying beneath the surface, something that peps this blend up into something with a refined taste.
Retrohale: Do it, and you’ll notice some of that same pepper biting up in there just a little bit.
Aroma: Surprisingly, that’s a little spicy-peppery, too – which was actually quite nice.
Burn / Ash Quality: early white, pretty tight ash – thin, tight burn line.
Balance of flavors: Balance was pretty even; consistent, too, as the Macanudo Vintage that I reviewed was full of toasty flavors everywhere.

Summary: Of all the other Macanudo cigar reviews that are out there, you’re not going to find much on the Vintage 1997…which is a shame – this cigar has plenty going for it in the flavor department, in a very refined kind of way. Yes, this cigar is mild (as is the Macanudo way) but leans somewhat towards medium – which you don’t often expect from a Macanudo. The large majority of Macanudo Vintage ‘97s out there are of the Maduro variety, sporting a beefy USA Broadleaf wrapper – but if Broadleaf isn’t your style, grab this Shade wrapper version of the ’97…while you still can.

– John

Macanudo Cigar Review: Macanudo MAO Series

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: Belicoso (6″ x 57 Tapered head)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Proprietary Dominican-seed Connecticut Shade
Binder: Mexican San Andrés
Filler: Dominican Mao/Nicaragua/Colombia

Construction and Overall Appearance: Excellent. Wrapper has an attractive sheen and even in tone from top to bottom. Thin, barely visible veins add a little character to the cigar’s appearance. The tapered head has a triple seam cap that cut cleanly with a double blade cutter. The cigar is well packed with a good weight and feel in the hand.
Draw: Excellent.
Pre-light flavor (cold draw): Light grassiness and raisins.
First few puffs: Sweet, creamy and earthy.
Retrohale: Smooth with some light pepper.
Base flavors: Cedar, sweet tobacco, spice.
Aroma: Sweet-spicy.
Burn / Ash Quality: Burn is very good; just about perfect, but for some slightly jagged edges. Ash is salt and pepper in color and moderately firm.
Balance of flavors: Excellent.

Summary: Although this cigar has a wide diameter, the tapered head makes it easy to negotiate the mouthfeel. In the great Macanudo tradition, the construction was first rate and the flavors well-balanced. Based on the blend, I was expecting a more complex smoke, but I was just as impressed with its simplicity, which offered mostly flavors of cedar, spice and sweet tobacco. I can see this cigar as a relaxing after-dinner smoke with a Tawny Port, long-aged single malt, or a peaty bourbon.

– Gary

Macanudo Cigar Review: Macanudo Vintage 2006

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: Toro (6″ x 54)
Strength: Mellow
Wrapper: Vintage USA Connecticut Shade
Filler: Nicaragua (3 types)/Dominican Piloto Cubano
Binder: USA Havana Connecticut

Construction/Appearance: The Macanudos I smoked for this review weren’t very much on the oils – it’s silky. Exhibits a nice light brown color that’s right between caramel and browned toast. Expertly rolled, with just a few slight veins showing on the wrapper.
Draw: Easy to cut – excellent draw on this cigar, despite it being so well packed.
Pre-light flavor: Earthy, along with a sensation of hay and cedar.
Toasting & Light: The Connecticut wrapper is easy to char, so be careful to avoid overdoing it when lighting. Takes flame easily, first puff reveals ample smoke output right from the start.
Base flavors: A sweetness settles in almost immediately, as does the sensation of grains. The sweetness reminds me of café con leche, since there is some creaminess to the smoke. Something else about it makes me think of sweet bread.
Retrohale: Toasty and woody notes abound, tinged with a slight pepper.
Aroma: Very pleasant, very mellow – there’s a slight vanilla in there.
Burn / Ash Quality: Burn line is great, flagging only once or twice, but correcting itself quickly. Ash is almost white and a bit flaky, but holds on nicely.
Balance of flavors: For a mild smoke, there is a very pronounced set of flavors, and complexity…at about 1/3, the cigar takes a very grassy turn – but the root flavors swoop right back in. Ever thought you’d see that in a Macanudo review?

General Observations: Macanudo Café’s top shelf cousin, the Vintage 2006 goes for a plush and sultry smoking experience, using top-notch ingredients paired with exclusive presentation – making these metal cigar banded-smokes very recognizable, and sought after for their band alone. If this Macanudo cigar review convinces you to take the ’06 home, be mindful of how you store these cigars…because they sport these unique metal rings, gravity will eventually intervene and the band could slide down the barrel of the cigar, possibly causing damage to the wrapper. If you’re saving these cigars for later, either carefully remove the metal bands before you put them in your humidor – or store them laying down.

Summary: The story behind the Vintage 2006 is that Mother Nature delivered the perfect conditions for a Connecticut Shade wrapper crop that exceeded any and all expectations – so good, that something special certainly had to be done with it. So until that time came, the leaf was sorted into bales wrapped in palm leaves (called tercios) and left to age to perfection.

If the Café is an anytime smoke, the Macanudo Vintage 2006 is worthy of holding onto for a special occasion: thick and creamy draws come very easily, and a burst of flavor that exceeds expectation follow each puff. Still mild, but very consistent, too – a very distinctive cigar made in limited quantities, and very much a step up in flavor and experience from the other Macanudo cigars I’ve reviewed.

More mild than medium, this is a very refined entry to today’s Macanudo cigar review lineup.

– John Pullo

Macanudo Cigar Review: Macanudo Cru Royale

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: Robusto (5″ x 50)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
Binder: Dominican “La Vega Especial”
Filler: Dominican Republic/Brazil/Nicaragua

Construction and Overall Appearance: Dark, oily, slightly veiny.
Draw (airflow): Excellent.
Base flavors: Pepper, earth, dark fruit, leather, espresso.
Burn / Ash Quality: Solid white.

Summary: This cigar was created under the guidance of cigar master Benji Menendez and the man did one hell of a job on this dark, rich and complex smoke. Trust me, I KNOW when you hear the name Macanudo, you don’t think dark, rich and complex, but for this surprising Cru Royale, you will.

The wrapper is an Ecuadorian Habano with an oily sheen and a bit of veins, but a good looking, hearty stick. The inner blend consists of Dominican and Nicaraguan Viso longfiller along with some Brazilian Mata Fina for added spice. And the binder is a proprietary Dominican La Vega Especiale leaf.

Upon lighting you’ll get a nice little hit of pepper and spice upfront that quickly makes way to flavors of black cherry and slightly charred wood. As you go one-third to the half way point the dark fruit notes intensify along with espresso and a bit of leather. It really is a complex smoke that starts out straight-up medium-bodied and heads into a full-flavored treat. It is a very well rolled cigar that builds a solid white ash that knocks off perfectly squared when tapped into your ashtray.

For this Macanudo review, I paired the Cru Royale robusto with a cup of bold Guatemalan coffee after lunch – which was the perfect dessert for my palate. Definitely a good choice for a nice whiskey as well after a hearty meal.

So, let me say that if you have some pre-conceived notions of the Macanudo brand, the Cru Royale will most certainly create a shift in your tobacco paradigm. Just a fine tasty damned little smoke.

– Tommy Zman

Macanudo Cigar Review: Macanudo Signature Series

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: Toro (6 1/8″ x 50)
Strength: Mellow – Medium
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut Shade
Binder: Mexico
Filler: Dominican Piloto Cubano

Construction and Overall Appearance: Excellent. Wrapper is a little darker in hue than the usual Macanudo “golden” brown. Seams in the lower half of the cigar were a bit “open,” but had no negative effect on the burn.
Draw: Excellent.
Pre-light flavor (cold draw): Sweet, with very light grassy-leathery note.
First few puffs: Smooth, creamy, mellow and sweet.
Retrohale: Smooth, creamy and sweet.
Base flavors: Sweet tobacco, cedar, cream.
Aroma: Sweet
Burn / Ash Quality: Burn was excellent with a thin carbon line. Ash was semi-flaky with a salt & pepper color.
Balance of flavors: Excellent.

Summary: Flavor and character is almost neck ‘n neck with the Macanudo Café series; smooth, mellow and woody but with a little more body. Smoke was ultra-creamy, voluminous, and consistent in flavor throughout. Body ramped-up slightly in the second half. Very enjoyable with my morning coffee. Highly recommended for cigar smokers seeking a milder, high-quality “everyday cigar,” and those who want a break from the heavier, spicier Nicaraguan cigars. Will definitely smoke again.

– Gary Korb

Macanudo Cigar Review: Macanudo Gold Label

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: Hampton Court (5 1/2” x 42 Corona)
Strength: Mellow
Wrapper: U.S. Connecticut Shade
Binder: Mexican San Andres
Filler: Dominican Piloto Cubano, Mexico

Construction: The cigar comes encased in a metal tubo that is lined with a cedar sheet. Expertly crafted, its wrapper is golden brown in color with a few imperfections.
Draw: Perfect.
Pre-light flavor: Cedar and sweet cream.
Toasting & Light: Savory, toasty, and sweet.
Base flavors: Earth, grass, leather, and sweet cream.
Retrohale: Slightly bitter like hops and earthy with no pepper or spices.
Aroma: Pleasant and mellow with notes of sweet wood.
Burn & Ash Quality: Even burn and stable ash.
Balance of flavors: Leans sweet.

Summary: When Macanudo Gold was blended, leaves from the first and second primings (the bottom) of the tobacco plant were used for its wrapper to ensure that the cigar would be crowned with a beautifully golden-brown leaf that is as mellow as they come. Considering that the core of fillers is each a 1998 vintage, it’s clear that the goal was to produce an exquisite mild-mannered cigar experience. Does smoking one produce this result?

The cold draw on my sample was exceedingly sweet and creamy with a wisp of grassiness on the finish, but toasting it unveiled toasty and savory nuances that seemed to dissipate once the cigar was fully lit.

Macanudo cigars guide Macanudo Gold Label Hampton Court cigar review by Jared Gulick
The difference between Macanudo Cafe and Macanudo Gold Label is in the wrapper: both are mellow-smoking, low priming leaves, but the Gold Label’s shade wrapper is put on the cigar without any fermentation.

Flavors you’ll uncover are earthy, grassy, and sweet. There’s a creaminess and smoothness that lasts all the way through, and within the first inch or so, cedar notes will pop in from time to time thanks to the veneer that protected the cigar inside its tubo.

You should know right off the bat that Macanudo Gold is a single-act cigar. It doesn’t change throughout the smoke much, if at all, but this isn’t a negative as much as an attribute that’s put there by design. If you happen to be reading this and have never smoked a cigar before, this is a solid choice to stand as an introduction to the cigar world as it’s easily one of the most mild-mannered cigars I’ve come across in all my years of tobacco enjoyment. Additionally, veteran enthusiasts will enjoy these as relaxing breakfast cigars that don’t bring with them any unwanted surprises as you ease into your day.

Jared Gulick

Macanudo Cigar Review: Macanudo Maduro

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: Hyde Park (5 ½” x 49 Robusto)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Mexican San Andrés
Filler: Dominican Piloto Cubano/Mexico

Construction and Overall Appearance: Very dark, nice weight and feel.
Draw: Nice and easy draw.
Pre-light flavor: Spice, dark cherries, chocolate, leather.
Toasting & Light: Very sweet with an oaky woodiness and a slight peppery tang.
Base flavors: Oak wood, pepper, chocolate.
Burn / Ash Quality: Tight bright white ash. Not a single burn issue.
Balance of flavors: Very well balanced, no one flavor overpowers the other.

General Observations:

Initially very sweet with flavors of an oaky woodiness and a slight peppery tang on the top of the mouth and a little toasty.

Lots of creamy smoke pouring out of this cigar.

Very cool burn, tight and even ash. No touch-ups necessary.

Sweetness carries on with the woody notes as well.

Around 2/3 some pepper kicks up to match the sweetness, same notes of oak stay consistent.

3/3 Sweet and peppery, a cool oak wood and leather detected.

A very rich cigar, medium in body, lots of complexity.


Ever hear two guys argue over how much flavor the wrapper gives a cigar? Well, it has tons to do with it – and the Macanudo I reviewed here is Exhibit A, ladies and gentlemen. While the blend of the Macanudo Maduro is the same as the Café (above), the two cigars are incredibly different in flavor and strength.

While both feature a Connecticut wrapper, the Macanudo Maduro has a rich, complex, and sweet flavor. The Maduro wrapper was almost black with pre-light flavors similar to sweet dark cherries, chocolate, and leather. The construction was flawless, no soft spots or faults and it burned like a champ all the way through.

While more medium in body, this cigar is full-flavored and complex. The initial flavors on toasting were much like a sweet oak wood with a slight peppery tingle on the top of the mouth. A very creamy smoke came pouring out of this cigar. As the burn progressed the sweetness and oak-like wood flavors lingered on while the pepper dissipated for a while. At the beginning of the second third is where some sparks really began to fly. The pepperiness returned, making a very sweet and peppery smoke. While still burning nice and cool, the same oak flavor persisted while leather came back into the profile.

Getting close to the end and the Macanudo Maduro proves one smooth sweet and peppery smoke while the medium body kept these dueling flavors from overpowering each other. I truly wanted this cigar to burn all the way to my fingertips; however, it turned bitter on me a little past where the band ended.

Overall, one smooth and complex cigar. After having a side-by-side review of Macanudo cigars core blends, I can say that if you enjoy the Café – but want a more complex or medium-bodied smoke – give this Maduro a try.

– Fred

Macanudo Cigar Review: Macanudo Café

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Size: Hyde Park (5 ½” x 49 Robusto)
Strength: Mellow
Wrapper: USA Connecticut Shade
Binder: Mexican San Andrés
Filler: Dominican Piloto Cubano/Mexico

Construction and Overall Appearance: Classic light-green with a shiny gold band. Toasted brown wrapper with a few small veins snaking about.
Draw: Slightly tight.
Pre-light flavor: chocolatey pre-light smell. On the draw, grassy, light cedar notes.
Toasting & Light: very toasty and light, small hint of what tastes like a light roasted coffee or Earl Grey.
Retrohale: a pleasant woodiness and floral hint.
Burn / Ash Quality: nice clean burn, ash is holding tight.

General Observations:

Nice and light, very toasty. Not very complex. Hints of tea.

Steps up a bit with a light peppering of spice 1 inch in.

2/3 nice light pepper and woody flavor, great little toasty cigar.

Picking up stronger notes of roasted coffee and a slight nuttiness. A nice sweetness at the end as well. Pairs extremely well with coffee.

Summary: The Macanudo Café is one of those cigars that just has old school feel to it. While smoking this, I could almost picture myself riding in a train car and reading the paper, the porter brings me my black coffee and I pull this Macanudo Café out of my three-piece suit and light up.

What I mean by old school is that this is an almost text-book definition of the classic mild Dominican cigar. While there is a very pleasant spice that builds as you go along, this premium cigar is exactly ideal for a morning smoke or even post lunch. Aptly named Café, it’s perfect for enjoying with a nice roasted coffee.

The pre-light draw produced notes like that of grass and cedar. This little cigar started off nicely with initial flavors that reminded me of toast and light roasted coffee with a subtle tea note, like Earl Grey. Positively mild at this point. As the smoke flowed, the intensity picked up a bit and I began to pick up a slight and pleasant peppery note with a woodiness that was really enjoyable. This peppery note seemed to hang while more flavors of coffee and nuttiness came into play. A retrohale produced a pleasant woodiness and a floral-like note.

Construction wise, the Hyde Park had an excellent burn. A nice clean burn line meant no touch-up required. The mild yet flavorful Dominican filler played the biggest role in the blend while the sweet/toasty combo of specially-fermented CT shade wrapper and San Andrés binder filled the gaps.

This is a great premium cigar for the morning smoker, the coffee drinker, and anyone who enjoys a nice mellow Dominican cigar.

– Fred Lunt