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2017 CA Report: The Essential Macanudo Cigar Review & Buying Guide

CA's Essential Macanudo Cigar Review & Tasting Guide

By the Cigar Advisor Staff

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.


Macanudo Cigar Review: Macanudo Café

By Fred Lunt

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic

Size:  Hyde Park (Toro - 5 ½ x 49)

Strength: Mild

Wrapper: USA Connecticut Shade

Filler: Dominican Piloto Cubano, Mexican

Binder:  Mexican San Andrés

Macanudo cafe macanudo cigar review

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.


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 5 x 49 had an excellent burn. A nice clean burn line meant no touch-up required. The mild yet flavorful Dominican filler played the biggest roll in the blend while the sweet/toasty combo of 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 mild Dominican cigar.


Macanudo Cigar Review: Macanudo Maduro

By Fred Lunt

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic

Size:  Hyde Park (Toro - 5 ½ x 49)

Strength:  Medium

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro

Filler: Dominican Piloto Cubano, Mexican

Binder:  Mexican San Andrés

Macanudo maduro macanudo cigar review

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, not 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 - I would give this Maduro a try.


Macanudo Cigar Review: Macanudo Signature Series

By Gary Korb

 Country of Origin: Dominican Republic

Size:  Toro (6 1/8" x 50)

Strength: Mild - Medium

Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut Shade

Filler: Dominican Piloto Cubano

Binder:  Mexican

macanudo signature series macanudo cigar review

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.


Macanudo Cigar Review: Macanudo Cru Royale

By Tommy Zman Zarzecki

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic

Size: Robusto (5 x 50)

Strength: Medium

macanudo cru royale macanudo cigar review

Construction and Overall Appearance: Dark, oily, slightly veiny

Draw (airflow): Excellent:

Base flavors: Pepper, earth, dark fruit, leather, espresso

Burn / Ash Quality: Solid white


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.


Macanudo Cigar Review: Macanudo Vintage 2006

By John Pullo

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic

Size:  Toro (6 x 54)

Strength:  Mild

Wrapper: Vintage USA Connecticut Shade

Filler: Nicaragua (3 types), Dominican Piloto Cubano

Binder:  USA Havana Connecticut

Presentation: Box of 12 Pack of 5, single

macanudo cigar review vintage 2006

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.


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.


Macanudo Cigar Review: Macanudo MAO Series

By Gary Korb

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic

Size:  6" x 57 w/tapered head

Strength: Medium

Wrapper: Proprietary Dominican-seed Connecticut Shade

Filler: Dominican Mao, Nicaraguan, Colombian

Binder:  Mexican San Andrés

macanudo cigar review macanudo mao

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.


Macanudo Cigar Review: Macanudo Vintage 1997

By John Pullo

Country of Origin: Dominican Republic

Size:  #5 Robusto (5 1/2 x 49)

Strength: Mild-Medium

Wrapper: Vintage USA Connecticut Shade

Filler: Dominican Piloto Cubano, Nicaragua, Brazil

Binder:  Mexican San Andres

Presentation: Box of 20, Pack of 5, Single

macanudo cigar review vintage 1997

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.

General Observations:

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.