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Macanudo Estate Reserve robusto

The Nubbit brothers explore a luxury stick, in the Macanudo Estate Reserve cigar, and walk away amazed.Macanudo Estate Reserve Maduro cigar

Punch: According to General’s press release on this Macanudo Estate Reserve it has:

a 10 year old Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper from the sun-drenched, highest priming, with proprietary Jamaican tobacco cultivated on small, independent farms and aged exclusively for this year’s small batch offering. The dark, well-oiled wrapper adds a new dimension of complexity to the flavor that ignited the passion for one of the world’s most beloved cigars.”

The varietal of Jamaican tobacco in the filler is a low-yield tobacco called Silver Tongue, and it is one of the most expensive long-filler leaves in the world. As a result of the scarcity of this leaf, this release is limited to 1,800 boxes.

Draw: My Macanudo Estate Reserve has an aroma of chocolate and cashew at the foot. The oscuro-looking wrapper appears and feels like carbon fiber, and the cigar is just as rigid with a bundle of filler so dense I would question whether it’s not a solid bar of plastic. Construction is impeccable, and the band is very distinguished and modern sporting silvers and grays.

P: I really like the look of this band and it conveys an image commensurate with the $16 suggested retail price of this robusto.Macanudo Jamaica label

D: Punching with the large punch was expectedly difficult, requiring a lot of twisting with consistent pressure over a minute to reach sufficient depth. Then, I came away with the top cap along with the plug. (On the other two, I used a figure‑8 punch which took longer to craft, but didn’t damage the cap). Cold draw is very tight, and barely gives up flavor of wheat straw. A light toasting may have given up a hint of chocolate, but it was very short. Also, toasting the wrapper looked like I was charring carbon fiber.

P: I lit this with a spill split from the backing cedar which came in the celloed 3‑pack. The starting flavors are mild and subtle. It has a bright citrus acid attack, followed with a short hardwood finish. Very open and pleasant. After several puffs the flavor profile has settled into fairly simple smokey wood with a slight citrus rind not-quite-bitterness at a medium-full flavor intensity.

D: Smooth. There is a bright attack with VOCs and refried beans – barely – on the finish. This is a nice, rich taste. After a rest and several more tokes, the overall flavor is new leather, but it shares the spotlight with something else, and what exactly je ne sais quoi. The Macanudo Estate Reserve is surprisingly only medium intensity to my senses, and burning fairly quickly for such a dense cigar. Ah, the flavor is resolving: a salty sulfur. I’m also getting hazelnut or cashew; I think that’s the sulfur salt making the nut flavor, or vice versa.

P: By an inch in, a dark roast coffee has joined to add balance to the almost-bitter citrus brightness. It isn’t bad; just as the bitter finish of an India Pale Ale gives it character, in this cigar it adds interest and contrast. There is a mild black pepper lingering in the throat.

Starting the second third there is a hint of sweetness … and Jamaican tobacco flavor (whatever that is) with a sweet and not-quite-harsh green pepper (without the heat) attack and a hardwood finish.

D: My ash just dropped; when I touched it, is broke up immediately into a smooth, well consumed ash. Very nice. Coming into the second third, my draw has tightened up. Leather remains the overall flavor, and the other flavors are showing some of everything, I think. Hints of sweetness, floral, starch, and coffee. It suggests leather and dark chocolate (bittersweet). Regardless, it tastes mighty fine! There’s a dark ashy note, also subtle, which would contribute to roast coffee or dark chocolate if it were stronger. The ashy flavor works as that bitter counterpoint.

P: Nearing the middle, a bolder character is starting to develop. The bright citrus has departed. The almost-harshness has mellowed. Now there is a slight vegetal complexity, with smokey wood and a balanced blend of sweet citrus and dark roast and some faint fruit on the finish. There is also a hint of florals in the foot smoke. The intensity hanging around medium.

D: Yes, I agree. All-flavor at the middle. I still have brightness on the attack, smokey veggies coming in, plus leather and everything else. I believe this is the ultimate flavor which the Macanudo Estate Reserve was blended to provide. The ONLY drawback is a muddling burnt rubber that resulted from my over-toking to get this analysis; purging remedies. Okay, that and the fact that the intensity has dropped slightly.

I don’t know what else to add, except the smoke smells nice, too. Sandalwood is just the start; it’s a very rich smoke. Smoke quality is a lightweight smoke, and sparse in quantity. It is really hard to pull flame through this cigar.

P: Getting to the last third the attack is a bold, darrrrk roast – or even burnt roast coffee with a bit of citrus and leather. The vegetals have dissipated taking with them a good part of the complexity. It is still maintaining a distinctive and interesting character but the intensity is up to full and is almost too “in my face” and not particularly smooth.

D: Same here, with a slight astringency at the back of my throat. Mild vegetals, and mostly smokey leather with the darkness suggesting coffee or chocolate, without either flavor making a breakaway for the palette. On one of three, the flavor never faded. It did munge somewhat, but the result was still pleasant, and the full complexity was present: citrus with the other flavors, and the bolder coffee tone to the leather.

P: Nearing the nub it is still pleasant, but lacks much character, just more dark coffee, smoky wood and leather.

D: Agreed, but I let it rest, then purged and puffed – and the flavor was back. A clean but dark rendition consistent with earlier impressions. Very nice. It’s more intense and somewhat harsh, but the flavor is still there.

At around two fingers, it suddenly turned dark and fugly – an unattractive and overbearing boot-black. Purging helps slightly, but the fugliness of shoe polish is hard to keep at bay for any length. You’ll know when you’ve reached this point: it is abrupt and unmistakable.

Burn It or Spurn It?

Punch: Burn it. You might even want to light it with a twenty dollar bill. The first two thirds of this were unlike any other cigar I have had, presumably due to the unique and rare Silver Tongue Jamaican tobacco. The first third had a great citrus brightness on the attack and an intriguing milder profile which followed which included smoky wood and almost-bitter citrus rind. In the middle it popped with some obvious vegetal complexity, which remained beautifully balanced, then finished up with a dark roast coffee, wood and leather which was interesting and smokeable to the nub. One of the three smoked for this review had an uncomfortably tight draw. The big question with a $16 cigar is “is it worth it”? I’d have to say yes. I don’t think many people would be disappointed after having shelled out that much for this stick. If your budget can allow it there is no reason not to try this distinctive, mild mannered Macanudo Estate Reserve robusto.

Draw: Burn it, with prejudice! This is a luxurious smoking experience. I compare it to driving a base-level Lexus, or Mercedes. It has no bells or whistles, but even the base model is clearly superior to my tricked-out Dodge Dakota. It feels amazing, it smoked amazing, and the flavor has also amazed us, which Punch described well just above. Character: medium-full, with a rich array of flavors across gradual yet distinctive transitions which we are still not able to fully describe. Intensity: medium on average with slight ups and downs. Strength: weak; neither of us found the strength worth noting. I agree with Punch on the value assessment – the Macanudo Estate Reserve will not disappoint.

This review based on three cigars each, generously provided by our friends at General Cigar. Tune in for a follow-up in six and 18 months.

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