Macanudo 1968 Robusto

Some time ago it was brought to our attention that we didn’t have a single Macanudo review on the Stogie Review. I was sure that couldn’t be right, given the popularity of the cigar with the market at large. But as I reviewed our cigar review index, there was not a Macanudo to be found. The reason became clear as Walt, Jerry and I discussed who would blaze a path into Macanudo territory. It came down to whoever actually had one to review. In short order I lit up the Macanudo Vintage 1997 Demi (which I picked up on a whim on a cigar auction), the only kind I had, and Jerry smoked the Maduro a few days later.

My reason for telling you all this is that while the Macanudo is an incredibly well selling brand, it’s just not a line of cigars that a lot of really dedicated smokers enjoy with any frequency. That’s because many consider the Macanudo to be either a mild beginners cigar, or the cigar of the casual holiday smoker. So when Macanudo introduced a cigar at this year’s IPCPR targeting the fuller bodied cigar smoker, a lot of people were dubious. A full bodied Macanudo? Really? Even General Cigar president Angel Daniel Núñez acknowledges that the concept is “a departure” from what Macanudo has been about for its 40 years on the market.

So it’s time to see if this really is “rich, dark and unexpected” as the ads say, or if this is just good marketing. I have heard some interesting things about the cigar already, so, and I never thought I’d say this, I’m really looking forward smoking this Macanudo!

Cigar Stats:
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Honduran San Agustin Havana Seed
Binder: Connecticut Habano
Filler: Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Ometepe
Smoking Time: 1 3/4 hours
Beverage: Water
Price: $8.50

The Pre-Smoke
From a presentation stand point, the Macanudo ’68 is a pretty cool looking cigar. The black and gold band is a clear improvement over green and gold or the Big M maduro bands. Under that sparkly band is a wrapper that’s kind of rustic looking and a little veiny. To the touch, the cigar is very firm and just a little lumpy. Looking the cigars over, I only saw one tiny flaw: a small white spot near the foot of one cigar.

The scent of the wrapper was the pretty standard compost with an extra bit of sweetness to it, and I found a bit of sweet chocolate in the cold taste.

The Burn
I can tell you that this cigar didn’t score big points in the burn department. The ash was generally light and solid, but the burn line was pretty erratic. In two of the three cigars I smoked for this review, I was graced with the infamous peninsula of unburned wrapper. While one of these cigars self corrected, the other couldn’t recover without a little supplemental fire.

I also had some trouble with the cigars going out toward the end of the second third and throughout the final third. I don’t think these cigars much care for my slower, review-speed smoking. I say that because I smoked one this weekend at a local shop, and didn’t recall having so much trouble with the cigar going out.

The Flavor
And now for the part you’ve been waiting for. Is this really a full bodied smoke? Is it rich, dark and unexpected? Here are my tasting notes.

The cigar started off with a surprisingly sweet, syprupy cocoa flavor. This quickly developed into a great caramel flavor with some coffee, and creamy sweet nuttiness that tasted like the center of a Reeses Peanut Butter cup. But the caramel really sticks around in the finish. In one of the cigars I also noticed a tiny bit of pepper here as well.

The caramel flavor continued into the second third, but kind of evolved into a rich coffee flavor as the burn progressed. Chocolate flavors also began to appear in this third. And pepper started to pick up just before the end of the third.

The final third was all about the pepper. Pepper and chocolate, pepper and coffee, and even pepper and cedar. (Though cedar flavor was missing from one cigar.)

The Price
I was talking about this cigar with a fellow stogie enthusiast and one of the things that come up was the price. He’s no fan of Macanudos, and had a hard time justifying the $8.50 MSRP for the cigar. True it is a few bucks more than what you’d pay for most other Macanudos, but these smokes are in a different class than those cheaper smokes. For that reason, I don’t really have a beef with the price.

The Verdict
As you can probably guess from my description of the flavor, I really enjoyed this cigar, in spite of the burn problems. To answer the questions posed at the beginning of the flavor section, yes, this is a fuller bodied cigar, and yes, it is a little unexpected. Though to be honest, my expectations weren’t all that high at the start. How many times have we read about cigars that are described as full bodied only to find them medium at best once we’ve lit up? And we are talking about Macanudo, king of mildness, here. Who would have expected a Macanudo like this?

I would recommend giving the 1968 a shot. Though the funny thing is that people who aren’t big fans of Macanudos may love it, while Macanudo lovers may find it a bit much.

Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Yeah, I think so.
Recommend It: Yes, especially if you aren’t a fan of Macanudo’s other lines. You might be surprised.

Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.