Up until a few years ago, the Macanudo brand within the General Cigars’ family has primarily been associated with cigars that are traditionally on the milder side in terms of strength and body. In 2008, Macanudo was commemorating their 40th anniversary and decided to do a special cigar to mark the occasion, thus the Macanudo 1968 was born. For this cigar, a decision was made to move the cigar away from the milder side of the spectrum and appeal to a different group of cigar enthusiasts. The cigar was originally priced in the $8.50 to $11.00 (SRP) range. In 2011, General Cigars implemented a price reduction that brought the SRP to the $6.49 to $7.99 range. This is a cigar that has now been out on the market for over three years. Overall, I found this to be a solid and enjoyable smoking experience.
While this cigar commemorates the year Cigar Master Ramon Cifuentes began development on Macanudo (which would be released in the U.S. in 1971), there is much more to the story about this cigar. Part of the goal of this cigar was to pay tribute to Macanudo’s place in
the modern cigar industry while at the same time delivering a whole new
smoking experience The tobaccos are all proprietary to General Cigars.Cigar Master Daniel Núñez says, “We developed the seeds used in each of the cigar’s components and selected specific growing regions to enrich the blend and its aroma.” (source Press Release Macanudo 1968)
Let’s take a closer look at this cigar’s structure and smoking experience.
This cigar features tobaccos from several regions including the “big three” – Dominican Republic, Honduras, and Nicaragua. As mentioned above, these are proprietary tobaccos to General Cigars.
Wrapper: Honduran San Agustin
Binder: Connecticut Habano
Filler: Dominican, Nicaragua Esteli, Nicaraguan Ometepe
Ometepe is a volcanic island located in Lake Nicaragua. Recently tobacco from this region was used in the Toraño Vault cigar.
At this time the Macanudo 1968 is available in five sizes. The original launch featured four vitolas and the Trompeta was added in 2009.
Churchill: 7 x 49
Gigante: 6 x 60
Toro: 6 x 54
Robusto: 5 x 50
Trompeta: 5 x 60
For this cigar, I opted to smoke the Robusto vitola. The Macanudo 1968 Robusto has a classic chocolate colored wrapper. The wrapper is slightly oily and bumpy with a few veins. The cigar itself is well-packed with no soft spots. The band is primarily black and gold colored. On the band, “1968” is what stands out. Also on the band is “Macanudo 1868”. The 1868 is not a typo – it is another commemoration. That is the year the original Macanudo name was founded by several Cuban cigar makers who moved to Jamaica.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my Macanudo 1968 Robusto, I placed a straight cut into the cap and went on to start the pre-light experience. On the dry draw of the Macanudo 1968, I detected notes of leather and coffee with a hint of cedar. Overall, I considered the Macanudo 1968 to provide a satisfactory pre-light experience. At this point, it was on to toasting the foot to begin the smoking experience.
On the initial draws of the Macanudo 1968, the flavor notes of leather, cocoa, and a hint of spice continued from the pre-light draw but with more body. I also detected notes of coffee early on. I would not categorize the coffee/cocoa combination as “mocha” – namely because I was able to detect the cocoa and coffee flavors separately. Early on, I assessed the leather note to be in the forefront. The coffee notes would emerge secondary while the cocoa and spice notes were tertiary. I noticed the cocoa notes – along with the pepper spice. were a little more prevalent on the after draw.
Around the 20 percent point of the smoking experience, the cocoa notes started to increase. They would slowly work their way from a tertiary note to a primary note by the end of the first third of the Macanudo 1968. The cocoa continued to increase in body as the smoke entered the second half. I noticed a significant decrease in the coffee notes in the second half. Meanwhile, the leather notes helped keep the cocoa in check – and prevented this cigar from being overly “chocolatey”. The spice that was present never really kicked up as it remained more on the after-draw. The finish to the Macanudo 1968 was smooth. The nub was firm and cool – the way a nub should be.
While it wasn’t the most complex cigar in terms of flavor variations, I still felt this was a solid cigar from a flavor perspective.
Burn and Draw
For the burn and draw, the Macanudo 1968 did outstanding. The burn pretty much held straight for the entire cigar experience. It required a few touch-ups, but these were nothing out of the ordinary – and did not need to be done frequently. The temperature and rate of the burn were also ideal. As for the draw – it was effortless. This made the Macanudo 1968 a very enjoyable to puff on.
Strength and Body
Originally, when I was told about the Macanudo 1968, I was told from several other people who had smoked this that it was a more “fuller” cigar experience. From a body standpoint, this is definitely the case. It has bolder notes than previous Macanudo incarnations. I assessed the body to be medium to full for most of the cigar experience. Toward the end, the body crosses into full-bodied territory. As for the strength, this is not going to pack a lot of nicotine. It’s got more strength than most of the Macanudo line, but it still very much falls into the medium strength range – and not any higher.
Overall I found the Macanudo 1968 to be an enjoyable smoking experience. My only “area for what I would have liked to have seen” with this cigar is a little more complexity in the flavor profile. Overall, this is a cigar that is definitely worth checking out. I would recommend this to novice cigar enthusiasts looking to try something in the medium strength range with deeper flavors. Some seasoned cigar enthusiasts might shy away from this given Macanudo’s milder reputation, but I would encourage them to still check it out. This is a cigar I certainly would smoke again.
Body: Medium to Full (Full toward end)
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were provided by General Cigar Company. These samples were initiated by General Cigar Company in order to provide
feedback. I am appreciative for the sample, but in no way does this
influence this review.