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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Stogie Guys Review Macanudo 1968

“Rich, dark, and unexpected.” That’s the tag line of the new Macanudo 1968. The newest extension of General Cigar’s best-selling Macanudo brand was introduced at the IPCPR trade show in July and began hitting cigar stores in mid-August. The blend celebrates 40 years since Ramón Cifuentes began developing Macanudo, which was eventually released in 1971.

This five inch by 50 ring gauge Robusto retails for $8.50, and is one of four sizes. The line also comes in a Toro (6x 54), a Churchill (7x 49) , and a Gigante (6x 60)—a size being emphasized by General in a number of different blends.

According to General Cigar’s promotional materials, the 1968 features tobacco “grown by General Cigar or cultivated for the company under an agreement of exclusivity…aged in tercios and charcoaled wooden barrels to further enrich its flavor.”

The blend features a Dominican and Nicaraguan filler that includes tobacco grown on the Nicaraguan island of Ometepe, volcanic land known for its rich soil that rises out of Lake Nicaragua. The binder is Connecticut Habano, wrapped in a Honduran San Agustin leaf.

Before lighting the classically proportioned Robusto, I find a highly aromatic cigar filled with leather and earth. The wrapper is oily with only a few small veins, and with classic Macanudo construction the cigar is firm to the touch with no soft or spongy areas.

Once lit, I was greeted with lots of leather, burnt cedar, and roasted coffee. The taste is distinctly chewy, and the finish had muted licorice flavors with a very subtle pepper spice. There is also an underlying salty characteristic to the 1968 that leaves your mouth dry.

Like most Macanudo sticks I’ve smoked, the physical properties are nearly flawless. The burn was even, the ash steady, and the draw firm but never difficult. The only construction complaint I have is that a few times the Macanudo 1968s I sampled for this review seemed to go out prematurely, requiring relights to enjoy the cigar as the burn neared the attractive black band.

Despite being billed as the fullest Macanudo, I would be more inclined to call the Macanudo 1968 medium- to medium-full. It reminded me of a slightly toned down Partagas Black, although the 1968 is a far more complex smoke.

Overall the Macanudo 1968 is a nice addition to the line. It will go a long way towards combating Macanudo’s reputation among smokers as simplistic or as a beginner’s cigar (a reputation I don’t think is always deserved.) The flavors won’t be enjoyed by all, but it is a unique, interesting, and complex profile that I found quite pleasant. The Macanudo 1968 Robusto earns a rating of four out of five stogies.

Stogie Guys