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Cigar Review: Macanudo Estate Reserve No. III

7 Aug 2013

You wouldn’t know it by talking to the cigar vets who routinely sing the praises of trendier blends, but Macanudo remains the best-selling brand in the U.S. And now Macanudo is “embarking on a new journey,” according to Alan Willner of General Cigar.

Macanudo Estate Reserve No. IIIThe new direction is Macanudo Estate Reserve, an annual limited edition that aims to challenge the perception that Macanudo is only for rookie cigar fans who haven’t yet graduated to the fuller-bodied, more complex smokes on the market.

The inaugural Estate Reserve celebrates 45 years of Macanudo. To compose it, “General Cigar’s artisans sourced a delicate Connecticut Shade wrapper from an independent grower, and built an outstanding blend around it,” according to a General press release. “Unlike any other Macanudo cigar, the binder and filler are strictly Dominican, cultivated throughout the island, and aged for at least 8 to 10 years under the watchful eyes of seasoned tobacco experts.”

Three sizes are available for the super-premium price range of $16 to $18 apiece: No. I (7 x 50), No II (6 x 52), and No. III (5 x 50). Each is “individually encased in wooden coffins and elegantly sealed with gold foil.” Only 3,000 boxes of 10 will be made in each size.

I sampled several of the Estate Reserve No. III format for this review. This is a beautiful frontmark—as you’d expect for the price—with a wrapper leaf that’s clean yet wrinkled enough to suggest some age. The golden band is striking and highly detailed. Only the slightest notes of sweet hay are apparent pre-light.

After setting an even light with a couple wooden matches, a mild profile of dry cedar, almond, and cream emerges. The texture is surprisingly sharp yet there’s predictably zero harshness and very little nicotine kick. As light as the flavor is, this is one of those reserved, subtle cigars that still offers a fair amount of complexity. And the interplay between spicy cedar and sweet cream makes for an enjoyable experience, especially as that spice ramps up towards the end.

The Macanudo Estate Reserve No. III’s physical properties are as you’d expect from a super-premium manufactured by General Cigar: excellent. The burn line, draw, and ash are all nearly perfect.

I don’t know how many seasoned cigar enthusiasts are going to fork over $16 to try a robusto from Macanudo. And that’s what makes this such a difficult cigar to rate. I like the cigar itself, but I find the price to be excessive based on the return. Something tells me a lot of the $16 cost can be attributed to the (admittedly gorgeous) packaging. And there’s too many fine Connecticut Shade smokes on the market for a fraction of the price. In my book, all this adds up to a rating of three stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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