Once every five years or so the blenders at General Cigar deem a selection of their aged tobaccos worthy of inclusion in a limited Macanudo Vintage edition. Last year saw the first such release with a maduro wrapper, a 13-year old Connecticut Broadleaf used on the Macanudo Maduro Vintage 1997.
The cigar was blended by Edmundo Garcia of General Cigar Dominicana in Santiago. It incorporates Nicaraguan ligero, Brazilian mata fina, two types of Dominican piloto cubano, and a binder grown on Nestor Plasencia’s farm in Talanga, Honduras.
The Macanudo Maduro Vintage is packed in handsome 12-count mahogany chests. The initial release last year — the “Reserva Dorada” edition — attracted attention because each cigar was adorned with a concave metal band. I’ve been told the band acts as a humidity gauge, but I am a little sceptical on that point. I do, however, believe it would make a swell engagement ring. (Under certain unspecified circumstances, for the digitally well endowed.)
Only two sizes are made, a 6 x 49 perfecto, and a 6 x 54 toro. I am reviewing the toro, obviously.
The wrapper is dark but not matte black (an indication of natural processing), and is somewhat rustic despite its rich complexion. The round Cullman style cap is a trademark of the Macanudo line, so it is present here as well. All other construction qualities are excellent — a firm roll, an easy draw, and a solid (but slightly flaky) ash. The burn is surprisingly even for a maduro cigar.
Overall construction: Excellent.
As you’d expect from a Macanudo, this cigar is very smooth, but it has a bit more flair than your typical Mac. In the first third there is a fair amount of spice on the nose (though not on the palate) and the smoke is highly aromatic with wood and chocolate scents. The smoke texture is creamy and medium in body.
There is a little more heft in the middle section as the flavors grow slightly more robust. The cocoa and chocolate flavors migrate to the palate while the sweetness of the aroma intensifies and adds a touch of char.
The big surprise is in the final section of the cigar — a mild bite. Imagine that — a Macanudo with a bite! It is admittedly a playful one, and for the most part the cigar remains smooth with lots of chocolate and coffee notes to the end.
This Mac Maddy ’97 is a daddy of a smoke. It’s not tremendously complex, but it’s smooth and packs a whole lot more flavor than I’d expected. All of the flavors you’d expect from a top-shelf maduro are here — chocolate, wood, and sweet char — and it burns beautifully.
The going price for this cigar is around 9 USD per stick, but they’re a rare commodity at the moment. They seem to be sold out everywhere, which in itself is a good indication of its quality.