Cohiba Macassar Toro Grande

Cohiba Macassar is the latest edition to General Cigar’s Cohiba line, which is sometimes called the “red dot” Cohiba to distinguish it from the famed Cuban cigar. The Macassar joins four other Cohiba blends currently in production: the Black, Dominican, Nicaragua, and XV lines.

Cohiba Macassar

Macassar, otherwise known as Diospyros celebica, is a variety of ebony that grows in Southeast Asia, particularly on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. It’s a visually striking wood, especially prized by luthiers for fingerboards, and evidently it is also good for turning. Like all ebony, it is rare and expensive. A 6″ x 6″ x 2″ block of Macassar ebony runs about $60 USD. The tree itself is endangered, largely due to the conversion of its natural habitat to crop land.

The Macassar is a super premium blend presented in 10-count boxes that incorporate a veneer of this elegant and expensive wood. I know I should appreciate the beauty of this, but my first thought is actually: “Where is Lew Rothman when we need him?” Lew ran JR Cigars for years and was massively successful. He was also a great defender of the working man’s right to smoke a decent cigar at a decent price. He used to say that the difference between a 2 dollar and a 10 dollar cigar is 8 bucks. I appreciate that sentiment, but I’ll also tell you right now that Cohiba’s Macassar is no La Finca.

The wrapper is a habano strain grown in a part of the Connecticut River Valley where the conditions aren’t as conducive to tobacco agriculture as others, but the result is a more flavorful leaf. The binder is a Connecticut broadleaf that has been aged for 6 years, and the filler is a blend of Dominican leaf from the Mao region and Nicaraguan Jalapa. All of these tobaccos are aged at least 4 years (the binder for 6) and then aged an additional year in rum barrels.

Surprisingly, this is not a limited edition. It’s a regular production addition, so it should be around for as long as people are willing to buy a cigar at 20 bucks a pop. It’s available in 3 expensive sizes:

  • Toro Grande: 6 x 52
  • Gigante: 6 x 60
  • Double Corona: 7 1/4 x 54

Cohiba Macassar 2

Construction Notes

The Macassar Toro Grande does not look like a super premium cigar, but it is built like one. The colorado maduro wrapper is thick and veiny, and the rounded head sports a functional but less than attractive cap. The roll is solid, and the draw is spot on. It burns evenly and slowly while it builds a solid gray ash.

Overall construction: Excellent.

Tasting Notes

The Toro Grande opens with chocolate and coffee on the nose and a dash of pepper on the tongue.  After half an inch or so the pepper grows in balanced intensity, without overpowering the other flavors. At this point I’m getting a whiff of charred oak barrel with some fruitiness, maybe a touch of cola.  The smoke is smooth and medium to full in body.

About half way through this cigar I notice what it is lacking: tannin. This is surprising, especially with the woody note that emerges at this point. It’s fairly rare for a cigar with a woody flavor profile to lack tannin, especially the big woody Nicaraguans that have taken over the mainstream, but the Macassar manages fine without it.

The coffee and chocolate flavors soften to cocoa in the second half. The aroma is complex, woody with dark spices and a musky note that suggests leather but doesn’t quite get there.  This cigar begs to be savored towards the end — rushing it results in char and bitterness. Make time for this big boy.

Conclusion 

Rough edges often accompany complexity in full-bodied cigars, but the Cohiba Macassar sidesteps all that. There is a price for this, of course: an MSRP around $22 USD.   Part of this price covers the rare wood used to decorate the box, which is unfortunate. I’d be perfectly happy with plain old Spanish cedar and a break on the price.

Then again, “Cohiba Spanish Cedar” doesn’t have the same ring to it. Maybe they could call it the “Antimacassar” instead.

Thank you, folks. I’ll be here all week.

Cohiba Macassar 3

Final Score: 89

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