Country of origin: Dominican Republic Color: Oscuro Length: 5" Ring gauge: 50 Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf (aged 10 years) Binder: Mexican San Andrés Filler: Jamaican Silver Tongue/Dominican/Nicaraguan (proprietary gurdian) Rating*: ★★★★
Long past are the days of when I first started smoking premium cigars and the Macanudo Café Crystal, Hampton Court, and Hyde Park were in my heavy rotation. But as my palate matured and I started seeking more full-bodied, fuller-strengthed smokes, I felt as if I had outgrown the brand. There was nothing else in the Macanudo portfolio to keep me interested, so I strayed away from the brand.
General Cigar Company introduced the Estate Reserve limited edition series in 2013 to commemorate the 45th anniversary of Macanudo, which had a Connecticut shade wrapper with a Dominican binder and filler. In efforts to deepen the flavor profile and create a richer and more complex smoke, the blenders decided to use a 10-year old Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper (from the highest primings), along with a proprietary Jamaican Silver Tongue tobacco cultivated on small, independent farms and aged exclusively for this year’s small batch offering. According to General Cigar, Silver Tongue is an extremely low-yield tobacco and is the most expensive long-filler leaf in the world.
I had no expectations with this Macanudo Estate Reserve 2015 when I received five samples from General Cigar Company just before their debut at the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers (IPCPR) trade show this past August. But I was intrigued by the very dark oscuro and oily wrapper and the pungency of the cigar's aroma - so after letting them rest in my humidor for a few weeks, I could not wait to smoke them.
The Macanudo Estate Reserve 2015 No. 9 is an absolutely beautiful cigar. The oily wrapper has very tiny veins and barely visible seams. The band is essentially the same as the previous release, with the exception of the primary color being dark gray vs ivory and "Jamaica" embossed in gold. All of the cigars were pretty firm and lacked some suppleness; a bit dense for a robusto. As previously mentioned, the cigar's aroma is quite pungent with musty, wet cedar emanating from the wrapper and the foot. Guillotine cuts were used with each cigar smoked. The cold draw is awesome and somewhat oaky, but primarily provided a flavor of robust dark roast coffee (definitely one to take some time to enjoy before lighting). The cigar lights easily, and is well constructed - it burns relatively evenly, required no re-lights or touch-ups, and produces nice long, tight ash.
The blenders got exactly what they hoped for with this release - a deep flavor profile and a rich, complex smoke. This Estate Reserve 2015 is a savory, full-bodied smoke with medium-to-full strength. The smoke starts with very rich flavors of earth and leather with some mild spiciness. There is some mild black pepper on retrohale and the cigar leaves quite a bit of bitterness on the lips. During the second third, the black pepper on retrohale becomes almost non-existent and the bitterness has notably increased, but the earth, leather, and spiciness remain unchanged. By this point, although the smoke is very nice, the best has yet to come. It's during the final third when this cigar REALLY comes alive, as bold notes of espresso are introduced and the black pepper makes a return. This cigar produces a great deal of thick aromatic smoke and left a rather long finish on the palate. Total burn time approximately 1 hour, 20 minutes.
The Macanudo Estate Reserve 2015 No. 9 is a fantastic smoke and matches my preferred flavor profile. I'm very disappointed that this cigar is a limited edition release, as I would love to keep these in regular rotation in my humidors. Due to the scarcity of the Jamaican Silver Tongue tobacco, only 1,800 boxes per size were released and will only be available until depleted. In addition to the No. 9 robusto, there are two other vitolas available: No. 7 (7" x 50) and No. 8 (6" x 57). Without question, this is the best Macanudo I've ever smoked!