Macanudo Mao | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Connecticut Shade Cuban Seed
Binder: Mexican San Andrés
Filler: Dominican M02, Nicaraguan, Colombian
Size: 5 x 50 No.10 Robusto
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $16.00 MSRP
Humidor time: 2 months
Number of cigars smoked prior to review: 0

1a

2a

Photos courtesy of General Cigars:
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mac-mao-2-600

Today we take a look at the Macanudo Mao
Thanks to Eric Chen for the cigar.
I only found two written reviews and a couple video reviews. For a cigar that has been out for months, this is not a good sign.

BACKGROUND:
From Cigar Aficionado (Read this. It is interesting):
“General Cigar Co. has gone into its archival seed banks and regenerated an heirloom tobacco varietal for its upcoming release: Macanudo Mao. According to the company, Macanudo Mao contains filler tobacco derived from the same seed type used for original Macanudos when they were sold in the 1960s.

“Macanudo Mao is the result of General’s extensive seed regeneration program. For this project, the company planted many different seed varietals in both the Connecticut River Valley and in the Mao region of the Dominican Republic. By planting in different regions simultaneously, General was better able to ascertain the qualities of the different tobacco types, its adaptability to climate and its disease resistance.

“We started the experiment with 21 seed [types],” said Ernest Gocaj, General’s director of tobacco procurement. “It’s important to note that while we were able to recondition the seeds over four years, we had started this experiment years earlier and were unfortunately not successful. At this moment, we have two successful seed types that bear the desired characteristics of the original seeds. Normally, reconditioning seeds takes eight years.”

“Here’s the approach General took: First, the company found the heirloom Dominican seed from the 1960s, which it dubbed seed M. Then, it crossed the M seed with another seed called D3, which is a strain that resists black shank disease. After that, General continued to backcross the resulting seeds in order to create a seed type that inherited the disease resistance of D3 yet still retained the desired flavor and aroma characteristics of the original M seed.

“Backcrossing preserves the most desirable attributes while crossing gives the original seed new characteristics such as disease resistance,” Gocaj explained. “Through crossing and backcrossing, we achieved the original characteristics of the M seed with the added resistance to black shank from the D3 seed. We named our new, improved seed M02.”

“Once the M02 seed was established, Gocaj said that General planted nearly three acres in Mao, which was just enough to supply a limited edition run of cigars.

“Macanudo Mao cigars are draped in a Cuban-seed wrapper grown in Connecticut while the binder is from Mexico. In addition to the Dominican M02 tobacco, the filler is fortified with leaves from Nicaragua and Colombia.

“It will come in three sizes, but only 1,800 boxes per size are scheduled for production, or a total of 5,400, 10-count boxes. No. 10 measures 5 inches by 50 ring and has a suggested retail price of $16; No. 11, 7 by 50 at $17; and No. 12, 6 by 57 at $18. Each cigar comes individually coffined.
“Macanudo Mao will be introduced at the IPCPR trade show in July, but will not ship until the last quarter of this year.”

SIZES AND PRICES:
No.10 5 x 50 Robusto $16.00 ($9.67 online)
No.11 7 x 50 Churchill $17.00 ($10.00 online)
No.12 6 x 57 Gordo $18.00 ($11.00 online)
Online stores discount these sizes dramatically.
The fact that a limited edition blend can be discounted by the numbers above creates a simple explanation. Word of mouth is not good. 18,000 cigars released 3 months ago and now, being highly discounted, says a lot.
Expect me to curse a lot.

DESCRIPTION:
The Mao has a rustic look. Not sleek. Seams are tight. Lots of small veins. The wrapper is an oily gingerbread/caramel color. There is a small amount of tooth.
The stick is hard as a rock. This is going to be trouble.
The triple cap is expertly applied. The cigar band is hard to read. The letters are embossed and are a light gold color on a dark color background. Good luck to me getting decent photos.

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell honey blossom, spice, cream, dark chocolate, cedar, espresso, and vegetal notes.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell honey, spice, sawdust, chocolate, cream, cedar, and exotic spices.
The cold draw presents flavors of dark chocolate, spice, cream, cedar, and sweetness.

FIRST THIRD:
OK. $16.00! Whaat? I grab some Lubriderm and Kleenex because I expect total oral satisfaction from this cigar. It has to be the reason it costs so much. If the Mao doesn’t give me multiple, simultaneous orgasms by the first third, I will trash Macanudo back to the stone ages.

You know me by now. I don’t truck with crazy priced sticks. I can’t remember the last one worth the dough…except for Bespoke cigars.

I’m going into this review with a chip on my shoulder. It better blow me away from the first two puffs.
The draw is terrible. The stick is packed with too much tobacco.

First puffs are red meat hot pepper.
Then the exploring begins…Creaminess, chocolate, maple syrup, molasses, graham cracker, malts, cedar, and hay.
Not a bad start. But no BJ.

Immediately, I get a run on the char line. Forces me to stop a half inch long canoe.
This is fucking ridiculous. Why doesn’t this $16 cigar perform above and beyond? Isn’t that what you expect from a stick that could buy you 2 or 3 better sticks for the same money?
The char line refuses to control itself and needs constant touch ups.

For a self-described medium/full strength cigar, it has barely made it to mild/medium.
Flavors. They are vague. Nothing pops like it did at the very start. A mish mosh of typically nominal flavors.

3a

Pick a cigar; any catalog cigar. Plug in the flavors and this is what you have in the Macanudo Mao.
Might as well be a Perdomo or a regular Macanudo.

I’m nearly to the end of the first third. Time smoked? Less than 15 minutes.
I’m pissed off. How can you not have high expectations for a blend with all this bullshit backstory and background? It should be licking my balls. Or I should be licking my own balls. Instead, it is an ordinary blend without any redeeming qualities.
Instead of my socks being flung across the room from the blissful flavors, they sit on the floor next to me.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 13 minutes.
At this rate, it will cost 41 cents per minute to finish it.

Strength hits medium body.
I am waiting on the arrival of flavors, complexity, character, personality, long finish, and some transitions.
It is like eating plain oatmeal.

I don’t get off trashing a blend. If this were a $5 stick, I’d be kinder. But for $16, Macanudo can go fuck themselves. Of course, we know now why they can’t dump the 3 sizes at the MSRP. And why they can’t get rid of them…period. Even at the reduced price of $10.
Pretty soon, you will see a 5 pack going for $13 on Cbid.

How the hell can a blend that got a couple months of humidor time be so bland? I don’t know about you but that description of how this cigar was blended impressed me.
Now I think they just made it all up. All fucking bullshit. Of course, getting the Plasencia factory to produce the cigars ain’t exactly a bitch’n start.

4a

I reviewed the $4 Jamon Perfecto and the $6 Gotham Heroes Alec Bradley and both put this atrocity to shame.

I feel like I wasted another first cigar experience of the day on a dog turd. Wrapped in gold.

There is a slight resurgence of red pepper. A bit more creaminess…some chocolate, malts, cedar, and graham cracker. Exactly what I started out with. But no advancement in complexity or personality.
I reach the halfway point in 20 minutes. Whizzing by like a cigarette.
I am so happy that Eric only sent me one. I would feel might guilty if he sent me more than that. I wonder what his reaction to the cigar was.

5a

The breakfast cereal comparison is plain Cheerios.
The lunch comparison is boloney on Wonder Bread.
The dinner comparison is grits with no gravy.

I get some cracks in the wrapper.
Do I keep touching up the char line or let it all hang out?

There is some hopeless attempt as flavors come out of hiding; although limited in scope…Red pepper, creaminess, chocolate, graham cracker, sweetness, cedar, malts, coffee, nuts, and paper.
The Macanudo Mao has officially become a $2 bundle cigar.

I hope that Eric paid the reduced price of $10 and not the $16. I feel awful either way.
Can you imagine the poor slobs who bought the fancy packaging with each cigar in its own coffin? Waiting and waiting for the cigar to bloom? And it never happens. I get it. The packaging is $14 per cigar.

Strength remains at medium body.

I am thinking of pulling my after review story but this dumb ass cigar will probably get a lot of hits just out of curiosity. I will be saving marriages with this review. Men will lose interest in purchasing this cigar thereby avoiding the wrath of the wife.
The MSRP on a box, everywhere, is $160 for 10 cigars. Holy shit.

Watching a Martin Scorsese film about the 2006 Stones tour. Gotta hand it to those old men…they are still at it after 50 years. Unfortunately, their talent disappeared a long time ago.

The Mao becomes bitter with a perfumey taste. Yuck.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is 30 minutes.
Medium body.

Macanudo and Plasencia ought to be ashamed of themselves. Self-flagellation is in order. Done by 6 nuns wearing Minnesota Vikings gear.
The wrapper has split the entire length of the cigar.

6a

I had my fingers crossed that the last third would seek redemption. Nope. Dead as a door nail.
I’m going to burn right through the large crack unless it falls apart on me.
I’m going to finish this rat turd no matter how much I dislike it.

Strength begins its turn towards medium/full. Nicotine follows.

If you buy this cigar, I will come to your house for a full week and make you feed me strictly kosher food.
Without equivocation, I can announce that this is the worst $16 cigar I have ever smoked. And maybe the worst $10 cigar.

Bitterness increases. Fucking hell.
Fuck it. I’m done.
Final smoke time is 37 minutes. Well worth the dough.

RATING: 11

A couple of thoughts:
Is it me? I’ve smoked a few different Viaje blends in the last year. Have they become a decent; but overpriced cigar brand? Could my tastes be changing?

BTW- I get pressed to the mat every now and then when I trash a brand…then some reader reminds me I did like another blend from the same brand.
But that was my palate 2-8 years ago. (My blog, from 2008, has been deleted by the old host I used for my blog). Tastes change. Cigar smokers evolve.

You’re a cigar junkie, right? Fuck yeah. I know that’s true. So your palate is getting a PhD in palate awareness.

Rocky Patel. We all love to make fun of him. He’s just so cuddly.

Except for a couple decent blends, I don’t know who is who…Is Patel the prince of mediocre blends and Hansotia the King of confusion? Could be the other way around.
Patel and Hansotia are laughing all the way to the bank…but not on my dime. Can you even smoke that shit anymore? Not all of them are necessarily cheap sticks. They come out with pseudo limited editions, now and again, and charge too much for the same old thing.

You have a working…proud palate. You outgrow the catalog crap. You can’t help it. It’s not your fault. It’s an illness.

I have a crazy palate that just picks up a lot of stuff.

I’m not bragging. I’m fucking complaining. It’s a curse. Others think I’m showing off. I’m not.

Reviewing good cigars (I wish) every day reinforces the growth of my palate. Because, I have the time, and opportunity, I can smoke cigars all day long; once again, improving my palate.

Eventually, the everyday cigars you liked to smoke become listless and blah. And if you read a review? All your see is: earthleatherwood, chocolate, coffee, and spice. (Note: There are some incredible reviewers out there).

God help you two years from now. I will be writing the equivalent of verbal clicks and whistles. It will be interesting. Maybe I will be better at what I do. Karma check.

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3 replies

  1. I know your pissed because that awful stick ruined the first of the day, but thank you for taking it for the team uncle Katman. I am relatively new to cigar smoking, and Macanudo Café was one of the first I tried..and the last time. I know why now.

  2. “I feel like I wasted another first cigar experience of the day on a dog turd. Wrapped in gold.” We’ve all been there my friend.

    About your thoughts on Viaje – I bought a Full Moon a couple of weeks ago and was unimpressed, although I will admit it was after a Last Call Maduro. Gawd, that was delicious!