Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano (Ligero)
Binder: Nicaraguan Jalapa
Filler: Nicaraguan (5 year aged Esteli, 12 year aged Ometepe), Honduran (10 year aged Jamastran)
Size: 5 x 50 Robusto ~ Box Pressed
Price: $6.49 MSRP ($5.25 by the box ~ $5.40 by the 5 pack)
Today we take a look at the Macanudo Inspirado Red.
Thanks to General Cigar for the samples. I received the cigars prior to their release but I chose to allow them a couple months of humidor time to give the blend a fair shake.
From Macanudo web site:
“This bold, full-bodied offering represents the marriage of rich volcanic soil and profound aging techniques to achieve unmatched strength and refinement. Dressed in Ecuadoran Habano ligero and blended with rare tobaccos including twelve-year aged Nicaraguan Ometepe, ten-year aged Honduran Jamastran and five-year-aged Nicaraguan Esteli, Macanudo Inspirado Red is bound with hearty Nicaraguan Jalapa. Enticing notes of pepper and spice reign, transcending the experience of Central American tobaccos to the point of sublime.”
“Macanudo is celebrating its 50th anniversary and General Cigar Co. has promised the world a variety of new products. The first of those will be the Macanudo Inspirado Red.
“Of note, this will be a Nicaraguan-made Macanudo, whereas most Macanudos are made at General Cigar Dominicana in the Dominican Republic.
“We created Macanudo Inspirado Red to speak to the brand’s unique ability to adapt to the preferences of today’s cigar lovers,” said José de Castro, vp of marketing for General Cigar Co., in a press release. “Nicaraguan cigars are hot right now. With ‘Inspirado Red,’ we show how nimble the brand can be by introducing a unique, Nicaraguan-forward blend to the line, while highlighting the expertise of the torcederos from our cigar factory in Esteli.”
SIZES AND PRICING:
Robusto 5 x 50 $6.49 (Box Pressed)
Toro 6 x 50 $6.99
Gigante 6 x 60 $7.49
The Red has a crisp box press. The wrapper has an attractive mottled look with hues of espresso/hickory/chocolate. Seams are tight. Veins are unobtrusive. The cap varies greatly from one stick to another. In fact, the construction of the cigar has that same variance syndrome displaying just how many different rollers were involved. The tooth is missing leaving a smooth as a baby’s tush feel to the wrapper.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I can smell cloves, black pepper, dark cocoa, licorice, raisin, cedar, and caramel.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell chocolate, malt, black pepper, sweet factors, cloves, espresso, cedar, and dried fruit.
The cold draw presents flavors of chocolate covered caramels, espresso, cedar, raisins, licorice, malts, nuttiness, and dried peaches.
The draw is tight so I grab my PerfecDraw cigar poker tool and ream the cigar like it’s getting a colonoscopy. Good to go now.
Powerful emissions of smoke surround me like a musket shooting black powder.
Immediately, a bevy of sweet elements appear: Caramel, butterscotch, licorice, Raisinettes, molasses, and cherries.
Black pepper makes its mark quickly as the back of my throat is coated in spiciness.
Cinnamon toothpicks show up giving the black pepper a new personality and a hacked identity. Nuts show up in the form of almonds and a touch of honey roasted peanuts.
This is my kind of blend. A mish mosh of countrys’ being represented but with the distinction of actually improving the flavor as opposed to those 13 count leaf stat blends that taste like moosh. Strength is already a potent medium.
Little Feat’s “Dixie Chicken” is playing. 1973. Hard to believe. I was such a huge fan of Lowell George. And the schmuck threw it all away due to drugs and over indulgence. He weighed over 300lbs when he croaked at the age of 34. A shame.
Once reamed, the construction begins to really shine. As I have mentioned many times, I am cursed when it comes to box pressed cigars. I can never get an even burn. But this baby is spot on and delivering an orgasmic revelation that it was made right.
Flavors are somewhat stationary at this early juncture. No matter. The cigar is super packed and is taking its sweet time which is peachy with me. I have nowhere to go except for my appointment for a colon cleanse at the Indian food store on Hwy 100 around 2.
I read a couple reviews and I tend to agree with them concerning limited functions by this blend. I’m hoping there will be an outpouring of love by the second half. I use Halfwheel as my control subject. Halfwheel didn’t go crazy over this blend giving it an 84. But again, I see a pattern with the assessment of the blend by every reviewer. So I really don’t expect anything different from my end.
Smoke time is 30 minutes.
The first third was quite unremarkable. It fell into the Macanudo category of bland and undistinguished.
But now for the first time on our stage, we have the element of creaminess. Something that was sorely lacking in the first third. This does help brighten the slow moving blend.
Flavors begin to make unique pushes. Flavors spread out on a larger scale compared to the narrow path it followed earlier.
No change in the flavor profile as far as already described elements but some complexity begins to take hold. The finish, though, is nearly non-existent. The transitions are similarly struggling.
Sweetness from dried fruit and fresh berries make their move giving more credence to that side of the blend as opposed to a more savory influence.
The Eagles are playing and all I can think of is “The Big Lebowski.” Back in the early 70’s, we auditioned a girl singer for our band and she turned out to be a real firecracker. Drop dead gorgeous, no bra, perfect long blonde hair, and just a real stunner. She left the band a few months later to move in with Glen Frey of The Eagles. About two years later, I got a call from my guitarist buddy who had been in the band and told me to check out the latest Playboy. Yep. There she was as Playmate of the Month. Nice. And not one of us got laid during our short tenure together.
The Macanudo Inspirado Red is now well-rounded…something I didn’t expect as the first third was a letdown. I feel like a cheer leader in a short skirt trying to urge this blend on to land in the zone of a good cigar. Sometimes, you just want a cigar to do well.
Halfway point arrives after 45 minutes of smoke time.
Lemon citrus tingles the tongue. Cinnamon is a mover and a shaker now…sublimating the black pepper as its bitch.
Caramel is exonerated as the creaminess increases. The malts making more of an impression.
And then it dawns on me. The cigar retails for around $6. Sometimes you run into an inexpensive blend that knocks your socks off. I’ve reviewed my share. But the old adage of you get what you pay for is usually the case. The Macanudo Inspirado Red is simply a decent yard ‘gar. Something you can hand out to your mooch friends. I did give it two whole months of naked humidor time; Now I don’t mean the humidor was naked. That can’t happen but I do like to shine up my 300 count big ‘un to a fine gloss so I can undress and stand naked in front of it…with its mirror-like qualities. Since I’m 68, my balls hang down to just above my knee cap. I like to watch as I try to swing them in an 360 degree circle using only my hips. But be careful if you try this at home…if you get your balls twisted together while twirling them…well, that hurts worse than sex with your Amazonian parrot…tiny teeth.
Where was I?
The Macanudo Inspirado Red is targeted for those who don’t know cigars very well and believe that because Macanudos are everywhere, it must be a great cigar. I’ve tried to review Macs in the past but was so let down that I thought my time could be better spent on something else.
The burn line has been exemplary. Not a single issue. Bravo.
And then it happens. Sweet spot territory. The Macanudo Inspirado Red calls for a showdown and makes a big push.
Complexity hunkers down. Transitions finally appear. The finish is what I’d hoped for.
Flavors: Black pepper, cocoa, espresso, licorice, dried fruit, malts, cedar, caramel, cinnamon, molasses, and lots of creaminess.
Smoke time is over an hour.
I like the blend. If only it had started out with some panache…as opposed to showing absolutely no promise at first.
If we had started out like what I’m experiencing now, this would have been an excellent blend. I always wonder that if a cigar is given several more months of rest that it might turn out differently. In most cases, two months is sufficient in ascertaining whether or not a cigar has promise or potential. More humidor time rarely makes any significant difference.
This cigar is hailed by Macanudo as being part of its celebration of 50 years in business. Hmmm…
Shop around and the stick can be had for less than $5.
I have a huge list available for cigars that are pretty damn fine in this price range so an inexpensive price point isn’t necessarily a death knell.
Strength is medium/full. Macanudo calls it out as full strength but I don’t believe I will get there.
Flavors begin to drop out. A cardboard element appears that ruins everything accomplished in the last third.
Complexity disappears. Transitions are non-existent. No finish except that of blandness.
Bummer, dudes. But then, as I’ve been gone for a while, I wanted to review a cigar that could take a bullet for me in case sitting for hours to write a review wasn’t compatible with my knee situation. Clearly, I can make it but will probably pay the price later today.
I thought Halfwheel was a little rough on this cigar. Now? In total agreement.
And then a 180 degree turnabout. The blah factor disappears and we go back to seeing the little bugger really trying to impress. Inconsistency does not go down well.
I had a Macanudo Inspirado White that I planned on reviewing. But as I’m not a fan of really mild strength cigars, I nixed it. I smoked it and boy am I glad I didn’t review it. It would have been the St. Valentine’s Day massacre.
If you go to my “The Katman’s List of 174 Great Cigars in the $5.00-$8.00 Range” you will find a host of inexpensive cigars that will allow you to make a more informed decision. The Macanudo Inspirado Red will not be on that list.
With an inch to go, I tire of the cigar and lay it to rest.
Final smoke time is one hour 15 minutes.
Before I begin, I took down my post regarding bad timing on health issues for my wife and I. I have to get a third opinion. No one’s diagnosis matches the prior one. First, I was told, via X rays at the ER, that I had hairline cracks in each knee. Later, an MRI was ordered by my family doctor. He called me to explain the results saying I had several problems with cartilage, tendons, ligaments, etc. He set me up with an orthopod.
The orthopod took two more X rays and ignored the MRI report and said I had none of the issues it supposedly reported. He showed me the X rays he just took that exhibited my left knee was bone to bone…no cartilage. And I should have a total knee replacement asap. Huh?
None of this made sense. When I accessed my health care web site and saw the test results, both MRI reports said my knees are totally normal. WTF?
Meanwhile, I can barely walk. I’m swollen like a watermelon. And I must wait til May 23 to see a sports medicine orthopod to hopefully get the final and correct diagnosis. And oh yes, the orthopod told me I had no crack in either patella as the ER proclaimed.
I don’t trust the medical profession one bit and haven’t since I was a teen as I watched family die unnecessarily due to incompetence.
And now for something completely different:
Normally, Curved Air headlined in all the arenas in England and Europe. But once in a while, we got to be the support act for an iconic band of that era: the 1960’s-1970’s and their influential arena rock bands…especially those emanating from the U.K.
For one of those tours, we supported Emerson, Lake and Palmer for 4 gigs in a row.
The first time we did sound check on that bill, I got a wild hair. Keith Emerson had a full sized grand piano that was mechanically designed so it would do a forward 360° roll…with Keith on it. Head over heels.
I asked Keith if I could ride the piano. He laughed and said no one had ever asked to do that in any of the support groups they played with (I found that hard to believe even at age 24), so I felt honored as I climbed aboard. I guess no one asked because they didn’t want to vomit on his piano. Or were just intimidated…I was.
To my horror, the only way you hang on is with your feet locked underneath a special bar on the bench. No seat belt holds you in place.
The piano began to roll. Slowly at first, and then faster and faster. I grabbed the keyboard like a cat. I was completely disoriented.
Now I’m spinning like crazy and scared for my life and assumed I would be jettisoned like a rocket…meanwhile I’m wondering how Keith could play while doing it. ????
After a few minutes, the piano slowed its roll and I was able to get off and then fell flat on my face on the stage.
I asked Keith how in the hell he did that while playing. He laughed. He saw that my face must have been green and took me to the bathroom in the arena, where he helped me to a stall where I threw up.
Each day we played with them, Keith asked me, like clockwork, if I wanted to ride the piano again. All the while laughing while asking. I politely declined.
I had some Cubans that Larry Coryell, the incredible father of jazz fusion guitar, had given me. And on the last night of playing with them, I asked Keith if he would like to join me for a smoke? His eyes lit up and we retired to his posh hotel room where he allowed no one else in, but me. I was honored and afterwards my band treated me like a traitor. He ordered some lavish room service and we spent the night eating, drinking and smoking cigars. It doesn’t get much better than that.
I believe the reason I got on with iconic artists was my early lesson on how to behave. If you act like a fan and end up interviewing the subject while in his/her presence, their eyes roll and they seek an exit strategy. If you simply act normal and behave like a peer; not a fan, then everything normally goes hunky dory.
And now for something completely different PART 2:
Not long ago, Tippi Hedren was on “60 Minutes.” She told, for the first time, her story about sexual abuse she received from Alfred Hitchcock. I have known this since the late 80’s when I worked for her husband.
I was working for a small construction company (Bartec) with maybe 20 people in the office and another 80 in the field. We fabricated and installed structural steel. I was senior project manager. And I had another PM working for me…like I said; small company.
The owner was one of those entrepreneurial guys that not only owned this company, but another dozen possessions included a strip club and some very fancy restaurants.
He was Errol Flynn dashing. I wanted to have sex with him…and I’m straight.
He was married to Tippi Hedren (“The Birds”) who considered hubby an ATM machine. She had an animal preserve somewhere in Orange County whose main mission was to save lions. Tippi’s license plate said, “ROAR.”
Now of course you know that Melanie Griffith is her daughter. And back in ’86, Melanie was a real looker. She hadn’t married Don Johnson yet, but was married to the actor Steven Bauer…of Al Pacino “Scarface” fame.
I remember them visiting the shop many times so they could pick up step dad and go to the “country club” for lunch.
Being one of two project managers, we were upstairs by ourselves next to the company kitchen…glamorous.
I remember his name: Luis Barrenechea. We called him Lou.
Anyway, Lou would come upstairs around 2 PM after his lunch with the Tippi, Melanie, and Steven. And he would sit there with a bottle of vodka he kept in the kitchen freezer and get shit faced all afternoon bemoaning his status in life and all the ways that Tippi was draining him of dough. Since there were only two of us up there, he vented like a mother futter. And we couldn’t concentrate for shit. Once, the other PM couldn’t take it any longer. Lou would get so animated that the more he drank the more difficult it became having a phone conversation with a customer or any other business call.
So the PM asked Lou to keep it down so we could do our jobs. Well, that was the wrong thing to do. Lou exploded. He fired the guy on the spot.
The PM went downstairs and told the GM what happened. The GM told him to go home for the day and come back tomorrow. And not to worry. He still had his job.
This did not work out well for me. I got dragged into the kitchen and Lou poured me a drinking glass full of vodka. It was mid-afternoon. And I don’t drink. He went on spewing dirt on Tippi to the point I became very uncomfortable. He even told me she wasn’t that good of a lay. And that’s why he had a couple cupcakes on the side. Oh lord.
One day, we engineers got an assignment. Alfred Hitchcock had made sexual moves on Tippi often, but without success, or so we heard from Tippi.
At the end of the movie, Hitch gave Tippi one of the first portable transistor radios. It was the size of a car battery. This was due to the 10lb battery running the show. And it had long ago stopped working. We had never seen a battery that looked like this one…like a black brick.
So, the other PM, the purchasing agent, and I were given the task of figuring out how to replace the long dead battery and make this piece of junk work. We were told it was our number one priority while our projects went to shit.
We spent two solid days on the phone, all 3 of us; and we got nowhere. When we saw Tippi in Lou’s office at the end of those 2 days, we talked to her about our fruitless efforts and all we got was a perfunctory, “Boys. You can do better than that. I am counting on you. This was a gift from my dear friend Alfred Hitchcock and I want the GODDAMM radio to work. You got me, boys?”
Now we knew why Lou drank himself stupid in the afternoons. What a bitch on wheels.
I remember when Melanie visited. She and Steven would be hanging waiting for mom and Lou to get going so they could get the hell outta’ there.
I got the balls one day and introduced myself. Both were very gracious, unlike their mom.
I, of course, bragged about my Curved Air days to them…and they were impressed. The Police was still together and I told my tales of hanging with them at gigs. Which was true.
After that, Steven would come up to engineering and talk to me about rock n roll. This guy really knew his stuff; a true musicologist and we had a great time. Work stopped and the other PM was thrilled to be a part of it. Melanie would always come upstairs and drag him out of engineering but then she got caught up in the stories too. We did a lot of laughing that disturbed the worker bees downstairs.
We would hear Tippi clunking her way upstairs to see what the holdup was. She had no interest in rock n roll and since engineering let her down over that stupid radio, she wanted no part of us.
I only worked there for about a year and then moved on to work for my father’s newly opened construction company.
I fondly remember the times when Melanie Griffith would always give me a kiss and a hug when she left….and Bauer thought I was cool too.
Now, I’m just plain washed up and not very cool. Time marches on. Shit changes.
One last anecdote just popped into my head…
About 6 months after I left Bartec, I was driving down Harbor Blvd. in Fullerton. I stop at a red light and the big Mercedes in front of me had a personalized license plate that said “ROAR.”
“Oh shit! It’s Tippi!”
I jumped out of my car and ran up to Tippi’s window. The look of horror in her eyes was way worse than it ever was in “The Birds.”
I asked her to roll down the window but she wouldn’t and she also didn’t want to run the light.
I tell her I’m Phil Kohn and worked at Bartec. “Don’t you remember me? I tried to fix Hitchcock’s radio for you.”
She looked really scared and I realized she felt threatened so I ran back to my car.
She took off like Mario Andretti.
Speaking of which…when I was 16 and had only been driving for a couple months when I hit a 2 year old girl.
I had just left the house of a friend and was still in his neighborhood. The little girl ran out between two cars and BANG!
I could feel her body hit the front of my 1960 Pontiac Bonneville. For a few seconds, I couldn’t move. Then I jumped out of the car.
I screamed for help and people showed up in droves. The mother grabbed her child and lifted her and placed her on the lawn of their house. The kid was unconscious and I was screaming at her not to move her.
The ambulance shows up. The cops show up. A massive crowd showed up. I was 16 and had my first panic attack.
The cops made me sit there for an hour, on the curb, while they did their forensics and determined that I was only going 20mph.
They let me go without a ticket and I drove straight home.
My dad was out front doing his gardening. As I passed him on the way to the front door, I said, “I just ran over a little girl.”
Nothing. My dad didn’t even look up.
I spent the next two hours lying on my bed staring at the ceiling.
The next day, I went to the hospital with my best friend. The little girl was in traction and bandaged like the Mummy. I had bought her a teddy bear. No one from the family was there so the nurse asked if I’d like to let them know who brought the gift?
Before I could answer, my buddy said, “Tell them Mario Andretti was here.”
I almost shit myself.
The little girl recovered. This was over 50 years ago and I can still replay those moments a nano second at a time in my head.
A year later, I left that same friend’s house and saw that girl; now 3 a year old playing in the middle of the street by herself.
I shook my head and thought this girl doesn’t stand a chance with parents like hers.
Mario Andretti…fuck me.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS