I, like many, many smokers, recall having a Macanudo as my first real cigar. I remember it fondly: June of 1992 (when they were still made in Jamaica), heading to West Virginia with my father—he stopped at a gas station in Indiana and purchased a few that he shared with me along the journey. By the end of the trip, I was hooked. Throughout those early years, it seemed that Macanudos were the cigar of choice for just about everyone. Now, I’m not sure if that’s just how I remembered it, or if that’s how it actually was, but that certainly isn’t the case today (at least throughout the craft scene). Despite remaining one of the top selling cigar brands in the country, if you ask the average modern smoker his thoughts of Macanudo, don’t be surprised if consensus is less than enthusiastic. Instead, the cigars are a common recommendation for someone’s first cigar, “because they’re mild.”
In recent years, there have been new variations of the brand that may not have gained the desired traction in craft circles (Crü Royale, Mao, Vintage, etc.). But with Macanudo Inspirado White (and perhaps the entire Inspirado series, originally introduced in 2016), they just may have hit upon something that will refresh the brand’s image.
Inspirado White Robusto Breakdown
- Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade (6-year-aged)
- Binder: Indonesian
- Filler: Condega, Nicaragua (4-year-aged) | Jalapa, Nicaragua (2-year-aged) | Mexican San Andrés (4-year-aged)
- Factory: General Cigar Dominicana (Dominican Republic)
- Production: Regular Production
- Vitola: 5″ × 50 Robusto
- Price: $6.49 (MSRP)
Talk about unique, Inspirado White features a proprietary Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade leaf that is aged for 6 years. Billed as “a study in contrast,” the wrapper is paired with an Indonesian binder, fillers boasting Mexican San Andrés and Nicaraguan Condega leaves aged for four years, and two-year-aged Jalapa Valley tobacco—the result may be something unlike any Macanudo in production.
The label of this cigar says to me, “This ain’t your daddy’s Macanudo, but it’s still made by the same company.” It’s updated, but it ain’t hip. The lustrous Ecuadorian wrapper is a consistently beautiful butterscotch hue, with a nice sheen of oil that, under close inspection, has just a hint of sparkle and a subtly fuzzy texture. The seams are flat, and there are some largish veins present on the wrapper, as well as pressing through from the binder. All samples smoked were consistently attractive and without any visible construction issues, although one sample did have a draw that was very open (it smoked better than expected). However, there were no soft spots or under-filled areas that I could detect.
The body of this cigar smells of some sweet simple syrup with a fruity element, reminding me of the fruit cocktail in a can I used to love as a child. There’s also a scent that reminds me of an animal’s musk (ferrets and fruit cocktail, I’m definitely 8 years old again). The foot smells distinctly of fresh wheat bread crust. Intriguingly, the cold draw flavors are sweet, savory, and slightly fishy—coming together to taste just like sweet bonito and toasted nori rice crackers.
Out of the gate, the tongue experience is all sweetness with bread grains getting the win, coffee with too much sweet cream, and a surprising sweet bell pepper vegetal note showing. There’s something unexpected from (A) a Connecticut Shade-wrapped cigar and (B) a Macanudo: pepper! This materializes as an elusive white/green/pink peppercorn that is potent enough to be near the border of harshness. I don’t find the pepper itself to be overly intense, but given the otherwise sweet and creamy flavors of the cigar, it certainly stands out initially. There just doesn’t seem to be quite enough body to support this level of pepper. The spice begins to take over after an inch, taking on the sweet characteristics as it’s own, rather than being separate elements in the profile. The coffee and cream becomes buttery, hitting the palate with immense smoke output. The burn line is a gentle rolling wave of golden beauty. I knock an inch and a half of solid ash into the ash tray as I go into the second third.
There is little progress moving further into the cigar, save for a slightly woody flavor that tempers the sweetness with a little acidic dryness on the tongue. Buttery and sweet, spice has rescinded a bit, thankfully backing away from the border checkpoint leading into the “land of harshness.” This is edging into medium body. This second third seems to burn very rapidly.
Approaching the band, the sweetness has dumped the pepper to go hang with creaminess, leaving a butterscotch pudding as the primary flavor. There’s a bit of hay in the mix now, sort of bringing to mind the Macanudo of old, if it went “XTREME.” We’ve got some really good balance here—spice is coming back again, but properly. It’s a baseline that rounds out the profile and adds some structure, rather than just shouting, “hey, look at me! I’m spicy!” Burn line, smoke output, ash, draw resistance, everything related to construction are spot on. Not a hint of harshness or bitterness as we get into the final inch, where I’m greeted with flavors that remind me of the reason I recently started to enjoy some of the Connecticut blends in the market today—the forbidden fruit—Habanos. Minerality, sparkling freshness, lightly fruity bubblegum sweetness, creamy vegetal earthiness, and an oiliness that coats the tongue at the nub really impress.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
Absolutely! I came away very impressed by this cigar. While the first third was a little too abrasive, the second third was where it started to come together to really be outstanding for the final half hour. This is a perfect cigar for your morning coffee if you traditionally like stronger, spicier cigars and you’re bored of old-school Connecticuts.
- Flavor: Medium
- Strength: Medium-Minus
- Body: Medium
- Sweet Cream
- Dry / Bitter
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Morning coffee, White Russian, Cream soda
- Purchase Recommendation: 10-Pack
- Wonderful value
- Effortless burn
- Out of the comfort zone for the modern "boutique" enthusiast
- Despite it’s stellar ending, the early going was only good, not great