General Cigar’s Macanudo brand is truly an iconic staple for the company. One can hardly venture into any retail humidor and not see at least one iteration of the Macanudo line available for purchase. In recent years, Macanudo has made the attempt to modernize its presence through the Inspirado line. This contemporary series was first introduced back in 2014 as a European release, later appearing in the United States in 2016. Just seven years from the introduction of the line, General Cigar now brings us the series’ seventh release: Inspirado Brazilian Shade.
Not content with bringing an ordinary Connecticut Shade-wrapped cigar to the game, General decided to go outside the box with the blend, starting with the wrapper, which is a Brazilian-grown Connecticut Shade leaf. They chose another uncommon component for the filler—Dominican Cubita—which is proprietary tobacco grown on a small one-acre plot in the region of Mao, Dominican Republic. Senior Brand Manager Steve Abbot says, “Macanudo Inspirado Brazilian Shade required a significant investment in agronomy, spanning Central and South America. This blend speaks to the lengths that we as a brand will go to in order to bring excitement to premium cigar smokers, and we’re confident that cigar lovers will be drawn to the singular experience this blend delivers.”
With other cigars from the Inspirado line fairing well with Cigar Dojo’s ratings, Steve Abbot’s comments paint a great picture about what we can expect from this latest release.
Macanudo Inspirado Brazilian Shade Toro Breakdown
- Wrapper: Brazilian Connecticut
- Binder: Mexican San Andrés
- Filler: Dominican Republic (Cubita | Piloto Cubano) | Brazil | Nicaragua
- Factory: General Cigar Dominicana (Dominican Republic)
- Production: Limited Edition
- Vitola: 6½” x 52 (Toro)
- Price: $10.49 (MSRP)
- Toro: 6½” x 52 | $10.49 ($104.90 per 10-ct box)
- Churchill: 7″ x 48 | $10.99 ($109.90 per 10-ct box)
The packaging on this cigar is eye-catching. The entire box is wrapped in striking graphics featuring the color palette of the Brazilian flag. The Macanudo name stands out in a white border near the top of the box, but the logo and Inspirado Brazilian Shade name blends in with the graphics, making it legible but subtle. The bands on the cigars feature the box colors with a metallic gold border. The cigars themselves have a slightly oily, light brown wrapper, with mostly invisible seams and a very cleanly applied cap. While the wrapper leaf itself is relatively smooth, with little to no tooth, the surface of the cigar is covered with bumps and small veins running throughout. The cigar is firm when squeezed, showing no apparent soft spots from foot to cap.
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The pre-light aroma from the foot of this cigar has hints of graham cracker and an almost floral-like finish. The wrapper itself has hints of barnyard and natural tobacco, with an artificial sweetener note on the finish. The pre-light draw, which is just a tad snug, features hints of dark chocolate and cedar, with some damp earth and a floral note on the finish; along with the artificial sweetener note, it almost seems like the cigar has a sweet tip.
The smoking experience begins with the sweetness and floral notes that were present in the pre-light. Just a few puffs in, roasted nuts and Nilla Wafers notes join the party, all brought together with a very smooth creaminess on the finish. The retrohale has hints of cabinet spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and white pepper, while the finish has a floral note to it. While there is quite a bit going on to excite the palate at the start, the body is medium at most, while the strength of the cigar is quite tame. This is definitely a cigar that could be easily overrun by a variety of beverages and foods. I am happy to be enjoying it early in the day, before my palate is compromised. The cigar is producing a fair amount of smoke, while the burn line is wavy, but not overly so. The draw, which I mentioned was slightly snug on the pre-light, opened up nicely once lit, offering just the right amount of resistance for my liking.
Continuing on, the overall creamy sweetness is still present, while hints of cedar, citrus, and earth move to the forefront. The floral notes, nuttiness, and baker’s spices from the earlier part of the cigar are still present, taking on a muted presence in the background. The retrohale picks up a little bit of power at about the mid-point of the cigar, with damp cedar taking over as the dominant note, countering the creamy sweetness with a little bitterness that makes for quite a pleasant experience on the palate. The draw has remained consistent since lighting, but the burn has gone pretty wonky at this point, requiring a touchup to keep from canoeing, while smoke output is still plentiful.
Getting into the final part of the cigar, sadly, there is not much change to the profile. The creamy sweetness fades, as the cedar and earth notes take almost completely over and become dominant. There is a faint hint of the floral notes from early on fighting to stay in the profile, but not much else. The strength and body both remain medium at best. A few more touchups were required in the final part of the cigar to keep it burning, so the fade in creamy sweetness could be attributed to heating up the cigar more than desired to keep it burning.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
I am a fan of Connecticut Shade cigars and this one is no exception. While I do prefer the amped-up profile of some of the latest Connecticut Shade cigars on the market, the flavor profile offered with this cigar would easily put it into my “first cigar of the day” rotation.
- This cigar was ranked as Cigar Dojo’s No. 5 Limited Edition Cigar of the Year for 2021.
- Flavor: Medium
- Strength: Mild
- Body: Mild / Medium
- Bakers spices
- Smoke Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes
- Pairing Recommendation: Irish whiskey | Single malt Scotch | Medium-roast coffee with cream | Shirley Temple
- Purchase Recommendation: If you can find them, grab a box. They are very mild mannered and flavorful, as long as you are mindful what you are drinking while smoking.
- Some unique tobacco used in this blend
- Very mild mannered and can be enjoyed by a wide range of palates
- Reasonable price point for a limited-edition cigar
- Inconsistent burn across the samples that I smoked
- Can be easily overrun by beverages, so correct pairings are critical to enjoyment
- Brightness and sweetness fade in final third