Noob Reviews #2: Macanudo Cafe Hyde Park
Noob Reviews: A new smoker’s guide to the best beginner smokes.
The Macanudo Cafe is well known as a top selling, mild-bodied, and new-smoker-friendly cigar. Developed in Jamaica under the guidance of Ramon Cifuentes of Partagas, it sports a Connecticut shade wrapper, Dominican filler, and a binder grown in the Tuxtla Valley of San Andres. Today’s vitola is the Hyde Park (5 1/2×49), the most common size smoked in this line.
The cigar was filled solid, with just a slight give when squeezed. Its wrapper has very fine, almost imperceptible tooth and some taught wrinkles around the seams. The band is muted and a bit austere, but unmistakable. If you have a magnifying glass handy, you can also find a little note from the makers.
Smelling the wrapper and filler, I picked up some fresh honey with a pinch of vanilla. It reminds me of standing in line at a bakery, taking in the collective sugary sweet aroma. The pre-light draw had a bit more resistance than I expected, but not too much. It brought me a tobacco and raisin flavor, with some plum hovering around in the background.
After ignition, the first thing I noticed was a fairly dense wood flavor and some tame black pepper. The cigar easily put out giant balloons of smoke. The burn went a little off track, but must have read my mind and promptly corrected itself. Eventually the body on the wood flavor started to thin out a bit, and revealed itself to be a pretty standard cedar flavor. I found myself staring at the ash over and over. It was a vibrant, off-white and the texture reminded me of coral stone. Passing notes included some mild leather and a strong, hearty, momentarily-blinding chocolate milk.
As I come into the second 3rd of the cigar, a very subtle cinnamon flavor slowly makes itself apparent. The ash still looks great and seems to have no intention of letting go. I start to get quick flavor bursts on the finish. These notes kept on changing and would vanish faster than they appeared. Sometimes it would be a heavy chocolate, like the kind of rich dessert you get at a restaurant and only take two bites of. The other flavor I couldn’t really figure out. The best I can do is umami. It was otherworldly and savory.
The main flavor doesn’t change too much through the rest of the cigar: cedar upfront with some unsweetened cocoa creeping in. The finger-snap-fast finish continues to change and both intrigue and tantalize my palate. Very late in the game, some creaminess starts to fill things in and give the cedar a place to relax into.
This is definitely the mildest cigar I have smoked since my first stick. I would say that the Macanudo Cafe is a great starting place for new smokers. Its mellowness won’t scare anyone away while also setting the stage with some basic, pleasant flavors to lock onto. A word of advice: although the draw is on the firmer side, taking big pulls on this stick will make it burn too hot. You don’t need to work hard to get generous amounts of smoke.