About Macanudo Cigars

What is the history of the Macanudo Cigar brand?

Mention the Macanudo cigar brand to most aficionados, and they will likely tell you it is one of the first cigar’s they smoked or that it was a brand their father or uncle smoked. Ask them where the brand originated, and they will most likely say Cuba. Where else? Right?

Well, this iconic brand with the odd name wasn’t born in Cuba. Although it did get its start in a Caribbean island nation. Up until the late sixties, Macanudo was a virtually unknown cigar that was made at the Temple Hall factory in Jamaica. In 1969, the factory was purchased by General Cigar Co. They assigned master cigar crafter Ramon Cifuentes to run the factory. At one point in his legendary career, Cifuentes was part owner of the Cuban Partagas cigar factory. He left Cuba shortly after the revolution and settled in the United States where he worked for General Cigars.

Back then, the Macanudo cigar was not only handmade in Jamaica, but it was also made in part with Jamaican tobacco. The cigar was primarily sold in the British market. General and Cifuentes were able to build and expand the brand while still in Jamaica before moving it to the Dominican Republic. Eventually, the brand was re-engineered as a mild-bodied cigar with a smooth Connecticut shade wrapper. Soon after, the brand grew in popularity and it is recognized for its consistent construction, pleasing aroma and rich flavor. It has become a staple in most cigar aficionados’ humidors.

While the brand has a history that spans more than half a century, Macanudo it is by no means an old-fashioned cigar. On the contrary, the brand has always strived to appeal to contemporary smokers. In 2016, the globally recognized Macanudo logo received a major makeover in order to appeal to a newer generation of cigar enthusiasts. And while the M by Macanudo, Macanudo Café, and the Macanudo Heritage are sought after by most if not all cigar lovers, the Macanudo Inspirado has become a popular line among nascent aficionados.

Laurel Tilley is the National Brand Ambassador for Macanudo. Neptune Cigars was fortunate enough to get her away from her busy schedule so she could tell us more about Macanudo and especially the Inspirado.

Neptune: Tell us a little bit about yourself?
Laurel: I’ve been the brand ambassador for Macanudo since 2016. Prior to becoming a brand ambassador, I was an event planner for General Cigars.

Neptune: What do you do as a brand ambassador?
Laurel: I do a little bit of everything. I represent the brand at stores, events, and conventions. I do some marketing, public relations, and staff training. I’ve even been involved in developing blends.

Neptune: Aside from Macanudo, do you smoke other brands?
Laurel: I enjoy Bolivar from General and CAO Cameroon among others.

Neptune: Macanudo is a very interesting word. Can you tell us what it means?
Laurel: Yes. Macanudo is Spanish for magnificent.

Neptune: What can you tell us about the Macanudo Inspirado?
Laurel: The Macanudo Inspirado was first released in Europe in 2014. It made its way to the United States in 2016. The Inspirado’s goal is to rejuvenate the Macanudo brand but keep its core values in terms of consistency and an appealing price point while offering something new and innovative.

Neptune: How do you keep the price low especially when using hard to get tobacco?
Laurel: We leverage our relationships with existing resources. Plus, the size of the company [General Cigars] allows us to grow and buy tobacco in bulk.

Neptune: How does the newer generation of cigar enthusiasts differ from the previous one?
Laurel: They discover cigars through social media and blogs. Also, they are more boutique cigar driven. They are price and quality conscious as well.

Neptune: We notice that the Macanudo Inspirado cigars are named after particular colors. Is there a connection between the color and the cigar?
Laurel: Yes! The Inspirado Orange was the first cigar released under the Inspirado brand. It was originally released in Europe, which is mainly a Cuban cigar market. To make it stand out from the Cubans, we gave it an orange band. The White was to match its Ecuadorian Connecticut shade wrapper. The Black was for its Connecticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper. The Inspirado Red because of its Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, and the fact that it is a spicy and peppery cigar.

Neptune: And what about the Macanudo Inspirado Green?
Laurel: The Green has a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper, and it is the first time Brazilian tobacco has been used in the Inspirado line. Green was chosen because the color green is prominently used in the Brazilian flag and the country is known for its lush green landscape.

Neptune: As Macanudo’s Brand Ambassador are you active in social media? If yes, which ones?
Laurel: I am very active in social media. You can find me on Instagram as @macanudo_laurel and on YouTube as Laurel Tilley.

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