Rumors spread on the floor of the IPCPR trade show much like they do the other 51 weeks of the year on twitter and the blogs. Only, when you’re there, word of mouth is really word of mouth. And with more press passes issued this year than in prior ones, there were a lot more mouths making words. And it was from one of these wordy mouths that I first remember hearing about the new Macanudo Cru Royale. The exchange went a little something like this:
Fellow BOTL/Cigar Reviewer: Hey Brian, have you tried that new Macanudo yet?
Me: What, you mean the one that comes with the pinky ring?
BOTL: No, the other one. The Grand Cru or something.
Me: You mean a new Graycliff?
BOTL: No, it’s a Macanudo. It’s surprisingly good, and I hear it’s gonna be pretty cheap too.
Me: And it doesn’t come with a pinky ring?
BOTL: Nope. It really doesn’t.
After that fictionally-enhanced exchange (based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire), I did track down a sample of the Cru Royale and was pleasantly suprised. I forgot all about the silly jewelry for worthless digits and resolved to buy a few more once they hit the shelves at a local cigar shop. Macanudos aren’t well represented in our portfolio of cigar reviews, and it would be interesting to see if what hit the shops was comparable to the samples at the show.
The Cru Royale is out now, and you can find it in four sizes, packaged in boxes of 20: Lonsdale (6 1/2 x 42), Gigante (6 x 60), Toro (6 x 54) and Robusto (5 x 54). Let’s light up and see if this Macanudo is a winner.
Size: 5 x 50
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Habano
Binder: Proprietary Dominican “La Vega Especiale”
Filler: Brazilian Mata Fina, Dominican Republic and Nicaragua Viso
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: MSRP $5.80
If you walk into a humidor and scan the shelves for cigars with the familiar green and white bands, you’re not going to find the Cru Royale. In fact, there isn’t much about this cigar visually that would make you think it’s a Macanudo (apart from the name on the band, of course). The uncommonly-colored blue and silver band as well the slightly rustic deep reddish-brown wrapper might throw you off the scent.
It’s a pretty good looking smoke, with a few medium-sized veins running the length of each stick. But seems to be about 50-50 when it comes to blemishes and minor construction defects. Two of the three I burned for this review had large holes in the wrapper (one had four!). They were large enough to notice even if you weren’t looking for them. Additionally, one stick was rather lumpy and had a significant soft spot.
One thing that really stood out in my pre-light inspection was the beautiful cedar scent of the wrapper. It reminds me of the aroma of the wood inside a Diamond Crown humidor. I love that. The cold draw was good, and had a pleasant creamy, sweet taste.
It might only cost you six bucks, but the Cru Royale burns like a million. Nearly razor straight burn lines, beautiful solid and sturdy white ash, perfect draw and no nonsense.
The first third of the Cru Royale had a good deal of light butterscotch sweetness, and a powdery-feeling aromatic cedar which were followed up by earthy chocolate, coffee and nuts.
During the middle third, the cigar grew more cedary and nutty, and I began to notice a mouth drying effect to the smoke. As it progressed, the profile got a little earthier as the cedar plateaued and began to fade, and I again started picking up coffee and walnut notes.
Some cedar was still present in the final third, but the profile was dominated by a slightly spicy and dry earth, walnuts and hints of coffee in the finish.
The more the merrier at this price. This was a good call on General’s part, it’s inexpensive enough that people will be willing to give it a shot, even if they have their doubts about Macanudos.
All kidding aside, I really enjoyed the Cru Royale, and it seems to be much like the trade show samples. It almost goes without saying that it’s now my favorite Macanudo. Unlike the 1968 (which I also reviewed favorably some years ago), it’s one I like enough to actually buy again with some frequency. And I definitely recommend trying it. I’d tell you to set aside any biases you may have before lighting, but I didn’t and it still won me over. Excellent work, General.
Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.