HBTC Flashback Review: Macanudo Café Hyde Park

Best-selling products have a tendency to polarize. What does that mean? Polarizing means love it or hate it. It means all good or all bad. It means people who are considered ‘everyday consumers’ will naturally have different criteria for evaluating a product than consumers who are more ‘entrenched’ in a given product category. One example of that is the ever-growing beer market. The everyday consumer may typically drink the big brands like Budweiser or Coors, while someone who calls himself or herself a connoisseur will say those big brands are swill and instead, reach for brews from small-batch local breweries. Another example is, of course, the premium cigar market. Many ‘cigar nerds’ consider it a badge of honor to never smoke a cigar from one of the major brands. Then, the everyday cigar consumers regularly reach for brands like Acid, Montecristo, and Macanudo. Is one right and the other wrong? Not really, but cigars like Macanudo have been given a bad rap over the last dozen years, or so. What is important to do is, evaluate the Macanudo Café for what it is. It is either a cigar for beginners, or a cigar for consumers who don’t care so much about the process or history or craft.

Macanudo Café Hyde Park
MSRP: $8.20
Size: 5.5 x 49
Origin: Dominican Republic (General Cigar)
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade (Ecuador)
Binder: San Andres (Mexico)
Filler: Dominican, Mexican

In addition to the Hyde Park vitola reviewed here, the Macanudo Café is available in multiple sizes and shapes. As stated, it is the most popular cigar in the United states, so it should be available at just about any cigar shop you can find. It was originally produced in Guatemala, then after the brand was purchased by General Cigar production moved to Jamaica. Production finally shifted to Dominican Republic in 2000.

The cigar has a light tan color with a papery appearance and mild grassy aroma. The cold draw is typically snug and has flavors of dried hay and mild cedar. It is veiny and somewhat bumpy with a neatly applied cap.

Act I
The first light is mild and yet, still has some nice flavors. I get a good amount of smoke, and that smoke brings flavors of cream, citrus, cedar, and a little sweetness. The retrohale in the beginning is incredibly smooth. So much so, that I can expel an entire draw through the now with no bite whatsoever. As smooth as the retrohale is, it does lack depth. The only hint present in the retrohale that I can detect is that of a very faint leather.

Act II
The second act has a little bit of a change, mostly in overall intensity. The flavors tend to be the same, but each is amped up ever so slightly. Sweet cream and cedar are still in the foreground, with little bits of citrus on the finish. The retrohale does start to intensify a bit, with the tiniest hint of spice on the back end. All of this is wrapped up in a slightly soapy flavor note that is sour and a little bitter.

The closing act of this classic, unfortunately goes in the wrong direction. That soapy flavor comes to the front and does not let go. It is somewhat astringent and bitter in nature, and it masks any of the previously pleasant flavors. A deep char and intense sourness characterize the last few puffs, and that also makes the retrohale muddy and acidic.

I now have a theory about the reasons behind the consistent success of this cigar. The first theory is this; Since many people experience this as their first premium cigar, they may not finish it. Many new cigar smokers, even with a cigar as mild as this, don’t finish cigars until they build a tolerance. Since the first act of this cigar is so pleasing (and it was in each of the 3 samples I purchased), it is likely to stand as a pleasant memory. My second theory is this; Since this cigar could also be classified as an ‘everyday’ cigar, many smokers who sample it on a regular basis will not spend a great deal of time thinking about how it tastes. For them, it is simply a means by which to have a cigar while carrying out the tasks of the day. This cigar is a best seller, and for that I applaud the makers and say bravo. Those who desire more depth and complexity, and those with palates that have been more finely honed will consider this a cigar that can be outdone by many other cigars on the market, and in many cases at a lower price.

Macanudo Café Hyde Park – How Bout That Cigar?
Rating: How Bout Try One?
Overall Score: 74
PAD: -1.5
Flavor Summary: Cream, Cedar, Sour, Leather
Strength Assessment: Mild

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