The Making of Macanudo Mao
Alan Willner, General Cigar’s vice president of marketing:
Macanudo is constantly evolving. If you look at the brand portfolio, you will see that we have expanded the range strategically to meet the needs of cigar smokers. With Macanudo Mao, we are giving cigar lovers a taste of vintage Dominican tobacco, something that’s completely new to Macanudo and new to handmade cigars.
In my role as head of marketing and a leader of the innovation group, I was intricately involved in the process of developing Macanudo Mao and Inspirado. As our innovation team works on projects years before they reach the cigar smoker, I followed the seed regeneration program and was involved from the outset in shaping the cigar.
This cigar is made with heirloom Dominican tobacco seeds from the 1960s. The seeds underwent intensive regeneration, and the blend was built to showcase their unique flavor. Macanudo Mao offers a taste that is different from the other Macanudo cigars, yet it still bears the smooth smoking characteristics of the Macanudo brand. It is a very exciting process for all involved, to see such a big idea come full circle. We are looking forward to sharing Macanudo Mao with retailers and cigar smokers at IPCPR.
Ernest Gocaj, General Cigar’s director of tobacco procurement:
With Mao, I was able to be a scientist when it came to seed regeneration and a tobacco man when it came to providing feedback on blend development. We started in 2012 with
17 seed types and ultimately chose the one we felt was the best, most flavorful tobacco for Mao. This cigar represents the best aspects of my job, and I am eagerly anticipating the launch.
Photos courtesy of General Cigar Company