Macanudo is still made with the very same blend created nearly 50 years ago by Alfons Mayer, and according to the exacting standards set forth by the Cullman family, Daniel Nunez and others. The stringent process they created for Macanudo continues to be carried out today by Jhonys Diaz and his team.
Every single step of the way, tremendous effort goes into ensuring that every single Macanudo you smoke tastes exactly the same. If this seems like a very tall order, it certainly is. Think about wine and how much the taste varies from one year to the next. Nature plays a new set of tricks every year and you can never rely on one crop.
To fully explain all that goes into making a Macanudo, we have to start in the tobacco fields. When Joseph Cullman, Jr. (Edgar Cullman’s father) came up with the idea to cultivate tobacco in Connecticut, people thought he was crazy. Turns out, he was brilliant. In Connecticut’s Farmington Valley where the wrapper tobacco for Macanudo is still grown today, the microclimate and soil are vastly different from any place in the world. This area is quite simply ideal for cultivating tobacco.
Even with the perfect growing environment, our agronomists prepare the soil before the seeds are planted, and monitor the tobacco very closely as it grows. The tobacco plants are shaded under a thin muslin cloth, thus the name, Connecticut Shade. The cloth filters the sunlight, so the delicate leaves are not burned.
We select only the very best tobacco plants from which to harvest the leaves, rejecting those that do not meet our standards. This ensures that only the finest wrapper leaves are used in Macanudo.
When the leaves designated for Macanudo reach maturation, they are harvested according to primings, or the position of the leaf on the plant. Leaves closest to the soil are picked first, and leaves from higher up on the plant are harvested once they reach maturation. For Macanudo, wrapper selection always comes from the middle to higher priming, where the concentration of natural sugar contributes to the brand’s signature taste.
Curing is essential to ensuring leaf quality, and this also takes place in the Farmington Valley. We control the entire process and cure the tobacco very slowly, constantly managing the heat and humidity. This is one of the reasons why the color of Macanudo is perfectly consistent. Our method of curing also helps to deliver the famous aroma of Macanudo.
Once the leaves are harvested, they are transported to the Dominican Republic.
We’ll tell you more about what it takes to make Macanudo in the next blog post.