General Cigar, one of the largest manufacturers of premium cigars, is introducing a new brand later this month called Cohiba Macassar, and it's a tribute to the rare Indonesian ebony that bears the same name, a wood prized for its variegated brown and black stripes.
Drawing inspiration from the rare wood, which is known to be difficult to procure, General says that all the tobacco types in the Cohiba Macassar blend are proprietary to the company and have undergone an extensive aging process. The blend is also partially inspired by another luxury-themed Cohiba product, the Cohiba Comador. Though the limited-edition cigar is no longer made, General applied the same aging process to Macassar's tobacco as it did to Comador—an extended aging period with a final year spent in rum barrels.
Macassar wears what General calls a Connecticut Havano wrapper with a Connecticut broadleaf binder and a combination of Dominican and Nicaraguan fillers. Each tobacco component in the blend has been aged for at least four years, with the notable exception of the broadleaf binder, which was aged for six years. General claims that all the tobaccos in the blend spent a final year of aging in Dominican rum barrels to enhance the flavor characteristics of the tobacco leaves.
The wrapper of Cohiba Macassar is also grown in a specific area of Connecticut, which General says imparts unique characteristics into the tobacco leaf. The wrapper leaves from this region then undergo additional scrutiny before being selected for the aging process.
"This batch of wrapper was grown in an area that's northeast of the Connecticut River Valley—this is a different area from where previous crops of Connecticut Havano were grown for us," said Victoria McKee Jaworski, director of public relations for General. "In this particular area, the soil is reddish and rocky and very suitable for tobacco. The microclimate helps to achieve a richer, more flavorful tobacco, but the yield is lower, as the plant produces fewer leaves."
Cohiba Macassar will launch in three sizes: Toro Grande, at 6 inches by 52 ring ($21.99); Gigante, at 6 by 60 ($23.99); and Double Corona, at 7 1/4 by 54 ($24.99). Each vitola ships in a sleek, 10-count box with a heavy lid that's crafted with layers of real Macassar Ebony.
General says the new cigar is not a limited-edition release, but rather a regular-production addition to the Cohiba brand portfolio. Cohiba Macassar will premier at this month's IPCPR trade show and heads to retailers on August 23.
This article first appeared in the July 5, 2016 issue of Cigar Insider.