The Big Brands Get Bigger Joe There’s a few types of people you run into when you work in a cigar shop. Guys that only like maduros, that only like big-rings, that swear by Connecticuts, that won’t touch anything unless AJ’s name is on it — the list goes on. But there’s one type of cigar enthusiast I’d like to shine the spotlight on today. The guy who hates popular brands. Maybe you’ve met this guy before: the resident hipster of the tobacconist, who’s always ready to tell you all about the super-limited-edition-ultra-rare-boutique-handmade from a company you’ve never heard of, based out of a fishing village in Peru that ages all their cigars in Alaskan soil under the watchful eye of a 110 year old Cuban grandmother. Yeah, right.This guy may find some great cigars on his quest towards purposeful obscurity, but he’s making a huge mistake. You see, the Big Brands are big brands for a reason — because they’re time tested, and customer approved. Today, I’d like to visit one of those big brands, and review their (spoiler alert) fantastic new(ish) blend: Cohiba Macassar. You can’t smoke the packaging, but in this case it’s at least worth taking a look at. Cohiba Macassar is presented in beautiful 10-count boxes, constructed from the rare Indonesian ebony timber of the same name. Macassar takes inspiration from the limited-edition nature of this wood, ensuring that each tobacco included in the final blend are of the highest-quality, and aged extra-long, with a final year of aging in rum barrels. The result is a medium to full-bodied blend that immediately impresses: it’s gorgeous at first glance, and only gets better as you light her up. The wrapper leaf is grown exclusively in one small area of Connecticut, northeast of the Connecticut River Valley. Press releases claim that the “microclimate” in this region help to produce a richer, more flavorful tobacco, in trade for a lower yield per plant. I don’t know much about agriculture, but I can assure you this cigar is incredibly flavorful. In addition to the unique Connecticut Havano wrapper, you’ll find a Connecticut Broadleaf binder and a combination of Nicaraguan and Dominican long-fillers, each aged for a total of six years. But enough of the backstory… what’s this thing taste like? Firing up Macassar, I get the traditional smoothness you might associate with this brand from releases like Cohiba Red Dot, but if you blindfolded me I’d probably never guess this was a Cohiba. And I don’t mean that in a bad way. Extraordinarily unique, Macassar impresses with gobs of woody notes, slight black pepper, and a creamy, earthy mixture at the core that provides an enjoyably long and complex finish. Though it doesn’t come cheap, Cohiba Macassar is easily my favorite release from the Cohiba brand to date. Pick up a 5-pack when you get a chance, and if you’re looking for a size recommendation, I’d go for the Double Corona. I know, it’s the most expensive, but I promise – this cigar performs incredibly well in such a large size, offering plenty of time for you to appreciate the slow burn and balanced profile.