Over the past few years, the several brands of Scandinavian Tobacco Group have been engaging in collaborations with various spirits companies, some involving utilizing barrel-aged tobacco. Such projects have come to the Diesel (Rabbit Hole Distilling), Cohiba (Weller), and even a Buffalo Trace branded line. In 2022, Macanudo became one of the STG brands which would engage in a collaboration involving barrel-aged tobacco. For this project, Macanudo would engage with Napa Valley-based winery Flint Knoll. What was different about this project compared to the other STG barrel-aged collaborations is that Macanudo would be working with a winery as opposed to a distillery – and that the barrels used for the barrel-aged tobacco would be aged in French Oak barrels that were used to age Flint Knoll’s single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. The result would be a limited edition cigar known as the Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll. Today we take a closer look at this cigar in the Churchill size.
The barrel aging process used for the Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll is consistent with what has been used across the other STG barrel-aged collaborations. This aging process involves putting the tobacco that is being used as the binder leaf into the barrels. In this case, the tobacco that is barrel aged is a proprietary Connecticut Broadleaf leaf.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll Churchill and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll features six different tobaccos from five countries. In addition to the Connecticut Broadleaf binder, the Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll features a filler blend of Brazilian Mata Fina, Dominican Olor, Dominican Piloto Cubano, and Nicaraguan Jalapa. The cigar is finished with an Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut Shade wrapper.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Fillers: Brazilian Mata FIna, Nicaraguan (Jalapa), Dominican (Olor, Piloto Cubano)
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: General Cigar Dominicana
The Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll was released in two sizes: Toro and Churchill and presented in ten-count boxes
Toro: 6 x 54
Churchill: 7 x 52
The Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper of the Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll Churchill had a classic golden light brown color to it. There wasn’t much oil on the surface of this wrapper. There was a slight amount of toothiness on the surface. In addition, there were some visible veins and noticeable wrapper seams.
There was some inconsistency in the look of the wrapper when it was smoked by our team as a part of The Smoking Syndicate Roundtable (see section below). My wrapper seemed more pristine while some of the other team members had a more rustic look. Appearance is not scored, but it is noted for assessment purposes.
Prior to lighting up the Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll Churchill, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. It should be noted this is somewhat of a delicate wrapper, so the cut should be placed very carefully. Once the cap was removed, it was time to commence the pre-light draw. The cold draw was mostly a classic Connecticut Shade profile of notes of wood and fruit along with some earth notes. Overall, this was a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to remove the footer band of the Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll Churchill, toast up the footer and proceed to the smoking phase.
The Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll Churchill opened up with notes of fruit, creamy vanilla, wood, earth, and a slight amount of char and black pepper. The fruit notes have a slight dryness and slight acid component to them that make it reminiscent of a wine sweetness. The fact that this cigar is milder in body does not make the sweetness overpowering, which works in favor of this blend. Early on the vanilla and fruit notes developed a fusion of the two notes. Along with the creaminess, the creamy vanilla/fruit fusion moved to the forefront. The earth, wood, char, and pepper notes settled into the background. The vanilla/fruit sweetness along with some pepper was present on the retro-hale.
During the second third of the Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll Churchill, the vanilla/fruit sweetness receded slightly leaving the earth notes in the forefront. Some of the creaminess receded from the vanilla/fruit fusion. During this stage, some cedar noes also emerged in the background with the earth, wood, char, and pepper. The creaminess subsided during this stage and by the end of the second third, it had dissipated.
By the final third, the earth notes still remained in the forefront. The vanilla/fruit, cedar, wood, earth, and pepper notes remained and were now joined by a slight amount of sourdough notes. There was a little less of the vanilla/fruit sweetness, and a little more wood and pepper present. This is the way the Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll Churchill came to a close. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
While the burn of the Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll Churchill needed some touch-ups, the touch-ups did the trick in terms of keeping a straight burn path and a relatively straight burn line. The resulting ash was on the firm side with a mostly light gray color. As for the burn temperature, this was ideal. On each of the samples smoked, the burn rate was quite rapid. For a 7? inch cigar, it took about an average of 76 minutes of smoking time.
The draw to the Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll Churchill had a touch of resistance to it. This is something that is a personal preference of this author. At the same time, this was a low-maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
As mentioned earlier, the Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll Churchill is a milder cigar. This is a cigar that started out with mild strength, and by the second half, this cigar got into the mild to medium strength category. The flavors started out mild to medium in body before progressing to medium-bodied in the second half.
Throughout the smoking experience of the Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll Churchill, the body maintained an edge over the strength.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
I like the presentation of the Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll. The primary band is white with a copper font. There is a secondary band around the footer with copper and white font. The banding seemed to be structured for more Flint Knoll releases down the line. The primary band serves as a common denominator for the line. The secondary band says “BARREL AGED – CABERNET SAUVIGNON – FRENCH OAK” and could be used for other wine down the road.
In the box, each of the cigars was housed in an individual slot. As you can see from the photo, some of the cigars appeared to roll slightly. There was one cigar from this box that did have a crack. Like Appearance, Banding and Packaging is not scored, so no loss of points here.
Simply put, the Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll Churchill is not only one of the best Macanudo cigars I have had in some time, but it is one of the best releases from Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) that I have also had in some time. This cigar fires on all cylinders – flavor, construction, and complexity. The flavors delivered are unique and enjoyable. I’ve seen a lot of premium Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade cigars hit the market – and this one stands up with some of the best. The drawback is that this was a limited release, so unless STG decides to make another batch of these, I’m not sure when we will see them. At around $22.00 per cigar, Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll Churchill is not an inexpensive investment, but it’s one that I would smoke again. It is also a cigar that garners box-worthy purchase consideration. Coming in at 91 points, this cigar exceeds the threshold for Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence.
Key Flavors: Vanilla, Fruit, Cedar, Wood, Cream, Earth, Sourdough, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Complexity: Medium to High
Strength: Mild (1st Half), Mild to Medium (2nd Half)
Body: Mild to Medium (1st Half), Medium (2nd Half)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Box Worthy Consideration
Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence
News: Macanudo Estate Reserve Flint Knoll Becomes STG’s Latest Barrel-Aged Collaboration
Source: General Cigar/Purchased
Brand Reference: Macanudo
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop
Originally posted on June 6, 2023 @ 12:19 pm