Macanudo cigars are made by The General Cigar Company and are among the number one selling cigars in the United States. The Macanudo name is recognized by all cigar smoking enthusiast, and by many non cigar-smokers as well. The history of Macanudo cigars has taken generations to develop, just like the cigar itself. The origin of Macanudo begins in Jamaica, and there is not much information available about the original owners, and the infant days of the brand. In 1969, the Macanudo brand, including its factory, were purchased by the Cullman family. They were one of the first entrepreneurial families to come to America back in 1848. The Cullman’s dabbled in cigar making, but were never really successful until Joseph Jr. Cullman came up with a crazy idea. They didn’t realize that years later, with the help of his son Edgar, this idea would put Macanudo cigars in the forefront of one of the leading cigar brands in history.
The timeline is as follows:
• 1848 - Ferdinand Cullman brings his family to America and works the tobacco industry with his son Joseph Cullman.
• Through the next 100 years the Cullman family continues to work the industry with nominal success.
• Joseph Cullman’s son, Joseph Jr. comes up with a revolutionary idea to plant Havana seed in the fields of Connecticut, and the result was a complete transformation of the Cullman family’s cigars (not yet owners of Macanudo)
• Cullman’s light, distinctive Connecticut Shade wrappers gain popularity among cigar enthusiasts.
• After World War II, Yale graduate Edgar Cullman joins Cullman Bros., Inc. and goes to work on the family’s Hartford, Connecticut tobacco farm.
• Early 1940’s – Edgar Cullman goes to work for H. Anton Bock, a New York City cigar company and learns how to roll and cultivate tobacco.
• The late 1940’s- Edgar Cullman assumes control of the Connecticut wrapper operations and Florida tobacco interests.
• 1961 – Edgar Cullman buys The General Cigar Company at age 43.
• 1963 – The General Cigar Company buys its first premium brand, Gold Label.
• 1969 – The General Cigar Company buys The Temple Hall Factory in Jamaica, which included the brand Macanudo, not yet sold in the States.
• 1971 – Edgar Cullman launches Macanudo cigars into the United States with the slogan “The Ultimate Cigar”.
After launching Macanudo in 1971, Edgar Cullman purchased the US rights to Partagas from Cuba’s Cifeuntes family in 1974, and the two brands have anchored General’s premium cigar business ever since.
The Macanudo cigar line consists of five premium brand series. These include the Macanudo Robust, Macanudo Maduro, Macanudo Café, Macanudo Vintage, and Macanudo Gold. Each series has their own unique cigar names with various flavors. Macanudo still uses Connecticut Shade for its wrappers, and Jamaican and Dominican tobaccos for fillers. The origin of the binder is Mexico’s St. Andres Tuxtla Valley. Macanudos today are still being rolled by hand. The Cullman’s always emphasize the importance of an exquisitely rolled cigar with a well-rounded crown, for which Macanudo is recognized.
As of 2002, Swedish Match AB controls 64% of General Cigars; however, Cullman and his son Edgar M. Cullman Jr. manage the company. If you were to visit General Cigars today, you would see the elder Edgar Cullman in his office, probably smoking his favorite cigar, Macanudo Vintage No. IV. However, he does have his beloved pre-Castro Cubans tucked away in his humidor for special occasions. Edgar describes the cigar business as “romantic”, and surely every cigar connoisseur would absolutely agree.