Today, the name “Macanudo” is one recognized by anyone who calls themselves a cigar connoisseur. Having celebrated their 50th birthday just 4 years ago, the brand has, over the decades, come to represent prestige and fine craftsmanship in an industry that has evolved quite a bit since they first launched. Simply put, Macanudo is one of the most successful brands of all time, but their beginners were surprisingly humble, and illustrate a story of strength and dedication that have brought them to where they are today.
Macanudo was launched in 1968, and when we compare them to other great names with whom they share the stage, the brand is actually relatively new. It all began with Edgar Cullman, an entrepreneur who was inspired to enter the tobacco industry having been brought up by his father, Edgar Sr., a tobacco farmer. Edgar Sr. pioneered Connecticut’s tobacco industry, and cultivated, at one point, 18,000 acres of wrapper tobacco during the early part of the 20th century.
Edgar Jr. unsurprisingly relied on his father’s wrapper tobacco farm when he first began Macanudo, and already had a good deal of experience in the industry both through his father’s business and time spent rolling cigars in New York during the 1940s.
In 1961, Cullman purchased the General Cigar Company for an astounding $25 million, which, at the time, was the largest manufacturer for cigars in the world. 7 years later, he purchased the Temple Hall Factory in Jamaica, and discovered that they owned a small company called Macanudo.
Now the owner of this small company, Cullman put all of his resources into transforming the brand into the provider of the finest cigars the world had ever seen. To give his brand a distinctive quality, he decided to use aged wrappers, which was completely unheard of up until that point. Knowing far more about wrappers than his contemporaries due to his upbringing, he knew that an aged wrapper would instantly set Macanudo cigars apart and appeal to the most discerning cigar enthusiasts.
Cullman employed a unique three-year aging process, while creating a one-of-a-kind blend of Dominican, Jamaican and Mexican tobaccos. Almost instantly, his cigars became a hit with American smokers who loved the smooth and mellow flavor associated with the Macanudo brand. Macanudo Café became the first success story of many.
In the 1970s, Cullman used the power of advertising to further his brand’s popularity, creating highly successful ad campaigns that told a story of a very distinguished cigar for those with refined tastes for luxury. At the same time, he strategically added people to his team who had the same appreciation for detail and experimentation that he did. He joined forces with Daniel Nunez, a tobacco grower based in the Dominican Republic who was eager to bring Connecticut Shade wrappers to his farm. Nunez proved to be a valuable asset to the brand, and eventually took over the company.
Most recently, Macanudo’s Inspirado line has taken the cigar world by storm, proving that their name is timeless. Meanwhile, the Macanudo now represents a legacy of innovation and refinement that keeps other brands on their toes to this day.