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FrontRunners: Gold Smoke

Richard Carleton Hacker

Much like the finest wines, the Macanudo Gold Label (www.cigarworld.com) can be made only after an exceptional harvest. The limited-production cigar owes its sweet delicate taste and lightly veined wrapper to one of the best Connecticut shade crops in a decade.

Traditionally, Macanudo’s Connecticut shade wrappers are taken from the fourth, fifth, and sixth primings (cuttings), which have had more exposure to the sun and bear slightly thicker leaves. When those leaves are cured, they become a distinctive golden brown.

Tobacco wrapper for Macanudo Gold Label, however, was harvested from the first and second primings of the stellar 2000 crop.

Normally these early primings yield a harsh, bitter taste, but the warm summer, adequate but not excessive rainfall, and optimal blend of nutrients in the soil produced a sweetness reminiscent of sorbet.

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