Cameroon

Arturo Fuente Don Carlos

 
Arturo-Fuente-Don-Carlos.jpg

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Cameroon
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Price: $8.85  - $12.60
Available in 7 sizes:

No. 4 (5 1/8 x 43)
Robusto (5 x 50)

Belicoso (5 3/8 x 52) [pictured]
No. 3 (5 ½ x 44)
Double Robusto (5 ¾ x 52)
No. 2 (6 x 55)
Presidente (6 ½ x 50)

Q&A

Carlos Fuente, Jr.
President of 
Arturo Fuente Cigar Company

Cameroon wrappers have played a key role in some of Fuente’s most significant releases. What is it that you love about that wrapper?

I inherited that love from my father because he was using Cameroon back in the ‘70s. He used it on some of the very finest cigars we made. My father would say, “This is the best blending wrapper in the world. It’s like a loose woman; she’s sweet and she’ll get along with anyone.” He loved it. It was the most expensive wrapper and back then there weren’t that many wrappers available. But Cameroon built our business. Before it we were making Cazadores Deluxe, Selección Privada No.1, and so on. Just like everyone else after the embargo began, we were making a lot of different cigars.

Then, I think it was in 1975, my father came out with the 8-5-8 with a Cameroon wrapper in honor of my grandfather and it was different than any blend we had ever done. That really started it for us; it was like “pan caliente” (loosely translates to “it sold like hot cakes”). We were a little sleepy company that nobody knew about outside of Cubans living in Miami, Tampa, and New Jersey. And it was the 8-5-8 that really took off. And that evolved into the Hemingway Series, and then the Don Carlos.

So your father made the 8-5-8 in honor of his father.
Did you blend the Don carlos in honor of your father as well?

Yes. The Don Carlos blend I made in honor of my father and I made it originally for Europe because it was a brand that we started in Nicaragua and then it was taken off the market. In 1986 I started working with Rick Meerapfel on securing special wrappers for the blend. And the blend evolved from the Hemingway blend, which evolved from the 8-5-8; that’s how I was taught. But it was heavier and fuller than those other cigars and today people might think that it’s medium compared to everything else but back then it was a pretty hearty blend. Some people just think it’s the best cigar that we make.

We’ve heard that comment from a number of consumers as well as industry insiders. How do you feel about that? Do you have a favorite blend?

I don’t think there’s such a thing as the best cigar we make. I think Don Carlos is among the best cigars we make, if that’s the taste you want. The one thing I can say is that they are extremely consistent. I believe they are as consistent as humanly possible. We try very hard. We do everything possible because that has my father’s name. But those blends are like my children; I can’t pick favorites.

You mentioned Rick Meerapfel earlier. I think today’s newer generation of cigar smokers lacks awareness of the contributions that the Meerapfels—namely Rick—have made to the cigar business. You and Rick were extremely close, but since his passing, do you still purchase your cameroon from the Meerapfels?

Every leaf of Cameroon that we use is from the Meerapfels. It’s really the best that we can get. It’s the most difficult tobacco in the world to secure and it cost Richard his life.

It was his birthday and he was at my house. He came to see me and then he was going back to Miami to see his wife and have dinner with Jorge and Beba Padron. While he was at my house he got a call that his whole company, I’m talking millions and millions of dollars, was taken over by the government. Everything was locked down; all the shipments, everything. I remember we had shipments coming over and after he got off the phone he tells me, “Don’t worry brother, I’m going to pull through for you, it’s not going to be the end of the world.” He went to Miami that day and I got the call from Jorge, he said, “Carlito, I have bad news. I was going to pick up Rick and I got a call that he had a heart attack and he’s in the hospital. They say he’s not going to make it.” He was like my brother and my closest friend.

 

Nub Cameroon

 

Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Cameroon
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Price: $6.00  - $7.50

Available in 4 sizes:
358 - 3 3/4" X 58 (Natural Robusto)
460 - 4 X60 (
Natural Rothschild)
464T - 4" X 64 (
Torpedo)
466BPT - 4 X66 (Natural Torpedo)

Q&A

Cory Bappert
VP of Sales, 
Oliva Cigar Co.

Nub has been one of the more interesting phenomena in the cigar industry. It has been copied time and time again, yet whenever anyone refers to that size, they say “Nub size.” What do you attribute to the incredible success of this brand?

Hands down, Nub has become not just an established brand, but it’s become a staple in the industry as well. When it was first released, some dismissed it as simply a gimmick, but now it’s more recognizable than many other brands out there. These cigars are mainstream smokes across the country and, because of that, some people have tried to imitate them. Although imitation is the highest form of flattery, these other cigars just haven’t been able to stand the test of time. Nub is not a shape or vitola; it’s a brand. A brand that represents the hard work that has gone into it. Those who have tried to imitate the Nub unsuccessfully simply thought that they could recreate a 4 x 60 cigar (for example) and that it would sell, not taking into account the fact that, at the end of the day, consumers look for quality over everything else. Consumers are what drive a cigar’s success, and the staying power of the Nub is due to the loyalty of the smokers who purchase and enjoy it. We think that’s a direct reflection of its quality. It’s not just about putting tobacco in a mold and creating a certain size. There’s so much more to it.

We understand that Nub Cameroon is second only to the Nub Connecticut in sales, beating out the Habano, Maduro and Cain Nubs. Why do you think this is?

The Cameroon is really something special for Nub. The wrapper is a true African Cameroon that’s aged an exceptionally long time. We bought the wrapper years ago, and the tremendous flavors brought out by that aging process really shine through. Some brands use Cameroon wrappers that are not authentic African Cameroon, but we think it not only sets the Nub apart, but also that smokers themselves can taste the difference. It’s no wonder it has become the second highest seller in the Nub line.

You mentioned other Cameroon wrappers, but from a flavor standpoint, what specifically sets the African Cameroon apart from the others?

Well, today’s smokers are used to the better-known wrappers — the Habano and Connecticut for example — but the African Cameroon in the Nub imparts such a unique flavor profile. The nuttiness, light spice, and oak finish make it a favorite for so many. Some people say they are not fans of the Cameroon flavor, but get hooked when they try it once. I’d argue that this Nub has the truest Cameroon flavor out there today... especially since that authentic flavor has been lost with so many imitations in the marketplace.

This is the only cigar in the Nub line that’s box pressed, right? Why is that?

Right. The 466BPT Cameroon is the only Nub that’s box pressed, and it’s because we wanted to use the same concept that we used on the Serie G Cameroon, with which has had so much success. Initially, we thought we would keep the Nub vitolas consistent, and after seeing how good the Cameroon was with a box press, we were blown away. That sealed the deal for us.

Over the years, we’ve probably seen hundreds of “Nub stand” photos on the web and social media, what’s your favorite?

Haha...The Nub stand was something we used in an ad when the cigar was first starting to gain popularity. The image showed the Nub smoked down to the ring and standing on its ash. It caught on. I remember one in particular; it shows a Nub stand in front of the Eiffel Tower... We still get tons of shots to this day and think it’s pretty cool.