Cigar

Arturo Fuente Destino Al Siglo Gran Aniverxario

 

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Dominican Republic
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic, United State, & Nicaragua
Price: $23.22  - $26.58

Available in 4 sizes:
Siglo de Familia (Grand Corona) - 6 1.2" X 46
Siglo de Passion (Churchill) - 6 3/4" X49 [pictured]
Siglo de Amistad (Robusto) - 5 1/2" X 50
Siglo de Amor (Perfecto)- 5 1/4" X50

Q&A

Carlos Fuente, Jr.
President of Arturo Fuente Cigar Company

Would you share with us the story behind the making of the Don Arturo Destino al siglo?

I never in my life thought that I would live to see the 100th anniversary of our company. Not because of my age, but because you just don’t think of those things. You think about the day-to-day and surviving and that kind of stuff. But one night, a little more than 10 years before the 100th anniversary, it hit me. I had the idea that I wanted to do something special for it using a Chateau de la Fuente Sun Grown wrapper. I wanted to come out with a cigar called Destino al Siglo, which meant destiny to a century or destined to reach the century.

The idea was that, on the 90th anniversary, I would come out with a box with 90 candle-shaped tubes. I even designed the tubes so it was going to be like a birthday cake with 90 tubes of these cigars instead of candles. And every year leading up to the 100th we would come out with the next box so that one would have 91 tubes, then 92 tubes, and so on till y ou get to the century, hence destiny to the century. So I got the tobaccos and we started making cigars little by little for 2 years leading up to the 90th anniversary (2002). By the time the 90th rolled around we were so busy that we just could not do it. Those cigars ended up being the original Destino al Siglo 13, a cigar that we now give away at events for Cigar Family Charitable Foundation.

So at this point in the chronology you’ve missed the 90th but the 100th anniversary is the focus. so what were your plans at this point?

What I envisioned was that for the 100th anniversary I would celebrate my grandfather’s life and our history with a cigar with 4 different tobaccos. Dominican tobacco, a hint of tobacco from Nicaragua, a hint of tobacco from the United States, and Cuban tobacco. Back then I thought that by the year 2012 Cuban tobacco was going to be available to manufacturers and that would close the circle. It would be the culmination of the origins, the places, and the history where my family has made cigars. And I had tobacco saved that was 35 to 40 years old and it’s hard to say this because people say all kinds of stuff but plenty of people got to go there and see the tobacco. I was saving it for the 100th anniversary. We were going to have a big party in Tampa and invite the world and it was going to be a huge thing. Well, before the 100th anniversary, as you know we had the fires in 2011 that burned down two of our buildings and I lost ALL of that tobacco. Gone.

Well instead of coming out with another cigar, we just said let’s wait. Things happen in life and it just makes us stronger. I had the example of my dad and my grandfather who overcame hardships of their own. Don’t get me wrong; it was very, very painful to see it go up in smoke. But sometimes things happen for a reason and you get inspiration from it. For example, the Angel’s Share was a project that was inspired by the fire.

We started seeing the Destino al siglo Gran AniverXario arrive in stores in late 2013. What does the final product represent for you?

The cigar represents the Fuente story, the heritage, the love for the family and friends, the love for our supporters, our neighbors, it represents everybody. That’s what I tried to compose. That’s why even the sizes are Siglo de Amistad (Century of Friendship),

Siglo de Passion (Century of Passion), Siglo de Amor (Century of Love), and Siglo de Familia (Century of Family). It’s a special cigar with a special meaning. There are a lot of symbols and messages all over the label. Even the color is significant – why blue?Because my grandfather’s original label, the one that I remember when I was a little boy, had the shield with AF the same as we have today, but instead of being red it was blue. It was that [shade of] blue. I was the one who changed the shield to red, probably back in the late 70s. So I thought it would be appropriate to go back to my grandfather’s original color for this label.

 

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.

 

Arturo Fuente Rosado Sungrown Magnum R

 

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuador
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Price: $7.25  - $8:00

Available in 5 sizes:
Vitola 44 (Petit Corona) - 4.78 X 44 
Vitola 52 (Robusto) - 5 X 52
Vitola 54 (Toro)- 6.5X54
Vitola 56 (Doble) 
- 5.58 X56
Vitola 58 (Torpedo) - 5 1/4 X58 [pictured]

Q&A

Carlos Fuente, Jr.
President of Arturo Fuente Cigar Company

the release of the Arturo Fuente Rosado Sungrown Magnum R in late 2009 went completely against the grain. the cigar market was in the midst of a surge in power and you launched acreamier, more balanced and nuanced cigar. What kind of smoker were you targeting with this brand?

Honestly, I don’t think that way. I just try to make a great cigar. Magnum R was something that I thought there was a need for in the market at that time. I just thought that, with the great tobaccos that we had, and with the experience that I’d had up to that point, Magnum R was a cigar that was important to introduce. It was different than anything else I had done. It was an accumulation of all of the teachings.

When you said you “thought there was a need” for Magnum R in the market at that time, what did you mean by that?

The market was going toward very, very young tobacco. Very strong. Like you should get a buzz after the first three puffs. The market went that way, but my teaching was always that a cigar needs to be balanced. It’s a cigar that doesn’t bite you, and it’s just enjoyable. So when I saw the market going to strong, strong, strong, I thought, “that’s not good for the business.” It’s not good for the retailer and it’s not good for the manufacturer.

I also think about farming; the plant gives you only so many leaves. Whether it’s 12, 14, or 16, depending on how you harvest and what you do, there are only so many of the leaves that really give you that strength. And those leaves have to be aged for many years for them to reach their optimal taste and sweetness, otherwise it’s “crudo” (raw).

There’s a reason why the old school cigars are blended a certain way. It’s part of our philosophy and our teaching, which was taught to me by my father and my grandfather, which was taught to them by the previous generation. That’s why I wanted to do Magnum R .

You also said that the Magnum R was unlike anything else you had done. How so?

The idea of that cigar was to have something balanced and flavorful, but different. With a little spice and everything that I find in another brand we make but not as “in your face.” You get all the flavors you’re looking for but when you finish that cigar, you want to smoke another one. It leaves you with that, “I w ant more.” I compare it to women. You know how when you’re young and you’re in love and you… you know what I mean? If, afterwards, you say “I don’t want to see you for a week,” that’s not good. But if you say, “let’s have a glass of wine and go for some more”… I think, in a cigar, that’s ideal.

I think we get it .
Now, on the surface, the biggest difference with Magnum R is that the wrapper is incredibly thin.
What is the reason for that?

It is very thin and delicate. It’s very fragile. It’s an Ecuador Habano that is grown for us by the Oliva family (Oliva Tobacco Co.).

The Oliva family, John and Angel Oliva… their family has been our backbone for generations. They grow that tobacco for us, but in order to get the proper balance for the Magnum R, we have to re-select the tobacco and try to find the leaves that are not as hearty, a little thinner. Not the heavier leaves like we use f or the Sun Grown or brands like that.

Now, keep in mind these are all judgment calls by humans as they go through all of the tobacco by hand, but that’s what we try to achieve. And I find that, for that blend, that works a little better.

 

Casa Cuba

 

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuador
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Price: $9.84  - $11.25

Available in 4 sizes:
Doble Tres - 44 X 5 1/2
Doble Cinco - 5 X 50
Doble Seis  - 6 X50 [pictured]
Doble Cuatro - 4 1/2 X54

Q&A

Carlos Fuente, Jr.
President of Arturo Fuente Cigar Company

Fuente has owned the casa cuba brand for so many years. Why was the brand never really brought to market earlier?

Casa Cuba was a brand that my father bought way back during the early days of the embargo. The gentleman who owned the brand and a small factory, was very good friends with my grandfather. He was very old and his children were not interested in the business, so my father bought the brand. 

I have to tell you, it was one of my all-time favorite labels. It was an old-world label with beautiful illustrations. It represented the fusion of Cuba and America— Lady Liberty on one side and the goddess of the Siboney (native Cuban tribe) on the other. It represented a lot to me as a young man and that label was very important, so we saved it. It was particularly important in the ‘70s, when my grandfather always said, “When we go back to Cuba…” So that was a brand that I saved thinking that we would be back in Cuba someday making that brand. And time goes by; my grandfather passed away in 1973 and the situation in Cub a remains the same. 

So what changed? Why did you decide that now would be a good time t o release it? 

One day, a couple of years ago, I get to the factory and I see some boxes that were put together with cigars in them being prepared to be shipped. So I asked what these cigars were and why they were packaged. They told me they were shipping to our headquarters in Tampa so the sales team could see them because they were going to be distributed. I said “What the F is this?!” 

It turns out that my father had gotten one cigar maker for each of four sizes. And over the last year and a half he had this little private project that he had been working on and making cigars and setting them aside in the aging rooms. He did all this without me being aware and wanted to release the cigar for the 100th anniversary. I stopped it. I was not happy with the label or the packaging, and I thought it was not the right time. 

Now, so many people had tried the cigar and kept telling me how amazing it was, and how it was my father’s pet project, and how he’s 79 years old… I finally asked him, “Dad, why didn’t you tell me?” And he said, “Because all these years I’ve been letting you do this, but I want you to know that the old man is still the one that steers the horse and he still can blend.” And he made an amazing blend. 

What is different about your dad’s style of blending?

It’s the way that was taught to him by his father. It’s old-school blending, which favors complexity, balance, and flavor. It’s a cigar that, when you get to the end of it, you want to light another one. It fills you and satisfies you, but doesn’t hurt you. It’s enjoyable. He said he wanted to go back to blending and make that cigar because he saw everything going the other way and he wanted to do something different. We now joke around about his project, but he still doesn’t tell me the blend. When I ask him about it he just kind of smirks and laughs. And you know what? People really like it. And it is different than any other Fuente, but it’s still Fuente. 

It’s amazing that, after so many premium brands and sub-brands and lines, we could still continue to make so many different flavors that are all Fuente. It just proves again that my father, who is my hero, is the greatest. If I’ve accomplished anything in this life, it’s because my father has taught me. And he still outperforms me every day; there’s no question about it

 

Nub Connecticut

 

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

Available in 4 sizes:
354 - 3 3/4" X 54 (Natural Rothschild),
358 -
3 3/4" X 58 (Natural Robusto)
460 - 4 X60 (Natural Rothschild) [pictured]
464T - 4" X 64 (Torpedo)

Q&A

Cory Bappert
VP of Sales, 
Oliva Cigar Co.

Who is currently handling the product development for the Nub line and is there anything new in the pipeline for the brand?

There’s always been a collective effort within the company to expand and experiment with new lines, but we find that the Nub blends have become such a popular choice for so many smokers that we’ve chosen to maintain that high level of quality and consistency rather than try and stray too far from what works. That said, we may surprise smokers with a limited release or two very soon, so keep your eyes open.

The Nub brand has grown significantly year after year. Do you find that there is a particular segment of cigar smokers that gravitate more to the Nub than others?

You know, there is really no individual segment of the market that smokes Nub; they all smoke Nub. We’ve seen that our customers come from all ages (obviously referring only to adults), backgrounds, and smoking styles. Nub has transcended the consumer base and there’s something in the Nub portfolio for smokers of every preference from the Connecticut on down.

Much has been said and written about just how much tobacco goes into each Nub cigar; can you give us a tangible example that smokers can easily relate to?

I can tell you that there’s as much tobacco in a 4 x 66 Nub as there is in an 8 x 52 cigar. It’s certainly enough tobacco to satisfy just about every type of smoker out there.

That’s an incredible amount of tobacco for such a short cigar! No wonder they don’t burn as fast as newbies expect.

Because it is such a different cigar and perhaps requires certain skills and proficiencies on the part of the buncher and roller, is the manufacture of Nub Cigars handled any differently than other products made at the Oliva Cigar Factory?

Without a doubt. From a bunching and rolling standpoint, it takes dedicated rollers that have been trained and have experience in the Nub format to make them, but in terms of the raw material that goes into Nub and the quality control processes that we have at the Oliva Cigar Factory, they are treated with the same high level of scrutiny as all premium cigars made at our factory. But to come back to your question, Nub has it’s own dedicated rolling room in the factory and the rollers in there are very adept at working with the Nub format — and still we can never make enough. In fact, due to the ever-increasing demand, we’ve recently had to expand into the new Oliva factory in downtown Estelí. Among other Oliva products, the new factory rolls the Nub Connecticut, Nub’s most popular blend.

The Nub Connecticut is easily one of the most flavorful Connecticut Shade cigars on the market today. So while it is not surprising that it is the most popular Nub, what do you attribute it’s popularity to?

Well you said it, it is an incredibly flavorful and wellbalanced cigar, forget that it’s a Nub. Consumers opt for the Nub Connecticut when they are looking for a Connecticut Shade cigar that gives them that creamy vanilla and oak profile with amped-up flavor.

That’s interesting; internally we joked about wanting to eat it because it smells so good in the pre-light.

We say the same thing!