Carlos “Carlito” Fuente, Jr., president of Arturo Fuente Cigar Company
Q & A
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.