Cigar Buying Guides

2019 CA Report: The Essential Cigar Advisor Guide to Arturo Fuente Cigars


Editors/Reviewers: Jared Gulick, Gary Korb, John Pullo, Tommy Zman Zarzecki

The Arturo Fuente Cigars Back Story

Remember when you were a kid and you had to write book reports for school? Sometimes you’d skim through to find important parts, or even worse, you’d just read the synopsis printed on the insert sleeve or back cover and try to play it off with a smile. If the cigar industry were a book, and you had omitted Arturo Fuente, you’d be staring at a capital F- circled in red ink.

Few manufacturers enjoy such a weighted gravitas, but you don’t become a household name without busting your posterior. Now in their 107th year, Arturo Fuente Cigars haven’t lost the meaning of hard work, dedication, and most of all, family tradition.

Arturo Fuente Cigars Guide Don Arturo Fuente picture
Company founder Arturo Fuente (1887 – 1973).

When the company was established in 1912, Arturo Fuente would have never dreamed his passion for cigars would become a standard for the premium cigar industry. The company started with the most humble of beginnings, rolling and blending cigars with his wife Cristina and his two sons, Carlos and Arturo Oscar, in the back of his house. Remarkably, four generations later, the company remains a family-owned business with operations in the Dominican Republic, and more recently returned to making cigars in Nicaragua.

From the very beginning, Fuente cigars have been made with an insistence on using quality tobacco, and expert craftsmanship. Moreover, the cigars would never be rushed to market, because Arturo, then Carlos, and now “Carlito” (Carlos Jr.), knew that time was a key ingredient in producing a truly remarkable cigar.

Arturo Fuente Cigars Guide carlos fuente and carlito fuente opus x cigars
Carlito and Carlos Fuente.

“We don’t hurry things; we just do things the way they are supposed to be done.” said Carlos Fuente Sr. And it was that wisdom which inspired the company motto: We will never rush the hands of time.

One of the most important landmark years for the Fuente Family was 1996, with the release of the seminal, Fuente-Fuente OpusX cigars. Development of this cigar began in 1992 under the code-name, “Project X from Planet 9,” in which Carlito and his father, Carlos successfully cultivated a Dominican-grown wrapper leaf, something that had never been done before. Released at the height of the Cigar-Boom 90s, the Fuente-Fuente OpusX was an instant success for its deep, full-bodied flavor and complexity. Today, the OpusX selection remains at the top of the world’s most iconic luxury-class cigars.

Today, with a new generation of Fuentes like Liana Fuente, who now plays a major role in the company, that burning passion for excellence remains a critical benchmark for the Fuente family.

For this Advisor Guide, we’ve sampled through the online selection of Fuente cigars available at Famous Smoke Shop, all of which are made at Tabacalera A. Fuente in the Dominican Republic. This means that the cigars sold exclusively through brick & mortar stores – like Casa Cuba and Opus X – along with the really hardcore rarities like Añejo and Opus Blue Label aren’t able to included here…besides, we feel they’re better off in your hands than being burned for the sake of our tasting notes. Our reviews start with the core line of Arturo Fuentes in all three wrapper options; then it’s on to the Chateau Fuente selections and Hemingways, before we take notes on a representative of the Don Carlos, Seleccion d’Oro and Especiales lines, respectively.

As always, reviews are subjective…so your palate may vary. But these quick Fuente reviews should give you a basic idea of what to expect from the blends, and – more importantly – if it’s the right kind of cigar for you. Already smoked them? Tell us what you like about these Fuentes (and which one is your favorite) in a comment at the end.

Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva Cigar Reviews

Arturo Fuente Cigar Review (Natural)

Size: 8-5-8 Flor Fina (6” x 47 Corona)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: African Cameroon
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic

Construction: Mahogany brown with consistent dark blotches and indelible seams.
Draw: Excellent.
Pre-light flavor: Tea leaves, honey, and barnyard.
Toasting & Light: Wood and nuts.
Base flavors: Oak, caramel, earth, and leather.
Retrohale: Savory and spicy.
Aroma: Nutty and pleasant.
Burn & Ash Quality: The ash holds under its own weight for about an inch at a time, and the burn is superb.
Balance of flavors: Great flavors, seems to lean a little on the sweeter side until the second inch when things balance out.
Burn time: One hour and thirty minutes.

Summary: The 8-5-8 was crafted to stand as the immortalization of Arturo Fuente Sr.

“When my father passed away at the age of 85, as a way of honoring him and as a means of expressing our eternal love for him, we called it 8-5-8 so that the number would be legible from both directions,” said Carlos Fuente Sr. in a previous CA interview, “since he was instrumental in originating this cigar, I am sure he would be delighted to know that the 8-5-8 is still our largest selling shape.” And to this day, the 8-5-8 remains one of the most popular cigars in the AF display.

My introduction to Arturo Fuente Flor Fina 8-5-8 Natural was much more pleasant than I expected. Admittedly, I’m not normally a fan of African Cameroon wrappers, but this cigar’s breadth of flavor was exceptionally enticing. The cigar tasted of tea leaves and honey and had a faint barnyard aroma on the pre-light draw. As I completed my light-up, the tea and honey flavors transitioned to an oaky flavor that was spiked with caramel, earth, and leather.

Everything remained this way until just past the second inch. It was there when some of the tea-like flavor reappeared alongside a much more savory leather nuance with a new floral sweetness. There’s a hefty dose of complexity to be enjoyed, so if you enjoy cigars that take you on an ever-changing ride, you’ll love the 8-5-8.

At the halfway mark, I’m starting to find that there’s a taste of licorice that was similar to what I had experienced with the Double Chateau Natural. This is likely because there are similar tobaccos within its filler, or perhaps, even the same binder. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that a wrapper gives all the flavor! From here, it was a straight shot of consistency down to the nub.

My takeaway is that the Fuente main line 8-5-8 Natural is about as solid a medium-bodied offering as you’re going to get. Great construction, draw, and flavor – the full Monty. – Jared Gulick

Arturo Fuente Maduro Cigar Review

Size: Churchill (7¼” x 48)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder & Filler: Dominican Republic

Construction: Well-made, and consistent in color throughout. No soft spots and a well-applied cap.
Draw: Very good.
Pre-light flavor: Leathery.
Toasting & Light: Foot took to the flame like a magnet. Draw opens further for a good flow of creamy smoke at the foot and head.
Base flavors: Leather, cedar, sweet tobacco.
Retrohale: Black pepper in the first 3rd. Smooth with less pepper, more bready in last 3rd.
Aroma: Sweet.
Burn & Ash Quality: Excellent. Barely visible carbon line. Ash is mostly grey and firm.
Balance of flavors: Excellent.

Summary: From Arturo Fuente Cigars’ main line, this cigar was pretty much a one note song, but hey, that’s not a detriment. What you have here is a solid, morning or afternoon kind of smoke. The profile revealed a mostly cedary flavor with a pleasant ribbon of sweetness that lingers on the palate. For its simplicity, consistency, and length, this Churchill would make an ideal golf course smoke. It would also be a smart pick for new cigar smokers who want to discover what a well-seasoned Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper adds to a well-balanced, Dominican leaf blend. As for pairing, the Arturo Fuente Churchill Maduro was excellent with coffee, but it will also pair enjoyably with a long-aged rum. – Gary Korb

Arturo Fuente Claro Cigar Review

Size: 8-5-8 Flor Fina (6″ x 47 Corona)
Strength: Mellow – Medium
Wrapper: Candela
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic

Construction: Well-made.
Draw: Very smooth.
Pre-light flavor: Slightly herbal tobacco sweetness.
First Few Puffs: Sweet.
Base flavors: Nuts, herbal, cedar, floral, anise.
Aroma: Toasty.
Burn & Ash Quality: Solid.
Balance of flavors: Slightly complex with nice balance.

Summary: Okay, I went into this one with definite pre-conceived notions. Back in the day, I smoked many an 858 natural and maduro that were neatly packed in those little treasure-chest cedar boxes. And while I always enjoyed the hell out of those sticks, this is a candela we’re talking about here – which means it’s probably going to smoke too light and too herbal, while lacking any kind of flavor, depth, or complexity. But, GREAT GOOBLEY-GOO! was I ever wrong.

First off, it’s on the mellow to medium side and it is anything but tasteless. The green outer leaf gives this cigar a completely different flavor than the other two 858’s mentioned, and I’m here to admit that I was a tad on the shocked side, because I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Now the mantra for this cigar is indeed one word: sweet – not like a flavored cigar, but if you closed your eyes you might wonder, “What’s in there that’s giving this cigar all this flavor?” Yes, you do get slight herbal notes during the first few puffs, though they’re not overly dominant. It’s that sweetness that’s prevalent from the get-go, like fragrant cedar and a little bit of nuttiness. What also came through was not only a slight floral quality, but notes of anisette, which builds throughout, making you wonder once more, what did they put in this thing? Well, I can assure you that it’s very tasty, well-aged premium tobacco.

All Fuente cigars are rolled to perfection, and this Claro is no different. These green wrappers are sheer and delicate, and you have to handle them a little more carefully or they might split and crack. You’ll also find that this cigar has a perfect draw and it lets off a good amount of smoke. 858’s always display that aromatic cedary scent, but this one is even sweeter (the retrohale is wonderful) making for one pleasant smoking experience.

Now, while I like a milder smoke earlier in the day, I never reach for a Claro covered stick, but my mind has been changed. Yes, I was pleasantly surprised by this cigar, and if you’ve never tried a well-made Candela, I’m thinking that you will be too. – Tommy Zman

Chateau Fuente Cigar Reviews

Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente Natural Cigar Review

Size: Double Chateau (6 3/4” x 50 Double Corona)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut Shade
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic

Construction: Smooth, golden-brown wrapper with seamless construction and a tidy cap placement.
Draw: Perfect.
Pre-light flavor: Sweet and earthy.
Toasting & Light: Salted nuts with a buttery smoothness.
Base flavors: Bread, wood, earth, nuts, and butter.
Retrohale: Spicy with a faint licorice sweetness.
Aroma: Salty and nutty.
Burn & Ash Quality: Coin-stacked light grey ash with a thin and cool burn line, with the only caveat being that the ash gets flaky after initially falling off.
Balance of flavors: Decadent and mouth-watering. This, here, is a true gem.
Burn time: Two hours plus.

Summary: For more than 100 years, Arturo Fuente has led the cigar-smoking nation in popularity and Double Chateau Natural is one of the most requested cigars at any retailer.

Is this popularity warranted? Let’s see . . .

To start things off, I was impressed by the attention to detail given in my sample’s construction. I found the cigar hefty in weight (partly due to its length) and it was, summed up in a word, seamless.

A quick toast and light gave a sneak preview of savory nuts and a buttery smoothness that went beyond the Connecticut-wrapper status quo. As I made my way deeper into the first third, Double Chateau Natural’s calling card was most certainly its creaminess as decadent, savory notes of salted nuts followed with every puff. On the retrohale, there were wisps of easygoing spices and even a faint pinch of licorice.

As I segued to the second third, those notes of licorice became more pronounced and were evident on the finish, even when I didn’t retro. Within a short time, a floral sweetness cropped up that came and went intermittently as the cigar started a tennis match between those salty and sweet nuances.

In closing, I found Arturo Fuente Double Chateau Natural to be decidedly more complex than most of the Connecticut fare you can scrounge up. Its complexity, array of flavors, and ability to keep pace for more than two hours earn it my respect, and it’s a cigar I intend to revisit soon. If you want something with a bit more oomph than a traditional Connecticut has to offer, or you just simply want a great smoke to last well into the evening hours, I think this will be well-suited for your humidor. – Jared

Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente Maduro Cigar Review

Size: Double Chateau (6 ¾” x 50 Double Corona)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder & Filler: Dominican Republic

Construction: Similar in size and appearance to the main line Churchill Maduro. No soft spots. Well-packed.
Draw: Very good. Smoke channels nicely through both ends.
Pre-light flavor: Leathery.
Toasting & Light: Very good.
Base flavors: Sweet tobacco, cedar, light spices.
Retrohale: Creamy with no particular flavor notes in the early stages.
Aroma: Sweet.
Burn & Ash Quality: Burn is even as it gets. The virtually white ash is firm, and so finely granular, it looks like someone spray-painted it.
Balance of flavors: Excellent.

Summary: Despite being almost identical in size to the Fuente Churchill Maduro, including having a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, right off the bat I could taste that the Double Chateau Maduro was a more refined smoke. The draw was wide open and offered a creamy serving of sweet tobacco and cedar notes – I’d add, even more sweet than cedary. The flavor profile was highly consistent, too, and I’d go so far as to say it reminded me of a longer version of the Fuente 8-5-8 Flor Fina Maduro in the first third. I was also impressed by the color of the ash, which was brilliantly white. Here again, this cigar doesn’t have much complexity, but the balance of its base flavors was spot-on and extremely satisfying.

The second act retained most of the cigar’s sweet and woody notes on a medium body while adding a savory sliver of spice on the finish. The sweetness faded in the last several inches, segueing to more earthy-woody character with more depth and spiciness on the finish.

The Fuente Double Chateau also ranks up there with other good cigars for golfing or, if you want a sweet, woody and lightly spicy cigar that you can just kick-back and enjoy practically anytime, anywhere, this double corona is the ticket. – Gary

Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente Sun Grown Cigar Review

Size: Queen B (5 1/2” x 52 Torpedo)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Ecuador Sun Grown Rosado Habano
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic

Construction: Chocolate brown wrapper with slight blotches that are lighter in color, and a nicely-placed cap.
Draw: Very tight.
Pre-light flavor: Sweet spices.
Toasting & Light: Woody and chocolaty.
Base flavors: Hearty savoriness and spices.
Retrohale: Fruity, spicy, and salty.
Aroma: Dark wood and nuts.
Burn & Ash Quality: Firm, light-grey ash and a slow burner.
Balance of flavors: A fantastic mix that is very well balanced.
Burn time: One hour plus.

Summary: Pulling inspiration from their famed plantation, Chateau de la Fuente, Arturo Fuente’s Chateau Fuente line has earned itself some serious street cred thanks to an accessible medium-body profile and wide-claim appeal from AF fans. Residing within that family is this cigar, Arturo Fuente Sun Grown Chateau Fuente Queen B. While some within the group employ Connecticut Shade wrappers, this stick has been crowned with an oily Ecuador Sun Grown Rosado Habano wrapper. How does it take to a flame? Stay put and find out . . .

If you partake in a pre-light draw, as I do, you’ll note that its cold appeal is filled with spicy sweetness – but don’t confuse spicy with powerful. While the cigar is medium in body, it’s heavy in flavor without being off-putting in strength. When I toasted the cigar, I was greeted by a dark woodiness and a chocolate finish that, once fully lit, evolved into a rich and savory affair laced with spice The only problem was the extremely tight draw. I had to employ a good deal of reaming to get enough airflow through the cigar, but I chalked it up to a bad roll or a plug. Unfortunately, this kind of thing happens, but I’ve smoked enough AF in the past to assure you that it’s not a common occurrence.

Through the nose, this stick truly comes alive. There’s a mix of fruit, salt, and spice that is sprinkled throughout the finish, and while it’s peppery, it’s not overwhelmingly so. One of my favorite attributes of a cigar is a great retro, and this one’s is phenomenal. As a bonus, you can use these flavors within the cigar to throw some faux complexity into the pot.

I was able to fully enjoy Queen B’s delicious smoothness down to the last few centimeters. Every part of my palate was engaged, and even though the cigar didn’t go through many changes, it didn’t really matter. If a cigar is going the route of a solo act, this is the kind it should be. If you thrive on flavor-forward cigars that dish out their goodness without too much power, consider adding this to your repertoire. You won’t be disappointed. – Jared

Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Cigar Review

Size: Belicoso (5 3/8″ x 52 Figurado)
Strength: Medium-plus
Wrapper: Cameroon
Binder & Filler: Dominican (aged up to 10 years)

Construction: Expertly rolled with no soft spots. Wrapper is even milk chocolate color.
Draw: Very good. Since some figurados can be problematic, I used a slanted cut, which gave the cigar a wide-open draw.
Pre-light flavor: Salty.
Toasting & Light: Cigar lights easily revealing a mostly salty flavor.
Base flavors: Salt, sweet tobacco, cedar, light spice, earth.
Retrohale: Earth and spice.
Aroma: Sweet.
Burn & Ash Quality: Excellent. Burn was even from end-to-end and revealed a firm, light grey ash.
Balance of flavors: Ideal.

Summary: The Fuente Don Carlos Belicoso is one of the finer examples you’ll find of an expertly handcrafted figurado, and belongs to one of Arturo Fuente’s most celebrated lines. Using a slanted cut, the draw opened well and the early puffs revealed a smooth, creamy smoke with a pleasant saltiness. Some sweetness began to seep in at about the half-inch mark, and I even picked-up a hint of vanilla in the aroma. Upon exiting the first section, a cedar note entered the picture for a well-balanced mix of flavors on a medium body.

The second act opened with a creamy mix of light salt, sweet tobacco, and cedar with some light spice on the finish. The cigar held steady on flavor, balance, and burn through this stage, and it’s fair to say that the Don Carlos was living up to its reputation.

Getting into the last act, some earthiness joined the party pushing the sweeter notes into the margin and taking the body to a medium-plus level. However, when the cigar was left to cool between puffs, some of the sweetness was reprised in the final inches.

I’ve smoked a lot of Don Carlos cigars over the years and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better quality cigar in its class, blend, and price range. Unlike the proverbial “box of chocolates,” with the Don Carlos blends, you know what you’re gonna get – a rich-tasting, and luxurious cigar experience that’s approachable to cigar smokers of every experience. – Gary

Arturo Fuente Hemingway Cigar Reviews

Arturo Fuente Hemingway Cameroon (Natural) Cigar Review

Size: Work of Art (4 7/8” x 56 Perfecto)
Strength: Mellow Medium
Wrapper: African Cameroon
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic

Construction: Wrapper has a little oily sheen with a tawny hue throughout. The cigar is well-packed and capped.
Draw: Very good.
Pre-light flavor: Barnyard and leather.
First few puffs: Earth and cedar, with subtle pepper.
Base flavors: Cedar, nutmeg, cream, light pepper.
Aroma: Sweet.
Burn & Ash Quality: Excellent. Burn is spot-on even once you get past the bulb. Ash is firm, almost white in color, and forms a perfect cone when tapped.
Balance of flavors: Excellent.

Summary: The draw was a bit tight when lit, but eased-up as the burn began to spread across the bulbous foot. The smoke got off to a rich, creamy and mellow start with notes of cedar, sweet tobacco, and a touch of peppery spice. Near the end of the bulb, cedar dominated and a little saltiness was revealed as savory notes of nutmeg and light pepper rode shotgun.

At the midsection the cigar segued to a more medium-bodied profile: a little more nutty and toasty, along with a little more pepper on the tail-end. It’s at this point the spicy-sweet character of the Work of Art’s Cameroon wrapper really shined, too. Cedar and nutmeg were joined by a hint of citrus in the well-balanced mix; and during the final inches, the pepper faded enough to let the cedar notes dominate, as sweet spice lingered on the finish.

It may be small in size, but this little fireplug is big on flavor. It’s an extremely relaxing cigar, too, as this Hemingway Work of Art burned for better than 90 minutes – it’s best enjoyed if you just kick back and let it do its thing. Once you do, I bet you’ll be returning for more. – Gary

Arturo Fuente Hemingway Maduro Cigar Review

Size: Signature (6” x 47 Perfecto)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic

Construction: A toothy, leathery, very dark Maduro. This perfecto clearly was rolled by an expert: tight shape, no soft spots. I like the thinner ring gauge.
Draw: Rolled tight, much resistance.
Pre-light flavor: Sweet tobacco, earth and dark roasted coffee.
Toasting & Light: Leather and coffee, with a tinge of spice.
Base flavors: Coffee, fruit sweetness, wood, chocolate.
Retrohale: Oaky and sweet.
Aroma: Woody, a bit of pepper.
Burn & Ash Quality: A tight n’ sturdy white ash. Burn line is thin, tight and even.
Balance of flavors: The Hemingway Maduro’s rich flavors outpace the strength of this cigar.

Summary: Some perfecto notes for if and when you smoke a Hemingway…first, put down the draw poker – the draw is tight because there’s only a little space through the foot-nipple for the air to flow. Second, take extra care lighting it: just a bit of flame on the foot to get it going, then some slow shallow puffs as it burns. Patience pays with perfecto.

The draw opens up significantly once you smoke to the spot where the barrel of the cigar expands. Smoke production is very good, and a bunch of coffee and spice flavors get thrown into the mix. The spice isn’t bitey, it’s actually more like cinnamon…then some dark chocolate and tart-sweet (think like an apple) joins in, before things turn darker, like molasses.

Now I know why people love this cigar…it’s wildly complex (even if the taste does flatten out a bit from time to time), and the Hemingway Signature Maduro goes through every one of its reps: earthy, then tangy, then on to coffee and dry spice. Then it takes a flavor break, and repeats the cycle. Eventually this Hemingway Maduro hangs on just the darker flavors, like dark coffee and molasses – and by the end, gets very rich. But just when you think you’re going to finish it, each of the flavors come back and tap the taste buds one last time. Overall, very satisfying.

If you like a hardy, rough-hewn broadleaf, but don’t want all the power that the more ligero-heavy blends provide – this might be the cigar for you. But it’s an impulse buy for sure: if you see it, grab it while you can – Hemingway Maduros are a rare find (only released once or twice a year), and who knows when you might see it again. – John

Arturo Fuente Seleccion d’Oro Cigar Review

Size: Churchill (7 ¼” x 48)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Ecuador Connecticut
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic

Construction: Solid and very well made.
Draw: Super smooth.
Pre-light flavor: Toasty and sweet.
First Few Puffs: Nutty.
Base flavors: Nuts, cedar, butter, citrus.
Aroma: Very toasty.
Burn & Ash Quality: Very solid.
Balance of flavors: Nice subtle balance.

Summary: Let me start out by saying that there’s a reason why this cigar has a good number of 5 Star reviews on the Famous website by their customers. Spoiler Alert: This is one hell of a nice cigar. But since they don’t pay me to write two sentence reviews, allow me to tell you more about this golden gem. I know that when a lot of people see that Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper, they think mellow yellow (along with the Dominican leaf inside), but the d’Oro has a lot of flavor and enough complexity to put it in the medium-bodied category.

The first thing I noticed was how incredibly well this cigar is made; packed firmly with rich tobacco, a great draw, and a nice slow and even burn. And when you lay fire to the foot, a sweet woody aroma permeates the air, instantly putting you in the mood for a relaxing hour-and-a-half-plus, to come.

What I liked most about the Seleccion D’Oro is how pronounced the flavors are for a Connecticut Shade, showing off a nice unexpected complexity. Of course, the cedar taste and aroma is all there, along with a distinct nuttiness that is very pleasing to the palate. I also got a buttery hit on the taste buds along with a slight citrus component. Although the retrohale was nice and creamy, the nuttiness was pronounced even further.

This is, without question, a high-quality Fuente that’s delivered at a surprisingly affordable price point, too. For me, it’s a wonderful morning coffee to mid-day lunch smoke. I also recommend it highly as the perfect wedding cigar, mild enough for the rookies, but enough flavor for the cigar guys – again, at a really nice price per box. If you’re not yet convinced to give it a try, make it a point to check out the customer reviews on the Famous site and let us know what you think! – Tommy Zman

Arturo Fuente Especiales Cigar Review

Size: Conquistador (5 1/2” x 56 Robusto)
Strength: Medium
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Mixed/Dominican Republic

Construction: Wrapper has an even caramel color; the cigar is firm and well-packed.
Draw: Great.
Pre-light flavor: Hay, sweet cream and a little salt.
Toasting & Light: Woody, with an underlying tanginess.
Base flavors: Wood, nuts and sweetness.
Retrohale: Also woody, but laced with a dash of pepper.
Aroma: I was told it smelled “interesting” – I found it kind of sweet.
Burn & Ash Quality: Decently formed grey ash, a mostly-good burn line.
Balance of flavors: I found a good volume of flavor, given the scant amount of strength this cigars has…

Summary: Some quick notes on this “value-priced” Fuente smoke…it uses the same Dominican tobaccos grown on the Fuente farms; it’s a mixed filler cigar, and the wrapper has been outsourced from the Oliva tobacco growing company (not the cigar company).

After digging through my mental Lost-and-Found to recall my last trip with this Fuente (we reviewed it when the Especiales line debuted), I remember calling it “a cost-effective knock-around selection for your daily cigar ritual.” Things haven’t changed much: decent rips of smoke, albeit a little thin…a bit of oomph – still more mellow than medium strength, but some noticeable body kicks up. Plus, the smoke leaves a little pepper on the tongue to finish.

So it remains in the “pleasant” column.

Now we get down to cost: considering the already-friendly price of Fuente’s long filler premiums, is saving a buck or so per cigar by going mixed filler really a big savings? Admittedly, a dollar or two a stick can add up – and in box form, it ends up being 20-ish dollars back in your pocket. For those of us who need to cinch the belt a little tighter on our cigar budget, it’s enough to make a difference – and why it’s worth considering these alongside your Curly Heads.

But I think the biggest thing to consider here is size: with the Arturo Fuente Especiales (and especially this fat Conquistador), you’re getting a bit of that classic Fuente taste in the three most in-demand sizes – which aren’t available in the core Cameroon wrapper line. And that’s what might make the Arturo Fuente Especiales worth it to you. – John