This fall marks the fifteenth anniversary of Arturo Fuente’s newest ultra-premium cigar: the Arturo Fuente Añejo Reserva. The Añejo is a cigar born out of sheer ingenuity and tenacity.
From Arturo Fuente’s website:
“In September 1998, Hurricane Georges tore through the Caribbean Sea, causing widespread destruction throughout the region, including the Chateau de la Fuente farm in the Dominican Republic, where the wrapper leaf for the acclaimed Fuente Fuente OpusX cigar is grown and harvested.
Two years later, the storms destruction resulted in a shortage of Fuente Fuente OpusX wrapper tobacco. Rather than halting production, Carlos Fuente Jr. ordered the use of a different wrapper, an aged Connecticut Broadleaf. Once again, the Fuente family forged triumph from tragedy, and the Arturo Fuente Anejo cigar was born.
One of the world’s most rare cigars, the Anejo cigar is rolled with the very best Dominican binder and filler from Chateau de la Fuente, then adds a 5 year old Connecticut maduro wrapper aged in cognac barrels. This blend yields a rich, spicy, slightly sweet smoke and unique aging process leaves a distinct finish.” (http://www.arturofuente.com)
Arturo Fuente’s Añejo was welcomed with great praise among the Cigar community and, fifteen years later, is still loved and highly sought after by cigar smokers around the world.
Instead of reviewing just any Añejo to mark this event, I have decided to spark up an original release Arturo Fuente Añejo from 2000; let’s see what a decade and a half of rest has done to this beauty.
Arturo Fuente Añejo Reserva No. 48
Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Vitola: “No. 48” Churchill (7×48)
Appearance: As is the case with the Añejos, this cigar bears a beautifully dark brown wrapper with minimal veins present and is quite rigid to the touch. The construction is solid: no soft spots, well-constructed cap, and tightly packed.
Pre-Light: The cold draw was filled with notes of hay, cedar, pepper, and subtle honey. After 15 years, this cigar is just waiting to be smoked, so let’s not waste any more time; let’s get to the good stuff.
First Third: The cigar starts off with a soft black pepper spice, toasted oak, and almonds. As it progresses in the first third, the black pepper begins to fade as the toasted oak becomes more prominent and hints of leather and raisins are apparent. The flavors are well balanced, with faint spice and sweetness accenting the oak and leather notes. The cigar burned evenly and held a strong ash during the first third with the draw remaining only slightly restricting, providing a long and cool smoke.
Second Third: As the cigar progresses through the second third, the flavor profile becomes more “savory,” if you will. Leather begins to take prominence along with a pronounced oak flavor. The retrohale provides an earthy, spicy smoke and there is a hint of bitter chocolate on the finish. The cigar has consistently remained at a medium-full body with the draw and ash both also remaining consistent.
Final Third: During the final third of this cigar, there is a noticeable shift in the overall profile as it begins to become both spicier and sweeter. The leather and oak notes remain the same but are now joined by a cinnamon spice as well as an almost molasses-like sweetness. The retrohale is now much spicier and there is a bold earth tone to the finish along with a soft walnut flavor. Although the strength does increase somewhat during the final third, it remained at a medium-full bodied cigar throughout.
In all, it is apparent that much of the sweetness from the wrapper and spice from the tobaccos have faded, leaving an interesting combination of oak, leather, and nuts with an occasional touch of sweetness and spice rounding out the flavor profile. Although I wouldn’t say that this cigar has necessarily gotten “better” with 15 years of age, it has become much different; unique, perhaps. Pleasantly unique.