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Staff Reviews

Arturo Fuente Claro 8-5-8 Staff Review

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

I’m firing up an old standby, some say, from another era – Arturo Fuente Claro in the iconic 8-5-8 size, a 6 by 47 Corona. It’s a green a cigar, a Candela, and, believe it or not, green cigars used to be the rule not the exception. Once upon a time, way more green cigars were smoked in the U.S. than the light-tan or dark brown wrappers we see everywhere today. The Arturo Fuente brand is a logical place to explore an old-school Candela wrapper because the Fuentes have been making their green Claro the same way for decades.


The first Candela cigars were created accidentally when Cuban farmers heated their curing barns to counter excess humidity, turning the tobacco green in places. The leaves were used in cigars, and the sweet and unusually grassy flavor was intriguing and enjoyable. Today, Candela is made by picking the leaves prematurely from the plant and curing them in a dark barn to lock in their natural chlorophyll content. They are heated slowly to temperatures as high as 175 degrees Fahrenheit.  

Candela cigars became popular in Cuba in the 1940s when cigar smokers took notice of their milder taste. A niche grew into a major trend up through 1962 when the Cuban trade embargo took effect and Cuban Candelas (and all Cuban cigars) were no longer available in the States. The first Candela cigars made in the Dominican Republic were less sweet and less desirable by comparison. Although Candelas remain a bit of a novelty – for folks in search of cigars for St. Patrick’s Day, for example – a surprising number of premium manufacturers blend them, though most are made in smaller seasonal batches. The Arturo Fuente Claro is produced year-round and is one of the best.  

The second you slide a Fuente Claro from the cellophane and lift it to your nose, it’s as if you’ve been transplanted to a field of fresh-cut hay in the summer. Critics of Candela cigars classify them as bland, but that’s really not the case. Good Candelas are loaded with nuances that happen to be delicate, especially when compared to the intense profiles of many popular Nicaraguan cigars. Most Candelas are the antithesis of strong. The Fuente 8-5-8 Claro I’m firing up embodies all the qualities Candela connoisseurs seek out.

Beneath the seamless green wrapper is a tasty blend of well-aged Dominican binder and filler tobaccos perfectly matured to complement the wrapper’s creamy, leafy taste. Notes of green tea, blonde roast coffee, nuts, and buttered toast softly layer the palate in a sequence of silky draws. The celebrated 8-5-8 format reveals classic Fuente hallmarks of construction and aging in this elegant Claro. You could easily smoke this cigar for breakfast.

As the first fifteen minutes pass, grassy aroma fills the room. It’s not uncommon to get a reaction from folks who are in the vicinity of a lit Candela cigar – as if you’re puffing on something elicit. But, both the flavor and the aroma are mellow, approachable, and fleeting. Candela cigars tend not to linger in the air or on the palate. As the cigar develops, its grassy character builds with a touch of pepper. It tastes fresh and invigorating, particularly when you push the smoke out through your nose. A moist finish resonates with hints of fresh dew, herbal tea, and nuts. Arturo Fuente Candela is an ideal cigar to smoke with a light cocktail like a gin and tonic or a Moscow mule.

Indulge in a green Fuente first, and dig deeper into Candela wrappers by smoking the other varieties we carry, including Rocky Patel The Edge Candela, Argyle Candela and ultra-affordable bundles like Rocky Patel Mulligans Fairway Edition, Don Lino Casa Verde, and Angry Elf. You won’t be the first to uncover a newfound love for Claro cigars. Go green or go home.


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