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Staff Reviews

Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Staff Review

Tom O. O's picture

Tom O.

When I'm in the mood to light up a cigar that puts me in a state of total relaxation, I reach for an Arturo Fuente Don Carlos. When I simply think about cigars, or the cigar industry in general, it doesn't take long before the Fuente name pops into my brain. You see, the Fuentes are at the pinnacle of the cigar game and what they have accomplished is unmatched and impossible to duplicate. They have received multiple '#1 Cigar of the Year' awards, plus hundreds, if not thousands of 90+ ratings and they also hold a well-deserved spot in Cigar Aficionado’s illustrious Hall of Fame. Their trophy case is most likely the size of a tobacco barn... The journey of the Fuente family from a small cigar operation in Tampa to a world-renowned cigar dynasty all started with the hard work, passion and dedication of the late, great, Carlos Fuente Sr. 


When I sit down and smoke a Don Carlos cigar, I feel as though I am unveiling a masterpiece with each and every draw. One of Carlos Sr.'s famous quotes which I think relates directly to the Don Carlos blend is, "We don't hurry things, we just do things the way they are supposed to be done." The quote is very simple in terms of what he says, but to actually walk the walk and stay committed to the process is another thing entirely. When blending began at the stunning Tabacalera A. Fuente in the Dominican Republic, Carlos Sr. hand-selected only the finest vintage tobaccos available to him –  some that had been aging as long as a decade – and by doing so, he was able to create an absolute gem. The stunning Cameroon wrapper has a wonderful medium-brown color, perfect seams and hardly any visible veins. The combination of premium wrapper, binder and filler marry together to form a perfect medium-bodied cigar. 

Now that a bit of the back story has been told, let's get into the actual smoking and review. One thing I love about Fuente cigars is the pre-light aroma and cold draw, which are very unique and quite rich. Big, engaging bursts of dark chocolate, cinnamon and nutmeg are unleashed with a touch of spice. Once lit, that aroma is released into the air and creates a beautiful room note for anyone nearby to enjoy. Throughout the first third, the notes of dark chocolate mix with evolving layers of cedar, barnyard and a caramel-like sweetness. The draw is even, the burn is cool and the smoke is creamy and thick, while the ash remains firm. As the second third of my Double Robusto begins, the flavors make a subtle transition where the natural sweetness begins to mix with a touch of orange peel. The cigar has progressed beautifully to this point and I'm anticipating a well-rounded, complex finish. 

The final third continued to deliver more of that rich, dark chocolate and sweet cedar just as the zesty orange peel faded away. As I smoked it down to the nub, the burn remained cool and there was never any hint of harshness detected. The finish was perfect as each flavor maintained its consistency. From the opening light to the final ash, this cigar was exactly what the doctor ordered. I would recommend Don Carlos to all cigar smokers, ranging from novice to expert. I can't imagine there is anyone out there that would not become a fan of such a superb cigar. Enjoy! 

In closing, I would like for everybody reading this to recognize and appreciate just how much Carlos Fuente Sr. did for the premium cigar industry over the last 50+ years. I had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions due to the wonderful relationship the Fuente family holds with our family here at Holt's. Truth be told, he was one of the nicest, most humble men I have ever met in my life. Before I finish, one more Carlos Sr. quote comes to mind. He once said in an interview, "My dream wasn't to be the biggest, just the best." I don't think anyone could argue that he didn't achieve his ambition with flying colors.


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