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Staff Reviews

Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of The Shark Staff Review

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

I am smoking the illustrious Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark. In 2017, the critics at Cigar Aficionado named Eye of the Shark their ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ a little more than a year after the passing of legendary cigar-maker Carlos Fuente Sr., the man who built Arturo Fuente into the iconic global brand we know and love today. 

Don Carlos cigars are named for Carlos Fuente Sr., who blended the cigar for his palate. Friends, family, and many in the cigar industry simply called him “Senior.” His success, which is a telling of the American dream, never diminished his humble attitude and unwavering work ethic. Fuente Sr. bought the Arturo Fuente brand from his father, Arturo, in 1958 for $1 after decades of blood, sweat, and tears were poured into the company’s recovery from a fire in 1924. Trials and tragedies tested the brand’s survival long before and after Senior’s work began, but nothing has ever shaken the family’s resilience. Through it all, Senior and his son, Carlito Fuente, have consistently made the world’s finest premium cigars.

Since their debut in 1976, Arturo Fuente Don Carlos cigars have been a cornerstone in the brand’s portfolio, which includes dozens of historic blends such as Fuente Fuente Opus X, Arturo Fuente Hemingway, Chateau Series, Gran Reserva, and many more. Don Carlos is rolled from a glistening Cameroon wrapper, grown by the Meerapfel family in central Africa, and a vintage blend of premium Dominican binder and filler tobaccos cultivated on Fuente family estates.

Eye of the Shark is not your standard Don Carlos, though. It’s drawn from a proprietary blend of Dominican tobaccos and an especially well-aged Cameroon wrapper. What’s most striking about the Shark is its shape. It’s an unconventional Belicoso that’s 5.75 inches long with a 52 ring gauge, and it’s box-pressed on one side (the upper half). The cigar is contoured to resemble the fin of a shark. This shape is shared with another of the Fuente’s most sought-after cigars, the Arturo Fuente Anejo No. 77, better known as Anejo Shark.

A luscious bouquet of leather, nuts, and baking spices resonates from the unlit foot of Eye of the Shark once it's drawn from the cellophane. The cigar’s subtly zeppelin-like stature makes it feel special in the hand. A shallow snip to the cap ensures a meticulous concentration of flavor as I pull a few cold draws through the cigar. Despite its unorthodox shape, the Shark draws flawlessly as I fire it up – a testament to the talent and precision of the cigar rollers at the Fuente factory who are in a class of their own.

Eye of the Shark develops with refined, satin-like texture in a buttery profile of cinnamon, chestnut, and molasses notes. The cigar burns slow to start, allowing for a thorough rumination of its flavors. Notes of cedar, leather, and maple emerge as the blocky end of the cigar comes to a close. The profile intensifies gently as I move into the Shark’s rounder half. Its firm white and gray ash indicates the tobaccos were grown in desirable nutrient-rich soils. The Shark’s silky aroma roams into the air like a powerful lure.

The finish swells as woody, sweet, and tangy notes mingle with marvelous adjacency. Notes of molasses, cedar, and coffee with cream linger softly at the end. Eye of the Shark is a superlative cigar for fans of Cameroons. No one blends the prestigious African wrapper better than Carlito Fuente. His prowess for making premium cigars is a mix of instinct and pure creativity, clearly passed down from his legendary father. Savor Don Carlos Eye of the Shark when you come across one. This hard-to-find and artful cigar is a fitting tribute to Carlos Fuente Sr., one of the greatest cigar-makers of the last 100 years.