Fuente has been making cigars for over a century, but the chance that you will find any vintage Fuente cigars for bargain prices is slim. But it’s not impossible. Meerapfel & Sohne from Belgium have been the Arturo Fuente distributor for many many years, and next to distributing Fuente and other brands worldwide, they also trade tobacco and grow most of the African Cameroon. And they store their stockpile of tobacco in huge climate-controlled warehouses in Belgium.
A few months ago the company grew out of one of their storages so a new, bigger one was opened. And when moving the inventory from the old storage to the new warehouse, they discovered three pallets full of cigars that have been stored under perfect conditions for about twenty years. We are talking about Arturo Fuente made Montesino, Bauza and Fuente Gran Reserva. The Dutch Fuente distributor bought them all and is selling them for regular prices, no price hike because they are vintage.
Name: Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva
Country: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia
Wrapper: Ecuador Sun Grown
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Price: € 9 (The Netherlands)
Cutter: Xikar X2
Lighter: single flame
Smoke conditions: indoors with ventilator
Smoke time: 1 hour fifty minutes
Purchased at Van Dalen Cigars
The wrapper is still oily after all those years, a testament to the ideal conditions in the warehouse. The cigar is a bit yellowish brown as some of the oils leaked out of the wrapper and were absorbed by the now golden colored cellophane. The cigar feels good, it has the right amount of bounce when you gently touch it. The ring is simple, classic, Cubanesque. The aroma is mild, as expected, and gives hints of manure and hay.
The cold draw has some pepper but also peppermint. After lighting it’s a strong but smooth leather, with an earthy undertone and hay. Soon that changes to green herbs, caramel and a hint of mustiness. The flavors are complex, smooth and subtle. The flavors are changing quickly and cream plus cinnamon is added to the roster. After a centimeter the flavor changes to a creamy cedar with some salt and honey. Hazelnuts come in a bit later before licorice, salty with a mild sour undertone, show up. Halfway it’s caramelized leather with some pepper which changes into a toasted leathery cream. In the final third the nuts return with pepper. The pepper grows in strength towards the end.
The ash is white but breaks quite easily. The lush smoke has a bit of a brownish-white color. The draw and the burn are flawless. This cigar is subtle, complex and smooth.