Arturo Fuente branded cigars are known as some of the most remarkable cigars produced outside of Cuba. The brand originated in Tampa, FL but now is produced in the Dominican Republic.
The brand took an involuntary hiatus for over 20 years after their factory was struck by disaster, but it is still recognized as a premier cigar brand despite this.
Arturo Fuente branded cigars first appeared in 1912 in Tampa, FL. The brand was launched by Arturo Fuente, a then 24-year old Cuban expatriate. Ten years prior, Fuente left his hometown of Güines, Cuba for the U.S. because of the conflict of the Spanish-American war.
Fuente cigars were produced in one of over 200 cigar factories that were present in Tampa at the time. Cigar rolling was a large industry in Tampa because the tobacco could easily be imported from nearby Cuba.
The brand was incorporated in 1924. That same year, disaster struck. While employing around 500 people, the building called home by A. Fuente cigars burned to the ground. Production stopped until 22 years later.
Businesses were already struggling in the late 1920s and early 1930s because of the Great Depression, so reestablishing the business in those financial times was quite the task. A. Fuente was only able to revive the brand by making the manufacturing personal.
Accordingly, Fuente relaunched the brand by adding a few rolling tables to his small back porch. Fuente and his wife both rolled cigars full time, and they eventually hired a few additional rollers – or torcedores.
The brand was slow in growth when the market for Cuban cigars in the U.S. was free, but choices became more limited and brand loyalty diminished after the 1962 trade embargo with Cuba.
Carlos Fuente Sr. noticed this trend at the time and explained that it created a level playing field in the U.S. for cigar brands.
“In the old days, people were very brand true. Brand loyal. People smoked Bering, Perfecto Garcia. I feel the embargo put everybody level. People had to shop around to find a different taste that they liked. We started growing more and more in those days.”
Despite numerous crises over the course of the following decades, including a revolution-torn Nicaraguan factory, a hurricane in the D.R. and failed attempts at making cigars in both Mexico and Puerto Rico, the Fuente family cigar brand prevailed.
Today, over 30 million cigars are reportedly sold by A. Fuente every year.
The company still produces some of the most prized, perfectly-constructed Dominican cigars in the world, and according to the family, “The Fuente family will continue to make the world’s finest cigars for generations to come.”
It was even announced this year that A. Fuente will be making a sort of “homecoming” return to the country of Nicaragua. Carlos Fuente Jr. made this announcement at Sabor, a cigar festival celebrating Nicaraguan tobacco.
“I’m here because Nicaragua has a great government who has opened the doors—giving an opportunity for people to invest, for people to be able to come in with confidence, to build the economy, to build the future of this great country. It will be named Gran Fabrica de Tabacos La Bella y La Bestia. The factory is just a few blocks from the center of the city. It’s a big property that we bought years ago—and we were just quiet about it.”
The Gran Reserva series of cigars by A. Fuente is the “flagship” cigar of the brand and is regarded as a staple of any cigar aficionado’s humidor.
A. Fuente Gran Reserva Cigars
What Makes A. Fuente Gran Reserva Cigars Unique
Because A. Fuente has been producing cigars for so long now, there are many variations. Some of these variants are in insanely high demand. For example, the Forbidden X cigars that were rolled in 2006 and had been aging ever since inside Tabacalera A. Fuente Cia.
The series in the Gran Reserva is more reasonable for frequent enjoyment. They are priced at a reasonable point, and they can be found at many common cigar shops.
We’ll argue that one of the largest influencing factors making A. Fuente Gran Reserva cigars unique is the origin of their seeds. Top quality tobacco seeds from Cuba are used in conjunction with fertile Dominican soil. This produces incredibly flavorful, rich and full-bodied Ligero tobacco.
Ligero is one of the most important building blocks of a good cigar.
If you didn’t know, there are three major categories of tobacco leaves – ligero, seco, and volado.
Ligero leaves grow near the tops of tobacco plants and are characteristically slow burning, potent and spicy. These leaves are used in the center of filling-bundles for full-bodied or very strong cigars.
The Cuba-originated seeds and the Dominican soil couple to produce a unique cigar. For American cigar aficionados, Cuban-made cigars are quite difficult to come by. To purchase a guaranteed authentic Cuban-made cigar, U.S. citizens need to travel out of the country.
The flavor descriptions of these cigars vary across the different types and sizes, but reviewers have highlighted a few specific flavors in some of the most popular variants.
One of those is the A. Fuente Chateau Fuente. The cigar is described as extremely well-packed and very pleasing on the eyes.
The wrap on this particular cigar is a Connecticut-grown wrap and is described as silky – both in appearance and flavor. This is much milder than A. Fuente’s commonly used Cameroon-grown wrap or their rare Dominica wrap. Beyond that, the flavor of the of the tobacco is described as leathery, sweet, and having a note of nutmeg.
The experience of smoking the Chateau Fuente is described as “clean” as well as being a smooth and light smoke. We would definitely recommend the chateau Fuente or other cigars with a Connecticut-grown wrap for someone who prefers a lighter smoke or someone who is just entering the world of cigars.
The Gran Reserva line of cigars is a compromise of sorts for those looking for a Cuban-esque cigar available in retail shops within the U.S. Because they are produced in the Dominican Republic, they are legal for import to the U.S.
Pricing of A. Fuente Gran Reserva Cigars
Pricing of the Gran Reserva line of cigars by A Fuente is quite reasonable compared to other cigars of similar quality.
For example, the Gran Reserva Curly Head Deluxe. These cigars have an intense, Cameroon-grown wrapper and rich, Dominican-grown binder and filler. They are 43 gauge and 6.5 inches long. A box of 25 of these cigars retails for around $75.00. That equates to around $3.00 per cigar – a quite reasonable price.
A unique option in the Gran Reserva line by A. Fuente is the Cubanito cigar. These cigars are sold in bricks of 100 cigars for under $200. The price per cigar comes out below $2.00 each. The best part is, they are unexpectedly good cigars.
The cubanito is a 4.5-inch, 32 gauge cigar. Like the Curly Head Deluxe, it has a Cameroon-grown wrapper that adds a level of intensity to the smoking experience. The filler in the binder is Dominican-grown. The cubanito is a great everyday cigar – perfect for lunch breaks, morning coffee, or with a drink at night.
Because they are sold in a brick of ten tins, each housing ten cigars, this option makes a great gift for your favorite cigar-lover. Better yet, gift one to yourself.
There are, of course, the luxury options in the Gran Reserva family as well.
For example, the Arturo Fuente Rosado Gran Reserva Magnum R44 Sun Grown Rothschild. These hand-rolled, Dominican cigars retail for over $300 a box. They are, however, incredible cigars.
Accordingly, in 2016, Cigar Aficionado named the Gran Reserva Magnum R44 Sun-Grown Rothschild as one of the top-ten cigars of the year. The publication reviews numerous cigars to establish the most promising of each year. They consider tobacco trends, techniques, as well as sales success.
Additionally, the Sun-Grown Rothschild was kind of a “counter-culture” cigar in the year it was released. Moreover, the trend in that day and age was to create incredibly rich cigars, but Carlos Fuente blended and tasty medium-bodied tobacco blend for this cigar.
It was, and remains to be today, received very well.
Other A. Fuente Gran Reserva Cigar Reviews
Because of the accessibility of these cigars in the U.S. – and worldwide – as well as their reasonable price, most cigar aficionados have enjoyed a cigar from the Gran Reserva line before. There is no shortage of feedback on these historic smokes.
Correspondingly, Cigar Direct shared their praises of this line of cigars.
“These popular best sellers are very affordable, but here’s something worth knowing – they boast many of the same varieties of tobaccos used in some of Fuente’s finest, priciest offerings!
Accordingly, flavor connoisseurs might be surprised how little drop-off there is in flavor from some of the most renowned lines. Novices and moderate partakers may not be able to distinguish them!…
The Connecticut wrapper produces a mild to medium-bodied smoking experience that delivers smooth, leathery flavors with a rich backdrop of chocolate-laced coffee. Opt for an African Cameroon wrapper over select Dominican leaves and bump up the intensity a little bit, with more spice, a headier aroma, and a stronger finish. To complete the choices, a Maduro wrapper gives a darker look, but also a darker, richer texture on the palate, more complex and highlighted by chocolate undertones.
Looking for a fresh supply of affordable stogies you can enjoy alone or feel good about passing out to friends? Look no further than this flavorful, highly respected line bearing the imprimatur of a cigar legend!”
Additionally, Cigar Review Dude, an online cigar reviewer, had a few complaints about a cigar in the Gran Reserva line, but overall enjoyed the experience. He reviewed the A. Fuente Rosado, a 6-month aged Dominican cigar with an Ecuadorian-grown wrapper.
“Overall, the Arturo Fuente Rosado Gran Reserva cigar was a very smooth and enjoyable cigar. My only complaint with the flavor compositions was the dry aftertaste during some stages of the smoke.
I’m not a fan of dry tasting cigars and fortunately the dry moments in this stick were few and far between. The flavor sections that I did enjoy the most were the ones that consisted of the coffee and creamy, peppery spice. The cream and coffee accented by the pepper created a great tasting blend.
This cigar also ended on a high note when a slight sweetness was added to the mix. The sweetness was a tease, and although I would have liked to have experienced it more, I can’t complain about how this cigar tasted at the end.”
How A. Fuente Gran Reserva Cigars Compare
As far as non-Cuban cigars go, A. Fuente is one of the most authentic brands you can choose.
Additionally, their Gran Reserva line is really something special in that it is available in the U.S. but is still made with Cuban-sourced tobacco seeds and rolled by hand in the Dominican Republic.
Accordingly, another unique factor of this line of cigars is a direct result of the age of the line. Also, there are a ton of variants of a Gran Reserva cigar, and none of them are bad.
Moreover, you can find the Gran Reserva cigars for any occasion whether it be daily use or for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration.
What We Think About A. Fuente Gran Reserva Cigars
Frankly, we love the A. Fuente Gran Reserva line of cigars. They are reasonably priced enough for them to be frequently smoked. We understand that there are special occasions that call for more complex and expensive cigars, but who wants to smoke only a few cigars a year?
And, if you really like the flavor of the Fuente family’s traditional blends, you have plenty of options for aged or luxury cigars from the same family. A Fuente’s Gran Reserva cigars offer a smoke for every day of the year – and if you ask us, you deserve it.
Additionally, the rich history of the Fuente family and their production of classic cigars provides a sort of assurance that A. Fuente Gran Reserva cigars are only cheap in the sense of price – not quality.
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