When it comes to premium cigars these days, there’s a name you’re likely to hear get tossed around a lot:
Say it – it just rolls right off the tongue.
Though the premium cigar company has had multiple relocations and has experienced it’s fair share of tragedies for over the past 100+ years, Tabacalera A. Fuente has essentially been making cigars since 1912, when Arturo Fuente – a Cuban immigrant to the US – established his company in West Tampa, Florida.
Today the critically-acclaimed company is headed by Arturo’s grandson Carlos Fuente Jr. (aka ‘Carlito’), is situated in the Dominican Republic, and is unquestionably one of the most awarded and most highly sought after brand of cigars the world over.
Let’s look at five fun Fuente facts:
1. Known For Limited Quantities
“We will never rush the hands of time” is one of Carlito’s principle tenets, and one that the company swears by. Instead of rushing releases out the door to turn a profit, Fuente is often bound by the sometimes limited quantity of product that is only made available once they deem them absolutely perfectly 100% ready to enjoy. A Fuente cigar and the tobacco that it is constructed from must be perfection before it goes out the door, and as scarcity drives demand, this makes some of their releases very sought after items for cigar lovers.
One such release is Añejo series. Typically only available at Father’s Day and Christmas, it’s one of the most rare cigars in the world today.
2. The Dominican Puro
The naysayers said it couldn’t be done, but Carlito proved ‘em all wrong.
Previously it was a commonly held belief that making a high quality Dominican Puro (A cigar made entirely of Dominican tobacco) couldn’t be achieved. Typically, cigars made in the Dominican Republic required their wrappers to always be imported from other places like Ecuador or Connecticut, US. In 1994 Carlito successfully created the Fuente Fuente OpusX and released it in 1995 to great acclaim, using tobacco grown from Cuban seed and a wrapper grown and harvested in Chateau de la Fuente in Santiago, DM.
Fuente even hires rollers who have no prior cigar experience and then trains them from the ground up to be exclusively rollers of OpusX. It is now available in a number of vitolas – if you’re lucky enough to find one.
3. Getting Into Shape
Always the one to tread down a different path, Carlos Sr. and Carlito Fuente became known for reviving cigar shapes that hadn’t been created for decades, since the age of Arturo.
Shapes like the Perfecto, which is used in the Hemingway series, are without question, one of the most challenging cigar shapes to make. “When I was growing up we made Perfectos by hand, but as time went by there were fewer and fewer cigar makers rolling Perfectos” says Carlito, who adds, “I wanted to bring back that old world style, just to keep the art, the tradition, the craft, alive”. In addition to this, Fuente has also created new and innovative cigar shapes; The Fuente No. 77 Shark is actually a torpedo shaped cigar that progresses from a rounded Parejo shape to a square press and is the very first of it’s kind.
4. The Blanco Advantage
In 2020 Fuente brought Jose Blanco onboard as the Sales Director for the ‘Eastern Hemisphere’. Within the cigar industry, Blanco is a well known heavyweight, having worked for the likes some of the world’s most respected premium cigar brands. As a cigar blender, Blanco has had a major hand in many of the cigars that have been awarded big time accolades that we enjoy today.
As Carlito says, “I have known Jose for many decades, and find him to be a man of quality, integrity, and passion – all the things we search for when evaluating talent. I’m confident his work in this market will be very beneficial to the continued international growth of the Arturo Fuente brand.” With Blanco on staff, Fuente have elevated their position in the cigar market to even greater heights.
5. Giving Back
In 2004, the Fuentes joined forces with the Newmans (of J.C. Newman Co.) to establish The Cigar Family Charitable Foundation. What began as a primary school in Bonao region of the Dominican Republic has since grown to include a 23-acre campus with a school serving K-12 students, a community kitchen, both medical and dental clinics, sports facilities, an organic farm, and even a fishery. In addition, the two families—in association with the Rotary Club of Tampa—have provided thousands of water filters to homes in the area.
For the Fuentes, their charitable forces extend far beyond The Cigar Family Family foundation. Liana Fuente (daughter to Carlito) oversees the thousands of dollars that are given annually to the American Cancer Society, and recently the brand has released a cigar called Rare Pinks that will see $13 from the sale of each box be donated to the ACS’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer program.
For many cigar enthusiasts, smoking a Fuente is cherished experience.
Given their Cuban family lineage and the cigar making practices brought over from Cuba to America via Arturo Fuente, the Fuente family have perfected the art of cigar making by staying true to the time-honored methods of cigarmaking, while always keeping a keen eye on their next innovation and what lay ahead.
A Fuente cigar is in a category all by itself.
– Kurt Bradley