Fuente Don Carlos Edición Aniversario
Without the father’s cigar, we would not have the son’s, the Fuente Don Carlos Edición Aniversario, this year’s Best of the Best selection. Carlos Fuente Jr. conceived the cigar to mark the 30th anniversary of the release of Fuente Sr.’s namesake cigar, and in a blind tasting of cigars introduced since spring 2006, our panel of seven experienced smokers, each affiliated with Robb Report, selected the Edición Aniversario as its favorite.
In 1976 in Nicaragua, Carlos Fuente Sr. created the original Don Carlos, a full-flavored cigar similar to those made in his family’s native Cuba. But he left Nicaragua later that year, after Sandinistas razed his factory. Fuente Sr. eventually reestablished the family’s cigar-making operations in the Dominican Republic, and in 1980, he resurrected the Don Carlos.
The Dominican Don Carlos—which sports a Cameroon wrapper and is aged for a minimum of six months, often longer—is as full-bodied as the original. The Edición Aniversario possesses even more depth, but its flavor is considerably more mellow. The cigar is available as a robusto, double robusto, and toro.
“This is not a regular Don Carlos cigar,” says Carlos Jr., aka Carlito. “It’s a special version of his cigar that I am making in tribute to my father, but made ‘Carlito’s way.’ It’s a little spicy with a silent undercurrent that, if you’re not careful, is going to knock you off your feet.”
The difference between the two cigars is the wrapper; instead of a Cameroon leaf, the Edición Aniversario is wrapped in aged Dominican tobaccos from Château de la Fuente. The rich and oily wrapper belies the idea that a dark leaf produces a harshly strong taste; it offers a sugary-chocolate flavor. The taste of the Dominican binder and filler blend is rich and spicy, like that of a New York strip steak without sauce, and the tobacco is so well-aged and -rolled that during our blind testing, I tried to tap off an inch-long ash and it would not budge.
“This cigar is something I think my father will enjoy,” says Fuente Jr., “because the epitome of driving, let’s say, is a Ferrari, and my dad prefers the comfort of a Lincoln or a Cadillac. He’s not the Ferrari type. What I have created is a cigar that’s like a Bentley, but with a Ferrari engine.”