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Best of the Best 2011: Cigars: Arturo Fuente Magnum R-Vitola Fifty-Eight

At a major tobacco trade show recently, there was bustling excitement at the booths of Arturo Fuente, a company known for the quirk of exhibiting empty boxes and politely refusing to sign up new dealers. The cigars of this family-owned company are that much in demand. But for the first time in years, the Fuentes had come out with a new cigar—or rather, a new variation, the Arturo Fuente Magnum R-Vitola Fifty-Eight (www.arturofuente.com, $9). The R is for rosado, a rare, reddish-hued wrapper harvested from the milder, lower primings of the sun-grown Ecuadoran tobacco plants, then aged for 10 years. The number in the name represents a larger 58 ring gauge. At 5¼ inches long, and with a binder and filler from the best Dominican farms—including Villa Gonzáles and Chateau de la Fuente—this semi-box-pressed pyramid is rich, smooth, and silky, with ginger and graham-cracker notes and a mildness that belies its lavish size.

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Photo by Richard Carleton Hacker
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Photo copyright by Laurence Winram studio
Photo by Cordero Studios