Review: Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva Sun Grown

Ah, Sundays. Everything slows down. Sleep in…big breakfast…some java and later, some football. Bonus: I was going to have the house to myself. For a while anyway. I’d just visited my local humidor for a sampler pack a couple weeks prior and I had my eye on a couple of new offerings I couldn’t wait to smoke. It’d been a while since I enjoyed an Arturo Fuente stick and truth be told, I REALLY had my heart set on an Opus X. Of course, this is just days after reports surfaced of a truck loaded with Opus X goodies was allegedly stolen. Gold indeed, but I wouldn’t know since I’m probably the only one left on the planet who has yet to get his hands on one. This humidor didn’t have anything from the Opus line and in fact, the Fuente pickins at this particular humidor were pretty sparse, with not even an Anejo to be found. One of the salesmen hooked me up with a Casa Cuba, the senior Fuente’s homage to his Cuban roots, and said the Casa Cuba was similar in flavor to the Opus X. He also led to me some fresh boxes of the Fuente Sun Grown. Like a lost puppy caged in a shelter, the Sun Grown was crying out for some attention and it too wanted to come home with me. I obliged. At least they had some toros. Neither was an Opus X, but I was going to make the best of it. So, on a glorious Sunday afternoon, it was just me and my Sun Grown Double Chateau.

 

IMG_2114

 

Quality. Benchmark. Resolute. Global sensation. These are just a few terms that often appear in the same sentence with the name “Fuente”. Any fan of cigars who hasn’t tried anything with the Fuente name on it is truly oblivious. To say the Fuente family and their reputation are well known is an epic understatement. I could write a book on this family and their exploits, but for this review we’ll just break out the highlight reel. In 2012, the Fuente family celebrated their 100th anniversary of making premium cigars. A far cry from when the Cuban-born patriarch, Arturo Fuente, began rolling cigars in his home with his wife. By the ripe old age of 24, Arturo founded A. Fuente & Company and within 10 years was employing 500 locals in what is now Tampa, Florida. One of Arturo’s sons, Carlos, took over the family business in the mid 50’s and chart the course for the Fuente name into legend. Tragedy after tragedy – 4 separate factory and barn fires, hurricanes, etc – the Fuente family continued to find resolve and turn failure into success. The Fuente’s introduced such stalwart blends like the Hemingway, Flor Fina 8-5-8, the Añejo and the first Dominican-grown wrapper which would clothe the now famous, Opus X. For four generations, the Fuente mantra has always been “We don’t hurry things; we just do things the way things are supposed to be done.” A simple philosophy that, infused with dedication, moxy and hard work, has produced something extraordinary.

 

 

Here are the stats:

  • Profile: Medium
  • Vitola: Double Chateau [Toro]
  • Length / Ring Gauge: 6.7″/ 50
  • Purchased: Local Humidor
  • Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Wrapper: Ecuador Sun grown
  • Binder: Dominican
  • Filler:  Dominican
  • Cutter: Xikar XO
  • Lighter: Colibri Firebird 3-jet
  • Price Range: $6 – $7

 

The packaging of this cigar is well done, complete with spill and black satin ribbon hugging the foot. The spill is always a nice touch and there are other cigar makers who also add this feature, but I have to ask, does anyone actually use them? I’ve tried using them once or twice, but I looked like a monkey trying to light a toothpick. The whole experience was just awkward. Once “undressed”, the toro showed off its awesome build. The Ecuador sun grown wrapper is veiny, a bit toothy and has a slightly oily coffee-colored hue. For the life of me, I could not get a solid aroma from the wrapper. I repeatedly passed the stick back and forth under my nose like a bow on a violin – nada. Thank goodness the foot didn’t let me down which offered scents of raisins with a hint of cinnamon. Post cut, along with the aforementioned raisins and cinnamon, the cold draw also provided a wonderful smoky cedar flavor. The draw is excellent.

AF1

Post ignition, the first few puffs were rife with a savory essence of peat and pepper with a coffee finish. Very smooth and toasty profile. She’s a little spicy but not overpowering. During the initial third, the addition of sweet notes of cinnamon is awesome. The finish gets a little “chewy” with a heavy espresso finish. This cigar is wonderful! The combustion is even and the char line is dead on. Unfortunately, I slowed down a bit as I got a bit distracted and it flamed out on me. Fired it back up without issue and resumed.

AF2

The middle third offers a bit more strength and body as the wood notes begin to increase. The spice is a bit subdued now but the savory nature and wonderful dark coffee profile continues. This thing is delicious! Well damn, it went out on me again as if to chide me for too much writing and picture taking, i.e. I wasn’t paying sufficient attention to her. Clearly, this gal likes to be smoked, so take note and give her a puff every 30-60 seconds. I Thought I was, but of course I’m channeling my inner Roman Polanski with the freakin’ camera, you know. Fortunately, that was the last time she went out. I gave her my full attention now. Burn is still great and char line dead on.

AF3

The final third is much the same but the silky smoothness I enjoyed for much of the first two thirds wanes and it does seem a bit harsh at times. This could be the result of me smoking her a bit too fast and she’s heating up on me. So, “no” to the Little Red Corvette approach, hmmm. There’s definitely notes of oak and its very smoky. The finish still smacks of dark coffee. She starts to fade a bit after about 15 minutes into the final third.

This cigar is very enjoyable and one of the more milder sun grown samples I’ve tried. I will say this is the tastiest sun grown I’ve tried thus far, but to be fair I’ve only had maybe 3 or 4. I suspect Rocky Patel’s sun grown may give this one a run for her money and it is patiently aging in my humi. The construction is simply superb and the overall quality is what we come to expect from the Fuente family. The combustion is uniform and the char line rarely budges and if it does its only momentary. The flavors are full and rich with nice transitions and balance, never getting too one dimensional. Really, the only knock is the final third, which does get a bit harsh, but again this could have been my over huffing to keep the thing lit. A cigar of this quality for at or below the $7 mark is truly remarkable. This is good for all us cigarnauts because it raises the bar further on what you get in the $6-$7 range. This is a great smoke and one I know I’ll be smoking again. Haven’t tried a sun grown? This could be your gal, give her a try! – In Fumo Pax!

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