Cigar Review: Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva Maduro

Tomas is back with another review, this time it is the Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva Maduro.

I’ve been enjoying delicious cigars since 1988. I was only 20 years old then, in the US Army and stationed in Frankfurt, Germany. At that time I was only familiar with the machine made cigars. My Grandfather, Guadalupe Cantu (we just called him Grandpa Lupe) used to smoke Travis Club and White Owl cigars. I fondly remember how nice they smelled and how cool he looked driving down the road in his 1963 Chevrolet Pickup with the cigar stuck in his jaw as it slowly smoldered. I was an impressionable young man at that time but as I grew older I soon began to realize the peacefulness, stress relief, and sheer pleasure that he got from having a cigar to enjoy. That first year I was in Frankfurt I didn’t really know too many people but I made friends quickly. I would sit outside on my patio or out on the golf course and puff away and soon found myself surrounded by a handful of soldiers with similar interests. One of them was my next door neighbor Brian, and as a result we hung out quite often. It turned out he liked golf and cigars too! (Then again, who doesn’t – save for a few?) Brian grew up in Florida if I recall correctly and of course there are some very nice golf courses out there and it’s mighty close to Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and South America so I’m sure he had access to very fine cigars as well. It was he, who introduced me to the world of handmade cigars over 20 years ago. One of the first cigars he ever shared with me was an Arturo Fuente, I would later learn why that was such a milestone for me. Fast forward a bit, a few years ago I was visiting with my Uncle Johnny, we were both enjoying a cigar and reminiscing about the days when Grandpa Lupe was still around and how we wish we could have all been enjoying a cigar together. We talked about all the good times we had and as we sat and visited I learned that one of my grandpa’s favorite cigar was an Arturo Fuente. Apparently the machine made cigars were for everyday smokes and he reserved the Fuente’s for special occasions. Ever since then, Arturo Fuente has held a special place in my heart. I love and miss my grandpa dearly and wish he was still here today. My only solace is that I know he’s in a better place and will soon be able to sit around and enjoy a delicious cigar with him one day. Today I’ll be revisiting this line of cigars and I will focus on the Gran Reserva Maduro. To my old friend Brian, Thank You – wherever you are. This one’s for you grandpa…

Cigar: Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva
7.25 x 48 (Churchill)
Connecticut Broadleaf (Maduro)
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Strength: Mild to Medium
Facebook: Arturo Fuente Cigars

Appearance & Construction: The band is the traditional red with gold embossing and a green accent; it has a cedar sleeve and a green ribbon at the foot. It appears way more elegant than it costs which is a bonus, especially if you’re trying to make an impression. The wrapper is very dark and slightly oily. There are a few veins and one sun spot near the foot but the overall construction appears top notch. It’s a little light in the hand and slightly spongy. The nose is delightful, slightly sweet and very aromatic -thanks to the dark, oily wrapper and the cedar band.

Flavor & Notes: Once the cigar is out of the cedar sleeve the nose is slightly diminished. I taste of the wrapper prior to punching it and the flavor is slightly sweet and very slightly spicy, the nose inhales the cedar notes and it’s quite a pleasing combination. The cap holds well to the punch and the pre-light draw is very loose, probably a result of the sponginess of the cigar. After careful toasting the foot takes the flame well and the first puff is quite delectable. There are notes of cocoa, coffee bean and allspice that fill the palate while the nose takes on cinnamon, cedar, oak and a slight spiciness. After a few more puffs there’s a faint dark vanilla and leathery compound in the background that develops, it’s especially noticeable when the smoke is retro haled through the nose. These profiles are quite pronounced for the first 20 minutes of the smoke but soon mellow out to a somewhat non-distinct sweet, earthy flavor. The sweet and earthy flavor takes on the greater part of the stick and while it’s enjoyable it’s not nearly as memorable as the first 20 minutes of the cigar. The complexity at the beginning is very intriguing and will easily capture both the novice and most experienced aficionados at first puff. However, I do wish that the initial complexity would stick around for the entire length of the cigar. The smoke continued to billow out plentifully and the fragrance was quite pleasing until the last 2” of the stick. At that point the flavor and aroma turned bitter, it wasn’t an unpleasant bitterness but more like a black coffee and dark molasses kind of bitterness. I assume it was a result of it being smoked for nearly 90 minutes coupled with the buildup of compounds near the end. Of course, not everyone will appreciate that particular taste profile. It was quite a surprise to me to say the least! Overall this is a one of the mildest maduro’s I’ve encountered. This is one that most will appreciate because it’s got some complexity and it’s not overpowering in the least. I continued to enjoy this one all the way down to the nub at about 1” in honor of my grandpa.

Smoking Characteristics: The ash holds firm and is salt and pepper colored, leaning a bit more towards the grey. The burn line is a very jagged but that may also be due to the very easy draw. I didn’t need to touch up the cigar until the last few inches because it started to tunnel. (That’s also when the profile went bitter!) There’s an ample amount of smoke produced and the fragrance fills the air very nicely. I’ve had this one a few times and it seems to be consistent. This is great smoke for the price if you’re willing to endure a little bitterness in the last few moments, of course you can always quit early too and avoid it altogether. If you’ve not tried a maddie yet, then this should be the first one to try!

Conclusion: Available in almost 20 different sizes from 4.25 x 30 (Exquisitos) to 8.50 x 52 (Canones) and sold individually, or in boxes of 10, 20, 25 or 50 – depending on the size you choose. Available at most B&M’s this is a stick that will please for the most part, especially for the price of admission! I encourage you to give this one a chance in your humidor and see if you don’t agree. It pairs well with a fine Root Beer or a Brown Ale.

Price: $5.75 a stick a Famous-Smoke Shop
Score: 87