Review: Arturo Fuente Don Arturo Gran AniverXario Belicoso (Sun Grown)
For those that enjoyed Brooks’ review of the Arturo Fuente Don Arturo Gran AniverXario Gran Corona (Natural), below is about 2,000 words that are identical to that work.
At the 2011 IPCPR show, Prometheus showed off the 2011 Limited Edition Fuente Story Humidor, a special release of the previously released Arturo Fuente Don Arturo Gran AniverXario in a total of ten sizes, including eight new shapes. This was the second Prometheus release of the Don Arturo Gran AniverXario in 2011, as they previously released them one of each of the two wrappers as part of the 2011 Fuente Story Travel Humidor alongside the Don Carlos Edición de Aniversario Double Robusto and Fuente Fuente OpusX Scorpio Maduro. The Don Arturo Gran AniverXario was first released in 2008 as part of the 2008 Limited Edition Fuente Story Humidor by Prometheus. The Prometheus press release from the 2008 reads:
Carlito Fuente has created a new cigar, Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, in tribute to his grandfather, Arturo Fuente.
These cigars are made with the legendary wrapper leaves from Chateau de la Fuente, the birthplace of a dream.
Carlito Fuente made Don Arturo Gran AniverXario cigars in 2001 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Arturo Fuente Cigar Company, which was founded by his grandfather in 1912. He planned to release Don Arturo Gran AniverXario cigars every year, starting in 2002, to celebrate the 100th Anniversary. However, these cigars were never released.
Don Arturo Gran AniverXario cigars have been aging in the Fuente aging room since 2001. These 7-year-old cigars will finally be presented in the Limited Edition Fuente Story Humidors produced by Prometheus.
2008 is the 96th Anniversary of Arturo Fuente Cigar Company, and each Fuente Story Humidor will come with 96 Don Arturo Gran AniverXario cigars.
The 2008 release quantity: 96 Humidors
- Walnut Burl (30)
- Macassar Ebony (25)
- Red Sycamore (25)
- Yellow Eye Maple (16)
Each box comes with:
96 Don Arturo Gran AniverXario cigars produced in 2001 (Aged 7 Years)
Each box is serial-numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticity.
MSRP $7,500.00 The MSRP will vary, depending on the tobacco tax and import duty rates in the state or country where the authorized Prometheus dealer is located.
Dimensions: 14.13 inches x 14.13 x 9.75 (360mm x 360 x 250)
Weight: 19.85 lbs
Inside were two different cigars:
- Arturo Fuente Don Arturo Gran AniverXario (Natural) — 6 3/8 x 48 Gran Corona
- Arturo Fuente Don Arturo Gran AniverXario (Sun Grown) — 6 x 46 Corona Gorda
Moki of Vitolas.net provides a bit more background information:
Note that these two cigars are not the same vitola; the Natural cigar is 1/8″ longer than the Sun Grown cigar, and it has a slightly larger ring gauge. These cigars were not rolled at the same time, the Natural cigar was rolled a year later.
The Natural cigar has a red ribbon on the foot, while the Sun Grown cigar has cedar and a black ribbon on the foot; both cigars have a slight box press to them. The Natural cigar appears to use an aged Opus X Rosado wrapper (as with the Don Carlos Edicion de Aniversario cigars), and is the same vitola as the Opus X Perfecxion X cigar, except it is 1/8″ longer.
The 48 Sun Grown Don Arturo Gran AniverXario cigars are in fact Don Arturo Destino al Siglo “13″ cigars, the long rumored Fuente 90th anniversary cigars.
In addition, the Prometheus marketing materials state that the Don Arturo Gran AniverXario cigars have been aged for 7 years… meaning they were rolled in 2001, the same year the Don Arturo Destino al Siglo “13″ cigars were rolled.
The wrapper the Natural cigar is an aged Opus X Rosado wrapper similar to the CigarFamily 10th Anniversary cigar. Despite being a slightly different size than the Sun Grown cigar, the Natural cigar actually is the same AF13 blend, but with an aged Opus X Rosado wrapper. The Natural cigars were rolled a year later than the Sun Grown cigars.
The Natural cigar is actually somewhat of a mystery, as even the Prometheus marketing materials seem to refer to this as one cigar, which suggests that the inclusion of this Natural wrapper cigar may have been an ad hoc decision.
Between the 2008 release and 2011, there have been at least two other releases of the Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, more of which is in the Final Notes.
The Prometheus press release for the 2011 Limited Edition Fuente Story Humidor reads:
Made in France
Total of 99 humidors produced in commemoration of the 99th anniversary of Arturo Fuente Cigar Company:
- 35 Walnut Burl
- 35 Macassar Ebony
- 29 Red Sycamore
Each humidor is serial-numbered and comes with a certificate of authenticy.
Storage capacity: 75 cigars
External Dimension: 10 inches Wide x 10 Deep x 6.5 High (25 cm W x 25 D x 16.5 H)
Each humidor comes with 25 Natural and 25 Sun Grown in 5 sizes:
- 5 Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Robusto Natural (50 x 5)
- 5 Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Double Robusto Natural (52 x 5 3/4)
- 5 Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Gran Corona Natural (48 x 6)
- 5 Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Toro Natural (50 x 6)
- 5 Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Short Churchill Natural (50 x 6 1/2)
- 5 Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Robusto Sun Grown (50 x 5)
- 5 Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Belicoso Sun Grown (52 x 5 1/4)
- 5 Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Double Robusto Sun Grown (52 x 5 3/4)
- 5 Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Gran Corona Sun Grown (48 x 6)
- 5 Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Toro Sun Grown (50 x 6)
The MSRP will vary, depending on the tobacco tax and import duty rates in the state or country where the authorized Fuente Aged Selection dealer is located. For customers residing in the U.S., there will be state tobacco and sales taxes. For customers residing outside the U.S., the import duty and local tobacco tax will be added.
The five Natural Gran AniverXario vitolas look like:
- Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Robusto Natural (50 x 5)
- Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Double Robusto Natural (52 x 5 3/4)
- Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Gran Corona Natural (48 x 6)
- Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Toro Natural (50 x 6)
- Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Short Churchill Natural (50 x 6 1/2)
The five Sun Grown Gran AniverXario vitolas look like:
- Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Robusto Sun Grown (50 x 5)
- Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Belicoso Sun Grown (52 x 5 1/4)
- Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Double Robusto Sun Grown (52 x 5 3/4)
- Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Gran Corona Sun Grown (48 x 6)
- Don Arturo Gran AniverXario, Toro Sun Grown (50 x 6)
The three humidors look like:
(Images via Prometheus)
Prometheus has done numerous special humidor releases, one interesting note is that they don’t actually ship the cigars in the humidors themselves. Instead, they ship them in regular cigar boxes.
And the particulars.
- Cigar Reviewed: Arturo Fuente Don Arturo Gran AniverXario Belicoso (Sun Grown)
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia
- Wrapper: Dominican Chateau de la Fuente Sun Grown Rosado
- Binder: Dominican Republic
- Filler: Dominican Republic AF13 Blend (Mixture of OpusX, Don Carlos, Hemingway and 858)
- Size: 5 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Belicoso
- MSRP: $59.90 (Humidors of 50, $2995.00)
- Release Date: October 2011
- Number of Cigars Released: 99 Humidors of 5 Cigars (495 Total Cigars)*
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2*There were 99 Humidors of 50 cigars, but only five were the Natural Version of Gran Corona.
An extensive history of the full release of the Don Arturo Gran AniverXario is in the Final Notes.
The Sun Grown wrapper is a nice reddish brown with a bit of discoloring and a few veins. Overall, the Gran AniverXario is pretty smooth to the touch and relatively clean. As I remember a year ago, the cigar is sort of unique in terms of the wrapper appearance, although you’d easily look over it in a humidor. The aroma from the wrapper is quite strong with lots of aged leather over nuts, pine and a bit of sourness. As is the case with many things Gran AniverXario, it’s not the fullest, but it’s solid throughout. Aroma from the foot features lots of nuts, a nice cocoa and a bit of fruity character; quite complex compared to the wrapper itself. Cold draw continues the close to full trend, there’s a lot of aged tobacco, a core of sour earth over leather, sunflower seeds and a faint white pepper on the back of the throat.
It begins the first third with a great earthy and nutty note followed by some cedar and earth. About 20 seconds in, the Don Arturo Belicoso there’s some sweet woods and cocoa that comes. There’s not a ton of development on the finish, but the Gran AniverXario is full, deep and complex, smoke production is good. Eventually the Sun Grown Belicoso develops a core of cedar on top of earth, there’s some sweet cocoa, vanilla and a pepper on the middle of the throat. While the burn needs a slight up touch up to keep straight, this might be Fuente’s greatest achievement in regards to burn and smoke production.
The second third of the Sun Grown Arturo Fuente Don Arturo Gran AniverXario Belicoso delivers much more of a woodsy profile with cedar and nuttiness taking hold. There’s a bit more black pepper on the back of the throat than the first third and an underlying sweetness. Despite what is a bit of an herbal note developing as the final third nears, the cigar exhibits a remarkable semblance to an aged Fuente Fuente OpusX.
Going into the final third was a bit of a question as to what exactly was going to take place. The incoming herbal note was a bit of a surprise, but it barely makes it into the final third. There’s some cocoa that adds itself into the earth and cedar mixture with a bit of a coffee note on the finish joining the pepper. Construction remains solid until through the final third, although it begins to harshen a bit quicker than I had hoped.
- As you might have noticed, much of this review looks like Brooks’ review of the Natural version of the Arturo Fuente Don Arturo Gran AniverXario Gran Corona (Natural). As has happened in the past, the history for that review was compiled and written by Charlie, the review however was all Brooks. That being said, some of the history bullet points are a bit more in the Brooks’ verbiage.
- This is the fifth release of the Don Arturo Gran AniverXario cigars:
- The 2008 Fuente Story — 96 humidors with 96 cigars in each: 48 of Sun Grown Wrapper, 48 of Natural Wrapper
- 2009 Fuente Story Travel Humidor — 1,000 boxes, each with 1 Sun Grown wrapper, alongside three other cigars.
- 2011 Fuente Story Travel Humidor — Released in of 2011, 1,912 humidors contained 1 Sun Grown and 1 Natural Wrapper.
- 2011 Fuente Story Travel Humidor — Released in November of 2011, 2,011 travel humidors contained 1 Sun Grown and 1 Natural Wrapper.
- 2011 Fuente Story Humidor — 99 Humidors released in October of 2011, each with 25 Sun Grown Wrappers and 25 Natural Wrappers.
- Brooks will save you the time and effort of adding all these up and tell you that the total number of Don Arturo Gran AniverXarios with Sun Grown wrappers officially released since 2008 is 12,105 over different vitolas and the total number of Don Arturo Gran AniverXarios with Natural wrappers officially released since 2008 is 11,105 over different vitolas.
- The Arturo Fuente Destino Al Siglo 13 that has been sold at Casa Fuente and Holt’s during the annual Fuente Mania and is believed to be the same cigar as the original Sun Grown Corona Gorda. The Destino Al Siglo 13′s wrapper, which is Sun Grown, is grown on a special 13-acre part of Chateau de la Fuente.
- Interestingly enough, the original release featured only the Sun Grown version wrapped in cedar, the May 2011 release had only the Natural in cedar, the October 2011 (this release) had neither in cedar and the November 2011 had both cigars in cedar.
- You may remember that I did a review of both the Don Arturo Gran AniverXario Natural and Don Arturo Gran AniverXario Sun Grown back when TheCigarFeed was around, and hated them, to put it lightly. There is a major difference between the cigars from that release and the two we have reviewed this week.
- That being said, neither Prometheus and Fuente won’t comment on when exactly the 2011 versions were rolled, besides that it was a while ago.
- The cigars were actually on display in the Fuente booth at IPCPR 2011, here’s a picture.
- I like the bands for the Gran AniverXario, although to me it’s one of the few times were gaudiness just works. They are extremely well done, with a great portrait of Arturo on the front and portraits of Carlos Sr. and Carlito on opposing sides and gold engravings all over. Also on the band are:
- The year 2012, which is Fuente’s 100th Anniversary.
- Arturo’s signature in red underneath his portrait.
- The OpusX logo on the right.
- Perhaps most interesting, the number “13″ inside a clock logo that was recently used on a secondary band for the Fuente 100 Years release. The reason as to why this is most interesting is that these bands have been out since around 2001, so that means that “13″ logo has been in existence for at least that long, but I have never heard anyone mention it before the ForbiddenX 13 was released. (You can read more about the meaning behind “13″ in regard to the Fuente family in our reviews of the OpusX ForbiddenX 13 God’s Whisper 1924 and OpusX ForbiddenX 13 Nacimiento 1912. The reason for this is likely because the “13″ was on the back, covered by the OpusX logo, meaning that you would have to undo the band in order to see it.
- This is a band that is meant to be on a $50.00 cigar. Photo via vitolas.net.
- More so than in the Natural versions, this cigar really is reminiscent of an aged OpusX.
- Both the Natural and the Sun Grown versions have the same band, but when the respective cigars have a cedar wrap, the Sun Grown wrapper has a black foot band, while the Natural wrapper has a red foot band.
- One retailer is offering the Red Sycamore humidor without cigars for $300.00.
- The size is actually identical to the Ashton VSG Belicoso No.1 and is one of two vitolas (the other being the Natural Robusto) that is not offered in both wrappers.
- Smoke production and draw are truly legendary. Both samples were the best in each respective category I have ever had from any Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia product.
- It seems that this is not the last time that the Don Arturo will be released.
- After smoking four of the new Don Arturos, it’s clear these spent a bit of time in the aging room.
- If you would like to purchase any of the Don Arturo Gran AniverXarios, our sponsors have them in stock. Check out Tobacco Grove or Casa de Montecristo (708.352.6668).
- Final smoking time was one hour and 40 minutes.
- In the interest of full disclosure, Prometheus is a sponsor of halfwheel.
The Bottom Line: Let’s get this out of the way. Is this worth $60.00? No. Is this worth $30.00? Maybe. Unlike the 2008 examples, these were smokeable, they were enjoyable and for the first time it appears that the Gran AniverXario had a vision behind it. To me, this seems very much like trying to create a more elegance and balanced OpusX and in some degrees, mission accomplished. There are only a handful of cigars that I would pay $60.00 for and this isn’t one of them, but unlike the first two Don Arturos, these are at least recommendable. If you are looking for a unique Fuente that retains some Opus characteristics and is the cigar for celebration, the Don Arturo Gran AniverXario looks like a good option.
Final Score: 86