Thanks for the info brooks. I read this a while back and decided I had to collect all 4. Little did I know how difficult the Don Carlos Shark would be to get. I got the other 3 and decided to smoke them, until I got a line on a DC shark. Well I got it today, and it is the most I ever want to spend on a cigar. Now that I have it, I don't know what to do with it. To rare and pretty to smoke it right away.
Behind the Cigar: Arturo Fuente “Shark”
The Fuente “Shark” vitola of cigars is one of the most recognizable sizes of cigars on the planet. It is a Round to Square shape, with the cap being a more normal rounded cap, but as the cigar progresses to the foot, the shape gradually squares up until it ends at a perfect square at the end.
This vitola was first seen as a prototype given out at CFCF in 1999, and was called (oddly enough) a “Round To Square Shape” or “Bull Shark”, and was 5 5/8″ x 54. It was never officially released, and it had a rounded cap, compared to the pointed belicoso-style cap of later incarnations…
The next time this vitola was seen was in the Añejo line of cigars, as the “Añejo Shark No.77″, which was released in 2001, one year after the rest of the Añejos were first released, in 2000. The vitola was such a hit (and so memorable) that cigar smokers started referring to it as just a “Shark”, and not using the RG to identify it, as is usually done with most other Añejo vitolas, i.e. Añejo No.48, etc.
Here is some info on how the Añejo “Shark” came to be produced (and where the name came from) via Vitolas.net:
The Añejo Shark was actually made and named because of Marvin Shanken (Cigar Aficionado owner) and Carlito’s brother in-law, Wayne Suarez. Carlito named it the “SS Shark” because they both loved this vitola and blend; one “S” stood for Shanken and the other “S” stood for Suarez.
The “No.77″ designation comes not from the ring gauge of this cigar, as it does for the other cigars in the Añejo line, but rather from a more amusing reason altogether.Carlito took his kids to Sea World in Orlando, FL, and there noticed that some of the sharks in the tank had two pectoral fins, which looked sort of like two 7′s.
As of this moment in time, there are now four different “Shark” vitolas in the Fuente lineup, not including the prototypes, which are extremely difficult to find, let alone buy. (All info Courtesy Vitolas.net):
They are (from left to right):
- Añejo No.77: Originally released in 2001, one year after the rest of the Añejo line, this cigar sports a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper (as do all the Añejos), the No. 77 is also the only Añejo vitola not wrapped in cedar.
- Sand Shark (i.e. Cameroon wrapped Añejo Shark No.77): This cigar is identical to the regular release Añejo Shark No.77, except that it has a Cameroon wrapper in lieu of the normal Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper found on the Añejo line. These cigars are made on occasion for Cigar Aficionado owner Marvin Shanken, because of his love for Cameroon wrapped cigars. They were also made available in November of 2006 as part of the Carlito’s Way sampler from Holts Cigars. About 2000 of the Carlito’s Way samplers were sold, and as far as I know, that was the only public release of the “Sand Shark.”
- Opus X “Shark”: This cigar is the exact same vitola as the Añejo Shark No.77, but with an Opus X Rosado wrapper and blend. While this incarnation of the “Shark” was only available in special box sets (like the Opus 22 Box) for many years, it has now become more widely available as a periodic box release from the Fuentes at various times during the year.
- Don Carlos “Shark” (or “Suarez Shark”): This specially made “round to square shape” Don Carlos Shark is thinner than the Opus X and Añejo Sharks. This vitola and blend of Don Carlos tobacco was created especially for Wayne Suarez, who is married to Cynthia Fuente. Only a handful of these are thought to be in public circulation. Wayne noticed a cigar mold that wasn’t being used, and had these specially made from that mold.