By Tony Casas
Another beautiful El Paso Sunday with a Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark and a Firestone Walker Anniversary Ale XXI.
The Good Stuff:
Created to celebrate Carlos Fuente Sr.’s 80th birthday, The Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark exploded off shelves earlier this year when it was named Cigar Aficionado’s top cigar of 2017. The Eye of the Shark is a smaller rendition of the extremely popular Shark format that cigar smoker’s flock to shops to buy throughout the year. Coming in at 5 ¾ x 52 the Eye of the Shark sports the meticulous square box-press to tapered torpedo that we all love. The cigar is created at the Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia factory in the Dominican Republic, but the details of the blend is held secret. Big thanks goes out to the team at Cuenca Cigars who sent these over to us. They actually feature them in their 2017 Top 25 Cigars by Cigar Aficionado Sampler which they currently have in stock.
Size: 5 ¾ x 52
Pairing: Firestone Walker Anniversary XXI (Imperial Stout 11.8%)
The Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark starts out with the obvious crazy looking vitola. As I stated earlier the foot is box-pressed perfectly square and as you pass a little more than the halfway point the cigar beings to taper and round out until it finishes at a perfect, sharp, torpedo-style cap. The wrapper is a very consistent light to medium brown with a few lighter areas around the smaller veins running through the cigar’s body. The cigar has a decent amount of tooth as well as some slight oils covering the wrapper. The wrapper feels very thin and delicate while the cigar as a whole feels slightly soft. The Eye of the Shark is finished off with the Black, gold, and red accented Don Carlos band we’ve seen on the blends before.
The wrapper on the Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark gives off some slight earthiness and cashew aromas while the foot is much more dirty with notes of spice, and natural tobacco. The cap cut clean and easily using my Xikar XO double bladed cutter. The cold draw produces hints of cashew, leather, light coffee and earthiness.
The first few puffs of The Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark start out with a bit of pepper which quickly fades to release some creamy coffee flavors over cashew, honey, gingerbread, musky dirt, and earthiness. The draw on this cigar is fabulous, every tiny puff kicks out massive clouds of thick, white smoke which hang around for quite some time. The cigar also pours out smoke as it rests in my ashtray. Its worth noting just how comfortable this cigar is due to the format both in hand and in mouth. The burnline is razor thin with some slight waves while the ash is semi-compact and white/light gray in color which held on for a little under an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Into the second third of the Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark and the body has began to increase. With that the flavor profile becomes a bit more targeted with loads of cashew and musk, cedar and honey backed by soft spice and gingerbread. The retrohale really brings out the spice and musk and I find myself doing it quite often. The cigar is now burning brilliantly without any assistance from my torch. I close out the second third without anything in terms of nicotine.
Keeping with the trend the Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark has continuously ramped up in both body and strength since the start of the cigar. The body is now in the medium/full arena while the strength is at the top of medium. The flavors are still leading with cashew and musk, cedar and honey with some gingerbread, cocoa, and a bit of saltiness. It took me almost two hours to take this cigar down to the nub and it was fantastic all the way through. I experienced no harshness, nor extended heat and I closed out the cigar with only a tiny bit of nicotine felt.
It’s easy to see why the Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark is such a highly acclaimed cigar. Was it the best cigar I’ve smoked recently? Probably not, but its definitely one of the better ones for sure. The flavor profile is excellent, construction is flawless, and the cigar delivers. It’s a big pricey but nothing I wouldn’t expect, nor mind paying for the experience it delivered.
Each year Firestone Walker releases a blended beer to celebrate their birthday. I won’t go too far into detail about the blend, but they basically use various versions of their small batch series such as Parabola, Stickee Monkee, Helldorado, etc. This year was the first time they featured these releases in the smaller bottle. The beer starts out with lots of caramel, cocoa, vanilla, a tootsie roll type flavor, maple syrup, and roasted malt with a very thick and sticky mouthfeel before finishing very weet with more cocoa, maple, vanilla, and bourbon barrel. The beer actually becomes a bit sweeter as it warms and while the alcohol was well hidden it really comes out with the warmth as well. The sweetness really added a whole new dimension to the Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark which had just enough body to keep up with the beer.
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