In early October, Washington, D.C. retailer W. Curtis Draper released the Arturo Fuente W. Curtis Draper 125th Anniversary, the third cigar in a four part series celebrating their 125th anniversary, joining the Cabaiguan WCD 120 REDUX from Pete Johnson’s Havana Cellars and the La Aurora 100 Años. The quartet will be rounded out by a 6 x 46 cigar from Padrón to be released at an undetermined date.
The cigar is said to be very similar to the Don Carlos Senior Blend, here’s what Charlie Minato had to said about the Senior Blend a few months ago:
In addition to the Don Carlos, which is the blend crafted by its namesake Carlos Fuente Sr., a small number of cigars are actually made exclusively for the patriarch of the Fuente family, the Don Carlos Senior Blend. On the outside, the Senior Blend looks like a typical Don Carlos, although Fuente doesn’t make the 5 x 48 Robusto as part of the normal Don Carlos line. Inside, the cigar is presumed to be completely different with the exact details publicly unknown.
The wonderful vitolas.net has the lengthiest description of the legendary cigar:
This special blend of Don Carlos cigar is never released, it is only given away (such as at CFC 2002, 2005, and 2006) or occasionally auctioned. The blend is specially created by and for Carlos Fuente Senior; it’s the cigar he smokes.
This cigar is rolled by only one roller in one vitola only, making 50 cigars a week, this cigar has a Don Carlos profile, but has a very unique taste, due to the usage of tobacco that’s not rolled into any other cigar Fuente makes.The tobacco is aged wrapper from the Oliva farm (the same wrapper used on VSGs), put into the cigar as filler.
The wrapper and filler tobacco used to create this cigar is among the best the Fuentes have available: both have at least a decade of age on them.
The Senior Blend is still given out at select events attended by Carlos Fuente Sr., as well as by the man in person, who is rarely seen without a few mysterious cigars, oftentimes the Senior Blend, in the pocket of his guayabera.
In addition, for the past two years, fuente has gifted a select group of retailers specially-banded versions of the Senior Blend in the form of the Don Carlos 75th and Don Carlos 76th. A single box was given to each retailer free of charge as thanks for their support in honor of Carlos Fuente Sr.’s 75th and 76th birthdays.
A post by Carlito Fuente on the Cigar Family forum further clarified the blend:
The 125th (Anniversary) cigar is very similar to a Don Carlos Señor Blend but in a different profile. Unique but much deserved for Curtis Draper’s 125 years of celebrating life. (sic)
And here’s what the boxes of the Arturo Fuente W. Curtis Draper 125th Anniversary look like.
- Cigar Reviewed: Arturo Fuente W. Curtis Draper 125th Anniversary
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia
- Wrapper: Cameroon
- Binder: n/a
- Filler: n/a
- Size: 6 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 48
- Vitola: Hermosos No.2
- MSRP: $7.50 (Boxes of 10, $75)
- Date Released: Oct. 5, 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: 200 Boxes of 10 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The Arturo Fuente W. Curtis Draper 125th Anniversary looks much like any other Fuente with a slightly veiny, earthy brown wrapper that has a bit of mottling. Prior to lighting, the foot of this Fuente has an incredibly distinctive note that for the life of me I couldn’t instantly place. It’s sweet and bold with an almost minty note thrown in just to confuse the senses. What is discernible is a cereal grain note and a bit of dry wood, but no notable amounts of spice. The cold draw offers a much thicker flavor sensation with a definitive leading note of oatmeal and a touch of dried fruit, possibly even some clove lingering in the background as well. There isn’t spice to be found here either, but rather a woody tang.
Leading off the first third is a surprisingly medium-full body of billowing smoke that is loaded with the warm oatmeal note found in the cold draw, though the texture varies a bit from cigar to cigar. The ash is a very light gray, looking almost white until closer inspection, and holding on for just about an inch before breaking off. After this separation, a bit of pepper starts to enter the nose, while the palate gets more of a baking spice note, an enjoyable complement to the oatmeal flavor that has been driving the cigar to this point. The cigar to this point has been incredibly smooth, so much so that it almost slips past the mind to note just how good it is.
After that first clump of ash drops off, the texture of the smoke in the second third thins out considerably as the oatmeal appears to be a thing of the past. The Fuente continues to put out an impressive amount of smoke and has begun picking up a slightly doughy note. The texture of the smoke stays smooth, particularly in the ambient smoke that wafts into the nose. The flavors start to settle down and mingle together a bit, providing a completely different flavor experience from the first third. There is just a bit of sweetness from the Cameroon wrapper, but smooth, honest tobacco notes dominate the palate at this point.
The final third of the Arturo Fuente W. Curtis Draper 125th Anniversary starts off with a new set of flavors, as a tangy, sharp sweetness that is backed by a strong lumberyard-type wood note. The draw has loosened up a bit, which combined with a slightly thinner-textured smoke doesn’t quite sit as well, though things remain thoroughly enjoyable. While the smoke stays very smooth, it picks up a touch of sharpness thanks to a bit of white pepper. It’s nothing to grumble about, though, as the flavors and texture are still incredibly enjoyable and warrant each stick being smoked down to the absolute nub.
- I can’t say it enough: the size of this cigar is darn near perfect for me. Why more people don’t demand 46–50 ring gauges puzzles me.
- As you might have noticed, all of the cigars made for W. Curtis Draper’s 125th Anniversary have been 50 ring gauge or under. The Cabaiguan WCD 120 Redux was a 42 ring gauge, the La Aurora 100 Años was a 50, this is a 48 and the upcoming Padrón will be a 46. In an era rampant with big ring gauge cigars, it is refreshing to see a series of smaller ring gauges.
- The boxes for all three cigars released to this point for W. Curtis Draper’s 125th Anniversary have had special markings in celebration of the event. Only the La Aurora 100 Años had a secondary band though. My guess is that the yet-to-be-released Padrón won’t have a secondary band but will have a distinctive box, much as they have done for their TAA release and other store exclusives.
- This is the second limited edition release honoring a retailer’s anniversary that Arturo Fuente has made this year: Smoke Inn’s Arturo Fuente Solaris was the first, released for that store’s 15th anniversary.
- Because of tax differences between the District of Columbia and the state of Maryland, the price for this cigar is different at W. Curtis Draper’s two stores. Washington, D.C.’s cigar tax is 12 percent of gross receipts, while Maryland’s is 15 percent of the wholesale price.
- Cynthia Fuente, who was at the release of these cigars, recently celebrated her birthday on October 18.
- Cynthia Fuente appears in a pair of videos from the event discussing the cigars and a number of other topics with George Brightman of W. Curtis Draper recorded by Stogie Review. Part one is here and part two is here, and continue the tradition of conversations with the manufacturers of the cigars made for their anniversary.
- One of the more interesting quotes from the video is that Cynthia Fuente says that she has been asked whether OpusX would ever be made in a 70 ring gauge. “That would send you to orbit and back,” she quipped.
- In the second part of the video, Fuente mentions that she brought a batch of the current Añejo batch to Draper’s, the first store in the country to get this prized late fall/winter release from the company.
- The total production for this cigar is the smallest of the three releases. Both the Cabaiguan WCD 120 REDUX and La Aurora 100 Anos had 3,250 total cigars made, while Fuente made just 2,000 of these cigars.
- Technical performance was outstanding, with my only request being ash that held on just a bit stronger at points.
- Final smoking time is about one hours and 55 minutes.
- To purchase the cigars, call either of W. Curtis Draper’s locations – Washington, D.C. (202.638.2555) or Bethesda, MD (301.907.7990) and tell them halfwheel sent you. They are not available for purchase online.
This is one of the best Arturo Fuente cigars I have had in some time, and the fact that it's $7.50 a stick makes it that much more of a winner. While it may be hard to get your hands on some, let it be motivation to at least try the Arturo Fuente Don Carlos line to get a glimpse of how good this is. If you can find some of the W. Curtis Draper 125th Anniversary version, do it by all means. It's hard to find anything to really dislike in this cigar, other than at points it may just have too much to like. If that is a cigar's biggest problem, I'll take that any day and fill my humidor with them.