Arturo Fuente isn’t known for lanceros, yet, when they make one, it generally has a pretty noted following.

There is the Fuente Fuente OpusX Phantom, which isn’t really sold. There was once a maduro version, which was challenging to find at the time, let alone now. The Lost City Lancero is sold, albeit in small quantities. The Casa Fuente Lancero is available at the Las Vegas-based store, though you have to ask one of the staff to get you one, as they are stored behind the counter and typically limited to two per person, if in stock.

Then there’s the Don Carlos Lancero. It’s been released a couple times over the years, but is still something you’re unlikely to find by walking into most shops. Earlier this year, I was given a Don Carlos Lancero with the new black band, presumably the same blend as previous iterations, though you can never be 100 percent sure with Fuente. I opened up a humidor trying to figure out what to redux and realized this would make for an interesting candidate, plus, I just wanted to smoke a Don Carlos Lancero, so this is a slightly different take on a redux review.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Lancero
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia
  • Wrapper: Cameroon
  • Binder: Dominican Republic
  • Filler: Dominican Republic
  • Length: 7 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 41
  • Vitola: Lancero
  • MSRP: n/a
  • Release Date: 2001
  • Number of Cigars Released: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1

The cigar, like most versions I’ve smoked, comes in a cedar sleeve. There’s not as much cedar off the wrapper as I would expect; instead, leather dominates and jasmine rice is a close second. The foot is substantially sweeter with oatmeal raisin cookies, some mahogany and prunes. It’s medium-full, noticeably more intense than the wrapper. Cold draw is somewhat tight with raisins, cocoa, some multigrain bread and a touch of cereal.

It starts woody with Ritz cracker, a restrained buttermilk creaminess and a touch of black pepper. It’s lacking some of the typical Cameroon flavors, but when I retrohale I get the enjoyable sweet and peppery contrast from the wrapper. The first third settles to a woody and graham cracker core with some buttermilk creaminess behind it. Through the nose there’s burnt caramel, black licorice and whole clove, the latter particularly on the finish. It’s medium-full in flavor, though slowly creeping up and by the middle part, it’s full. The flavor is earthier with grassiness and walnut taking over the mouth. A touch of black pepper, followed by some white pepper, peppermint and Angostura bitters makes for an interesting retrohale. The final third sees a return of the graham cracker to the forefront, with less than an inch left the Don Carlos shows its first signs of harshness with earthiness and creaminess masking it. Through the nose, there’s an acidic coffee, toastiness, oatmeal raisin and some medium dark chocolate.

Construction is great from start to finish. The draw ends up being quite good with copious amounts of smoke if I take a deep draw. I never find myself needing, or even contemplating taking out the lighter. Strength is medium to medium-plus throughout, bouncing around at times, though it’s basically medium.

The cigar for this review was given to halfwheel by Carlos Fuente Jr. while touring Fuente’s farm and the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation at Procigar 2017.

95 Overall Score

I smoked the cigar down to a third of an inch. That’s a rare occurrence for me, probably the first time this has happened all year. It’s a testament to just how good this Don Carlos was. I’m not sure whether Fuente has any plans to actually sell this cigar in any capacity this year, but if you do happen to pick one of the new black-banded Don Carlos Lanceros, I’d highly recommend it. This was as good of a Don Carlos Lancero as I’ve smoked—and there’s been a few of them over the years.

Original Score (May 2011)
Redux Score (February 2012)
Redux Score (June 2017)
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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.