There are companies who are fairly secretive about their cigars, and there are companies who are very forthcoming about the details of their cigars. And then there are companies who are both, one of which is Arturo Fuente.
Fuente is certainly an admirable company, having reached seemingly global prominence and some of the highest levels of exclusivity and desirability while still remaining present in seemingly every retail humidor in the U.S. Almost regardless of where you are, a Fuente cigar is seemingly never that far away.
As is the norm, a few weeks before this review was published, a notification showed up on my phone and computer that I had a cigar to review, one with a fairly interesting name: the Arturo Fuente Naked Kings. For a company that had previously released—sort of—the OpusX PJ, my imagination began to run a bit wild.
But what showed up in my mailbox not long after was anything but salacious, or even suspicious. The name reminded me of the Arturo Fuente King T Rosado, which I happened to review in May 2012. Yet the cigars looked much like the company’s Magnum R line, wearing that line’s red and gold Rosado Gran Reserva line band.
So as usual, we asked the company about just what these cigars are. And then we asked again. And then we asked again. And then, finally, a response.
At first, some more notable retailers listed this as a King T releases without the tubo, hence the naked part. But Liana Fuente told halfwheel they are not only a different blend, but the first release of a new blend. Specifically:
It is a first time release blend with Corojo wrapper 6 7/8 by 49. Cigars were made in early 2019 and released as part of our Support Local Initiative. It’s the first of a new series with a hint of a new tobacco Arturo Fuente has never released before. Sorry that is all I can say.
Our “Support Local” program was designed to focus on Brick & Mortar retail stores. Special releases such as Rare Pink, Forbidden X, and the Father and Son cutter, as well as the wholesale section of our Fuente Merchandise Online Store, are all recent examples of this meaningful program.
They shipped to retailers in Fuente-branded Boveda bags of 10 with an MSRP of $95 per pack.
- Cigar Reviewed: Arturo Fuente Naked Kings
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia
- Wrapper: Undisclosed (Corojo)
- Binder: Undisclosed
- Filler: Undisclosed
- Length: 6 7/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 49
- Vitola: Double Corona
- MSRP: $9.50 (Pack of 10, $95)
- Release Date: December 2020
- Number of Cigars Released: Undisclosed
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
For having the word naked in its name, the Arturo Fuente Naked Kings is decently dressed, wearing the standard Fuente Rosado Gran Reserva primary band as well as a red ribbon for a foot band. I’m not totally sure this is intentional but the cigar has a bit of a press to it and as such has a slightly oval shape. As for the wrapper leaf, there are moments I look at it and think I catch a more rosado hue to it, with a bit of red seeming to emerge, yet when I look at it straight on, I don’t see it quite as vividly. That said, it is still a very good looking wrapper leaf with a color that reminds me a bit of reddish jerky, evenly colored with a nice sheen that translates into a bit of oiliness on the fingers, some toothiness and a decent vein structure. The foot delivers a light, slightly sweet aroma of cherries, slightly damp soil and woods, the latter of which remind me a bit of the Pacific Northwest even though they’re not particularly bold or direct, and the combination more of an ambient smell than anything. The cold draw is a bit more forward, with the same combination of cherries and woods quickly followed by a dry tobacco flavor and a touch of pepper. It’s not as damp but feels just a bit juicier overall.
The Arturo Fuente Naked Kings starts with the same kind of profile that I remember from the Arturo Fuente Rosado Sungrown Magnum R 44, which I always considered the standout of that line as well as a favorite in the Fuente portfolio on the whole. It’s slightly sweet, a bit woody, a touch tangy, and with some light pepper on the finish, a combination that is very enjoyable and an easy start to the cigar. There continues to be an underlying fruit sweetness that just barely whispers into the profile, sometimes cherries and other times a red apple flavor, but either way something worth listening for. Retrohales meanwhile are more vocal with pepper and fairly full-bodied smoke. As the first third progresses, it gets a bit smokier and more peppery, both of which nudge the sweetness and woodiness out of the way, or at least give the latter a bit of char from time to time. One cigar is appreciably creamier than the others, and the result is definitely positive. By the time the first third is complete, the cigar is definitely more wood forward, and almost singularly woody through the nose except for a bit of black pepper. Construction is generally very good with only an occasionally firm draw, but combustion, smoke production and the burn line are all very good. Flavor is medium-plus to medium-full depending on how many retrohales are incorporated, while body and strength are a tick over medium.
The second third of the Arturo Fuente Naked Kings continues with a profile that has slowly turned a bit rougher in texture, with puffs not as smooth as they had been previously. The flavor hasn’t changed much, other than that the fruitiness takes a break until the midway point when it comes back just a bit thicker in texture than it had been earlier. While it doesn’t quite go down the route of smelling like a holiday candle, there is a bit of the same density as I pick up notes of cherry and cranberry. When that aroma dials itself in, the fragrance is very enjoyable and easily the high point of the cigar through the first half. There continues to be a bit of roughness in the profile from time to time, never enough to have me wanting to put the cigar down, but just enough that it does detract from everything else that the cigar has going on. Flavor stays closer to medium-plus for the majority of this section, body is close to that, while strength is medium-plus and seemingly getting stronger, yet doesn’t want to take that next step.
The overall profile of the Arturo Fuente Naked Kings hasn’t changed much as the burn line enters the final third, staying in the medium-full range. The one thing that fluctuates is the sweetness and as such the overall complexity of the cigar, and as it was earlier when it’s there the profile is all the better. There also seems to be a bit of creaminess trying to reenter the profile, and again, the end result is all the better. The earthiness is a bit lighter, yet it retains its moistness from earlier. When the roughness subsides, the cigar is quite palate-friendly, though those moments aren’t as plentiful as I would like. A wonderful cedar sweetness emerges in the final inches, a fleeting flavor that leaves the cigar to finish with notes of dry wood and a bit of pepper, both of which are enjoyable if a bit biting on the tip of the tongue. Each of the cigars continues to smoke beautifully, with plenty of smoke production, an even burn line, and very good combustion. Flavor and body finish medium-full, while strength has backed down a tick and finishes closer to medium.
- The Arturo Fuente Naked Kings definitely had me thinking I should smoke the Arturo Fuente Rosado Sungrown Magnum R 44 again before long.
- One of the notes I keep on my phone is a list of cigars I should revisit when I find myself in a humidor and looking for something to smoke. I think there is a lot to be gained from lighting up a cigar that you’ve had before but it’s been some time since you had the last one.
- One of the three samples measured closer to 51 ring gauge, even though this is said to be the same vitola as that of the King T, which has a 49 ring gauge. I wouldn’t say that I’m yet skilled enough to recognize the difference of a ring gauge or two, but having smoked a number of corona dobles and Churchills, I like to think that I know what a 49 ring gauge feels like.
- Given the comments about what this blend might be, this seems much more related to the Arturo Fuente Unnamed Reserve than the King T. Through 2013-2015, Arturo Fuente shipped a new Unnamed Reserve release to select retailers in 10-count boxes, with similar packaging and basically no info about what the cigars were. Like the Naked Kings, those cigars would show up in December.
- There is a part of me that thinks of this cigar much in the same way as I think of the Casa Cuba line when compared to the Divine Inspiration. I wasn’t a fan of the former, but I would gladly pick up as many of the latter as I can find. Hence the thought of I may not like this, but I really like what it could become.
- I didn’t get much if any nicotine strength from the Arturo Fuente Naked Kings, either while smoking it or once I was done.
- Arturo Fuente advertises on halfwheel.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was two hours and 40 minutes on average.
- Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar Co. carried the Arturo Fuente Naked Kings, but they are sold out.
When you get a new Arturo Fuente cigar with a bit of mystery behind it, or some at least some undisclosed details, there is a tendency to over rate things simply because of the cigar's mysterious allure. But with the extensive Fuente portfolio, it's a bit easier to figure out where to slot this in. Is it better than the Magnum R 44? No. Is it better than the original Chateau Fuente King T in the tubo? Yes. Is it better than the Casa Cuba Divine Inspiration? Not by a long shot. This is a blend I'd love to explore in a few more vitolas, or with some slight tweaks, to see what all it might be capable of delivering. If you can find it, I'd certainly suggest grabbing a few as this could be a cigar that turns into something great, and if you're into tracking the lineage of cigars, could certainly make for one to keep in your collection. But that said, I think there might be just a tick more value in having this cigar for what it could be than what it is, so take that for whatever it's worth.