Arturo Fuente Don Carlos – Double Robusto

Cigar on Box Lid

Cigar Stats
Brand Owner: Fuente Cigar, Ltd.
Tabacalera: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia – 
                       Santiago, Dominican Republic
Model/Vitola: Arturo Fuente Don Carlos – Double Robusto
Size: 5.75 x 52
Wrapper: Cameroon
Binder & Filler: Dominican Republic

Other vitola sizes available

  • # 2 — 6.0 x 44/55 (torpedo)
  • # 3 — 5.50 x 44 (corona)
  • # 4 — 5.125 x 43 (petit corona)
  • Belicoso — 5.375 x 52 (torpedo)
  • Robusto — 5.25 x 50
  • Presidente — 6.50 x 50 (toro)

All sizes are offered in boxes of 25

Summary of Ratings from Cigar Cyclopedia
This table shows composite ratings of Don Carlos cigars from multiple publications from 1995 through 2006. All ratings have been converted to a 10-point scale.

1995 Rated once — 8.90
1996 Rated twice (high of 9.3) — average 8.95
1997 Rated 3 times (one 9) — average 8.40
1998 Rated 7 times (high of 9.1) — average 8.87
1999 Rated 8 times (high of 9.2) — average 8.98
2000 Rated 8 times (high of 9.1) — average 8.45
2001 Rated 10 times (high of 9.0) — average 8.67
2002 Rated 6 times (high of 8.9) — average 8.83
2003 Rated once — 8.80
2004 Rated 4 times (two 9s) — average 9.15
2005 Rated twice (high of 8.9) — average 8.85
2006 Rated 9 times (three 9s) — average 8.99

Quote from Carlito …..

We are a family business. Our factories and our plantations comprise our family “kitchen.” By staying in the kitchen, we’re able to consistently produce outstanding tobacco leaves and rich flavored, perfectly balanced cigars that please cigar aficionados every time, everywhere. Because tobacco is in our blood, that is all my family and I aspire to achieve.

— Carlos Fuente, Jr.

The Fuente family’s tobacco roots go back to the old world Cuba of the 1800’s. The brand (Arturo Fuente) now has more than 500 torcedors making over 30 million cigars a year from their factory’s location in Santiago, Dominican Republic. Carlos Fuente and son, Carlos Jr. are celebrities in the cigar world, overseeing every step of the cigar-making process that bears their namesake. Adversity, in the form of embargoes, revolutions and four major fires, has never dampened their passion. Rather, it has strengthened their resolve to produce some of the world’s finest cigars.

Don Carlos Cigar Band

The Fuente family patriarch, Carlos Fuente Sr. spent years identifying which of their rare vintage tobaccos should be blended to produce the Don Carlos and he reserved final approval until he felt he had achieved the “perfect blend.” In every way possible, Carlos Fuente Sr. strived to attain the ultimate in rich flavor, flawless wrapper color and superior construction in each and every Don Carlos cigar. If you speak with Carlos Fuente, Jr., he certainly gives some of the credit to Richard Meerapfel (the deceased grower of Cameroon leaf) for his contribution. Today, cigar connoisseurs the world over acknowledge the Don Carlos is indeed outstanding and worthy of the title, “Pride of the Fuente Family.” Because of the select tobaccos required, and much to the chagrin of Don Carlos fans, these cigars are only available in limited quantities making them difficult to find and the prices high when you do!

Just a little side note on Cameroon leaf. Did you know after they grow a crop in Cameroon they wait six years before planting on that same land again? I guess it’s one of the things you can do when your growing area is nearly the size of France. I think that’s why Josh Meerapfel’s Cameroon (which is used on Don Carlos, La Aurora and Partagas cigars, among others) tastes so damn good! Thankfully, Josh is walking in his fathers footsteps, continuing the legacy of Cameroon tobaccos for all of us.

The Arturo Fuente Don Carlos was originally released in 1976, taken off the market when the Fuentes lost everything to the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and re-introduced in 1986 for the European market. Rolling with 1984 crop tobacco, through spring of 1997 it was only available in 2 sizes (Robusto and Reserva No. 3 which was a corona extra). In an interview with Matt Matalamaki (Cigar Aficionado) late in 1997, Carlos Fuente Jr. informed us that as of early 1997 they began using tobacco from 1986 crops and would release the Presidente, Double Robusto, Reserva No. 2 and Reserva No. 4, by summer or fall of 1998. As of this writing I could not locate the release date for the Belicoso but it is indeed available.

Bottom line up front …..
The Don Carlos Double Robusto is an elegant, medium-bodied cigar, very rich in flavor. The aroma is wonderfully sweet and creamy with notes of earth, leather, oak and chestnuts. This is truly a cigar for connoisseurs IMHO and worthy of the claim of Fuente family pride they instill in this one!

Although many have told me they think it is overpriced, I have thoroughly enjoyed each one I’ve smoked and believe they are well worth the money. It’s always tough making the cost-to-pleasure decision but it is a part of cigar smoking life unless you are independently wealthy, which most of us are not. I can’t smoke these everyday, but when I am in the mood for a “desert” cigar, this one definitely makes the list for those special moments I want to celebrate.

Don Carlos Band and Wrap Closeup

Pre-light
Beautiful to look at, this stick is expertly crafted with a smooth medium brown Cameroon wrap and a well formed slightly flattened cap. Solid to the touch and very smooth on the draw, one can just imagine the care that went into rolling it. Aroma from the wrap is a light cammy scent and from the foot, slightly sweet tobacco with just a touch of horse manure. Draw was perfect with a little sweet tea remaining behind on the lips. I did detect a little spill over glue on the wrap at the edges of the band which had me worried about removing it. When I did there was a small patch of wrap that came off with the band but no effect on the draw or burn. The review cigar was in my humidor for 15 months and the age really did me good!

Seeping Glue

The Smoking Experience
The stick toasts and lights quick and even. The draw was superb and the burn was even although the burn line was tilted. The ash is almost white and holds on like crazy. I ashed the cigar only once when it was nearly to the band. I couldn’t get the band off without disturbing the ash, otherwise I think it may have made it to the nub. The rest of the ash was still on the nub when I laid it down. Smoke production is very good and stays nice and cool to the 2/3 point when it begins to warm up. I had to slow down considerably over the last couple inches to keep the flavors smooth and cool.

Don Carlos - Ash

Arturo Fuente cigars, in general, are notorious for being slow starters. Often the first half inch or so can be rough before the blend warms up. The Don Carlos wasn’t really rough to start, in fact the first few pulls were quite mild with a very subtle tobacco flavor. Then a nice Cameroon “twang” on the nose and at about a half inch it settles into a creamy base of sweet wood and leather. The flavor notes and hints that roll in and out are many. Cherry, nuts, java, caramel, oak, cinnamon and other spices to name a few. The aroma on this cigar turns wonderfully sweet at the half inch mark and remains so throughout the smoke. The final third ushers in a little pepper on the tongue which continues to build to the nub. The finish is medium in length, toasty spice and slightly dry. Need to have a nice cold drink next to you for this one.

My take …..
I like this cigar for special occasions. It has been consistent for me and ages very well. I am always looking for the special deals on Don Carlos (auctions and events) and sock them away knowing how special they will be when I decide it’s time.

 MSRP is currently listed at $231.25/25 or $9.25 per stick. The best online prices are currently at AtlanticCigar.com where you can pick up a 5ver for $42.45 ($8.49 per) and a box of 25 at $184.58 ($7.38 per). Not really that bad!

Smoke Til You're Green

Like it … Very much
Buy it again … Yes
Recommend it … Yes

What others are saying about
Arturo Fuente Don Carlos …..

April 1997
Cigar Nexus, Vol 2. No. 4 – Saka’s Monthly Officious Taste Test
AF Don Carlos Robusto

3 December 2006
MonkeyDan – CigarMonkey
Arturo Fuente Don Carlos #2

22 March 2007
Jesse – CigarJack
Arturo Fuente Don Carlos #2 Cigar Review

Top 25 Cigar – As of 20 September 2007
Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Cigars Double Robusto
24 ratings – 8.61 out of 10

Publications

Summer 1995
An Interview with Carlos Fuente Sr.

November/December 1998
An Interview with Carlos Fuente Jr.
President, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia.

March/April 2002
Cigar Aficionado – Douglas Doan
Essay: Great Moments
Living the Dream. Our tobacco-growing Virginian (Carlitos)
follows his fantasy to the Dominican Republic.

November/December 2002
CA Staff All-time Top Cigars
(Don Carlos has 6 positions)

10 December 2003
Cigar Aficionado – James Suckling
Havana Corner: The Loss of a Miracle Maker
(Richard Meerapfel the maestro of Cameroon/Central
African wrapper tobacco)

1 September 2005
Cigar Aficionado – David Savona
An Interview with Carlos Fuente Jr.
A decade after the introduction of the Fuente Fuente OpusX,
the cigar maker discusses its significance and what is to come

Fuente Cigar Factory Picture Tour

Date Unknown – Cigar Family News Stand
An Interview with Carlos A. Fuente Sr.
A True Saga of Perseverance and Dedication to Perfection

Wikipedia on Arturo Fuente (the cigar brand)

The Cigar Family Website on Don Carlos

 Don Carlos Edición de Aniversario Band

The 30th Anniversary edition of the Don Carlos
Don Carlos Edición de Aniversario

Among the first cigars rolled by Arturo Fuente
The Tampa Sweethearts


… lucky7

“It has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep,
and never to refrain when awake.” (Mark Twain)

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14 thoughts on “Arturo Fuente Don Carlos – Double Robusto

  1. @Cigar Jack

    Me too! When I began to enjoy cigars my favorite Fuente’s were the 2 you mention. I think the Anejo Shark tops the list today but I still enjoy my old mainstays AF Hemingway and Don Carlos.

    Hope you enjoyed the review. Thanks for swingin’ by!

  2. There’s one in the humidor that is calling to me right now…I can’t imagine why… but I think I’ll hold off til the weekend. It’s been a few years since I smoked a Don Carlos, and my tastes have changed in the interim. After reading this review I believe I am fully stoked for another taste. I had no idea this line was so old! 1976? Great research, and a wonderful preview for my upcoming attraction. Thanks Lucky!

  3. @ Arturo Fuente Cigars

    Great suggestion! I am already represented in the Ash Hall of Fame with an ashtray full of long ashes but what the heck. The Don Carlos ash shown in this review definitely ranks up there with the most incredible I’ve had.

    Thanks for checking in!

  4. Pingback: Cigar Beat Blog
  5. I want to tour one of the AF factories in the DR. I can’t find any information on who to call or email to arrange this. Can you help?

  6. @ John L.

    I have never been but would suggest you contact the customer relations guy on the Cigar Family website (karl@cigarfamily.com). I’m sure he can point you in the right direction. As well, these tour operators may be able to help.

    Good luck and have a safe trip!

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