By Russ Ouellette
This is a relatively new addition to the Fuente lineup, with a tawny colored Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper. These leaves are aged in excess of eight years and come from the lower primings. The combination of using lower capas1 with the additional aging should produce a less spicy and more refined wrapper, and in this case, it does. Add in premium quality Dominican binder and filler tobaccos, it certainly seems like a recipe for success.
My experience has been that any reddish tint in a wrapper leaf indicates a livelier taste, but this cigar belies that. What has happened here is the usual pepper has mellowed out into more of a nutmeg or allspice note, and it lingers below the surface. If the wrapper came from the upper half of the plant, I would expect a more paprika-like hint, but the spice is much more subtle.
The Vitola 52 is an attractive chunky robusto (5 inches long, 52 ring gauge) that has a toasty and tangy pre-light aroma with a nice firmness in the hand. The draw was excellent, as I’ve come to expect from Fuente’s premium lines, and before toasting, I noticed wood and nuts.
The initial light brought a short sweet and spicy burst which quickly settled into cedary wood notes and a nuttiness along the lines of toasted pecans. After about ten minutes, I also picked up a distinct cocoa undertone. The flavors were well balanced so that no one flavor dominated the cigar, and there’s a native creaminess that seems to tie all the elements together.
The aroma was pleasantly woody and toasty, but didn’t linger heavily. As I got more into the second half of the Vitola 52, a little mild, white pepper crept in, but never enough to be disturbing.
The craftsmanship of this cigar was top-notch. Firm, but with a smooth draw, it lit and burned evenly except for a couple of small glitches that corrected themselves just by rotating the stick. At one point I may have puffed a bit aggressively and picked up a momentary bitter chemical note, but when I intentionally slowed down my pace, the odd flavor dissipated quickly.
The body of the Vitola 52 is a definite medium, in my book, with some round flavors and a bit of spice which puts in a group that includes cigars like the Perdomo Habano Corojo and the Hoyo de Monterrey La Escepcion.
I smoked this cigar with a Newcastle Brown Ale, as it’s a medium-bodied brew with round flavors, a touch of sweetness and no real spice, so the flavors were quite different while the body was similar. The finish was not particularly long, but it had an enjoyable leather and wood quality.
Overall rating- 84 (12 for appearance, 40 for taste, and 32 for burn).
5 x 52
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Rosado
Made in: Dominican Republic
1. Capa: A Spanish term for the cigar wrapper leaf. The Tobacconist Handbook, by Jorge L. Armenteros, CMT
|Russ Ouellette is the blender/creator of the Hearth & Home series of pipe tobaccos for Habana Premium Cigar Shoppe and www.pipesandcigars.com in Albany, NY. He has been a cigar smoker and pipe tobacco blender for over 30 years. Russ will be contributing articles in several areas starting with reviewing cigars that are the best bang for the buck – something we anticipate many readers will be interested in during these challenging economic times.|