May 8, 2012

Cigar Review: Arturo Fuente Solaris (Smoke Inn's Microblend Series)

Solaris
As I look at this cigar and I write this review I realize this is the fourth and final installment in the Smoke Inn's Microblend Series. It has been a great run for Smoke Inn, and  the four blends have captured those four main points on a compass rose. While each blend differs in many ways, they are all great and unique. Smoke Inn really paired with the some of the best in the industry to honor their 15th Anniversary, and it is fitting and appropriate that they did so. I am seeing a lot of cigar retailers begin to truly honor their anniversaries with cigars of this nature, and I think it is really a great idea for them, for consumers and also the manufacturers. I think it gives everyone an opportunity to use and enjoy tobacco that is typically limited in quantity and of high quality. I need to interrupt this rambling by saying that Abe Dababneh really has done a great job in offering cigars of this nature to smokers around the country, and I would personally like to say thank you. One great thing about this release is that  it was made by the well known Arturo Fuente Cigar Company, and while they are incredible successful and known for so many brands, they don't have many boutique smokes. 

Solaris for Smoke Inn
While there are several companies that are truly boutique and very limited, others approach cigar production in a different manner and wish to produce cigars that are available constantly. I will say that the Fuente Family does put out cigars that limited to season, typically the Opus X and Anejo lines, but most other is produced frequently. With all of that being said, they have rarely released a cigar, if they have at all, that has been limited to 550 boxes. The new Solaris line made for Smoke Inn is a unique cigar because it has a story that dates back to 2006. 6 six years ago the Fuente Family produced a small batch of cigars that was composed of a unique and beautiful Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper. The yield on the wrapper was very limited, and because of this they rolled only so many cigars in one vitola. The cigars have been sitting in cedar aging room since then, and it was these cigars that the Fuente Family decided to release for Smoke Inn.    

Called Solaris, the comes packaged in boxes of ten and bears the common Fuente Gran Reserva band with an additional band bearing the name Solaris. As mentioned earlier, the cigar comes in a single vitola, a Torpedo, and measures 6" with a 49 ring gauge. I imagine the filler and binder tobacco are Dominican, like a dominant amount of Fuente Cigars, and it features a gorgeous Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper. The wrapper is practically vein-less, and very firm and smooth to touch. It is silky and oily at the same time and has a solid coloring that is definitely Colorado in coloring. It has some marbled aspect to it, but it is really red oak in coloring. There is a lovely aroma at the foot of the cigar which shows some cedar, hay, grass and honey notes, and the wrapper has some lovely barnyard characters. It is a very light aroma, but very pleasant and enticing.    
Beautiful Wrapper
Upon lighting the cigar I am immediately greeted with a flavor profile that is light and captures all those great Dominican qualities while showing some age as well. There is a nice bit of wood up front, bits of oak, and as I move further into the first third I begin to pick up some very soft spices, hay, tobacco and nuts. Eventually towards the end of the first third I pick up some coffee and toast notes and it is really a great morning cigar. Smoke Inn's site was absolutely correct in saying that this cigar remains very light but at the same time very complex and flavorful. I get a solid burn line in the first third of the cigar, and it is leaving a light gray ash as well. I found the strength of the cigar to start off at a solid medium and decrease slightly throughout the first third.  

When I get into the second third I am continuing down the road which the first third left me at, and those coffee and toast notes are dominant. Eventually the main flavors being picked up are that of nuts and toast, but it is still showing those wood, hay, tobacco and coffee notes. The spice profile has diminished in this third, and I have a feeling that it will either curve back or be a decreasing rate till the end. The cigar is still burning fairly well, not a perfect burn line, but far from poor, and it is producing that solid light gray ash. It is holding on to the cigar very firmly and the cigar is producing a small amount of condensed smoke. The strength of the cigar is slightly below medium in this third, but I would still consider it close to medium in body. 

I am entering the final third of the cigar now, and like the second third the main flavors present in the cigar take a dominant role. There is very little spice present in this third, if it is noticeable by myself, and the toast and nutty notes are slightly softer than they were in the first third. I would say the coffee flavor profile is slightly stronger than it has been right now, and the oak/woody flavor profile is much more dominant than it has been. The flavors remains fairly similar throughout, but it is a matter of which flavors are more dominant in each third. The cigar is still performing nicely in terms of construction, and I would say the cigar is burning fairly even in this final third. It has definitely produced a solid and pretty ash throughout, and kept that same coloring. On the last draw of the cigar I put the tapered nub down and enjoy the woody flavors and the mild-medium strength finish the cigar possessed.   

This is a perfect example of a cigar that shows so many flavors and complexities while remaining very soft in terms of strength. I never gravitate towards a cigar of this caliber on a regular basis because they typically don't possess the flavors I am looking for, but this cigar really breaks my rule. I always say it is better to look for a cigar that is very flavorful and enjoyable rather than a cigar that is strong, and this cigar shows that. I loved the complexities in this cigar and the actual flavor profile, and you can tell that the aging has softened this cigar even more than what it was originally. While it would be interesting to see what this cigar was like when it was first rolled, it is now that you can see the great result that it contains. I am actually even more interested in seeing how this cigar will be in six more years, and see how many flavors it can hold on to in that time. If you are a fan of mild cigars, flavorful cigars, rare cigars and Fuente Cigars then look no further than this trophy. I give this beauty 92 points and am privileged to have the opportunity to review this cigar. Truly a great way to wrap up the 15 year Microblend Series, and I look forward to 25 years. Thanks Abe!
Solaris by Arturo Fuente
*Cigars sent to me by Smoke Inn Cigars for assessment. 

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