Arturo Fuente Añejo No. 77 Shark Xtra Viejo (Reserva Superior Limitada)

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Arturo Fuente Añejo 

Being located in the Caribbean leads to the potential of hurricane destruction, and in 1998 Hurricane Georges did that to the Dominican Republic and the Fuente Family at Chateau de la Fuente. That year the Fuente’s had to rebuild their farms and buildings, and though it had an affect on that years production, they knew that they would see the destruction in years to come. In 2000 the wrapper that was typically used on the OpusX was not available because of the hurricane years before, but that did not prevent Carlito from making a great cigar. Carlito Fuente decided to purchase some aged Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper tobacco and construct a new cigar with the same rare and flavorful tobacco as the OpusX but with a different wrapper. That year was the birth of the Arturo Fuente Añejo, and soon to be the most limited of all Fuente Cigars. The line is only released typically around Father’s Day or before Christmas, and because of that they go very fast. What makes the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper so unique on this cigar is that it is aged for five years before use, and aged in cognac barrels. While all these cigars are limited to being released once a year, the most limited vitola in the line is the No. 77 Shark, which was released in 2001, a year after then initial line release. There aren’t many vitolas within lines on regular production that are very special and limited, but the No. 77 Shark is. Besides being very limited to its production the cigar is one of a kind. Measuring 5 7/8″ the cigar begins with a 64 ring gauge and tapers off to that of a 50 at the end. This makes it a true a piramide because of the decreasing ring gauge, but it is also unique in the since that it is box pressed at the foot and eventually becomes rounded halfway through to the end. There may be other cigars like this on the market, but I have never seen them, and because of this I consider this cigar one of a kind. The Fuente Family does make three other cigars in this vitola. One of them is the Fuente Fuente OpusX Shark No. 77, Añejo No. 77 Shark in a Cameroon wrapper (Sand Shark), and the Don Carlos “Shark.”  I have never been able to get my hands on any of these other cigars, and the Don Carlos “Shark” is their most limited cigar. I have been able to buy the standard Añejo No. 77 Shark when it is released, but never more then a handful of them. I have had the chance to buy a box of them, but I don’t because I want others to have the opportunity to have one. I am one of those smokers that would rather share a box of 20 with other smokers then keep them all for myself.

If you are wondering where the No. 77 Shark gets its name from, it comes from when Carlito took his kids to Sea World in Orlando, FL, and there they noticed that some of the sharks in the tank had two pectoral fins, which looked sort of like two 7’s.

The cigar is incredible to look at, and the wrapper is just gorgeous. As I said earlier it is a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper that has been aged for five years, and encompasses Dominican tobacco for the binder and filler. As to be expected, the cigar is made at the Chateau de la Fuente in the Dominican Republic. The fact that the cigar is round and box pressed adds mystique to the cigar, and will also change how the cigar tastes. Usually with box pressed cigars you have the opportunity to really get a lot of the flavors out of the wrapper, because it is stretched in the pressing process. This is something you don’t get with a cylinder shaped cigar. The aroma of the cigar is very pleasant, and I am picking up hints of wood, cocoa, earth, raisins and a touch of spice. The cigar is very firm throughout, and the construction on this cigar is particularly top notch with a beautiful black maduro wrapper.

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Arturo Fuente Añejo Reserva Xtra Viejo

When I light up the cigar I am immediately gifted sweet wood flavors. As I get further into the third I begin to pick up hints of earth and raisins and the cigar is very pleasant. There are touches of spice with the cigar, and there is also that wood and sweetness as well. The cigar is burning fairly well, little wavy, and producing a solid gray ash. Even though the ring gauge is fairly large at this point, I still am able to pick up a lot of flavors from the dark Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper. I would say the cigar is around a solid medium in terms of strength and is a flavorful and easy smoke. The draw is fairly loose on this cigar, but that could come from my cutting of the tapered head. In the second third I begin to see some more complexity in the cigar, and I also begin to see the change between box pressed and your standard round cigar. The cigar is still smoking at a solid medium in terms of strength, and I am beginning to see an improvement on the burn as well. The ash has nice colors of charcoal gray and is holding on to the cigar very well. There is a rise of spice in this third and it is a perfect match to the wood, earth and raisin flavors from before. I also begin to pick up hints of leather and stone fruit in this third of the cigar and it is getting more and more complex. At the end of this third the box pressed cigar is no more, and I am close to the 50 ring gauge. As the cigar comes to a close the flavors change once more, and the finish is spectacular. There is an emergence of anise notes in the cigar, and it balances the spices very well. I am still getting those lovely notes of stone fruit, raisins, wood and leather, and there is also an emergence of nuts and cocoa. Along with a great amount of flavor increase and change, the cigar continued to burn well throughout this third and all the way to the end. The cigar has not been producing a great amount of thick smoke for rings, but that is neither here nor there. In terms of strength the cigar is a little over medium now, and it finishes wonderfully and cool all the way to the nub. This was a very enjoyable cigar, and I find that it is much different than the other Añejo vitolas. The fact that the ring gauge of the cigar decreases from a 64 to a 50 is sign enough to see that there will be a change in the flavor profile for this cigar, and it is because of this that the cigar is very unique. The size for this cigar has become so popular that they have released four different cigars in this vitola, and it has become very popular while remaining very limited. This is definitely a cigar to buy a bunch of and hold on to so that you can have some to enjoy on special occasions till next years release. If you are a fan of Fuente Cigars and Connecticut Broadleaf cigars then I suggest you definitely smoke this cigar. and get as many as you can. I give the No. 77 Shark a 92 rating, and look forward to next years shipment. I know I have a couple of these in my humidor, and I am going to pull these out for those Shark needing times. Best of luck in finding these this year!

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Shark No. 77

   

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