Todays review is of another Fuente Anejo, this time the rare size nicknamed the Shark. This 55/8 x 54 ring gauge cigar has a very unique shape, the top half being round, and the bottom half being box pressed. I won't go into full detail about the Anejo blend, as iv'e already reviewed an Anejo before, you can go back and read about it here if you would like.
The wrapper on this cigar is very dark with a great oily sheen and plenty of tooth. I love the unique shape of this cigar. This is a hefty cigar and is very nicely constructed.
The predraw is strait up chocolate and nicely aged tobacco. The initial flavors upon lighting are of strong espresso and velvety dark chocolate. There are tons of deep, dark flavors in this smoke, and a definite leather note that reminds me a bit of the Ashton VSG (another cigar rolled by Fuente). The burn line is slightly wavy, but nothing that needed correcting. At the halfway point there is a slight dried fruit-like sweetness, somewhere between raisins and apricots. I think that the sweet character comes from the wrapper being aged in Cognac barrels. The ash on this thing is incredible! As you can see from the picture, these are so well constructed and solid that you can stand the cigar up on its ash.
This was by far the best Anejo I have smoked! This had about 2 years of age on it and I think that helped round out this flavorful blend of aged tobacco. The wrapper really makes this cigar what it is in my opinion, adding a really nice depth of flavor. I had a Left Hand Oktoberfest with this cigar and the malty beer really worked well with this cigar. These retail for $10.25, but like most premium Fuentes, are usually found with a fairly steep markup. If I am going to smoke an Anejo, I definitely prefer the Shark!
Entries in Anejo (2)
Todays cigar is one of the more rare non Cuban cigars on the market. The Anejo is right up there with the Opus X as far as hard to get cigars, and is usually released twice a year, fathers day and Christmas. This cigar has a Dominican binder and filler, with a Connecticut broadleaf maduro wrapper that is aged in Cognac barrels, giving the wrapper a very distinctive flavor. The cigar is enveloped in a cedar sheath, which tends to add a bit more cedar flavor to the cigar, and just looks nice. The wrapper is jet black, with plenty of oils and really toothy.
The predraw flavor is rich and sweet and definitely tastes like nicely aged tobacco. The initial flavors are rich, much like the predraw, with cedar, dark chocolate, and a very nice sweetness, almost like molasses. The woody sweetness is probably from the wrapper leaf aging in Cognac barrels. This is starting out as a nice medium bodied cigar, and very smooth. The smoke is silky and really coats the palate with its rich sweet flavors. The ash is really hanging on, showing how nicely this cigar is constructed. The burn line is very even, which is always a plus. This is a very consistent cigar flavorwise, remaining very rich and sweet, but not overly sweet. This cigar isnt nearly as strong as the Opus X, its a solid medium bodied smoke with a very different flavor profile. Ive heard that it has a very similar blend to the Opus, but im certainly not tasting it. I think that the wrapper is what really makes this cigar unique and is the main contributor to the rich flavor profile.
Much like the Opus X, there is a lot of hype around the Anejo line. They are made and released very seldomly, which really drives up the price and collectability aspect for this cigar. The retail cost for this cigars is around $8, but the cheapest ive seen them is for around $15, and for as much as $35 a piece. Ive smoked a few Anejos before, and enjoyed them all, but i think if i am going to buy a high end Fuente product, its going to be an Opus X. I find the Opus spicier and more intriguing flavorwise. The Anejo is a very tasty cigar, but personally i prefer more spice over sweetness. If you are a fan of maduro wrappers and Dominican Tobacco, then the Anejo is a must try, especially if you can find them for a reasonable price. Are they worth the high price tags that most shops sell them for? Thats a personal decision ,but for me, there are other cigars i would buy if im going to spend over $10 bucks per cigar.
Im drinking a Fat Tire ale with this cigar, but i think next time i would go with something like a Mojito. The fresh sweetness of the mojito would work really well the the burnt sweetness of this cigar. Sometimes a sweet cigar needs something to balance out the sweetness, and having a sweet drink like a Mojito seems like it would be too much sugar, but its a different kind of sweetness. This cigar has a very dark and rich sweet flavor, like molasses, kind of burnt. A Mojito has the very bright minty sweetness and tangyness of the lime and for me, would work really great with this kind of cigar.