Arturo Fuente Añejo “The Shark” (Gues Review)

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Arturo Fuente Añejo “The Shark” (Gues Review)

This guest review comes to us by way of our good friend
Rich Meade of the Stogie Review Fan Forums.

Today, I’m doing a cigar that is a bit of an anomaly.

Being born out of the result of a hurricane in 1998 that devastated the plantations of Chateu de la Fuente. The result of that hurricane made for a shortage of Opus X wrappers for the 2000 year. Carlos Fuente Jr. made the brilliant decision to go with a different wrapper, an aged Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro. The original release was constructed using the Opus X filler and binder, and finished off with a 7 year old CBM wrapper (8 months of which occurred in congac barrels). Voila! The Fuente Añejo was born.

The Añejo is released twice a year, in the summer (for fathers day) and in the winter (for X-mas). And because of Fuente’s brilliant marketing, they become so hard to find any other time of the year. You can run across them on some online dealers but you will be paying a premium for them. The Vitola I am smoking today, the No. 77, or the Shark, as it is better known, is the toughest to find because it is only released once a year (for X-mas) as opposed to the other vitolas getting released at fathers day as well. Easily reaching a $35 price tag at most online retailers. It might surprise some of you that the MSRP for this cigar is in fact $9.25! We here in Atlanta evidently lucked out because 4 b&ms in the area all received sharks in their yearly shipment. There is a Santa Clause!

…On to the review!!!

Fuente Anejo Shark - 1Fuente Anejo Shark - 2

Arturo Fuente Añejo Reserva Xtra Viejo

Cigar Stats:

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro (Aged 5 years, 8 months in Cognac Barrels.
Binder: secret
Filler: secret
Size: No. 77 (pyramid) “The Shark” (5.8″ x 54)
Price: MSRP-$9.25, I paid – $11.60, Cigar.com – $34.95
Location: Office
Drinking: Sweet Tea

Fuente Anejo Shark - 3

Appearance:

The Shark is one of the coolest looking sticks on the market. It’s super dark maduro wrapper combined with the red satin foot band along with the Fuente Añejo band makes for a striking visual contrast. The vitola, a Pyramid, that is box pressed at the foot and a torpedo at the head is an impressive sight, and gives the cigar an intimidating presence.
The cigar is tightly and evenly packed, but has a slight spring to it. The cigar is moderately veiny, but all are smooth to the touch, and because of the darkness of the wrapper they are hard to distinguish. This is truly a beautiful cigar to behold.

Fuente Anejo Shark - 4

First Impressions:

The aroma of the wrapper is a musty syrupy one, with hints of cinnamon. The foot gives you a nice strong whiff of cognac, an oaky syrupy smell. The cold draw is free and tastes of pure cognac… its like sticking your nose into a snifter and taking a deep breath! The cigar was a little tough to light, but with a healthy dose of butane it proved to be no match. The first puff is all wood… and through the sinuses you get the cognac once again. The finish is nice, heavy and savory, with only a hint of spice on the sides of the tongue.

Fuente Anejo Shark - 5

1/3 (40min):

The woodiness has subsided a bit and is allowing a nice fruity character to come through. The cognac flavor still is dominant, particularly when retrohaled. Each puff is almost like taking a sip of ‘yac. There are some buttery undertones, and the smoke on the tongue is getting slightly sweeter. The finish is still quite heavy, but turning slightly dry about half way through the 1/3. Little to no spice is prevalent. The burn is a bit interesting. Its quite wavy, but with a bit of patience and turning it seems to correct itself.

Fuente Anejo Shark - 6

2/3 (1:15):

Starting into the 2/3, the cigar is pretty consistent as far as flavors go. A nice mixture of fruit and oak, and of course the cognac. There are some occasional hints of cinnamon, and chocolate, which add a nice dimension to the smoke. It has a heavy and smooth character, definitely full bodied. There is a little spice lingering on the finish around the edges of the tongue, but its so fleeting you almost miss it. The burn is still fairly wavy, and requires regular attention, but I’ve not had to hit it with the lighter yet. The ash is fairly strong, holding on for around 1.5″ each time, tho when the stick’s burn corrects itself, the ash from the wrapper tends to flower off, but is only a minor nuisance. The strength of the Añejo is not too pronounced to this point. I feel only a slight buzz, but it could be because this is the first stick I have had today.

Fuente Anejo Shark - 7

Last Bit (2hr):

The flavors are now leaning more into the typical maduro realm. I pick up a bit more chocolate, and occasional pops of coffee. The woodiness is still there, but the fruit has given way to the maduro flavors. The ever present cognac is still found when retrohaling, but is not as in your face as it was in previous thirds. The burn stayed right on par with the rest of the stick, so did the ash. I did get some sap near the end of the smoke, but a quick clip took care of that. The body picked up slightly, but I chalk that up to the cigar heating up, as well as the squishyness of the stick after the band cam off.

Final Thoughts:

The first time I had this stick, I was absolutely blown away. The complexity of the flavor, and the fullness of the smoke make for a fantastic cigar. This time is a little different, and I think I know why. The first Añejo I had was gifted to me at a herf, and had a bit of age on it. It was marked as being an ’06. It didn’t have quite the cognac kick this one had, and felt more rounded. I’m not saying this is a bad stick…in fact… quite the opposite.
The stick I smoked for this review was brand spanking new from the 2008 X-mas release. It had ample amounts of flavor, and came off much like an infused cigar with the cognac flavors permeating every puff. The box press of the shark I feel was the culprit of the wavy burn, but it really didn’t affect the smoking experience. The heart of this fine stick is the oaky, fruity, cognac flavor that makes for a truly unique experience. Based on my experience with “aged” Añejos, It is a completely different journey when these bad boys have a couple years on them. I think brand new… this stick is good… not great. If you are a lover of the “Yac” then you’ll love this stick. This stick is truly like having a glass of XO with a fine cigar. If, you aren’t that into alcohol, or cognac aromas and flavors, this stick, straight out of the box, may be a bit much for you. But factoring in its tremendous aging potential, and unique flavor characteristics, I have to recommend you get one anyway.

Now you may be saying…”why should I pay $35 for a stick that I have to wait to really enjoy?”

Well, first off, you would be foolish to pay $35 for these, (particularly if they are from a recent batch). I realize that a lot of places will not get Añejos, and most people’s best option is an online dealer. But If you look hard enough, you can find them for their proper price. Are they worth $11.60 (what I paid)? Absolutely! Even if you pick up a couple and are not all that impressed with it… save one, let it mingle with the rest of your sticks, and in a few months you will be rewarded. And who says you have to wait?… Many of you will enjoy this right out of the box! But personally I prefer them with some age.
The Añejo has become one of my favorites cigars of the year. Its complexity, and unique flavor are something I look forward to, and savor each and every time I light one up.

Liked it: Yes… but with a year or so under their belt reveals a much more balanced and rewarding smoke.
Buy it again: Yes… but I’ll be patient and hunt down the properly priced sticks.
Recommend it: ABSOLUTELY…be sure to get an extra one with the intention of aging!





enjoying cigars since 2005

9 thoughts on “Arturo Fuente Añejo “The Shark” (Gues Review)

  1. Love the sharks and got a box last month but having a hard time finding the 55s at a decent price.
    Thanks for the review.

  2. Good review. I recently had the 2008 release, I think the 46, and I had a similar experience. I felt the hit of cognac you get that early was a little to much, and didn’t really settle down until around the final third. I have another stick that I am aging, and will be for a while, so I’ll see how the flavors meld whenever I smoke that. I payed about $15 for mine on a trip to Ohio around Thanksgiving, and there was a limit to two at the shop. Those prices online are pretty effing nauseating. Definitely worth it if you can find a decent price, though.

  3. I’m agree with this review!! It’s quite the same expirence when I smoke them… I love the 55’s too. As they say… Only Fuente is Fuente

  4. Nice review but I just wanted to state that Sharks are rolled with a square foot, not box pressed. The box may help them keep their shape but they come off the roller’s table square. And they are only rolled by one person. A woman. She is known as the Shark Lady. These facts, to me, make the Shark an even more enjoyable pleasure.

  5. I Had my first anejo about a year ago. I believe it was a a #46, It was a petite Corona for sure though and it was given to me at a herf and it too hadabout a year of Humidor age on it and it was Just good! Easily one of my top 5 Maduro Cigars.

    Yesterday I went to my local B&M and asked if he had any Anejos (he has Opus almost all the time even WOAM’s) and he said I just got this box yesterday lets see, (He knew there were at least one box as he was assured that from the broker but he recieved 2 boxes of anejos 55s and 77s)

    Here in California an Opus or Anejo basically run around $20-$30 and this is just the way it is here, First the state tax is 47% and the new federal tax makes the price double MSRP also due to the fact that I Live in San Diego County and if i were to go downtown to get one they would easily be over $30. Luckally I live near one of the only 2 B&M’s in my area of the county that carries high end cigars and have good humidors, (not desktop displays with 3 brands in a cigarette store)

    The Store I go to is about 8 mi away, is the nearest place that has a good selection. What i pay for a cigar here is normally an easy rule of thumb they cost 3 times the MSRP. This goes as this $9 dollar cigar becomes about $16 with taxes and then the B&M charges about another $6 making the total cost around $23 for me (almost internet prices but its better as its from a B&M) But not expensive enough or unavailable in my area so i am not moving, I have had the Miami dream many nights to live in Miami and buy Great Cigars for reasonable prices and even talk to some rollers! (i am Jealous of you Miami Guys).

    Well I bought the Shark and I am going to have it today after my thanksgiving meal while watching football drinking a bottle of Ale Smith Grand Cru. (a Local San Diego Craft Beer brewed with Belgian Triplet Yeast giving it a 10% Alcohol content, actually i bet it will be gone after dinner is over so I don’t know what i will be drinking today I wont be driving so its up to what i have at home so it sounds like its gonna be either Knob Creek Whiskey or just water as i don’t think the whiskey will do great with cognac taste I have just read to be very prevalent in a newly purchased cigar, It cam out of the Box yesterday and only had one night in the Humidor) I bought some of these last year for thanksgiving and let the wine drinkers believe it was wine before i told them it was actually beer, they were the kind of people that didn’t believe you could buy a very high quality beer I suggest anyone Look it up I get it at my local BEVMO so IDK how widely available it is but I Suggest it to anyone wanting to try a new experience with beer.

    In all I thank you Rich for writing up this great guest review In all I hope i have a good Thanksgiving meal today and I hope Everyone who reads this either is going to or have already had a Great meal. (only thing is im the cook! (WTF is that about! I swear the wifey can Burn Water and she knows she cant cook a lick and the sad thing is her mother was one of the best COOKS EVER, Almost as good as My Grandmother LOL)

    Well after this long post about nothing is done I thank you for a good read and keep it up! keep smoking to all. I think next week I will pick up 2 more sharks and 2 55’s to age for next year. I would give one to my father but he is a cigarette smoker and doesn’t smoke cigars (IDK why it skipped a generation as my grandfather was also a BOTL) My son will Smoke cigars (when he is 21 though LOL unless he gets his own when he is 18 which would be better as that way i would feel he wants to be like his dad but he is still 14 years away from that …. anyway i am beginning to write my memoirs and this was supposed to be a short post so i am done now.

  6. Is Matthews post a joke? I can’t figure it out……..Are you bored for Turkey Day?

    Nice review. My Shark was a bit harsh when I lit it but then became a great smoke.

  7. I smoked a #50(I think) in my 1st 2yrs of smoking cigars and hated it, aged one for a year, still hated it. 7-8 yrs down the road (earlier this week) tryd again, fell in love.. Tonight, smoked the Shark, fell DEEPER in love.. Cognac is my poison (Meukow) do I paired that along with the smoke and was well REWARDED.. This will be a smoke for special occasions.. If you like cognac, you OWE IT to yourself to smoke this cigar..

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