While doing my homework for this week’s cigar review, I was a little surprised to learn that Arturo Fuente’s Rosado Sungrown Magnum was released at the tail end of last year. Sure, I heard rumors about them and even saw one given out at a Fuente event last year, but since I hadn’t seen them around until this past week, I assumed that they just hit the market. And then I remembered a funny story. Actually, not as much funny as it is irritating.
It seems that a shipment of these Magnums arrived at Buckhead Cigar, a regular haunt of mine, at least a month ago. In the course of delivering the cigars, the guy dropping them off asked if they were the new Fuentes. Mike, the proprietor, told him that they were. In a move that surprised everyone, the mail carrier bought every single one, right out of the shipping boxes. The cigars never even crossed the threshold of the humidor. In this Olympic season, somebody deserves a gold medal for the speed of that turn around.
But enough of my sad tale of denial, it’s time for a little pertinent information. The Rosado Sungrown Magnum comes in three vitolas, each named to reflect their respective ring gauges. The 52 (5 x 52), the 54 (6 1/4 x 54) and the 56 (5 5/8 x 56). Despite the imposing name “Magnum”, the story is that Carlito Fuente wasn’t going for a powerhouse cigar, targeting instead the medium-bodied profile of the smokes from the days before the full-bodied trend. To achieve this end he used 8 to 10 year old sun grown wrapper tobacco, the same used on their other sun grown cigars, except, these are from a lower priming. And once made, he set them aside for a year to age.
Now let’s see if Carlito’s efforts have paid off.
Size: 5 x 52
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Sungrown Sumatra
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: MSRP $6.75
When I finally laid eyes on Rosado Sungrown Magnum, the first thing I noticed was the band. What struck me wasn’t that it was an attractive, eye-catching golden band, but that it was a break from tradition. It’s a completely new band, not a variation on the classic, and that doesn’t happen often. Clearly this is a cigar that’s meant to stand apart from both the regular lines and the seasonal releases.
The wrapper leaf under the bands was a deep reddish brown, thats traced with finer veins. Closer up, the cigars still look great, though I did find a hole in the wrapper of one just below the band, and an unattractive smear of glue near the foot of another cigar.
As I handled the cigars, I discovered that one of the sticks had a soft spot near the head that caused a little concern. The rest were consistently firm. The wrapper scent varied from stick to stick, but was either compost, chocolate or combination of the two. Taking a cold draw, I noticed some sweetness and a little bit of cedar.
If anything, the Magnum R52 is even better looking once it’s been lit. It produces an attractive, solid white ash and maintains a burn line that is almost, but not quite, perfect. And after lighting, my torch remained undisturbed on the desk where it belongs.
The only significant problem I had with any of the cigars as they burned, was a crack that formed in the second third of one stick. It appeared suspiciously close to a hole I spotted in the pre-light inspection. Fortunately the cigar burned through the split area without incident. Looking at the ash afterward, you couldn’t tell there had been a problem at all.
Rich roasted nuts, cedar and leather notes greeted me early on in the first third of the Magnum R52. There was also a sweetness, a little like frosting, that seemed to be very closely tied to the cedar flavor. When, for a short time, the leather became the strongest flavor, the cedar and sweetness faded in equal measure.
By the time I burned into the second third, the roasted nut flavor was gone, and the sweetness was starting to fade a little bit. A balanced combination of somewhat sweet cedar and leather were the presiding flavors, with a sudden growth of pepperiness in the finish.
In the final third, the leather notes fell off a bit and the cigar became more sharply cedary, peppery and less sweet. Before the R52 went to its final resting place, the leather returned for a little encore.
I mentioned earlier being surprised by the new band. I was equally surprised by the price tag. Clearly this cigar is meant to be special, but it doesn’t carry the price tag of Fuente’s other special releases. With an eight plus year old wrapper leaf and excellent construction, $6.75 seems very reasonable.
Between the great flavor, the excellent construction, and the friendly price tag, what we have here is a perfect storm of box-worthiness. The Rosado Sungrown Magnum is easily one of the best Arturo Fuente cigars I’ve ever had. I’m not ready to say I like them more than the Añejo, but it’s close, really close.
But before you run out and buy some, keep in mind, this is a medium-bodied cigar. There is a nice amount of pepper in the latter half of the cigar, but it may not be enough for people who think “filler” is another word for ligero. Aside form those folks, I think this is a cigar anyone can enjoy, and I look forward to spending a lot more quality time with the Magnum R52 in the future.
Liked It: Box-Worthy
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.