The holidays are over, and with them passes another season of rare Arturo Fuente cigars. But don’t be sad, Fuente fans, the word on the street is 2012 will be a big year for rarities. But in the meantime, before the local supply disappeared I grabbed a couple handfuls of 858 Sun Growns to burn and ponder.
Though we haven’t seen much of it in recent years, the 858 Sun Grown has been with us for just over a decade. It was released in October of 2000, as a prize to be given to participants in 10th Annual Arturo Fuente Display Contest. But you don’t have to enter any contests to get your hands on them this year, you just have to visit the right brick and mortar at the right time. If fortune favors you, you’ll find the 858 Sun Grown in boxes of 25 with the tell-tale cedar sleeve, shiny updated band, and the black ribbon at the foot. (Remember the black ribbon is on the Sun Grown, the red is on the Rosado.)
Before I get into the review, a word on the new Fuente bands: I love ’em. While I enjoy the tradition the cigar industry represents, and was initially taken back by the idea of a band change, there’s no denying it’s a big improvement. Both in terms of looks, and more importantly, in ease of removal. You can now take off a Fuente band with ease and without tearing it or the wrapper leaf, a boon for band collectors like myself.
Now let’s smoke the thing already.
Size: 6 x 47
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Sun Grown
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Smoking Time: 2 hours
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: MSRP $6.95
Once you slide the cedar sheath off (bonus points if you actually use it to light the cigar), what you see is a fairly dark and rustic looking wrapper. More often than not it’s a little toothy, and has a some lumpiness to it caused by veins underneath the wrapper. One of my cigars had pretty significant wrapper damage just north of the band, but the rest were in good condition.
Like the surface there were some minor variations in firmness to the sticks I smoked. But probably nothing that really qualifies as a “soft spot”. It goes without saying that the wrapper had a pronounced and sweet cedar aroma. There was a little citrus acidity and molasses sweetness in the easy-drawing cold taste.
There were some interesting variations in the burn properties from stick to stick, but generally speaking the 858 Sun Grown burned evenly, drew well, produced sturdy ashes, and, bonus, didn’t go out if I left it sitting a little too long between puffs. If you can pull all that off, it probably doesn’t matter if your ash sometimes gets flaky and unattractive. That’s the part we’re done with anyway, and my ashtray isn’t picky. Also, its worth noting that the cigar with the wrapper damage burned as though there was none.
The 858 Sun Grown isn’t a cigar that has major flavor transitions as it burns. What you get is a gradual growth in pepper as ash grows longer and a somewhat acidic orange-like citrus and cedar medley that accompanies it on the journey, growing richer and sweeter before fading at the end. All this interspersed with occasional notes of cinnamon and leather.
Absolutely worth MSRP, even taking into consideration a fair amount of local tax. Beyond that, I’d recommend not feeding the gougers unless you simply must.
It won’t stop you in your tracks, but the Arturo Fuente 858 Sun Grown is a solid smoke with a flavor profile that fans of Fuente products and sun grown tobacco will enjoy. It’s just an easy cigar to smoke, and one that goes especially well with a cup of coffee. If you haven’t had one yet, and have the opportunity, it’s a no brainer, pick up a few. (Depending on supply and the retailer, you may not be able to buy more than a few.) I’d advise picking up extra, if for no other reason to have some to trade. Because like all the Fuente rarities, there’s always someone out there looking for them.
Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.
11 thoughts on “Arturo Fuente 858 Sun Grown”
Great Photos Brian, I was lucky enough to try one of these sticks a while ago and I though it was pretty good had it early in the morning and it went well with a Hangover. I like the Fuente line although anything on the rare side is really hard to find in my area. Great review
Thanks. I haven’t found much of anything that goes well with a hangover, so that’s impressive. I’ll keep that in mind.
Great review & pics, Brian. This is one of my favorites, and thankfully my local shop received the biggest shipment of these I’d ever seen this past year. I put away about 3 boxes of them, but more than 1 of those is already gone. Love ’em…of course I’ve been called a Fuente ‘ho many, many times.
Nothing wrong with that, I know a few of those ‘hos.
From the sound of it, there were a surprising amount of these released in 2011. It’s a nice change from the extreme limitations of previous years.
All the Gran Reservas are great, but the 858 has always been my favorite vitola. Have you ever had the claro? I think it’s the best of the three blends; it’s sort of salty and reminds me of kippered herring for some reason.
Awesome stick for the price… really consistant thru the
I’m smoking one now, and mine had some small veins and one rather large one under the sleeve (which I guess I get bonus points because I used it to light). However it’s burning and smoking as if they weren’t there. Great cigar and pairs perfect with a black cup o’ joe.
Very thorough. Thank you.
At The Rum Project we review three main categories: whisky, rum and of course cigars which go together like well, together. Personally I love the first half of AF’s Short Story, their terrific Cuban Corona, and to a degree the Chateau Maduro. To me a camaroon maduuro hits all my buttons – the leafy camaroon with the deep cacao/coffee of maduro. So I’d heard all the raves about the Sun Grown, so picked up the Chateau version.
Honestly I couldn’t finish it, and boy did I try. Lovely leafy, spicy start, a stray bit of lite cacao but then this citrusy, acid, burnt cedar aftertaste came on, and I mean suddenly. And then just wouldn’t go away and this odd and unpleasant aftertaste overshadowed any good that might have been going on. And the draw and construction – typical AF, I liked! But the burn – don’t think you can run to the fridge to grab a quick beer, at least for this one.
I will tell you that if you look hard enough past all the true believer comments, at a point you will find that my experience was not unique. Would I buy or even try this one again? So sorry, but no. I’ll still to my Short Stories and Cuban Coronas. But I’m glad I tried, it’s the only way to find out.
The Chateau Maduros don’t have a Cameroon wrapper, although their Natural brethren do. The maduro has a Connecticut wrapper.