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Stogie Reviews: Arturo Fuente Don Carlos No. 2

8 Nov 2007

Considering the many well-regarded cigars made by Fuente, the fact that they call their Don Carlos line the “Pride of the Fuente Family” says much about this special cigar. So does the storied history of the Don Carlos, as recounted by Keepers of the Flame:

Arturo Fuente Don CarlosThe Arturo Fuente Don Carlos was originally released in 1976, taken off the market when the Fuentes lost everything to the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, and re-introduced in 1986 for the European market. Rolling with 1984 crop tobacco, through spring of 1997 it was only available in two sizes (Robusto and Reserva No. 3, which was a corona extra). In an interview with Matt Matalamaki late in 1997, Carlos Fuente Jr. informed us that as of early 1997 they began using tobacco from 1986 crops and would release the Presidente, Double Robusto, Reserva No. 2, and Reserva No. 4 by summer or fall of 1998.

The Don Carlos No. 2 is a six inch by 55 ring gauge torpedo. It features a Cameroon wrapper and Dominican filler and binder tobaccos. As Cameroon wrappers go, this cigar is a beauty with a relatively small number of thin veins and a lovely, deep, reddish-brown color.

In both our tasting notes, the word “subtle” came up often. The Don Carlos is certainly a subtle cigar, beginning with the pre-light aroma. It is not overpowering, but it is, literally, a mouth-watering Cameroon mixture of sweetness and spice.

The stick begins with a quintessential Cameroon wrapper sweetness and a smooth spice. Flavors were plentiful, though sometimes fleeting. Leather, cedar, barnyard, cocoa, caramel, and something akin to cinnamon all made appearances, making for an extraordinarily complex cigar.

Therefore, you need to choose your accompanying drink very carefully. Water is probably the safest choice, but coffee also works well. (On the other hand, rum and diet coke – with its sweet and chemically aspartame flavors – should definitely be avoided.)

In the many samples we smoked, the draw was always easy and the smoke was thick and creamy. We did experience multiple wrapper splits near the end and uneven burns – particularly when smoked outdoors even in a light breeze – though these can be attributed more to the delicate nature of Cameroon tobacco than to problems with the construction.

Near the end, many of the Don Carlos sticks we smoked got bitter and unpleasant, with the smooth, rich finish sharply turning tart. A clear signal that although you may not want the experience not to end, the time has come for the Don Carlos to be laid down.

It’s easy to see why Tom Selleck told Cigar Aficionado that his favorite smoke is the Don Carlos. If you can afford the $10 plus price, this is a cigar you could easily smoke several times a week.

While the Don Carlos does lose points for occasional wrapper-related construction issues and a bitter ending, this is still a fantastic cigar. With a remarkable bouquet of flavor, the Don Carlos earns an impressive rating of four and 1/2 out of five stogies.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here. Cigars for this review were provided by, and can be purchased here.]

Patrick S and George E

Tags: cigars

12 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Arturo Fuente Don Carlos No. 2”

  1. Cigar Jack Thursday, November 8, 2007 at 6:52 am #

    Great review! I'm torn between the Don Carlos and the Hemingway being my favorite Fuente cigar. Both are great Cameroons, but I love the subtleness of the DC. I think it is one of those cigars that you really need to sit down and contemplate to enjoy.

  2. Jabba Friday, November 9, 2007 at 12:45 pm #

    Your best review I've read so far. These are definitely good cigars that get better with age. My only problem is there are a lot of Cubans that cost must less than $10 that I would rather smoke.

  3. Chris Saturday, December 15, 2007 at 4:35 pm #

    Your review was spot on. I did a review of the same cigar on my last podcast (The Cigar Alliance Podcast) and felt like I was stealing your review. You guys do a great job!

  4. Travis Lindsay Monday, August 17, 2009 at 8:28 pm #

    Smoking the Double Robusto right now and I'm loving it, hopefully I don't get the same tart finish that you guys got. While it is a more mellow cigar it is very complex with great flavors. And, yeah, if I spent $50+ a day on cigars this would definitely be one of the regulars but, alas, my cigar budget is much more modest than that!

    Great review guys.

  5. Cigarman 1911 Friday, January 15, 2010 at 8:54 am #

    Went into a local shop last night to pickup a couple AF Don Carlos last night and stayed to smoke one. What a good cigar. I did have some wrapper problems and had to do a touch up toward the end, but man was it worth it. I think I've found another favorite cigar.

  6. Hoot Gibson Monday, April 19, 2010 at 5:56 am #

    My favorite…but at $11 or so a pop, I have to be in one of my extra jingle in my pocket, with a bottle of Drambuie by my side moods….regardless, all Cigar lovers should try a DC #2 to see for themselves.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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