12 May 2008
The Arturo Fuente Anejo No. 77, better known as “the shark,” is one of the most sought after cigars currently in production. It is easily identified by its unique shape: a tapered pyramid that morphs from a round head to a sharply box-pressed foot.
Following on the success of their super-premium Opus X line, the Fuentes created this blend featuring a Connecticut maduro wrapper with a Dominican binder and filler. Like the Opus X, you can expect to pay a pretty penny for the Anejos – over $20 for a single stick and upwards of $30 for the “shark.”
Not content to employ a simple maduro wrapper, Fuente ages the Connecticut maduro wrapper five years, including a special aging process utilizing cognac barrels. The oily maduro is nearly veinless and the color is darker than most maduros – almost a pure jet black.
Before lighting, I notice earth, chocolate flavors, a hint of fruit, and, not surprisingly, cognac. Perhaps due to the unusual shape, the cigar felt light and not very solid in my hand. Once lit, the Anejo 77 starts off with an uncommon burst of sweetness. It then proceeded to settle into a medium-bodied smoke with chocolate and hints of black pepper spice.
The draw is easy on this five and 7/8 inch pyramid (the ring gauge is 50 by the head before widening out to 64 at the foot). As the cigar progressed it unveiled a solid white ash that held for a full inch at a time.
Around the midway point, “the shark” seemed to accelerate from medium to very full-flavored. Earth and burnt cedar notes were overflowing, along with more maduro sweetness and even hints of cinnamon. The cigar’s phsical properties continued to be impressive, with only a slightly uneven burn being a small blemish on otherwise flawless construction.
Ultimately, I found this to be a most impressive cigar. With excellent construction and rich intense flavors, particularly an abundance of sweet burnt sugar and fruit, the Anejo 77 is the ultimate maduro.
While I’d never consider a cigar with a $30 price tag to be a bargain, the cigar’s decadent flavors match the high price. For that decadence, packed into such a unique shape, the Arturo Fuente Anejo 77 earns a rating of four and 1/2 out of five stogies.
photo credit: Stogie Guys