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An Interview with Carlos Fuente Sr.

A discussion with the head of Arturo Fuente Inc., one of the world's largest producers of premium hand-rolled cigars.
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
Jack Nicholson, Summer 95

(continued from page 5)

Fuente: I'm sort of different, I guess. I don't really give it a second thought. I think the end of the embargo would be good for the Cuban people because they are going through such hard times. To end the embargo, I think it would be the best for everybody. As far as me personally, it doesn't make any difference.

We owe a lot to the Dominican Republic. Our company has done in 15 years there what it has not done in all its history. It wouldn't matter if Cuba were to open tomorrow and the embargo is lifted. We might go back to Cuba and open something and do something there, but we would not leave the Dominican Republic. No way.

C.A.: I wasn't suggesting that you would. But what form might your involvement take? Would you expand there, or would you just buy tobacco there?

Fuente: We will buy tobacco and we will blend it with Dominican tobacco.

C.A.: You have a number of different brand names using Arturo Fuente as the basic identification. The classic Arturo Fuente brand is still your bread and butter. Can you tell me the number of cigars you sell under that name and the price range?

Fuente: It runs about $1.95 now to $3 something.

C.A.: The wrapper is basically from Cameroon?

Fuente: With the exception of three different sizes, all Cameroon wrappers. The Chateau Fuente line is Connecticut shade. The Chateau is in the same line as Arturo Fuente, but it has a cedar sleeve, and it's a Connecticut shade wrapper. All the rest of the Arturo Fuente line is Cameroon wrapper.

C.A.: How many millions of cigars do you sell under that brand name?

Fuente: The entire Arturo Fuente line last year sold over 10 million cigars.


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