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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 7)

C.A.: When you say it's tobacco from 1984, you mean blended with its younger vintage as well, yes?

Fuente: The only tobacco that is younger is the wrapper. All the filler and binders are from the 1984 crop.

C.A.: When are you going to run out of 1984?

Fuente: That depends on how many cigars we make. The demand is forcing us to make more. We're going to skip the 1985 crop and then go to 1986. From all of the tobacco we've grown ourselves, we have saved a substantial amount of tobacco. But we have gone through, my son and I, more than expected for the Don Carlos.

C.A.: Are there other factories that have 10-year-old tobacco in inventory?

Fuente: I can't really give an honest answer on that because I really don't have any interest in what anybody else does. I don't even smoke anybody else's cigars. I have a lot of friends in the industry, and I might be with one of them and they open a cigar and I'll smoke it. But I was never the type of person that would buy a cigar of anybody else's just to see what they are doing. My main goal is just to make the best cigars possible.

C.A.: Obviously, Don Carlos is very small.

Fuente: We only have two cigar makers on that line and total production is about 300 cigars a day.

C.A.: So annually, you're talking about--?

Fuente: To be honest, I haven't even figured it out. You have to figure a couple thousand cigars a week. About 100,000 a year.

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