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Carlos Fuente

Carlos Fuente Jr. has become one of the most recognizable people in the cigar business. While at the helm of Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia., he has seen the company rise to one of the preeminent positions in the industry.
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
John F. Kennedy, Nov/Dec 98

(continued from page 15)

We introduced the Don Carlos range when we were back in Nicaragua, but when we came to the Dominican Republic, one of the first brands we started working with was the Montesino. Between 1980 and 1983, we were making more Montesinos than Arturo Fuentes, and Montesino was outselling Arturo Fuente. We could not make enough Montesino. At that time, Montesino was sold on the East Coast and in the Midwest; there was not enough production, it was so hot. It was outselling Arturo Fuente, and at that time we looked at ourselves, and I said, "This is silly. Arturo Fuente's my grandfather." It's an extension of our family and ourselves. So, at that point, we really started concentrating on the development of Arturo Fuente, with new sizes, new packaging and so forth. Montesino was not really focused on.

CA: Was Montesino sold at a lower price?

Fuente:It was sold at a price just under Arturo Fuente. But in the last year, we've started to expand production again. We've introduced some new shapes.

CA: Tell me about the tobacco.

Fuente:Montesino is very close, well, actually it's an Arturo Fuente with a Connecticut-shade wrapper. It is a Fuente. It comes from the same kitchen. The blend is different, though.

CA: Is it a little bit lighter?

Fuente:Yes, it is lighter.

CA: Can you tell us about the specific blend of Montesino, and how it differs from your Arturo Fuente blends?

Fuente:You know, our blends are something we don't really talk about. We just don't give up that information. I don't even like to talk about the origin of the tobaccos that we use, although we do talk in general terms. Our blends are sacred to us. My father knows the exact blends and I know them, and a couple of other family members, but that's it. The proportions are secret. They are really our family treasures.

I can say that we have been influenced by all the places where we have made cigars, in Florida and the Cuban tobacco in those days, in Honduras, Nicaragua and, of course, the Dominican Republic. The tobacco that was available in those places had an influence on us. And, yes, there are some cigars [the OpusX] that use all-Dominican tobacco in the blends.

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