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
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CA: Are all black bands Cameroon wrapper?
Fuente:Yes, all the black-banded cigars use Cameroon wrapper, but nothing stays the same and nothing will last forever.
CA: The red-and-green-banded cigars use mostly Connecticut-shade wrapper?
Fuente:Yes. We began making Arturo Fuente with Connecticut shade because of the shortage of Cameroon and the high demand for Arturo Fuente cigars. There is a bit of confusion because the red-and-green band also comes on cigars with Connecticut-shade wrapper in the Chateau Fuente series, which has a cedar wrap. And we also make Seleccion d'Or on the Arturo Fuente brand.
CA: Recently, you began to produce a lot more torpedo-shaped ci-gars, including for the Don Carlos line and for Ashton. Why didn't you do it in the past, and why are doing it now?
Fuente:Cigar making is an art. And obviously, the figurados are one of the most difficult cigar sizes and shapes to produce. It's not something new for our family. All the old photographs that I see of my grandfather, he is making figurado cigars. As a matter of fact, the Cuban perfecto, what we call the Hemingway, is a Cuban perfecto shape which was lost after the 1950s and '60s. But using my grandfather's old mold, we reintroduced the Cuban perfecto shape under the brand name Hemingway. I do see today that many of those shaped cigars are becoming very popular.
CA: Do you see your production of shaped cigars and torpedos growing dramatically in the next few years?
Fuente:Absolutely; we are making more and more of them. We have some sizes and shapes which have not been introduced yet that are absolutely incredibly beautiful. I have a fascination with shaped cigars.
CA: What is the most difficult cigar to roll: a pyramid or a Hemingway Short Story? What is the greatest challenge as a cigarmaker?
Fuente:One of the most difficult shapes that we're making in the factory is a size called Work of Art. It has not been introduced yet but it will be introduced sometime in the future. Another of the most difficult shapes would be the Short Story, because it's a cigar that's approximately four inches long and it tapers from a 49 ring gauge all the way down to an 18 ring gauge in about half an inch. It's a very, very difficult shape to make. That was a shape that we introduced into the market about 10 years ago. It instantly became very, very successful. People loved it.
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