Arturo Fuente – Anejo #77 “The Shark”

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What better way to enjoy any holiday then lighting up a favorite, or even a rare cigar. I have a ton of the “I’ll smoke this on a special occasion” cigars. The more I get, it seems, the less I smoke. So as of late I have been trying my hardest to just suck it up and smoke ‘em as I get them. This week’s cigar was an exception to the rule.

Lee (@sirpantsornot) was nice enough to send me my first Arturo Fuente Anejo #77 in a trade we made a few weeks back. I think 2 or 3 of the cigars he sent alone, out price the value of my total package to him.

anejo1 Arturo Fuente   Anejo #77 The Shark

A. Fuente Anejo #77

I held on to this one for a few weeks, knowing that Thanksgiving was just around the bend. I wanted to make sure I had someting extra special, and the Anejo was no let down.

The Good Stuff: The A. Fuente Anejo #77 (better known as the “shark”) is one of the rarest, and most sought after cigars to come out of the Fuente factory. If I am not mistaken the shark started out to be one of the Fuente’s Opus X line of cigars. Due to a massive hurricane that  ripped through the Chateu de la Fuente crop in the late 1990′s Carlos Fuente Jr. was left short of prime tobacco to finish off the Anejo lines and made the decision to finish the cigar off with a Connecticut Broadleaf maduro Cognac 5-year aged wrapper. I’m not 100% positive of the amount of time the wrapper is actually aged in oaked cognac barrels, but it is said to be somewhere between 7-1o months. The Maduro wrapper fits snugly over only the most premium Dominican binder, and filler tobaccos.

The Anejo line is typically only found around Father’s day and Christmas making them incredibly difficult to find. The shark sports a torpedo vitola that transforms into a box-press as the body develops.

Size: 5 3/4 x 56  -  Wrapper:Cognac-aged Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro  -  Binder/Filler: Dominican  -  Strength: Full

anejo2 Arturo Fuente   Anejo #77 The Shark

A. Fuente Anejo #77

Prelight: The most obvious characteristic of the Shark is the rather odd shape. A. Fuente is known for their extreme precision in construction, and delicate vitolas. The shark boasts both. The shark starts off as a very pointy triple wrapped cap torpedo, but then halfway through the body morphs into a thick, elegant box press. I can’t even imagine the time and effort it takes to create such a complex shape. The wrapper is an extremely oily, almost black, dark brown. There were no signs of soft spots, nor any mis-construction. There was a massive vein running along side of this cigar that has me a bit fearful. The Anjeo Shark sports the common A. Fuente red and gold crested band, but also carries a soft red ribbon placed along the foot of the cigar. Unlike the rest of the Anejo line, the Shark is the only one that does not come in-cased in a cedar tube. The cellophane for the shark has “Reserva Xtra Viejo” printed in raised ink on it. The wrapper gives off a bitter chocolate scent, with soft hints of liquor. It smells a lot like “Godiva” liquor. The foot of the cigar gives off a much stronger, but similar scent, mixed in with hints of cedar and spice. The cold draw was very loose, and tasted much like the smell. Dark chocolate, nutmeg, grass, and hints of liquor. I could tell right away that I was in for a unique experience.

anejo3 Arturo Fuente   Anejo #77 The Shark

A. Fuente Anejo #77

First Smoke: The shark cut perfectly against my Palio double bladed cutter. It also lit up with ease under my single flame butane torch. The first flavors I pulled from the Shark were that of bittersweet chocolate, toasted cashew, strong liquor (cognac), cedar, and grape leaf. This was an extremely complex flavor pallet and it took my quite a few draws to distinguish between the flavors. The draw is extremely loose, and very smooth. Each draw coated my mouth with a new layer of flavors. The Anejo produces large amounts of thin smoke, and tons of stationary smoke. The smoke itself smelled of strong tobacco and cedar. The anejo gives off a very bittersweet aftertaste. The burnline seems a bit off and extremely wavy on one half of the cigar (the one one with the gigantic vein). The ash is a dark to medium grey and seems very tightly packed with small amounts if flaking. It caught me by surprise that the ash only held on for about an inch before it gave way.

anejo4 Arturo Fuente   Anejo #77 The Shark

A. Fuente Anejo #77

Halfway There: So far the smoothness of the shark has me enjoying every minute of it. As stated above, the anejo line is “full” bodied. I couldn’t even tell as I have felt absolutely no signs of nicotine. The Anejo burned through the box-press portion of the cigar pretty quickly, but as expected slowed quite considerably into the torpedo portion. Along with the slower burn, the shark’s draw is beginning to tighten up a bit as well. After the first ashing the shark actually corrected its own burn line and is now burning extremely straight. The flavors have switched up a bit. The chocolate is now taking a backburner as the liquor and cedar tastes are increasing in potency.

anejo51 Arturo Fuente   Anejo #77 The Shark

A. Fuente Anejo #77

A little more than halfway through the cigar I did encounter a rather large crack in the wrapper:

anejo6 Arturo Fuente   Anejo #77 The Shark

A. Fuente Anejo #77

I am almost positive this was due to extreme humidification of the binder/filler. I have been having trouble with my humidors as winter rolled in. The dryness of the air produced by my heater is taking its toll on them. To battle this I have increased the humidification in both of my humidors to almost triple of what I normally use. The humidity is still centered between 67% – 71% but the fluctuation is beating down a few of my sticks.

Finish: As I started to get down to the 2 inch mark the liquor taste grew in intensity and pretty much overpowered every other flavor the anejo was producing. I’ve never smoked anything that tasted anything similar to the Anejo, I might as well be drinking Cognac. The draw was still incredibly smooth despite the sharpness in flavor. I did have to touch up the cigar a few times towards the end, the vein just wouldn’t let up and kept burning much faster than the other half of the cigar. One odd note was the fact that the inner most core ash of the filler was an extreme bright white. Where as the rest of the ash was a medium grey with hints of brown. I finished this cigar, put it down, and walked away feeling absolutely no signs of nicotine. In total the Shark took about 2 hours to smoke down to the nub.

anejo71 Arturo Fuente   Anejo #77 The Shark

A. Fuente Anejo #77

Overview: Despite the price tag ($25 – $35) and the extreme exclusiveness of this cigar, I would still pick it up if I ran into it again. It’s definitely a cigar that everyone should look out for and try at least once. I’m not a big liquor fan so the taste wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea. But I really enjoyed the complexity of this cigar and could see why it is one of the rarest and most sought after cigars to date.

anejo8 Arturo Fuente   Anejo #77 The Shark

A. Fuente Anejo #77

Tony Casas is a 32 year old Creative Managing/Webdesigning/Craft Beer Drinking Cigar smoker from El Paso, Texas. When he isn't loving his wife he is either sleepy, hungry, or suffering from a headache.

    18 Comments

    1. BootyRockRich

      November 30, 2009 at 11:07 pm

      Nice Review Tony…

      I find the Shark to have a more potent congac flavor than the rest of the vitolas.. particularly when “fresh”.

      I would like to point out that the MSRP on the Shark is actually much lower than most people realize ($10.25 according to Vitolas.net). The supply and demand of internet retailers drive the price to astronomically absurd levels. We here in GA are lucky that many local retailers get Añejos and the sharks seem to swim south for the winter because most of those retailers receive at least one box of the #77′s. If you are quick, you can grab them for anywhere between $12-$15 at the B&M (tho some prick owners jack up the price to over $20 as well).

    2. Tony Casas

      December 1, 2009 at 5:37 am

      Thanks for the comment and the read! You make me want to live in Atlanta :). I hadn’t seen any of the Anejo’s locally in the B&M’s so I had to base my price off of whatever I could find on the internet. It’s nice to see there are retailers out there that don’t just mark up items they know they can get away with. Keep it up ! :)

    3. Mike - KnightRid

      December 1, 2009 at 7:54 am

      Oh man, hell of a review!

      http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=158480-12934-HD1407&lpage=none

      best investment i have made! We have the old water radiators and it dries the house out a LOT – this thing sitting in my living room humidifies my whole house! BEST investment for protection of my lovely cigars and to stop shocking the cat when I touch her – lol

      I have to get my hands on one of these – gonna email the store in Lancaster to see if they have any left. I was worried it would nicotine kill me, but if it is this smooth and awesome, I have to try one!

      Mike

    4. Cigarsthomas

      December 1, 2009 at 8:36 am

      Great review…………..as always im amazed by your photos….

      Thomas

    5. Tom Ufer

      December 1, 2009 at 9:00 am

      The six to eight month aging in cognac barrels really gives this cigar great flavor. It is definitely one of my favorite Fuentes. I don’t think I have ever had a bad experience with an Anejo. As usual, your review was first rate.

    6. Tony Casas

      December 1, 2009 at 10:35 am

      Thanks Mike! I was actually considering something similar to that. I HATE having to check my humidity every evening. I liked the carelessness of knowing it would be fine.

      I highly recommend these guys. Very interesting vitola with an amazing taste. I’m used to stronger cigars so this one didnt phase me at all, but usually I can feel it. I felt nothing on this one :)

    7. Tony Casas

      December 1, 2009 at 10:35 am

      Thanks as always Thomas!

    8. Jared

      December 2, 2009 at 7:20 am

      Tony, Love the review. Can’t really tell if you liked the cognac taste or not. It sounded delicious to me. I had one moment where I went UGH… what the hell does grape leaf taste like and how the hell did you taste that out of everything else that was going on. I certainly don’t have a developed pallet, but I had to call at least half of a bs card on you there. Anyway, I loved the read as I always do. I look everyday to see if you reviewed a new smoke. I can’t wait for Christmas, I suspect my wife has a bunch of ACID/Drews waiting for ,me!

    9. Tony Casas

      December 2, 2009 at 7:26 am

      Jared! Glad you made it to the new site. :)

      The Grape Leaf…..ahhhh the Grape Leaf. I was tasting some bitterness (the good kind) coming off of the smoke and I couldn’t quite nail the taste. Everything I could think of was just too sweet. Then I remembered the Greek Festival that we have here in El Paso every year. They make these grape leaf wrapped rice ball thingys. AWESOME. Anywho, it tasted much like those :)

      What a nice wife!! I’ll keep my fingers crossed for ya. If she doens’t come through let me know and I can see what I can do :)

      Have you been able to track down more infused smokes out there?

      And on the cognac taste. I loved it at first. Im not a real big liquor fan but it was subtle enough to really take in and enjoy. Towards the end it got a little too much for me. But again, that’s based soley on the fact that I don’t really enjoy liquor as much as the common man. I didn’t want to make that statement too prominent due to the fact that I think anyone who DOES enjoy liqour would fall in love with the Anejo line :)

      Cheers!

    10. Tony Casas

      December 2, 2009 at 7:27 am

      Thanks Tom! and thanks for the read! I really want to chase down a few more Anejos. I can’t find them locally so I’ll have to turn to mail order. I try my hardest to shop local when at all possible.

      I probably should have started with a few other vitola’s before hitting the shark, but the more I read up on it, the more I wanted it :)

    11. Matthew

      December 4, 2009 at 9:10 pm

      Great stuff Tony! Somehow I missed this review, didn’t know you’d posted. Great pics, looks like a great cigar. Keep it up bro!

    12. cj

      December 6, 2009 at 5:39 am

      My local B&M never knows if he/she will get any Anejo cigars. I don’t understand why Fuente is so private about simple information. The best part, Sharks were on her list this year, and I paid $11.25, which is fantastic compared to $13-15 I have found everywhere else. She only lets you buy two at a time, and I got a nice 55 as well. Nice review, one of my faves and such a delight to smoke.

    13. Tony Casas

      December 6, 2009 at 9:02 am

      Mathew, thanks for the compliments man! Get your hands on it if you can find it. They should be out in B&M’s for the holiday season.

      CJ, you’re very lucky :) I can never find any of the Anejo line cigar locally. I have to bug my fellow BOTL’s for trades. I really was a unique experience and I really want to get my hands on a few more.

    14. Johnny Brooke - The Weekly Cigar

      December 11, 2009 at 1:13 am

      Once again, great review, great pictures. I’ve got a few of these on the way! Also, don’t pay that much for a Shark, trade a fellow BOTL.

    15. Tony Casas

      December 11, 2009 at 7:13 am

      Thanksya Johnny. They are amazing man. Totally unlike anything I had ever smoked before. I’m interested to hear your thoughts.

      I wouldn’t pay that much haha. That was actually just the average price i found online, but as a few o the comments state, they are much cheaper when you can actually find them locally.

      Cheers!

    16. Jerry

      January 21, 2010 at 11:48 pm

      The Sharks are a great smoke! I wish I could get my hands on some more.

      Great review! I really enjoy your site.

    17. Tony Casas

      January 22, 2010 at 6:10 am

      Thanks for the kind words and the read Jerry!

    18. John51277

      December 3, 2010 at 11:40 am

      One of the best smokes I have had from Fuente. Nice review!

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