Arturo Fuente Solaris – Smoke Inn Exclusive
Smoke Inn is not only famous for their crazy owner Abe Dababneh, his crazy antics, his amazing support to anyone and everything cigar related, their retail stores, but also their microblend series. I being you their next installment in the series, the A. Fuente Solaris.
The Good Stuff: Like I said, Abe and Smoke Inn have been busy the past few years putting together a crazy portfolio of Smoke Inn Exclusive microblends with some of the world’s top manufacturers. Smoke Inn started with the Tatuaje Anarchy, followed by the Padron 1964 Si-15, the My Father El Hijo, and now the A. Fuente Solaris. They describe the details behind the blend best on their site:
“For this Microblend installment Smoke Inn played no part in the creation of the size or blend. When Smoke Inn Proprietor Abe Dababneh approached the Fuente Family about making a Microblend, they decided this would be a perfect project for a small batch of cigars made over 6 years ago. Carlos Fuente Sr. had produced a small batch of belicoso cigars made from Ecuadorian Sun Grown wrapper that was uniquely light in its complexion. The cigars sat and aged for over six years. When smoked, we found the flavor mellow yet complex. One could definitely taste the quintessential Fuente flavor profile behind the elegantly aged smoke. Solaris will delight the palate of Fuente fans and collectors; especially those who like to age their cigars.”
There you have it. The Solaris only comes in one size, 6 x 49 belicoso and will run you $89.50 for a box of 10. There will only be 550 boxes of the Solaris ever made. You can pre-order these directly from Smoke Inn’s site here. Shipping will start on the cigar’s release day, May 28th, 2012.
Size: 6×49 – Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown – Binder/Filler: Unknown
Prelight: As expected with anything Fuente, the Solaris starts off with absolutely spot-on construction. The tightly wound, medium orangish-brown wrapper showcases it’s oil as the sun reflects off the wrapper. The cigar is very, very firm and heavy with absolutely no soft spots. There are some very minor sporadic veins running the length of the cigar up to its nubby little belicoso style cap. The Solaris sports the traditional Red and Green Fuente fan. I have often wondered why some of the blends had a red and green band while others had a red and black band. I stumbled across this article on Cigar Aficionado’s website which Carlos Fuente himself answers the question:
“Fuente: The classic Arturo Fuente, the red-and-green band, comes from my grandfather’s day. He had a red band, but there was a green tax seal placed under the band, and so the ring of green showed around the red band. When the tax seal practice ended after the embargo, we created a red-and-green band for the classic Fuente brand, which was the Flor Fina 8-5-8, which is the flagship of Arturo Fuente cigars. And the reason I say the flagship, it is because it was the blend that my grandfather created after the Cuban embargo. That was his personal blend. But it’s sad, because my grandfather never saw that blend for sale on the market. It wasn’t until after my grandfather passed away that my father brought out that blend in my grandfather’s honor. The reason he named it Flor Fina 8-5-8 was because my grandfather was 85 years old when he passed away and my father wanted the name to represent something from beginning to end. It represents the heritage and the tradition that my grandfather left us through his lifetime.
CA: What about the red-and-black band?
Fuente: The red-and-black is different from the Flor Fina, or classic, Arturo Fuente blend. It’s a little bit heavier and the tobaccos are aged just a little bit longer. “
Along with the standard red and green band the Solaris also sports a secondary black and gold band that simple states “SOLARIS” with a little bit of sun-ray action coming from the “O”.
The wrapper on the A. Fuente Solaris gives off a very strong, musky, cedar aroma while the foot of the cigar kicks out a straight up earthy tobacco aroma. My Palio double bladed cutter clipped through the cap like butter. The cold draw from this cigar produced nothing more than a mild cedar and cinnamon flavor. Nothing wrong with that, but considering the strength of the pre-light aromas, I just expected much more flavor from the cold draw. Let’s just hope that doesn’t carry over into the actual experience.
First Smoke: I was a bit shocked to find that the A. Fuente Solaris actually started out with a blast of black pepper. I wasn’t expecting it at all, however it did only last through the first few draws before fading away and letting the cigar’s real flavor profile take over. Cedar lead the way here, with some nice honey-sweet flavors along with some earth tones, subtle spices, and even a bit creamed coffee. The draw on this Solaris was spot on which is great due to how much tobacco was packed into this stick. Each little puff filled my mouth with thick, white smoke. The cigar gave off almost no stationary smoke at all while the burnline was pretty thick, and even at the end of the first third despite having a few waves going in. The ash was a light and dark zebra-striped grey and tightly compacted as it held on for an inch before falling into my ashtray.
Halfway There: That honey and sweet tobacco I picked up in the first third really ramps up during the second third while the cedar and coffee take a step back. This cigar is very smooth and mild. The retrohale on this Solaris is awesome as it coats my nasal passage with straight up cedar, each time I take a draw. I don’t retrohale my cigars too often, but this is one that I find myself doing it over and over. The burnline is still rockin’ dead even at the end of the second third as I am feeling absolutely no nicotine what-so-ever.
Finish: The final third of this A. Fuente Solaris was pretty much a carbon copy of the second third. Lots of sweet tobacco and honey, with some subtle cedar, coffee, and tobacco notes. The pepper seemed to come back very slightly, but only in the final inch. There was absolutely no signs of harshness, or heat, even down to the final inch. What did surprise me though was the speed at which this cigar smoked at. It took me just about an hour to take down this entire toro-sized torpedo cigar. Although there were some very slight waves in the final third, for the most part the Solaris’ burnline remained dead even and required absolutely no help from my trusty lighter. I felt absolutely no nicotine during the entire experience. One thing Fuente can work on, it not using so much glue on their bands. The “Fuente” bands on both of the samples Smoke Inn sent me had quite of bit of excess glue on them. I have this trouble with Fuente a lot. The good news is, despite tearing off a bit of top-level wrapper, I experienced absolutely no change in the smoking experience. You got away with it this time Fuente.
Overview: As far as Fuente’s go, the Solaris is spot on. Starting with the flawless construction, great burn, and good flavors. That being said, I’m not the biggest Fuente fan out there. Only a few of the bolder blends really capture my attention. The Solaris to me, seems like just an extension of their portfolio. Now is that a bad thing? Absolutely not. A. Fuente is one of the leading manufacturers for a reason. Reason being is they sell a lot of cigars, cause people love the hell out of them. Add another great blend to the mix, that fits perfectly in their portfolio, and then make it exclusive to Smoke Inn retail shops, and Abe has yet another winner on his hands. Although this cigar might not find it’s way into my regular rotation often, I can see it being a huge hit. It’s got all the characteristics of a great cigar at a price that is both affordable to the everyday smoker as well as the novice looking to take a dive into the pool of super premiums. If you are a fan of Fuente or Mild/Medium cigars then the Solaris is a must try. If you are looking for something bolder than the Solaris may not be your cup of tea.
Pairing: I paired this A. Fuente Solaris with a beer I have been wanted to try for quite some time now, Unibroue’s Ephemere. Big thanks to my buddy Nick for hooking it up with this beer, right at the right time too. Without giving too much away, I couldn’t think of a better pairing for this cigar and the crazy hot summer weather we had here in El Paso this weekend. Ephemere is a 5.5% ABV ale brewed in Quebec Canada. What makes this beer special is the apple juice, coriander, and curacao peels that are added to the brewing process. Basically, this is a stronger wit beer, heavy wheat, with some really sweet apple, and cinnamon style spices. Tell me that isn’t refreshing especially after a hard day’s work out in the yard. Anyhow, the beer is very light, mild, and sweet, much like the A. Fuente Solaris. I don’t think I need to elaborate much more on how awesome the pairing was. The beer really complimented everything the Solaris had to offer.