Arturo Fuente 858 Sun Grown

The holidays are over, and with them passes another season of rare Arturo Fuente cigars. But don’t be sad, Fuente fans, the word on the street is 2012 will be a big year for rarities. But in the meantime, before the local supply disappeared I grabbed a couple handfuls of 858 Sun Growns to burn and ponder.

Though we haven’t seen much of it in recent years, the 858 Sun Grown has been with us for just over a decade. It was released in October of 2000, as a prize to be given to participants in 10th Annual Arturo Fuente Display Contest. But you don’t have to enter any contests to get your hands on them this year, you just have to visit the right brick and mortar at the right time. If fortune favors you, you’ll find the 858 Sun Grown in boxes of 25 with the tell-tale cedar sleeve, shiny updated band, and the black ribbon at the foot. (Remember the black ribbon is on the Sun Grown, the red is on the Rosado.)

Before I get into the review, a word on the new Fuente bands: I love ’em. While I enjoy the tradition the cigar industry represents, and was initially taken back by the idea of a band change, there’s no denying it’s a big improvement. Both in terms of looks, and more importantly, in ease of removal. You can now take off a Fuente band with ease and without tearing it or the wrapper leaf, a boon for band collectors like myself.

Now let’s smoke the thing already.

Cigar Stats:
Size: 6 x 47
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Sun Grown
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Smoking Time: 2 hours
Beverage: Water
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: MSRP $6.95

The Pre-Smoke
Once you slide the cedar sheath off (bonus points if you actually use it to light the cigar), what you see is a fairly dark and rustic looking wrapper. More often than not it’s a little toothy, and has a some lumpiness to it caused by veins underneath the wrapper. One of my cigars had pretty significant wrapper damage just north of the band, but the rest were in good condition.

Like the surface there were some minor variations in firmness to the sticks I smoked. But probably nothing that really qualifies as a “soft spot”. It goes without saying that the wrapper had a pronounced and sweet cedar aroma. There was a little citrus acidity and molasses sweetness in the easy-drawing cold taste.

The Burn
There were some interesting variations in the burn properties from stick to stick, but generally speaking the 858 Sun Grown burned evenly, drew well, produced sturdy ashes, and, bonus, didn’t go out if I left it sitting a little too long between puffs. If you can pull all that off, it probably doesn’t matter if your ash sometimes gets flaky and unattractive. That’s the part we’re done with anyway, and my ashtray isn’t picky. Also, its worth noting that the cigar with the wrapper damage burned as though there was none.

The Flavor
The 858 Sun Grown isn’t a cigar that has major flavor transitions as it burns. What you get is a gradual growth in pepper as ash grows longer and a somewhat acidic orange-like citrus and cedar medley that accompanies it on the journey, growing richer and sweeter before fading at the end. All this interspersed with occasional notes of cinnamon and leather.

The Price
Absolutely worth MSRP, even taking into consideration a fair amount of local tax. Beyond that, I’d recommend not feeding the gougers unless you simply must.

The Verdict
It won’t stop you in your tracks, but the Arturo Fuente 858 Sun Grown is a solid smoke with a flavor profile that fans of Fuente products and sun grown tobacco will enjoy. It’s just an easy cigar to smoke, and one that goes especially well with a cup of coffee. If you haven’t had one yet, and have the opportunity, it’s a no brainer, pick up a few. (Depending on supply and the retailer, you may not be able to buy more than a few.) I’d advise picking up extra, if for no other reason to have some to trade. Because like all the Fuente rarities, there’s always someone out there looking for them.

Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Yes
Recommend It: Yes

Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.