Founded in 1912 by the patriarch of the family, Arturo Fuente first began making cigars in Ybor City, FLA a few years after he immigrated from Cuba. While the next 100-plus years brought many ups and downs to the company – Fuente cigars have remained at the forefront of the premium cigar industry. Following revolutions in Cuba and Nicaragua, and several factory fires that destroyed their Central American factories and tobacco fields, in 1981 Fuente’s son Carlos established production with a factory in Santiago DR. A year later the famous Hemmingway Series was released featuring a unique figurado shape, the first in the industry at the time and never before seen outside of Cuba. Positive partnerships with the Newman Family were balanced by horrible hurricanes that destroyed most of their DR tobacco farms in 1989. Attempting something that had never been done before, Carlito Fuente overcame the challenge of growing a Dominican wrapper and in 1992 Project X from Planet 9 was born, with the creation of the first successful 100% DR puro cigar, the Fuente Fuente Opus X.
Arturo Fuente Cigars are some of the most widely renowned in the world, and the brand’s lineup includes some highlights that are some of the most highly rated cigars of all. Among the top picks from the Arturo Fuente line are the Casa Fuente, the Gran Reserva, and the Arturo Fuente Añejo, although what cigar will take the top spot will depend heavily on whom you ask, when, and why. Cigar smoking is a highly subjective experience and what one enthusiast loves, another might consider being so-so at best.
All the same, Arturo Fuente stands on a history of greatness. If the cigar smoker you ask does not appreciate a given cigar, there is something else carrying the Fuente name that will appeal to him or her. This may be due in part to a history of excellence that, like good tobacco, Arturo Fuente Cigars has been cultivating for well over a century.
A Short History of Arturo Fuente Cigars
Arturo Fuente Cigars began back in the late 1800s with the birth of the original, eponymous Arturo Fuente. He emigrated in 1906 from Cuba to Florida, bringing with him a rich cultural tradition of growing fine tobacco and producing memorable cigars from it.
Arturo Fuente, the company that bears its founder’s name, was established in 1912, in West Tampa, Florida. At the time, the cigars produced by the company were created using Cuban tobacco – there was no embargo and there were no stipulations on trade with Cuba, and goods could flow relatively easily between the countries.
The company grew relatively rapidly and at its peak was employing several hundred workers. Unfortunately, the original factory was destroyed in a fire in 1922, which delivered a significant setback to the man and the company that would eventually become known as one of the greatest producers of cigars in the world.
The destruction of the factory served as a significant setback to Arturo Fuente, who moved from West Tampa to Ybor City and worked in management to help recoup the losses. Although he was not operating at the former capacity of his operation, he continued to roll cigars on his own, in his home, nearly every day, and his spirit never flagged.
It was concerning every Arturo Fuente’s son, Carlos, who would ultimately restore the glory of the family’s line of cigars. Capitalizing on the experience he had gained as a child from his father, he learned not only how to make cigars but how to identify quality. As he grew older, he became more ambitious in his pursuit of accounts, and in time expanded into larger markets in New York and Florida.
By 1956, Carlos Fuente had succeeded his father Arturo as the head of Arturo Fuente & Company. His hard work continued and he began to invest in operations, reopening a factory in Ybor City to replace the one that was lost over 30 years before in West Tampa. In the mid-sixties, in the wake of the Cuban Revolution, Carlos Fuente knew he had to make significant changes to the company to sustain its growth. By 1965, he had transitioned the company to feature cigars that were not made with Cuban tobacco, a practice which, of course, continues to this day.
Arturo Fuente Cigars has continued to grow as an organization, adding to its line of offerings throughout the years. The name has become trusted not only for the quality of the tobaccos used in the construction of their cigars but also in the quality of the enjoyable experience produced.
Though Arturo Fuente is well known for many cigars, it is perhaps the Arturo Fuente Fuente Opus X that defines the name. It is not only one of the most popular and highly-acclaimed cigars of all time, but it remains a classic to this day.
It is acclaimed by smokers and critics alike; the Opus X Double Corona even owns the distinction of being named Cigar Aficionado’s Cigar of the Year in 2005. It also owns an interesting history, being produced by Carlito Fuente (Carlos Fuentes’ son) in defiance of a statement that he would not produce a quality cigar.