Arturo Fuente Reserva Xtra Viejo Añejo No. 48 (2009) | Cigar Review

Wrapper: U.S. Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: 7 x 48 “Churchill”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $12.00
Number of Cigars Smoked Prior to Review: 0
Accompanying Libation: Water

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Today we take a look at a vintage Arturo Fuente Reserva Xtra Viejo Añejo No. 48 (2009).
Well, this is it for a while. I still have the Isabela Serpentine to review but it won’t be ready to review for a few weeks or so. Johnny at Prime Cigar sent samples to me; as well as this Fuente delight.

BACKGROUND:
The birth of the Añejo stems from the 1998 Hurricane Georges damn near wiping out the Caribbean. As a result, there was wide spread crop damage in the DR. The Chateau de la Fuente was ripped to shreds. This is where the Opus X plants are grown.

Carlos Fuente Jr did some wood shedding and came up with a totally different tobacco leaf. And it became the wrapper for the newly designed Añejo.
The binder and filler are the same as the Opus X with the only difference being the wrapper: U.S. Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro.
The wrapper is aged for a year in oak cognac barrels. The rest of the tobacco is aged for 3-4 years.

The blend is only released during the Christmas holidays and Father’s Day.

The filler blend is said to be a combination of the blends used for Opus X, Don Carlos, and Hemingway cigars, all of which are themselves secret — which makes the Añejo blend an enigma wrapped in a mystery, wrapped in a Connecticut broadleaf that has been aged for three to four years, including six to eight months in cognac barrels. (The original release used wrappers aged for seven years, hence the name Añejo, meaning aged.)
The cigar is made at the Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia.

DESCRIPTION:
As this is a vintage cigar being 6 years old after sale, the cello is so yellow that it is almost brown. See photo. It has a rubbery look in the guise of a frame around the name.
The cigar is nearly covered by a cedar sleeve with a red ribbon at the foot. Even the cigar band looks aged.
The wrapper is nearly coal black with lots of veins. The cigar isn’t very uniform in shape or color. I can see a lot of wrinkles, indentations, and color variations.
I can distinguish the cigar from the triple cap. Perfection.

AROMA AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
Age has virtually stolen all sensory perception. I cannot smell anything but a light earthy tobacco, cocoa, and spice. No cognac of oak barrel aroma.

FIRST THIRD:
This is a very tightly packed cigar and upon lighting it up it barely sees a single stream of smoke gently rise into the air.
The cigar is so mild bodied that seems to be barely there.
The first touch of flavor is oak. Then a touch of black pepper.

I’m trying not to chomp and write so I have been hanging on to the cap with my lips and nothing but my lips. On a cigar this long, I must look ridiculous.
The years may have proven my shaky theory that extensive aging can remove the zest and oomph from a cigar. I’ve been proven wrong a lot lately but this time I may have been right. The cigar is devoid of everything that makes it a cigar.
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If the cigar’s characteristics don’t change, I will never make it through 7” of nothingness. (Something my wife told me on our honeymoon.)

I use my cigar awl to clear a bunch of plugs in the cigar. It works. There is a nice billow of smoke. And flavors burst forward. The first being green bell pepper. Sweetness follows. The spiciness improves. I get my first taste of the earthy, rich tobacco. I can taste the cognac barrels.
The ash falls off at the half inch mark.

I am getting quite a delectable experience now. The cognac is strong but smooth. And the wood is powerful as well.
The spiciness is now so strong, it is making my eyes well up.
An orange sweetness shows up for the first time. And then a just a touch of cocoa and coffee.
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The strength moves from plain mild to mild/medium. This helps a lot as I just don’t care for mild strength cigars. They rarely come with a satisfactory list of flavors. It’s like smoking banana peel. Mellow Yellow.

The liqueur aspect is really the push behind the flavor profile being interesting.
Salty pretzel appears. And for some reason, boosts the green pepper element.

The first third has been uneventful and disappointing. There is such a thing as too much age. What a shame. But like many reviews, I find that I’ve made an ass of myself by predicting incorrectly and eating my words. The pleasure of smoking and writing in real time…and being honest. I could go back and edit what I said so I don’t look stupid but that’s no fun.

The ash is not the Arturo Fuente Reserva Xtra Viejo Añejo No. 48 (2009)’s strongest suit. It can’t get past half an inch before jettisoning.
And to prove I’m an idiot, a few minutes later, the worm turns.
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I’m still almost an inch away from starting the second third and something happens. Flavors kick in. The strength is now a solid medium body.
Here they are: Spice, earthy tobacco, cocoa, coffee, oak, cognac, licorice, brown sugar, herbal notes, mesquite, vanilla, and a warm bready element.
There. I’ve made an ass of myself as predicted. The Arturo Fuente Reserva Xtra Viejo Añejo No. 48 (2009) is now a boomer.

Complexity begins to settle in. Nice balance, at last. And a short, but tasty, finish.
Charlotte is watching the news and reading the newspaper when she says, “What is that smell?” I ask her to describe it. “It smells like flowers and Gran Marnier.”
The old bird is finally catching on.

SECOND THIRD:
Creaminess shows itself for the first time along with a stronger sweetness of orange citrus. The woodiness is super potent now. In fact, everything gets a kick in the pants.
Now we’re talkin’.

A shame that the first third was sort of a waste. But I guess this old cigar needed some time to warm up.
The first third used up 35 minutes of smoke time.
I’ve been a good boy and refrained from using the term “flavor bomb” too much. But my gut tells me that the Arturo Fuente Añejo No. 48 (2009) is heading in that direction.
The cigar has a warm bread effect on my palate. A crusty French bread.
The cocoa and coffee make their move.
8third

The strength is a very solid medium body. I think it is heading for even stronger territory.
I read some reviews of this cigar but there was a lot less time from purchase to review. Clearly, the Arturo Fuente Reserva Xtra Viejo Añejo No. 48 (2009) needs a lot of humi time in order to blossom. I’m not saying it needs 6 years but I do think a year is appropriate.

I am really enjoying the hell out of this cigar now. As it has shrunk in size, it is much easier to balance on my Angelina Jolie lips.
And then BLAM! That IT factor that makes a good cigar a high premium cigar kicks in.
Very complex. And now the short finish is replaced by a long one.

Dreaded nicotine arrives. And with it a stronger depth of field. It is now medium/full.

This takes me by surprise as I expected this stick to be mild for the entire experience; especially due to its age and Fuente cigars typically being milder in nature.
I can’t thank Johnny Piette enough for this wonderful gift. He has been a constant source for keeping me in business.
Just heard from dear reader/friend Kevin Esser. He is sending me a few sticks.

One of the great things about doing this so long is the friendships I’ve made. Some were transitory and others more permanent. It has nothing to do with gifts. There is a coterie of friends I communicate with on a regular basis. And most often, we talk about life and our lives. I cherish those.
I haven’t become real friends with the few manufacturers that help me out. That is except for Paul Stulac. Paul and I write each other regularly. Paul is the most down to earth guy in the cigar industry. What a wonderful gentleman. If you ever get a chance to go to one of his events, GO. Meet the man. You will see what I mean.

Back to the Arturo Fuente Reserva Xtra Viejo Añejo No. 48 (2009). I am nearing the halfway point and the cigar is getting stronger and stronger with each puff. I will need my crash helmet for the nicotine.

HALFWAY POINT:
We have full body. Whew.
The lineup has changed somewhat: Oak, cognac, creaminess, sweetness, spice, leather, wood, licorice, bread, vanilla, roasted nuts, orange citrus, floral notes, herbal notes, raisins, mesquite, and a very rich earthiness.
That is a helluva’ line up.

I go back to June 2013 and read my review of the Shark. It doesn’t have even half the flavors of this cigar.
Charred oak appears for the first time. Along with a touch of cinnamon.
The spiciness is on the wane.
9half

The char line has required a few minor touch ups. I didn’t think I needed to dry box it but maybe I should have.
The oak and cognac become very potent now. It is like licking the inside of an oak barrel.
The nicotine slows down.
I’ve now invested over 50 minutes in the cigar.
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LAST THIRD:
This has been a long journey. So many changes. This blend is a real masterpiece. I understand why they aren’t cheap. The complexity is so rich that it is nearly overwhelming.
The char line has finally decided to behave itself.
11third

The draw becomes difficult. I use the awl once again and the plug is gone. Now I have a perfect draw and loads of smoke.
The flavor profile improves.
I have to be honest. I didn’t expect a cigar with this much humi time to be full bodied.
The Arturo Fuente Reserva Xtra Viejo Añejo No. 48 (2009) finishes beautifully with no harshness or heat.
The spiciness returns in spades. My sinuses clear up.
The complex nature of the blend puts the flavor elements on a carousel. Each puff delivers another group of flavors.
This was a fun way to spend an hour and 45 minutes.

SUMMATION:
This was such a treat. Back when I had a good job, I had the dough to buy cigars and store them for very long durations. But in 2008, it all fell apart with the recession. Here I was…58 and making top dollar. So who are the first people to go? Guys like me.
I was never able to recover. Commercial construction got hit the hardest of any industry. And jobs were nowhere to be found. Especially for experienced guys that made a lot of dough. Instead, companies went with 25 year old dudes who would work for $25K. I got so desperate that I told potential employers I would work for that.

But they all feared that if I got a better offer, I’d be gone in a heartbeat.
Since then, I’ve been on a tight budget. I started writing and I got noticed by a big online cigar store who gave me my own blog on their web site. That was the beginning.

But I could no longer buy a shit load of cigars every month. And no longer allow cigars to age for years.
The economy has bounced back but now it is too late for me. No one is hiring 65 year old project managers.
So Johnny sending me treats like this is wonderful.

The Arturo Fuente Reserva Xtra Viejo Añejo No. 48 (2009) is a great cigar to go out on…for a while.
The cigar was everything advertised on the Fuente web site. Plus some.
The current price point for this cigar hasn’t changed much over the years. In fact, they are a little cheaper. I found more than one online store selling them for $10 each.
I highly recommend the Arturo Fuente Reserva Xtra Viejo Añejo No. 48 (2009). But if you can, let it rest for a year.
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And now more crap about my life in rock n roll:

Here is one I haven’t told in a very long time….
We were touring with Black Sabbath. Now this was the stupidest pairing in the world. Our two bands were oil and water. And we were scared to go on first.
black-sabbath-desktop-wallpaper

Curved Air almost without fail headlined its own gigs. And we played a healthy 2-1/2 hours. When we supported a big band, we were only allowed 45 minutes. You have to remember that the road is not that much fun and you live to play. So waiting all day to play and then only get 45 minutes was disappointing.

While Curved Air was basically a stable bunch of people who smoked weed and hash, Sabbath was doing heroin. And their fans were totally out of control. A mob.
As we took the stage, people booed. Oh lord.

Curved Air was a really big band in England and Europe. We weren’t used to getting booed.

We always started with a high energy instrumental. And then we would introduce Sonja Kristina. And she was always dressed in high end slut clothing. The crowds always went nuts. Even the Sabbath crowd. The booing stopped once she was on stage. She was slinky and sexy. The little boys wet themselves.
Well, we did our magic and but the crowd became restless. Even yelling out Black Sabbath at times.

Knowing she had to win back the crowd, Sonja really did a number.
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She started to shed her clothes. And she would take turns kneeling in front of me, and the guitarist, and the violinist giving us fake head. The crowd nearly turned the arena upside down.
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This caught the attention of Ozzy who was just off stage. He was a big fan of CA. And he stood there during our entire set.

He walked on stage and the place went nuts. He grabbed Sonja and she knew what to do. She got down on her knees in front of him and undid his fly. She reached in with one hand and began to lick the outside of his pants. He took the microphone away from her and made all sorts of lewd comments. I thought the crowd was going to storm the stage.

The band and I were laughing big time. There was nothing shy about Sonja. Ozzy pushed her hand away and yanked out his petunia.

Sonja took the mic back and began to sing our only Top 10 hit, “Back Street Luv.” The band followed her. She stood there singing with Ozzy’s dick in her hand. Roadies and security had to stand at the front of the stage and were throwing the more excited fans off.

After the gig, both bands and all of the roadies not working, headed to the “in” club in town. We sat at a big half round booth. Sonja sat next to Ozzy. And then all of a sudden she disappeared. She was giving Ozzy head at the table. Ozzy’s facial expression never changed.

A roadie that Ozzy always picked on turned the tables on him. He took a shit into his hand and dropped the turd into Ozzy’s drink. We all fled the table. Sonja did not. And Ozzy never saw it coming as he lifted the drink to his mouth.
ozzy

As soon as turd touched his lips, he stood up knocking the entire table on its side. He started cursing. Sonja scrambled to get out of there. Ozzy knew who did this and chased him around the club.
Darryl told us this might be a good time to split.

When we were the backup for some big group, it was usually for only 3 gigs. And this gig was out third and last.
For some reason, we never toured with Black Sabbath again.

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