Wrapper: Undisclosed (Cameroon?)
Brand: Arturo Fuente
Factory: Tabacalera Arturo Fuente y Cia
Price Range: $11-$14 (Secondary prices can be much higher)
Let’s begin with a little preface. I first burned this cigar two nights before Thanksgiving, and instantly fell in love with it. I remember the foot smelling of chocolate covered fruit, and the first third smoking much like that as well. Of course, I brought one home and expected to do the review today of an Eye of the Shark that had a few weeks rest.
Fast forward to yesterday – a friend located and shipped my 5 Eye of the Shark’s. Or, Eyes of the Shark. I opened these up and was immediately assaulted with bananas, banana bread, and the slightest hint of milk chocolate. I reach in the humi and select the one that had a few weeks downtime on it… Not so much banana bread, or anything for that matter. Very muted compared to these that I received yesterday.
So, we begin today at an impasse. Should I smoke the one that has a heavenly aroma and just braved several days of shipping to arrive on my doorstep, or the one that’s rested at 65% humidity and probably has more of the blender’s intent ready to come alive for this review?
Well, I’m going to assume that most folks that snag an Eye of the Shark are going to either A) smoke it immediately like I did the first time or B) tuck it in for a slumber longer than three weeks. Plus, I like banana bread. Ha!
Before we begin, it should be noted that Anthony’s has good info on this cigar, and anything I write down would be a copy of their stuff, so I won’t.
Also, I’m not sure why Fuente is so mysterious about this blend. The wrapper itself is very fragile and reminiscent of my other Don Carlos experiences. If I had to go out on a limb, I’d wager my last dollars that it’s a Cameroon Wrapper, but the rest I have zero ideas about.
Eye of the Shark – Appearances and Thoughts
For those that don’t know, the Shark vitola is one that begins with a torpedo shape and transitions into a box-pressed square shape at the foot. Eye Candy? You bet. Which is why the epic eye sore of tape on the band is also puzzling. Supposedly the bands weren’t large enough, and so they taped the ends together to make it fit. But it’s not the first Shark band to be made – somewhere the quality control folks failed, and somewhere else a person that signs off on the application of taped bands also failed. And yet… there’s no Fuente Glue blemishing the wrapper, so maybe that’s a plus?
Other than that, the cigar itself is beautiful. Like I said earlier, the foot is very fruity, and this time around I’m getting large amounts of banana bread off each of the 5 cigars that arrived yesterday. A pre-light draw offers up more banana bread, and I’m gonna jump right in and torch this beauty.
I’ll be mostly drinking Sparkling Mineral Water, but have Coffee and Coke Zero on hand as well.
Eye of the Shark – First Third
Wood, Baking Spices, Cream, Grilled Meat, Cinnamon, Chipotle (?)
After a good torchin’, the first few puffs open up with zero banana bread. I know, shocking. There’s more of a woody profile up front with baking spices on the finish. The aroma coming off the lit foot is very much like a pastry shop.
The presence (body) of this cigar seems to be medium plus, and the potency (strength) seems to start off a little harsh initially and then taper down to a solid medium. The burn is a little finicky as well, could just be my like of decision making skills in choosing the Eye of the Shark without rest – although, as far as I know, there’s only been one shipment of these cigars, and they’ve mostly had the same shelf life in stores.
Spices continue to come to the forefront, lingering on the tongue. I don’t remember my first Eye of the Shark to have this much spice to it, but this one does. It’s spicy now, no longer baking spices. Not a peppery flavor, but that feeling of pepper.
Coffee is the winning pairing it seems, turning what is otherwise a monotone woodsy experience into a creamy, nutty, and very enjoyable cigar. There’s a hint of fruit in the background that the bitterness of the coffee wants to tease out. Creamy in texture, yes, but also creamy in flavor – it’s like the Eye of the Shark is the creamer to my dark roasted coffee.
At the first inch mark, and with a little torch correction on the burn, I’m getting a subtle grilled meat flavor. Subtler than a Liga 9, but it’s very present in the cigar. Intermittent creaminess with a hint of Nut Raisin Mix (MRE style) continue to try and confound me.
Interestingly enough, all of the burn issues stem from the back of the cigar and not the front. The back wants to create a V shape pointing towards the band. Must be the tape!
At the end of the first third, the whole experience changes quickly. Now it’s seriously reminding me of my favorite grill Rub: McCormick Grill Mates Sweet & Smoky. Is that chipotle and cinnamon working together?
Eye of the Shark – Second Third
Cream, Cinnamon, Cannoli, Sweet Tobacco, Cloves, Molasses
Moving into the second third, I tap one solid piece of ash and take a good pull. Just heavenly. Lots of smooth, creamy smoke that same grilling spice lingers as an aftertaste. I keep waiting on any of the cocoa, fruit, or bakery notes that I had written down from the first experience to come to the forefront – but they don’t. I had a wonderful Brazilian coffee and Root Beer the first time around if anyone wants to draw out more of those flavors.
Ahhhhh there it is. A light note of cinnamon hales the beginning of the transition, and soon it builds to a pastry-esque profile. A quick retrohale delivers new insight: it is very much like a cannoli. Oh man this is good.
Several minutes later and I’m getting a wonderful sweet tobacco with a nutty finish. This Eye of the Shark has seen more than it’s fair share of torch corrections, but it’s so worth it. Loving every transition, every new addition to the experience.
As I’m getting close to the band, cloves become readily apparent. I probably wouldn’t be able to identify it if it wasn’t for my spice cabinet raid trying to distinguish what was happening in El Compartir last week from Edolara Cigars.
Molasses also comes forward to round out the second third, sometimes tasting a bit burnt and other times tasting very sweet.
Eye of the Shark – Last Third
Salty Peanuts, Tobacco, Molasses, Brazil Nuts
Tapping the ash again (no ash in the lap today!) the last third opens up like salty peanuts. Probably the first time I’ve noted a cigar as salty, but there it is. It’s getting a little spongy now, but so far it hasn’t detracted from the experience. Except, what was a dry smoke earlier seems to be building in presence and becoming ‘wetter’ if that makes sense.
More tobacco and a smokey molasses come through as well, for a solid ten minutes or so. The aroma coming off the foot now is of boiled peanuts, taking me back to football games with my Dad.
Speaking of peanuts, with just about an inch and a half remaining, I’m pulling more and more nuttiness out of this cigar. My palette isn’t up to the challenge of discerning which nuts yet, but if I had to guess I’d say Brazil Nuts. More specifically, organic brazil nuts. Just because.
To close out my experience with the Eye of the Shark, notes of leather, wood, and more nuts take us home.
Hard to Find
Tape on the Band??
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