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"Very good, but not as brilliant as I recalled"

Review by: LawDawg
Review Date: 05/26/2007
Rating: 8.17
Criteria 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Appearance
Construction
Flavor
Value
Overall Experience

Review Notes: I really do like these. Other than the 8-5-8 sun grown, I think this is the best sun grown in the Fuente line, much better than the more hyped King B. I picked up about 10 of these around a year ago, and liked them so much I had a tough time smoking anything else. I ended up burning through 8 of them in no time at all, then left the others to rest in the humidor. I recently picked up a 5-pack in addition, so I thought it was time to light up one of the older ones to see what age does to them. A true belicoso, these Cuban Belis are a nice cigar to look at, ornately decorated with the classic AF band, a cedar sheath, and the black ribbon at the foot to signify its entry in the Fuente sun grown line. I have often, in my reviews, categorized other cigars with a sun grown wrapper as being reminiscent of the Cuban Beli, as I suppose I came to associate this cigar with a well-pronounced, "classic" sun grown flavor. With a year's age on it, the cigar's flavor had changed somewhat. While I remembered the cigar as being very woodsy, with a dash of earth (particularly toward the end), and a bit of spice, I now found that, although these flavors remained, they were much more subtle. In particular, the beginning of the smoke neared the mild-medium mark on the body-spectrum, and a notable sweetness appeared that I'd never associated wth this cigar. At about the half-way point, the cigar returned to the straight forward wood and earth flavors I recalled, that mild spice crept in at the very end., and the cigar returned to the world of medium-full bodied cigars. Maybe it's just that I wasn't expecting the relative mildness at the beginning, but I really think I prefer these cigars fresh, when the flavors are a bit more intense. One thing that didn't change at all was the excellent construction on these. From time to time the smoke would begin to burn unevenly, but it always corrected itself without need for a touch-up. The AF Cuban Beli is a really great smoke. The MSRP on this webpage reads $3.00, but that's pretty outdated. I picked these up at Tampa Sweethearts, where everything is sold at MSRP, and I believe they were going for just under $5 a pop. I would say $5-6 is a fair price to pay. Perhaps the only drawback with this cigar is that it tends to leave my mouth feeling a bit dry, in the same way a really hoppy beer does, like an IPA. That may actually be a plus for some people, but I prefer a good stout or wheat ale. Nevertheless, if you want a sun grown cigar, can't find the Fuente 8-5-8 SG, and don't want to pay the high price point on the Ashton VSG, you'll be hard pressed to find a better cigar whose wrapper was kissed by the sun.

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