Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente King B
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I gravitated toward Arturo Fuente cigars in my noob-hood. Confronted with a dizzying array of options, I was content to ride Fuente’s reputation for solid construction and fair value. The Hemingway Short Story, 8-5-8 and Cuban Corona were no-brainers. Five bucks could get me a reliable, medium-bodied Cameroon every time.
But with the end of the cigar boom, the demise of the “Don Nobodies” and a new emphasis on value, I found myself reaching for a Fuente less and less. I suppose my palate became more adventurous. I sorted out which other brands merited my attention. And my expectations of a five dollar smoke certainly changed.
So now I revisit my old stand-by brand only on occasion. I’m still wowed by the Opus X, even at the exorbitant price. But my other Fuente experiences have been unremarkable. The Don Carlos can be a little dull, the Anejo is shockingly overpriced, and then there is the King B, a 6″ x 55 belicoso in the venerable Chateau Fuente line.
Handsomely packaged in cello and a cedar sleeve, the King B features an attractive sungrown rosado wrapper. It clips and fires with ease, and yields the full draw you’d expect from a chunky ring gauge. The initial flavor is of sweet, tangy wood with a hint of black coffee. Toward the end of the first third some spice adds interest, and by halfway it takes on the characteristics of a medium-bodied maduro. The Padilla Obsidian Toro comes to mind — dominant sweet wood offset by mild spice. The finish is soft throughout.
The flavor was largely unchanged the rest of the way. It took on just a bit of earth shortly before the burn petered out with an inch remaining.
The King B has mellowed since I purchased this box on a whim a year and a half ago. My first few experiences were marred by bitter, tarry notes, particularly on the second half. That harshness is all but gone now, leaving a smooth, consistent 75-minute smoke.
CONCLUSION: In a word, the Chateau Fuente King B is pleasant. But if you spotted me a second word, I’d choose uninspired. It is well built, looks great and the flavor is fine. However, the King B is no better than average considering the price tag and big brand reputation. An 18-count box is $121.50 direct from Tampa Sweetheart, though the King B commands nearly $9.00 per stick from some e-tailers. There are more satisfying sticks for the money.