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Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente King B

af-king-b-625p.jpg

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.

For other takes on the King B, check out The Stogie Guys review here, Matt’s Cigar Journal here and Keepers of The Flame here.

SCORE: 83

79 comments

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