The Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Bull is a limited production release released earlier this year. If you were at Arturo Fuente’s booth at the 2022 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show, you might have seen the Don Carlos Eye of the Bull tucked away (in fairness, our team did miss it). Fast forward to 2023, and the Eye of the Bull made its way to the International market and was offered to U.S. retailers attending the 2023 PCA Trade Show. As we will see, the Don Carlos Eye of the Bull is a unique offering in the Arturo Fuente portfolio.
The Eye of the Bull has two distinguishing characteristics. First, it is a short but somewhat plump cigar, only measuring 3 1/2 x 55. Second, the cap has something resembling a bullseye on it – which is just a small, dark circular maduro. The cigar was a project spearheaded by Arturo Fuente International Executive President Ciro Cascella. The name is appropriate for the bullseye on the cap. It is the second “Eye” in the Don Carlos brand. The more famous “Eye” is the Don Carlos Eye of the Shark. The Eye of the Shark features Fuente’s famed “Shark” vitola, mostly box-pressed, except for the tip, which is more of a rounded belicoso.
For now, let’s turn our attention back to the Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Bull and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Bull Cigar Review
Blend and Origin
Keeping with the tradition of much of the Don Carlos brand, the Don Carlos Eye of the Bull features a Cameroon wrapper sourced from Africa by the Meerapfel family over all Dominican tobaccos grown at Chateau de la Fuente. Production for the Eye of the Bull comes from Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia in the Dominican Republic.
County of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia
As mentioned, the Don Carlos Eye of the Bull comes in one size, a 3 1/2 x 55 parejo. The cigars are presented in 20-count boxes. Production is done in limited, small batches.
The Cameroon wrapper of the Eye of the Bull is a dark variant. The wrapper had a medium-roast coffee bean color with a rosado tint. A light coat of oil was also on the wrapper, and there was a slight toothiness. There were some visible veins, but the surface was almost void of any visible seams. As mentioned, a small maduro circle is affixed to the cap.
Before lighting up the Eye of the Bull, a straight cut was used to remove the cap (which had the affixed bullseye). Once the cap was removed, it was time for the pre-light draw. There was a lot of sweetness on this pre-light draw. It did remind me of a sweetened cap, but I don’t think that is the case because once I lit up the cigar, there was no residual sweetness. This was a little too sweet of a pre-light draw for me. Since the pre-light draw was not scored or factored into the assessment rating, there was no loss of points. At this point, it was time to remove the Eye of the Bull’s footer ribbon, toast up the cigar and proceed with the smoking phase.
The Eye of the Bull opened with notes of coffee, cedar, baker’s spice, and natural tobacco. There was some sweetness to the natural tobacco, but it was not nearly as sweet as the pre-light draw. The coffee notes moved to the forefront with the natural tobacco, cedar, and baker’s spice. Some underlying creaminess emerged with the flavor profile. There was an additional layer of cedar and some black pepper on the retro-hale.
During the second third of the Eye of the Bull, the natural tobacco moved into the forefront, and the coffee receded into the background. At the same time, the creaminess started to subside, and there was a slight reduction with the natural tobacco. The pepper and cedar began to increase in intensity. There also was still some baker’s spice in the background.
The final this saw the natural tobacco in the forefront. The pepper and cedar were the more prominent secondary notes, but coffee and baker’s spice were present. This is the way the Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Bull came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
About 0.7″ of the nub remained, and the smoking time averaged 54 minutes.
The Eye of the Bull performed well. The burn maintained a straight burn line and a straight burn path, requiring minimal touch-ups. The resulting ash was silver-gray. This ash was skewed toward the loose side. The burn temperature was ideal. I mentioned in the last section that it took 54 minutes, so I consider this a slow burner. This had no adverse effects unless you think a longer smoking time is one of them.
The draw of the Eye of the Bull also performed well. This had a touch of resistance – which I like. This could be why it was a slow burner, but the draw was right in my sweet spot.
Strength and Body
The strength and body for the Eye of the Bull started in the medium range for both attributes. There was a slight increase in intensity, but there wasn’t a lot of time for this to develop, and in the end, the Eye of the Bull stayed in the medium range for the duration of the smoke.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
One company that rarely misses on packaging is Arturo Fuente. The Black Don Carlos band and the ten-count wooden boxes make for an excellent presentation.
The Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Bull performed quite well. In a small package, it delivered very nice flavor. It was satisfying from a complexity point of view, and it had top-notch construction. Perhaps the one drawback with this cigar, like the United Cigars Firecracker Series, is simply too small. I would have loved another 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch with this cigar. I would recommend this cigar to any cigar enthusiast. If you can find these at the $12.80 price point, then pick up multiples (If it’s above the SRP, you should adjust based on your budget). I know from my point of view, I’m keeping multiples in the humidor. I scored it at 90 points, which reached the Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Natural Tobacco, Cedar, Baker’s Spice, Cream, Pepper
The Smoking Syndicate Review
Ben Lee of The Smoking Syndicate and Cigar Coop assessed the Eye of the Bull and gave it a 91.
Value: Buy Multiples
Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence
News: Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Bull to be 2023 PCA Trade Show Exclusive Offering
Brand Reference: Arturo Fuente
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop
Video Credit: Cigar Coop/The Smoking Syndicate