Thirty-two-year-old Liana Fuente had been sneaking puffs of cigars for as long as she could remember. Being born into the world famous Fuente Cigar family meant that cigars were never hard to come by. Liana’s childhood memories of her grandfather, Carlos Fuente, and father, Carlito, always seemed to included a dangling cigar from their mouths. Sometimes, when they were not looking, she said she would sneak into one of their offices, steal a puff or two, as most children would do as an act of curiosity. But it wasn’t until she was older did she have the opportunity to smoke one from start to finish.
At a young age, Liana Fuente was in New Orleans with her father for the first time attending major cigar convention. While on their way out to dinner, her father and a group of his friends lit up cigars. She prodded her father for one so she could join in on the festivities. He agreed to provide her with a cigar, an Opus X Lancero. This is one of Fuente’s most sought out cigar and one of the most beloved in the entire industry, but it was a lot larger and stronger than she desired for her first cigar. Excepting her father’s prideful selection, she grabbed it and puffed away.
Nicknamed “The First Lady of Cigars” for holding the highest ranking corporate position within the cigar industry—president of US. operations for Arturo Fuente Tobacco Company~Cynthia Fuente Suarez is constantly asked what it is like to be a woman in a “man’s world” and how it feels to be a female pioneer in the tobacco industry. For Fuente, these are confounding questions. A woman in the cigar industry is special? She is a pioneer? Fuente has been part of the cigar industry since the day she was born and for as far back as she can remember, women have not just been a part of it—they have been a major part of it.
The warehouses were completely engulfed in flames, and the firefighters were losing the battle. The men and women attacked the fire, spurting water through the windows of the blazing buildings until the smoke and the heat overwhelmed them. Even when they could fight no longer they called for milk in hopes of fortifying themselves for another round, But it was too late. Two large warehouses with irreplaceable stocks of tobacco were lost.
Veritable bunkers, the two structures had seemed impregnable until Hurricane lrene raged to within 70 miles of Villa Gonzalez, Dominican Republic, stirring Winds that fed the flames. Even as the blaze leapt toward the sky, rains lashed the scene, almost in irony. Inside was a treasure trove, tobacco that was years and even decades old, leaves from around the world that had been destined to he rolled into celebratory smokes for its owner, Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia.
Occasionally, a cigar comes along that is unique in every way—interesting blend, innovative shape, intriguing story—and, at the same time, can still maintain the classic standards of excellence. This is the case with the Arturo Fuente Don Carlos Eye of the Shark, Cigar Aficionado’s 2017 Cigar of the Year.