2021 Smokin Tabacco Awards: Woman of the Year – Liana Fuente

January 9, 2022 By Matthew Tabacco

In 2012, Arturo Fuente celebrated their 100th anniversary. Second generation Carlos Fuente Sr. and third generation Carlos “Carlito” Fuente Jr. celebrated this with some great releases that year. In addition, there is Cynthia Fuente who is known by many as “The First Lady of Cigars” who also represents the love, dedication and quality of the Fuente family and their brand. But like most families in this business, the torch gets passed down. The emergence of the fourth generation of the Fuente family is here and HER name is Liana Fuente.

Like her family before her, Liana is a professional with love and passion for the business of premium handmade cigars. She is the Vice President of Brand Development of Arturo Fuente and also oversees all of their charitable efforts. She takes after her father, Carlito, in the way she represents such a storied and historic brand with a reputation for high class and consistency. When her father created the new “Rare Pink” line, she was the one who decided to use that to raise money for Breast Cancer Awareness.

Rare Pink was introduced in 2020 when it was shipped to retailers for the holiday season. It uses Ecuadorian wrapper over a mixture of tobaccos including Nicaraguan tobacco from the Fuente farm in Estelí, Nicaragua. All of the vitolas are perfectos, with two new sizes introduced at PCA 2021 this year: Queen of Hearts and Sophisticated Hooker. Arturo Fuente announced in addition that $13 from each box would be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation after the American Cancer Society refused to accept money from a company associated with tobacco. In 2020, Liana told us they raised $107,000 for Breast Cancer Research.

Liana had previously raised tens of thousands of dollars for American Cancer Society before this project and is no stranger to bringing awareness for a cause she has been involved with since 2005. Liana told us in her interview at PCA that she had done this fundraiser for her grandmother who she lost in 2019 who died from breast cancer. The project was a surprise from her father, and she knew what she wanted to do with it as soon as she heard about it. Carlito even named it Rare Pink and made the packaging pink due to these reasons, striving from the motivation of honoring those lost to this disease and trying to bring awareness to prevent more from dying.

Liana even shaved her head for the cause when the Rare Pink line was launched, while her father shaved his famous mustache. The way she created the theme around this cigar and then turned it into a fundraising effort for breast cancer research was very admirable and shows how our industry is capable of so much more than just cigars. We are a caring community who strives to help others around us. She also set a good example for other women looking to strive for something bigger than themselves and stand out in a male dominated field.

It will be interesting to see how Liana continues to carry on her family’s legacy in years to come. As far as I know, she is only one of the very few if not only fourth-generation family members in the modern era of the industry. The Rare Pink was a great cigar and was featured on our Top 25 Cigar of the Year list this year.

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