Fans of Arturo Fuente cigars are very familiar with the Don Carlos line of cigars. One of the most sought-after and desirable versions of that cigar is 2015’s Eye of the Shark, which was released in honor of Carlos Fuente’s 80th birthday, as well as the 30th anniversary of the Don Carlos line. At the PCA trade show in 2022, a line extension was on display, but no information was given on this intriguing new cigar. We jump to the 2023 PCA trade show and are introduced to the Eye of the Bull. While it will be a regular production cigar, as of this writing, is a 2023 PCA exclusive available only to retailers placing orders at the show. The Eye of the Shark was notable for the vitola, which has a basic belicoso shape that transforms into a box-pressed foot. The Eye of the Bull is also unique in vitola, but in a different way. It is short at a mere 3 ½” long, yet has a 55-ring gauge, giving it a rather rotund appearance.
Under the Lid
Typical of special and limited-release cigars from the Fuente Family, this cigar comes packaged in a gorgeous 20 count box, similar to two other limited edition Don Carlos releases from Arturo Fuente, Personal Reserve and Don Carlos the Man. Opening the box, one feels like they have a piece of art in their hand’s vs a box of cigars, so you know they are special.
- Wrapper: Cameroon
- Binder: Dominican Republic
- Filler: Dominican Republic
- Vitola Reviewed: 3 ½ X 55
- Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia.
- Release Date: July 2023
- Number of cigars released: Regular production 2023 PCA show exclusive.
- MSRP: $12.80 ($256 for a box of 20)
The cigars have a medium brown wrapper with quite a bit of oil and a fair amount of tooth. Some raised veins are running throughout, and one sample had a small bump right on the seam of the cap. Speaking of the cap, it cannot be overlooked that there is a round patch of darker tobacco right in the middle of the cap to resemble a bull’s eye! The construction on the cigar is solid, as is expected from Arturo Fuente, with very well-done seams that are mostly invisible. The cigar is very firm from foot to cap, with no soft spots, telling me it is properly filled. The main band is the classic Don Carlos style with red highlights. There is also a red fabric ribbon around the foot of the cigar.
The aromas from the foot of the cigar have hints of natural tobacco, damp earth, and a touch of cedar. Overall, there is a sweetness to the aroma of the foot. The prelight draw is somewhat firm, which gives me a little concern, though it should be a non-issue on a cigar this size.
First third: The cigar starts off with the basic profile detected in the prelight draw, natural tobacco, damp earth, and cedar. A faint floral note to the finish makes for a very pleasant profile. The retrohale has a sweetness to it, with cabinet spices, sweet vanilla cream, and a faint floral note. The sweetness in the retrohale may cause some to think this is a sweetened or infused cigar, which it most definitely is not. What a great start to the smoking experience. Having been afforded the opportunity to smoke some of the other special editions of Don Carlos, I am able to taste the wrapper leaf more in this size vs. the others. Burn and draw are exceptional early on, producing a large volume of thick white smoke. Strength is mild, while body and complexity are in the medium range.
Second third: The mid-section of the cigar sees the introduction of coffee and cacao into the profile, while the sweetness of the retrohale begins to fade slightly. There is a hint of nuttiness coming from the retrohale, but other than that, it is very similar to the early retrohale, heavy with cabinet spice, vanilla cream, and flora. Burn gets a little wobbly in the mid part, it does not need correcting, while the draw performs admirably. Strength kicks up a notch to medium, while body and complexity remain in that same zone.
Final third: A transition to fresh roasted coffee beans, damp cedar, and white pepper take the cigar into the final section, with the sweetness now completely absent in the retrohale. The cabinet spice is still there, but the vanilla cream has gone away. This gives the cigar quite a bit of dryness in the final section, requiring a few sips of water to keep moisture in my mouth. This makes for a memorable, albeit too quick of finish for this cigar. Burn straightened itself up in the final part, while draw remained consistent from the previous sections. Strength, body and complexity all finish up in the medium range.
Core flavors: natural tobacco, cabinet spices, sweet vanilla, white pepper and coffee.
Smokin Experience: This was a very flavorful, well-constructed cigar, worthy of the hype that will be sure to follow. The fact that cigar that is so short in length yet deliver transitions better than some cigars twice its length is a testament to the care taken in the construction of this cigar. The burn rate is favorable as well. I am a rather quick smoker, and at 3 ½” in length, every sample I smoked averaged just over an hour in smoking time, which enhanced the experience in my mind. That being said, as hard as these are going to be to find, it is good that the regular Don Carlos are readily available.
Purchase Recommendation: Multiple Boxes if you can find them!
- These cigars will most likely become instant unobtanium as their predecessors have.
- As this is a regular production cigar, it remains to be seen if it will be offered to all Arturo Fuente accounts to increase availability.
Cigars smoked for the review: Three
Average smoking time: 63 Minutes
Kevin Acuff – Senior Reviewer & Editor
Kevin Acuff was born and raised in Northeast Ohio. Growing up in a rural area, he was able to indulge in some very exciting life experiences at a young age. He acquired his private pilot license before he had a driver’s license, spent several years on the competitive bass fishing tournament trail, and even spent a couple of seasons racing motorcycles. In 2001, he relocated to Las Vegas, spending the better part of the past 20 years working in the sign industry. It was one of those industry trips, back in 2014 that changed his life for good. His boss handed him a Siglo V and an instantaneous bond was formed.