The Fuente Solaris we’ll Review today is the fourth “Microblend” release made available exclusively by Florida-based cigar retailer Smoke Inn. Those outside FL can purchase the limited-run cigar on Smoke Inn’s website. As we write this in mid July, Solaris boxes and 5-packs remain available and will set you back about $9 a stick.
Each Microblend release is produced by a different heavyweight cigar maker with Fuente being perhaps the most notable participant in the series. There aren’t many bigger or more respected brands than Fuente (who certainly know a thing or two about limited releases) so the gang at Smoke Inn were surely pleased to have the Solaris added to their MB lineup.
While other Microblend releases were created specifically for the Smoke Inn partnership, that wasn’t the case with the Fuente Solaris. Apparently, the small batch run was rolled a few years back (presumably as part of an experiment or abandoned project), then set aside to rest at the Fuente compound. When the call came from Smoke Inn proprietor Abe Dababneh, Solaris was born. A few more details are available on the Smoke Inn site, but there isn’t much more to the story.
So let’s get to it. We’re proud to bring you the HLC Fuente Solaris Review!
Presentation & Pre-Light
It’s easy to believe the orange-hued wrapper has been aged the full six years reported by Smoke Inn. Some bumpiness and crinkling are visible on the thinly veined cigar surface which is typical of aged smokes.
The cigar’s banding seems like an afterthought. Crookedly applied, the second band’s tope coloring clashes with the gold foil on the Fuente band. One Solaris sample was marred by a substantial clump of glue and all three samples smoked lost a healthy swath of wrapper upon band-removal due to excessive glue application. These factors combine to create a “thrown together” feel that’s at odds with the $9.00 Solaris price.
The belicoso shows nice construction on the tapered end, a light heft and an even give throughout its length. Faint tobacco aromas are noticeable on the wrapper and foot. Pre-light draws produce bitter, sweet tobacco notes. Cold-draw resistance varies between samples and is generally stiffer than expected considering the cigar’s light weight.
Once lit, the Fuente Solaris burns quickly but evenly while producing a nice salt-and-pepper ash. Smoke production is on the light side. The burn line is sharp and little-to-no extra attention or touch-ups are required during the entire smoking experience.
The draw remains a bit tight while the glue-induced tears (along with a significant split in one sample’s wrapper) contribute to an airy draw during the final third.
A dryness with sweet and charry notes make up the initial Fuente Solaris flavor core. Retrohales are smooth with some acidity that’s nice. No citric fruit notes appear despite the sweet acidic character; instead the sweetness is rounder, almost like maple or brown sugar.
During the middle third, sweetness increases and a woody note appears. The cigar is mild as advertised but body and strength build during the experience. A pronounced bitterness emerges around the halfway point as flavors deepen.
Body continues to ramp up in the final third. In fact, a good-sized hit of spice comes as a surprise during one sample’s final puffs. The bite produced by the now-medium Solaris is almost distracting, but not unpleasant.
DO NOT pair the Fuente Solaris with a cold beverage or liquor with a sweet character like rum or aged bourbon. This cigar is too subtle for a cold, closed pallet or one overrun with sugars. Black coffee is the recommended drink to accompany one of these stogies. The coffee’s bitterness will mask that of the Solaris and leave space for the cigar’s sweeter and earthy notes.
With the ever-increasing presence of strong cigars made to serve evolving smoker preferences, medium has become the new “mild”. The Fuente Solaris is more of an old-school mild, but still hard to categorize. Many milder cigars are characterized by smooth, “bright” flavors that may include floral notes and an extra clean finish. The Solaris is not like that. Its best flavors have a “darker” essence that remains quite mild.
In the end, the Solaris experience is varied to the point of being uneven. That makes the cigar interesting, but consistency has it’s place, especially within the milder flavor spectrum. Despite a great burn, some less than harmonious flavors make it difficult to recommend the Solaris for anyone other than the most ardent Fuente lovers.
Brand: Arturo Fuente
Blend: Solaris (Smoke Inn Micro Blend)
Closest “Traditional” Format: Belicoso
Ring Gauge: 49
Wrapper: Ecuador (Sun Grown)
Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia. – Dom. Rep.
Release Type: Limited Edition of 5,500 cigars (550 boxes of 10 in one format only)
Release Date: May, 2012
Qty. Tasted for Review: 3
Approx. Age: 1 Month
Official Site: SmokeInn.com