That being said, this is certainly a better looking cigar than a regular Don Carlos. The oily, dark, Cameroon wrapper puts its little brother to shame, making it look matte and dull by comparison...and that's a darn nice wrapper! It also appears it might have been a little veiny for use on anything but a box pressed cigar. (Pressing 'smooths out' the imperfections in a wrapper leaf a bit,.) While we're on the topic, it's really not a completely pressed cigar...the bottom part is, but the top just has a normal taper like any other belicoso.)
This is almost a 'modernized' version of Don Carlos made for today's impatient audience who expects big blasts of flavor and aroma. In addition to the leather and wood, there was the nutty sweetness we expect from good Cameroon wrapper but also fruit cake and baking spice to help balance out the more sharp and savory elements. Complexity was moderate overall.
Therefore, this cigar is a little tough to recommend given the current marketplace. At a couple bucks more than a regular Don Carlos, fine. But now that you can expect to pay double MSRP or much more, our suggestion is to simply kick back with a $10.60 Don Carlos Belicoso instead, which in the end is more subtle and nuanced if not quite as pretty. (Or a plain old Spanish Lonsdale, which provides a nice dose of Fuente-made, Cameroon-wrapped goodness for just $5.20, albeit in a slimmer format.)
Come to think of it, that's pretty much how we felt about the other special Don Carlos release this year, the Personal Reserve.
B: Dominican Republic
F: Dominican Republic
A more in-your-face take on the classic Don Carlos. Gorgeous wrapper. Lacks subtlety/nuance we enjoy about the regular DC. Upfront, woody, leathery and balanced with sweet nuts and cake. Not worth the crazy retailer markup.