The Arturo Fuente Cigar company produces some of the best non-Cuban cigars in the world. The Añejo series and the OpusX are probably two of the more familiar premium blends.
Initially blended with the same filler and binder, the OpusX uses a Cuban-seed rosado wrapper which is cured in rum barrels. The Añejo is coupled with a 5 year old aged Connecticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper, and while the blend is no longer the same, the tobaccos used are ultra-premium. Aged in cognac barrels, this cigar is rich, spicy, slightly sweet and delicious. Produced in limited quantities and released only at Father's Day and Christmas, the Añejo is one of the most exclusive cigars in the world.
The Añejo is wrapped in that gorgeous dark maduro wrapper, and is sheathed in a cedar sleeve, finished off with a red satin foot band. The result is visually elegant. Undoing the foot band and removing the sheath is kind of like unwrapping a Christmas present too.
The cigar is very densely packed and very tightly rolled. As expected, the scent of the wrapper is sweet and earthy, with some spice noticeable. The cold draw is perfect and tastes of cognac.
This cigar was a little difficult to light, there is a lot of tobacco there to get going and the oiliness also affects this. Once going, the Añejo produces a lot of beautiful white smoke and a slight draw gives a mouthful of creamy sweet smoke.
The burn itself is wavy, though you can correct it by turning the cigar. But it tends to flower off, if you don't pay attention you'll get a lap full.
Note that this is not a "flavored" cigar, as those are typically soaked or infused with flavors. The wrapper of the Añejo is aged in the cognac barrels, then rolled with other binder and filler tobaccos. This process does impart some flavors from the barrel into the wrapper, but that's what makes the Añejo special.
Initial flavors upon lighting tend to be woody with a definite cognac flavor coming through. As the cigar progresses, fruit, wood, cinnamon and burnt sugar (molasses) notes appear occasionally. The smoke is full bodied but smooth.
Into the middle the flavors are more maduro -- chocolate, coffee, earth -- and a woody (cedar?) flavor emerges and builds towards the end, covering up the sweeter notes until about the last inch or so. Then it promptly wanes, and the sweet vanilla, almond and cinnamon flavors carry you to the nub.
The Añejo is a cigar you will not forget. Each flavor is clear and defined, there is an obvious progression of flavors through the cigar, and it is rich and full--but not overpowering. Sometimes difficult to find, this one is also a must try.