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Two Arturo Fuente Tobacco Warehouses Lost to Blaze

I’d say “and not in the good way,” but I already did that in my post about U.S. Customs incinerating 100,000 Habanos. Anyway, that aside, I was sad to learn today from Cigar Aficionado that a fire destroyed two Tabacalera A. Fuente tobacco warehouses in Villa Gonzalez, Dominican Republic last Tuesday morning. While no one was hurt during the blaze, the company lost what can only be a huge amount of tobacco.

Carlos Fuente Jr. told Cigar Aficionado, “We don’t know how much tobacco we have lost…but it was a lot.” No specific quantity or dollar amount was discussed, though Fuente Jr. mentioned that some irreplaceable tobacco was lost in the fire. Specifically, he mentioned bales of Connecticut tobacco that may have been harvested as early as 1960. He went on to say that while some of the burned tobacco was irreplaceable, they lost very little wrapper tobacco.

While Fuente Jr. said that production would most likely be cut back in the next year or two, I can’t help but see a silver lining. Sure, that’s easy for me to say, because I wasn’t directly affected by the blaze. But I think about Arturo Fuente Añejo, one of the company’s most celebrated and highly sought-after cigars. This cigar was created as a result of Hurricane Georges causing a shortage of Opus X wrapper tobacco. As far as I can tell, if the hurricane hadn’t hit, this cigar would never have been created.

That’s not to say that I don’t feel for the Fuente family—losing two warehouses full of tobacco, some of which was up to 50 years old, must be a huge blow to their operations. But I’m not ruling out the possibility of something good, maybe even Añejo good, coming out of this. In the meantime, though, I wish Carlos Fuente Jr. and the rest of his family the best of luck in putting the pieces back together. Since its inception in 1912, the company has survived through a jaw-dropping nine fires, so I have high hopes that they’ll make it through this one.