Carlos Fuente Jr.: We’re all one

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Chateau de la Fuente is studded with symbolism – Carlito’s method of expressing his appreciation for his household

The eight majestic king palms on Chateau de la Fuente, half-way between Santo Domingo and the epicenter of the cigar business, Santiago de los Caballeros, are the one ones of greater than 200 to outlive Hurricane Georges within the 12 months 1998. They tenaciously defied the storm, which swept by way of the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico with as much as 250 km/h, took greater than 600 human lives, and prompted nearly 10 billion US {dollars} in damages. As in the event that they wish to make it clear to us that, even within the worst misfortune, it’s doable to emerge steeled. Again then, Carlos “Carlito” Fuente refused to chop the palms down, even when they stood in the course of the newly sowed tobacco fields. “I imagine there’s one thing uniquely, even splendidly religious about these eight palms. They’re survivors.” Anyone who has skimmed over the 107-year-old firm historical past of the Fuentes will rapidly concentrate on what number of debacles the household has needed to endure to get the place it’s right this moment. Because the loss of life of his father on August 5, 2016, Carlito has been the top of the household. That Fuente is without doubt one of the most necessary cigar households (yearly manufacturing approx. 30 million cigars) and produces lots of the most coveted cigars on the planet is satisfactorily identified. However who is that this man? What’s behind the large of the cigar world?

Liana congratulates her father on his Lifetime award

“Total, I don’t know the way I bought to the place I’m right this moment. I’m certain I held on tight to my father’s cape with the intention of not falling off,” muses Carlito. “Household is a very powerful factor once you’re dealing with defeats or with responsibly coping with success,” he says, satisfied. “Finally, our firm is one household. We’re all one.” His guideline will not be solely expressed in each nook of his manufacturing unit, but in addition within the landscaping of the pleasant Chateau de la Fuente within the Dominican Republic. A picturesque scorpion constituted of coloured stones symbolizes the star signal of his grandfather, Arturo. Not removed from it, a Taurus mosaic constituted of stones decorates the backyard – the zodiac signal that Carlito shares along with his deceased father. One other stone mosaic adorning the property is an enlarged design of the Fuente Fuente OpusX cigar band, the colours of which appear to radiate from the bottom as much as the sky, and, just a few meters farther alongside, the image of a kid, surrounded by tobacco leaves and setting a dove free. This can be a dedication to the Cigar Household Charitable Basis of the households Fuente and Newman [the J.C. Newman Cigar Company] to help kids from the area with faculty, sports activities, and well being services. Symbols are Carlito’s method of expressing appreciation – whether or not for household and pals, over custom and duty, or just in enterprise. A handshake from Carlito Fuente, for instance, counts for greater than a complicated contract drawn up between legislation companies. That’s how he discovered it from his father. And that’s additionally how he turned a person of the “old style,” as confirmed by the folks round him. Honesty, integrity and loyalty are his foundations. “Belief and friendship can’t be purchased,” says Carlito sincerely. “They should be earned. In good and unhealthy instances.” With a number of households, this unrestricted relationship of belief has grown over generations, which is why enterprise and family-friendly ties have change into one over the many years. Such because the one with the Olivas from Tampa, house owners of the Oliva Tobacco Firm, or with the Meerapfel household in Belgium, which not solely cultivates Cameroon tobacco but in addition distributes Fuente cigars outdoors america. And with the Perez household, whose A.S.P. Enterprises is without doubt one of the world’s main tobacco producers. As well as, with Robert Levin and his household, for whom Fuente has been producing the Ashton model for 30 years. And, in fact, with the Newman household from Tampa. Carlito says: “It’s fascinating that these households, with whom my father or grandfather already collaborated, nonetheless work collectively. The connection has grown over generations. And all our youngsters really feel as linked as we dad and mom do. It’s fantastic. That is the magic of the cigar enterprise.”

La Catedral, the brand-new Fuente manufacturing unit in San- tiago, will not be solely a manufacturing website but in addition a wide ranging cradle of creativity

Symbols and snapshots of necessary levels of life may be present in each inch of his work place. His workplace, in addition to the brand new manufacturing unit, known as La Catedral, are showrooms filled with recollections and an homage to his household and pals. Right here there are large-scale photographs of his ancestors, members of the family, shut pals like Arturo Sandoval and Andy Garcia … Each hall is full of newspaper articles and memento photographs; each desk full of private letters, awards, signed photographs of heads of state, artists, sportspeople … It appears as if Carlito Fuente needs to be reminded at each step that he’s a product of his previous and owes so much to many individuals. He lives and reveals this overtly. Liana Fuente, Carlito’s daughter and vp of the Fuente firms, has at all times regarded as much as her father. “But it surely wasn’t till I used to be an grownup that I turned conscious of the sacrifices and dangers he was taking up. And never simply him; this is applicable to all three generations earlier than me. What welded them collectively,” she remembers, “was that every one in every of them stored the others going.” Nobody ever stopped anyone from doing something. Quite the opposite, it was at all times, “If you happen to assume it’s proper, we’ll do it collectively. Both we fail collectively or we succeed collectively.” In Carlito’s innermost circle are handpicked folks with the identical values, passions and targets. Along with the household, this contains Ciro Cascella, co-owner of the spectacular Arturo Fuente Cigar Membership in Santo Domingo and Carlito’s proper hand in enterprise operations. These additionally, in fact, embody Félix A. Mesa, cigar producer in Estelí, proprietor of El Galán Cigars and designated basic supervisor of the long run Fuente manufacturing unit in Nicaragua. But additionally Jean-Claude Biver, CEO of Hublot, Manny Iriarte, photographer and designer, who, along with Fuente, is accountable for the Hublot and S.T. Dupont creations. And Keith Park, founding father of Prometheus Equipment and distributor of the legendary Fuente Aged Choice, additionally belongs to this circle. Along with director James Orr, Park produced a superb DVD that impressively paperwork each the Fuente household historical past in addition to the event of the Fuente Fuente OpusX.

Left: 20 years after promoting the primary OpusX, the Fuente Fuente OpusX 20 Years Celebration collection was launched in 4 codecs Proper: Throughout a horrible hearth in 2011, 1000’s of bales of tobacco, partly aged for many years, went up in smoke within the Fuente tobacco warehouse. One 12 months later, Carlito Fuente known as this cigar Angel’s Share

The music for it was composed and recorded by Arturo Sandoval; Andy Garcia and Joe Mantegna lent their voices to the documentary. By the way, sequences from The Misplaced Metropolis, a movie by Andy Garcia (2005; with Dustin Hoffman and Invoice Murray), had been shot on Chateau de la Fuente. Within the so-called Home of Desires, a guests’ middle on the property, all these relationships and tales may be taken in in a formidable ambiance. “I attempt to seize, bear in mind and solidify a part of my life, in order that it turns into tangible for future generations,” says Carlito. “I wish to go on the torch to the following generations in order that cigar producers, which right this moment are a species threatened with extinction, will nonetheless be capable to survive.” In September 2018, Carlito Fuente was awarded the Cigar Trophy by Cigar Journal for his lifetime achievement, which was the impetus for this story. Throughout the two-day go to for this text, he didn’t waste one phrase on numbers, market shares or enterprise methods. “What’s necessary is that we will pay our payments on time. That’s all I must know,” he says, avoiding such questions. “So long as we will work sustainably and I can maintain my staff and develop the Cigar Household Charitable Basis, I’m at peace with myself. I actually gained’t change my life, whether or not we’re engaged on X, Y or Z.” Carlito turns into considerate when requested about his evaluation concerning the future. “If we cigar producers wish to contribute to the continuation of this business, now we have to advertise the goodness of what it’s all about. It’s spreading love and cementing friendship. That is what our business is about. It’s not the competitors between producers. It’s about telling our tales, our historical past, our tradition and the easy values of life. It’s about bringing folks collectively and making this earth a greater place. That is the true bundle we wish to supply.” As a lot as his coronary heart burns for the cigar, he sees the long run pensively: “I hope that I stay lengthy sufficient to arrange my grasp plan for the day when no extra tobacco may be grown at Chateau de la Fuente anymore. I do know that that is inevitable. Then, the grounds ought to change into an amusement park … a small Dominican Disney World, a playground for joyful kids.”

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