Review: Fuente Fuente Opus X
Bigfoot. Area 51. Unicorns. Treasure. I’ve been fortunate to get my grubby hands on some exclusive cigars and more importantly, smoke and enjoy them. I’ll be honest, smoking a rare, vintage or ultra-premium cigar for the first time is akin to the first time you have sex: you have that deer-in-the-headlight look the whole time; it’s over way to soon; you don’t remember much of the experience yet you can’t wait to do it again. Let’s face it, most of us will never hear about some of these unicorns let alone dream about acquiring them.
The good news is, there are plenty of exclusive sticks you can have and smoke today. The obvious stipulations are that they’re going to be expensive, they’re going to be made in limited numbers and they’re only going to be released one or two times a year. Oh, and like Bon Jovi tickets for aging chicks stuck in 1985, they’re gonna go fast. In addition, thanks to some unscrupulous hacks out there, there’s also gonna be fakes. Ask anyone who’s purchased a box of crap Cubans.
One of the most coveted cigar portfolios on the market are the Opus X lines by Arturo Fuente. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 20 years, the Opus X is one of the most sought after super premium cigars on Earth, and thanks to a global voracious appetite for them, they’ve become as rare as original 1970’s Scooby Doo lunch boxes. They’ve been reviewed and rated to death by, well, everybody. Cigar Aficionado alone has rated them no less than 150 times and the high accolades are endless. So why another review? Because we’ve been warned that the Opus X will ruin other cigars for us. They’ve reset the bar. Ridiculously so. That’s why. Ok, it’s on. It took nearly a month for us to land some, but we got ‘em. Let’s find out what all the hubbub is about.
Officially launched in 1995, the Opus X is the first Dominican puro, the first to sport a Dominican-grown wrapper and is produced from limited tobacco adding to the cigar’s already fleeting existence. The picture below is of a photo from the Ultimate Cigar Book by Richard Carleton Hacker depicting the first planting of the Opus X wrapper seeds in the Cibao valley in 1992. The high quality of the construction and critically acclaimed flavor palette has made this cigar an addiction to many. Full-bodied and cloaked in a shade-grown wrapper, the Opus X has become a phenomenon with a devoted almost cult-like following. The artwork for the band is incredibly distinctive and eye-catching and includes not only family symbolism but even some hidden messages. You can see the deconstruction of the band here. The Opus X comes in 15, yes 15, vitolas and is packaged in ornate boxes in bundles of 29 to 42 depending on size. Over the years, Fuente has expanded the Opus X line to include Lost City, Oscuro Oro and in 2015, the 20th Anniversary. Want rare? Try the Angel’s Share or 2017’s 11-year aged Forbidden X produced in 2006. How about a sampler? Every year special travel humidors are produced with 5 or 6 cigars from the different lines and run around $300-350. Ahem, while they last.
Did you know: The Opus X is the first ever Dominican Puro.
- Profile: Full
- Vitola: Perfecxion No. 2 [Torpedo]
- Length / Ring Gauge: 6 3/8″/ 52
- Purchased: Online Retailer
- Origin: Dominican Republic
- Wrapper: Dominican Corojo Habano
- Binder: Dominican
- Filler: Dominican
- Cutter: Colibri V-Cut
- Lighter: Xikar Exec. II
- Price Paid: $34.00
The Perfexcion No. 2 was our first choice, and luckily we found a small cache online. The torpedo shape is classic and the sizing is in line with most toros with regard to length and ring gauge. This is the most expensive of the vitolas available and the No. 2s are packaged in boxes of 29 (>$700 per box). It’s important to note that as supplies wane, prices often go up and you could easily spend $35+ for this cigar. But just ogling this thing is making our money well spent.
The Dominican Habano wrapper is a mouth-watering caramel color with invisible seams. It’s delightfully oily, slightly toothy, lightly veiny and nicely firm throughout except for some soft spots around the foot. Much of the aromas are muted, but there was no mistaking light barnyard and lovely candied nuts wafting from the wrapper. The foot too was muted, but offered scents of charred wood and raisins. The cold draw with a V-cut (probably a bit unconventional for a torpedo, but then so are we) was perfect leaving notes of herbal tea and caramel on the palate. Adding fire.
The initial draws offered a medley of muted almonds, caramel and charred oak. There is a nice thick sweetness to the inhale with hints of dark cherries. The long finish is amazing with notes of baking spice and a toasty texture. Oh yeah, this is going to be good. While the flavors are a bit muted at first, the boldness balanced with sweet nuances and complexity whisk you far away. As it settles in, there’s a lingering light spice and a touch of berries within a leather and coffee profile. The overall texture is ultra-smooth. The smoke is voluminous and fragrant. The expectations are high and so far, its checking every box and then some. The one concern I have is the combustion as it burns a tad irregular, but that may be due to slight over-humidification.
There’s a noticeable transition to a woodier profile with splashes of nuts, chocolate and coffee. I’m blown away by the inhale as there are slight nuances of macarons. You kidding me? The retro has remained largely toasty to this point, but there is more of an anise presence here into the “middle third.” The next transition is marked by more caramel notes. The combustion and burn improved after the first 1” or so and is far better now and remains dead even
With eyeballs fully rolled into the back of my skull and a Joker-esque smile on my face, the No.2 approaches the final stretch, but still has something to say. There is a plethora of chocolate and caramel notes and while the finish is buttery, it is becoming drier. Farther in, the complexity begins to wane, but this gal simply refuses to throw in the towel. This cigar remains tasty and enjoyable down to the nub, but like most great cigars they simply become too harsh at the end and thus the music stops and alas, the dance is over. The angels have wept.
The Opus X is full-bodied, complex, balanced and robust, but that ceases to matter. What you experience is exactly what the Fuente’s want you to experience. It’s a different ball game. There is no focus on strength or body or long finishes. Just a supreme enjoyment. In my humble opinion, this cigar is special. Like next level special. A higher level of cigar Zen realized. Once I got passed the intimidating line of accolades, the feverish almost maniacal demand for the Opus X and the very exclusivity of the brand, I too settled into what turned out to be a thoroughly unforgettable smoking experience. After all, it’s still just a cigar, right? Or is it?
I’ll admit it’s difficult to look beyond such a storied and decorated status, but when it comes down to it, it IS a cigar. A very, very special cigar. I can see why some folks I know will smoke nothing else. I can vouch for every ounce of passion this cigar stirs. Undistracted, I simply cannot compare it to anything else I’ve smoked. I find it unimaginable that there are detractors out there who don’t see what the big deal is, yet they exist. I’m totally fine with that because then it feels like I know a secret they do not. Forget go-to, boxworthy or some other adjective to describe why you should drop what you’re doing and run to the nearest tobacconist in your underwear to procure as many of these as you can. As one tobacconist friend told me, “…you get IT.” And if you do, you’re in for a spectacle. Magic. – In Fumo Pax!