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Staff Reviews

Fuente Fuente Opus X Perfecxion X Staff Review

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

While some shirk at the sheer allure Fuente Fuente Opus X commands, the magnitude of its demand simply cannot be overstated. Rarely does a cigar – or any item for that matter – incite a frenzy among grown men. I have witnessed it repeatedly. Every fall at Holt’s, we host our annual Fuente Mania event. Carlito and Cynthia Fuente and several members of the Fuente family journey to Philadelphia for two full days of back-to-back events at both of our historic retail locations. Fans of Arturo Fuente can get their favorite box of cigars autographed by Carlito.

And, it’s the one occasion all year where customers have access to an unabridged windfall of Opus X cigars. All kinds of ultra-rare Fuente smokes are available, including Arturo Fuente Anejo, Casa Fuente, unreleased editions of Don Carlos, and classic and never-before-seen Opus X smokes. For the past nine years, Fuente Mania has grown exponentially in scope and is considered one of the biggest events in the cigar industry today. Every year, cigar lovers from all 50 states travel here and shatter the previous year’s records for sales and attendance. And there’s no question – Opus X is the driving force behind it all.

The cigar was conceived by Carlito Fuente out of both passion and defiance. No shortage of cigar-making detractors declared Carlito would never succeed at what they had failed to accomplish: grow quality wrapper in the Dominican Republic. When it debuted in 1995, Opus X was the first of its kind – a true Dominican Puro, meaning the binder, filler, and wrapper leaves are all Dominican. Fuente’s trial and error and perseverance culminated in immense anticipation for Opus X, and the fervor has hardly relented nearly twenty-five years later.

Beyond its scarcity and an unwavering cult of connoisseurs who will travel unheard-of distances and pay handsome prices to get their hands on Opus X, how does a cigar maintain such elite hype? 1) It’s the tobacco – only the highest-grade, most precious stores of premium Fuente tobacco goes into Opus X. 2) It’s the construction – Carlito goes through great lengths to maintain the integrity of Opus X. Cigar rollers who craft other Fuente cigars are ineligible to make Opus. Special rollers are trained at the start of their careers exclusively to roll Opus X and only Opus X. 3) It’s the presentation – Opus X cigars are sheathed in some of the most opulent and ornate bands and boxes in the world. Opus X cigars broadcast extravagance, even without the legendary reputation that precedes them.

I’ve had the good fortune to indulge in dozens of Opus X cigars over the years, including the Belicoso XXX (better known as the Power Ranger), Perfecxion No. 2, the elusive BBMF, and more. In the interest of full disclosure, I have yet to discover an Opus X that does not impress. But, I am a far cry from the hardiest Opus fans I’ve met over the years, some of whom have amassed doomsday-level stores of Opus in humidified bunkers underneath their homes.

To illustrate their obsession, I’m smoking the legendary Fuente Fuente Opus X Perfecxion X, a Corona Gorda at 6 1/4 inches with a 48 ring gauge. The cigar is clad in a strip of cedar which naturally encapsulates a wealth of flavor and aroma for optimal richness. The celebrated red-and-gold Opus X logo on the band glows with invitation. Underneath, a renowned, mouthwatering reddish-brown Opus X wrapper leaf glimmers with an oily sheen.

The wrapper is an ultra-rare Cuban-seed varietal grown under shade on the Fuente family’s prized Chateau de la Fuente estates in the Bonao Valley in the Dominican Republic. Beneath it basks a luxuriant recipe of extensively aged Dominican binder and filler tobaccos.

A raw bouquet of dried fruit, coffee beans, cinnamon, and wood exude a lingering zest to transfix the senses on the cold draw. The lips tingle with creamy spices at the outset. Notes of cocoa, leather, and red pepper converge on the palate upon lighting up. Make no mistake, for all the refinement behind Opus X, the cigar is full-bodied. I believe what endears so many cigar lovers to Opus X is its blend of intricate flavor and potency. It’s a balancing act only the most capable cigar-makers can pull off.

Cocoa, fresh ground coffee, and baking spices develop across the initial third of the cigar. Each draw is smooth and perfectly dense. Opus X is savory and best enjoyed at a measured pace. As the halfway point nears, the peppery side of the blend intensifies thanks to the cigar’s amplified recipe of Ligero tobaccos. Despite its looming kick, Opus X shies away from becoming bitter or unapproachable in any way. Its flawless and seductive taste makes pausing in between draws a challenge. It’s difficult to put an Opus down.

A tapestry of caramel, leather, nutmeg, nougat, and wood harbors elaborate spices as the final third unfolds. Opus X is a superb cigar to pair with a top-shelf scotch or bourbon, like Macallan or Angel’s Envy. However, Opus is easily equipped to stand on its own and won’t leave you longing for a hint of satisfaction as the dreaded final draws near.

In 2014, Cigar Aficionado ranked Opus X Perfecxion X it in its ‘Top 10 Cigars of the Year.’ In 2005, Fuente Fuente Opus X Double Corona took home the ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ title. The blend has scored dozens of sky-high ratings and ranking over the years, but the accolades are practically an afterthought. Opus X was born in the spotlight. Few cigars inspire the kind of devotion from cigar lovers as Opus X boasts.

Despite wildly fluctuating prices that often stretch well above MSRP, there will probably never ever be a surplus of Opus X to go around. Carlito distributes small allocations of Opus to his best Fuente accounts throughout the year, but most of the cigars are spoken for before they’ve even been shipped. It’s common for retailers to hoard Opus for their best customers. If you’re in the Philly area during our next Fuente Mania event, visit Holt’s in person. Smoke an Opus with us and watch grown men cross into hysteria as the boxes sell out.

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