28 May 2008
I’ll be honest: I couldn’t really go into this stick with neutral expectations. While I always try to mentally erase any pre-conceived notions about a cigar before I light up for a review, that’s simply too much to ask when it comes to Arturo Fuente’s storied Opus X blend.
Maybe that’s because Arturo’s flagship line is so rare. Some retailers call Opus X “inarguably the rarest cigar in the world” (a claim I haven’t taken the time to refute). Still, I think many of us can relate to the fact that these can be pretty difficult to track down and, when you find some, odds are the retailer will limit your order.
Or maybe I have such high expectations due to the cigar’s impressive ratings. Opus X has scored as high as 92 in Cigar Insider, and it consistently receives noteworthy reviews from popular industry publications.
The rarity and the ratings probably have something to do with it, but I’d bet most of my lofty hopes are due to the cigar’s excessive price. The Fuente Fuente vitola, which measures five and 5/8 inches with a 46 ring gauge, will run you about $25 for a single or $800 for a box of 32. Not exactly economical, especially in a recession.
It is said that this Dominican puro – a unique characteristic itself – is adorned with the finest wrappers from Chateau de la Fuente, but mine was fairly bumpy and had two tiny tears. I guess I could chalk that up to shipping, storage, or some negligence on my part. In any event, the extremely tightly packed tobaccos exude a strong pre-light aroma of raisin, and the wrapper adds a spicy tingle to the lips.
The first puffs are of raisin, spicy clove, and sweet black pepper. Although the flavor mellows after the first inch, you’ll still find plenty of balanced complexity. Sweet, bitter, acidic – it’s all here in a bold, smooth format. Cocoa and spice increase down the stretch, and the final two inches can be surprisingly full-bodied and overbearing.
With these flavors and a self-correcting burn, a solid ash, and a nice draw, I can easily say this is a fine cigar. I can’t say, however, that the lockstep reviews or the extreme cost is justified. I enjoyed this smoke, particularly the first three inches, but I won’t be scrambling to find more immediately – especially since I’ve had more pleasurable experiences with cigars that cost much, much less. That’s my primary rationale for giving the Arturo Fuente Opus X Fuente Fuente no better than four out of five stogies.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys