This year marks the ten year anniversary of the Fuente Fuente OpusX, one of the most highly praised and sought after cigars in the world.
In the early 1990’s Carlos Fuente, Jr. had a dream to produce quality cuban-seed shade- grown wrapper leaf in the Dominican Republic. Wrapper leaf had never been grown there before, and the Fuente company was still importing wrappers from other countries to finish their cigars. The mere idea of growing wrapper leaf in the Dominican Republic was ridiculed and many believed it to be impossible.
But the Fuentes are not people who back down in times of adversity. From their beginnings in Cuba, to Nicaragua where their barns were burnt down by the Sandinistas, to Honduras and another fire, to the Dominican Republic where they were told they couldn’t grow wrapper leaf… this is not a family that gives up easily.
With the assistance of Angel Oliva and the Oliva family, the OpusX project was started on Chateau de la Fuente, about two hours south of Santiago, where Oliva believed the soil to be the closest he had ever seen to the soil in San Luis, Cuba. The first crop was sun grown piloto cubano, but soon after that the farm was expanded and began to produce the shade grown piloto that would make OpusX a star.
It wasn’t long after I first started smoking cigars that I heard about the OpusX, partly because of the way it was released and marketed to the public. At first the OpusX was only available on the east coast of the United States. At the same time, the Newman family’s Diamond Crown brand was released exclusively on the west coast… and being in the west, of course everyone wanted what was in the east. Because, as we know, the forbidden (or in this case unavailable) fruit is always sweeter.
These days the OpusX is sold throughout the U.S. and the world, though it’s not exactly easy to find, and comes with a super-premium price tag.
The Perfexcion No. 5 is the petite corona in the OpusX line, a handsome little stick at a bit under five inches long with a 40 ring gauge. I thought this little feller would be a nice cap on a pleasant Saturday evening. I was in for a little more than I expected.
I clipped the end and took a pre-light draw. The foot of the cigar shows a crazy swirling of leaves, with a solid black leaf curling in the center. The wrapper leaf is smooth and silky, and to my surprise it actually tastes peppery even before it’s lit. This should have been my first sign that this would be more than a little nightcap.
Unsurprisingly, the first taste is a burst of pepper. This lasts only a minute or two until the smoke mellows into a very smooth and complex blend of leather and cedar. It’s a very full-bodied, tasty smoke, but not harsh in the least. Sneaky little devil.
It burns very slowly, though I admit I took my time, smoking slowly and looking at the stars. I almost let it go out, as I felt myself sinking deeper and deeper into the chair. But it smoldered indignantly and never extinguished itself.
At the mid-way point the aroma turns a little musky, an aroma I associate with Ecuadorian sun grown wrappers — a rich scent like new leather, though this time spiked with a peppery flavor that grows to the end. By the finale the pepper had taken up residence in my sinuses and I enjoyed several hearty sneezes which I hope didn’t wake the neighbors. But at the same time, this was a very smooth, almost creamy smoke from start to finish.
And that’s the trouble. This is a powerful little smoke, which I didn’t realize until I stood up after about forty minutes to toss the nub on the compost heap and discovered I didn’t feel so well. This cigar is so smooth and tasty that you don’t realize that with the great flavor you’re also getting a serious nicotine payload.
The OpusX Perfexcion No. 5 is a great little cigar, but don’t take it lightly. It’s much much bigger than it appears.