For those of you that don’t know… Midway through December of 2011, some interesting boxes of Fuente products started showing up at various stores across the country with nearly no forewarning at all. Almost nothing was known about these cigars when they were released and people on the boards and Twitter had a field day trying to piece together what was going on. It turns out that there were a limited number of boxes of a brand new Forbidden X blend to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Arturo Fuente brand’s existence. Each box contains 13 cigars in the box, and have a secondary band with the number 13 on it.
There are a total of 6 different vitolas sent to various retailers. They are (left to right):
- FFOX Forbidden X 13 Nacimiento 1912 — (5 1/8 x 43) — $11.75
- FFOX Forbidden X 13 Heart of the Bull 1957 — (5 1/4 x 50) — $14.00
- FFOX Forbidden X 13 Destiny 1980 — (5 3/4 x 52) — $15.75
- FFOX Forbidden X 13 Keeper of the Flame 2013 — (6 1/4 x 49) — $15.00
- FFOX Forbidden X 13 God’s Whisper 1924 — (7 x 48) — $16.00
- FFOX Forbidden X 13 Torch Bearer 2012 — (7 5/8 x 49) — $18.00
Each date after the name signifies a significant event (that took place in that year) in the Fuente family history. Here is a quick rundown:
- 1912 (Nacimiento) — This is the year that Arturo Fuente came into existence as a company by Arturo Fuente Sr. in Tampa, Florida.
- 1924 (God’s Whisper) — The year of a catastrophic fire that caused the Fuentes to cease production for 22 years.
- 1957 (Heart of the Bull) — Ownership of the company was transferred from Arturo Fuente Sr. to Arturo’s younger son, Carlos Fuente, Sr.
- 1980 (Destiny) — The Fuente’s moved from Honduras to the Dominican Republic and open Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia.
- 2012 (Torch Bearer) — 100th Anniversary of the Arturo Fuente brand.
- 2013 (Keeper of the Flame) — Unknown. 101st Anniversary?
The boxes for each of the different vitolas are the same high gloss presentation with 13 cigars in each box. They look like this:
But enough about that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Fuente Fuente OpusX Forbidden X 13 Nacimiento 1912
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia
- Wrapper: n/a
- Binder: n/a
- Filler: n/a
- Size: 5 1/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 43
- Vitola: Corona
- MSRP: $11.75 (Boxes of 13, $152.75)
- Date Released: December 14, 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The Nacimiento 2012 is a wonderful looking specimen with a gorgeous dark reddish brown wrapper that has some noticeable oil on it. Each cigar is slightly box pressed and there is a secondary band with what looks to be a “13” inside a clock. The Fuente’s wrapper is smooth to the touch, and smells strongly of fruit, leather and sweet wood.
The first third starts with a nice amount of spice on the lips and black pepper, along with flavors of oak, sweet raisins and dark, bitter chocolate. After about eight puffs, the spice dies down, but stays in the background. Even this early in the Forbidden X, I can feel it getting stronger, but by the end of the first third it is only a solid medium. The second third of the Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia Corona has almost no spice at all, although still some pepper on the retrohale, and the main flavor is still that sweet raisin note. However, there is an interesting bitter note underneath the profile for almost the entire middle part of the cigar that almost reminds me of paint. While the bitterness does not detract from the cigar, it is noticeable. The strength is increasing (as expected) as well. As for the final third, the profile reverts back to the early portion of the Nacimiento joined by flavors of espresso and dark earth. The bitterness from the second third is gone and the FFOX is more creamy until the end, joined as well by an added wonderful cinnamon note is present as well. However, the strength hits a full minus by the end of the smoke, which is impressive for such a small stick.
- In addition to the new Forbidden X cigars, retailers received some other special cigars. Most were given limited quantities of the Don Carlos Lancero in boxes of 13 that were obscenely large, known as the Don Carlos Lancero a la 13. Others received boxes of Don Carlos 76th and the new Fuente Magnum R44.
- Each of the new releases are exactly the same size as existing OpusX Sizes: Torch Bearer (Double Corona), Nacimiento (No. 4), Heart of the Bull (Robusto), Destiny (Double Robusto), Keeper of the Flame (Perfecxion X) and God’s Whisper (Reserva d’ Chateau).
- There were rumors when these were first released that the God’s Whisper was a Lanceroish vitola (7 1/5×41). This is because the Fuente sales sheet (see below) lists this as 7 1/5 x 41, as opposed to the actual size, 7 x 48.
- The main band on this cigar (red on black) is always used on so called “Forbidden X” releases, which for the longest time meant they were sold either at Casa Fuente or were just handed out at events. i.e. not (usually) normal OpusX blends. It is interesting to me that there is a wide spread release (i.e. to multiple accounts across the country) with the Forbidden X band, as this is the first time that has happened that I know of.
- I have to say, I am EXTREMELY impressed with the way this release was handled. Everything from the boxes, to the secondary bands, to the way these showed up at stores with almost no notice at all and even the fact that Fuente kept the price down on individual sticks.
- That being said, these cigars were rarely sold at MSRP with reports that some retailers were charging as high as $50.00 for a single cigar.
- There are a variety of reasons for the 13:
- Like the Arturo Fuente Destino Al Siglo 13, the tobacco used for the Forbidden X 13 series is grown on a specific 13 acre plot.
- Carlos Fuente Sr. was born on 13th St.
- Arturo Fuente died at the age of 85. 8+5=13.
- Arturo Fuente is headquartered at 1310 N. 22nd St.
- The second band (also red on black) uses what looks to be the number “13” inside of a clock, albeit with Roman numerals.
- I smoked three different vitolas (Destiny, Heart of the Bull and Nacimiento) for this review, and I liked the Nacimiento the best of those three. The flavors seemed more distinct, especially that wonderful raisin note), but all three were quite good. Of the three, the largest one (Destiny) was the strongest by far.
- Fuente has yet to release any information about the blend, release numbers or explanations for things like the clock. A few retailers have indicated that we are likely to see the six FFOX Forbidden X releases as well as the Don Carlos Lancero a la 13 rereleased later in the year to the same accounts, but Fuente has not confirmed this.
- There seemed to be a copious amount of glue used to put the bands on and as a result, it took a little work to get them off of all of the samples and getting them off damaged the wrapper. Annoying, and one of my pet peeves.
- The construction left something to be desired and I had to relight a few times, although it did not seem to hurt the flavors at all, but the draw was fine on all samples.
- The Nacimiento seemed to be packed with tobacco, although short of being overfilled, and the final smoking time was just over 1 Hour for the Corona.
The Bottom Line: I have not been overly impressed with most of the new releases that Fuente has put out recently, so I was not sure what to expect with this blend. What I got was a strong, sweetish, flavorful and fairly complex cigar. Unlike the Lost City blend, which I think blows monkey chunks, no matter what vitola, I think this blend has quite a bit of potential if given a few months (at least) to correct the burn problems. There were multiple problems with the construction and the bitterness in the second third was disconcerting, but honestly, I attribute problems to the fact that they are pretty fresh cigars. I am quite glad I got a box to put down for a while, and I would highly suggest buying some to age for a while, if you can, as I think these can only get better.
Finals Score: 91