Review: OpusX Toast Across America Figurado (2012)
Every year for the past 10 years, Fuente has partnered with J.C. Newman to produce the Toast Across America release for the pair’s Cigar Family Charitable Foundation. The cigars, which come in a coffin, including one OpusX and one Newman product, for $50 each with the proceeds from the sales benefit the foundation.
Patrick’s review of the Diamond Crown Julius Caeser Figurado summed up the history nicely:
2012 marks the 10th year of the Toast Across America, Arturo Fuente and the J.C. Newman Cigar Co.’s limited edition two-pack for the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation. The charity, a venture between the two companies and families, aims to provide a significant humanitarian impact to communities in the Dominican Republic resulting in a better quality of life to those who experience a lack of education, poor access to health care and nutrition and who have little or no sustainable employment.
J.C. Newman announced the contents of this year’s Toast Across America set in July, while the cigars were displayed and sold shortly thereafter at IPCPR 2012. The cigars were said to ship September 1 with Toast Across America release partieshappening across the country through January 31. This is the second consecutive Toast Across America set to contain a Diamond Crown Julius Caeser, as prior to last year the packs had previously contained a Diamond Crown Maximus in addition to the Fuente Fuente OpusX. 2011 saw a pair of Figurados as well, making this year’s a repeat of last year’s pack, save for the dressed-up box.
The two-count boxes that the TAA 2012 cigars come in look like this:
But enough of that, lets get down to business, shall we?
Cigar Reviewed: Fuente Fuente OpusX Toast Across America Figurado (2012)
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia
Wrapper: Dominican Chateau de la Fuente Sun Grown Rosado
Binder: Dominican Chateau de la Fuente Sun Grown Rosado
Filler: Dominican Chateau de la Fuente Sun Grown Rosado
Size: 6 Inches
Ring Gauge: 46/64
MSRP: $25.00 (Boxes of 2, $50.00)*
Date Released: September 1, 2012
Number of Cigars Released: 8,000 Boxes of 2 Cigars (8,000 Total Cigars)**
Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 1
*The Toast Across America sets come with a Fuente Fuente OpusX Figurado and a Diamond Crown Julius Caeser Figurado.
**Production numbers are an estimate provided by Arturo Fuente and J.C. Newman. See below for more information.
The OpusX Toast Across America Figurado is a very interesting looking cigar, sort of like a BBMF sans the more interesting cap. The wrapper is a reddish brown color, very even and the cap and nipple foot are obviously very well made. The cigar is a bit hard when squeezed, but not so bad that I think it will cause problems. The wrapper is dry to the touch, but smooth, and smells faintly of barnyard, wood, leather and chocolate.
The Opus X TAA Figurado 2012 starts out the first third with a nice mellow spice on the tongue, a bit of pepper on the retrohale while flavors of cedar, leather, dark chocolate, coffee and slight earth fight for dominance. There seems to be a sweetness underneath the other flavors, but it is just not strong enough to pinpoint yet. Burn and draw are both excellent so far, and the strength surprises me by remaining firmly in the medium range for the entire first third. Smoke production is impressive: dense, grayish white and copious.
Coming into the second third of the OpusX and the sweetness present in the blend has increased enough for me to identify it as a slight raisin note. The profile has also gotten quite a bit more creamy, but is still unbalanced overall. Other flavors of leather, cedar and espresso glide in and out, never overly strong nor distinct. The Rosado wrapper splits when I take the band off past the halfway point—causing the wrapper to unravel a bit—but nothing I can’t handle easily with a little glue. Other than that, the burn and draw are quite good and the strength stays firmly in the medium range.
The final third of the OpusX does not change much flavors wise, but sees a major shift in the fact that the profile gets more noticeably more balanced with the flavors seeming to work together a bit more instead of competing with each other like in the first two thirds. The strength ends the final third hovering just above the medium mark and the burn and draw continue to be very good until the end of the smoke.
- Like Patrick, I was a bit taken aback by the secondary band which denotes “2002 – 2012,” as that would be a period of 11 years, and this is the 10th edition of the cigars, as they debuted in 2003.
- There was so much glue on cigar, it was easily visible around the foot of the cigar. This is not the first time I have seen this with a new OpusX, as I noticed the same thing on the ForbiddenX “13″ cigars I reviewed back in January.
- Along with the above, the bands seemed to be glued to the wrapper, which caused a problem when I tried to take them off. The wrapper came unraveled a bit, but it was easily fixed with some vegetal glue, ironically enough. Just be aware that they did not skimp on the glue on some of these when smoking them.
- The profile of this cigar was not near as strong as I expected, considering it is an OpusX. Along with the profile of the Diamond Crown Julius Caeser Toast Across America Figurado it is boxed with, I wonder if Fuente changed the blend a bit from the normal OpusX knowing that they would probably get more smokers who are not used to the power in the OpusX blend who are buying the cigars. Pure speculation on my part, mind you.
- I like to light the entire nipple first on vitolas like this, as I find that gives me the greatest chance of an even burn after the tip ends and the bulb begins.
- I smoked both the OpusX and the Diamond Crown Julius Caeser Toast Across America Figurado from the same box, and the Diamond Crown is the clearly the better of the two, at least at this point in their lives.
- The general consensus is OpusX gets better with age, usually a few years.
- Both of the 2012 CFCF cigars came wrapped in cello inside the tuxedo box, which was removed for the above photographs.
- The exact production numbers of the Toast Across America packs are a secret, but this Cigar Aficionado article puts 2011′s production at around 8,000 sets, and the companies told halfwheel that this year’s numbers are “a little more” than last year.
- As mentioned in Patrick’s review, Retailers don’t make any money on the sets, as they are sold at MSRP. Those in states with higher cigar taxes that choose to keep the sets at the standard $50.00 can end up losing money.
- A calendar of Toast Across America events can be found here, and a list of retailers carrying the cigars can be found here.
- Some cigars for this review were sent by Arturo Fuente/J.C. Newman. halfwheel also purchased some.
- Site sponsor Tobacco Locker hosted an event with Cynthia Fuente yesterday evening, and they also have two-packs from this year and last year available.
- Final smoking time is about two hours.
The Bottom Line: There is no doubt this release is still quite young and there is little doubt in my mind that it will get at least somewhat better with some age on it. However, as of right now, it is just not a great cigar. The profile is strong, but not as strong as I expected for an Opus, and it is wildly unbalanced in the first two thirds, although it gets noticeably better during the final third. Having said that, both the burn and draw were very good for the entire smoke, smoke production was excellent and I have always loved the vitola. The money goes to a good cause and it is well worth buying one to put away for a few years and seeing how it does.
Final Score: 84