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Fuente Fuente OpusX Toast Across America 2016

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Since 2003, Arturo Fuente has partnered with J.C. Newman Cigar Co. to produce the Toast Across America, a limited edition two-pack that includes one OpusX and one J.C. Newman product packaged in a coffin.

Each of the coffins carry an MSRP of $50, and the proceeds of the sales benefitting the pair’s Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, which is a charity that provide humanitarian help to communities in the Dominican Republic including education, health care and food among other things.

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This year’s incarnation of the Toast Across America includes an Fuente Fuente OpusX and a Diamond Crown Black Diamond, both in a 7 5/8 x 54 perfecto vitola, the same size as the Hemingway line’s Untold Story. Neither line has been offered in this size previously.

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  • Cigar Reviewed: Fuente Fuente OpusX Toast Across America 2016
  • 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
  • Length: 7 5/8 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Perfecto
  • MSRP: $25 (Boxes of 2, $50)
  • Release Date: 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The vitola looks like an Untold Story and the mocha brown wrapper is quite rough to the touch, almost reminding me of sandpaper. There is almost no oil present that I can see and the cigar is a bit hard for my tastes when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of strong barnyard, hay, dark chocolate, manure, almonds and pepper while the cold draw brings flavors of peanuts, cream, espresso beans, dark chocolate and slight generic sweetness.

The Fuente Fuente OpusX Toast Across America 2016 lights up easily and starts off the first third with dominant flavors of leather and ground coffee, with other notes of anise, powdery cocoa, grass, earth and cedar fighting for their spot in the line-up. There is some harshness on the back of my throat along with a touch of spice on my tongue and a slight milk chocolate sweetness on the retrohale. Despite the firmness when I squeezed it, the draw is excellent and the burn is close to razor sharp so far, while the smoke production is above average. Strength-wise, the OpusX seemed to start off with a bang, but ends up at a point just under the medium mark but the time the first third comes to close.

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Unfortunately, the slight milk chocolate sweetness that was present on the retrohale in the first third begins to wane by the time the second third of the Fuente Fuente OpusX starts and is almost totally gone by the halfway point. A more generic creamy cedar notes takes over the dominant spot in the profile, along with other flavors of leather, grass, bread, hay, coffee and cocoa. In addition, the harshness from the first third has increased and there is a bit more pepper on the retrohale. Construction-wise, both the burn and the draw remain wonderful and the smoke production continues to be high as well. The overall strength easily hits a solid medium by the halfway point and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

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By the time the final third of the Fuente Fuente OpusX Toast Across America 2016 starts, the strength and harshness in the blend have combined, virtually overwhelming any nuance the profile my contain. The same generic cedar remains at the forefront of the profile, followed by notes of peanuts, sawdust, leather, grass and powdery cocoa, but most of the flavors pale in comparison to the aforementioned harshness and strength. There is still very little sweetness on either the retrohale or finish, but the pepper that was present has receded noticeably. Both the burn and draw continue to impress until the end of the cigar and the strength easily blows past the full mark by the time I put the nub down with about an inch to go.

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Final Notes

  • Despite the fact that it has a perfecto foot, this cigar had no issues whatsoever when lit and the draw was excellent from the start, which is certainly not the norm with perfectos.
  • Both of the 2016 Toast Across America cigars came wrapped in cello inside the coffin, which was removed for the above photographs.
  • Interestingly, most retailers don’t actually make any money on the Toast Across America sets, as they are sold at MSRP. In fact, those in states with higher cigar taxes retailers that choose to keep the sets at the standard $50 can end up losing money.
  • Although the 2013 Toast Across America coffins also included a Black Diamond cigar, that is known to be a different blend than the Black Diamond’s that were released at the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
  • A list of retailers carrying the Toast Across America cigars can be found here.
  • The samples smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • The final smoking time for all three samples of the Fuente Fuente OpusX Toast Across America 2016 averaged just under two hours and 35 minutes.
  • If you would like to purchase any of the 2016 Toast Across America coffins, site sponsors Corona Cigar Co. and Elite Cigar Cafe (972.661.9136) have them in stock.
83 Overall Score

First and foremost, I applaud both Arturo Fuente and J.C. Newman Cigar Co. for continuing to release the Toast Across America sets every year and donating the money to the foundation. In terms of the actual Fuente Fuente OpusX included in the coffin this year, I was expecting the overwhelming strength—which I find to be a signature of fresh OpusX cigars—but what I was not prepared for was the harshness that was present on both the finish and the retrohale, pervasive enough to affect the rest of the profile for the entire smoke. Like virtually all OpusX that I have smoked after some rest, this may very well turn into a great cigar after some age, but smoking this now is not going to give you the best result.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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