During every Christmas season for as long as I can remember, the Fuente family has released their Holiday Releases, which are mostly cigars that are only available, in quantities for a short time. Usually Hemingway Maduros, all sorts of sizes of Añejos, and various Fuente Fuente OpusX sizes.
Last year, the Fuentes surprised quite a few people, including me, by introducing three different vitolas and indicated that they would all be semi-regular releases. The Magnum O, the OpusX Shark, which previously was only available in the Opus 22 Boxes, and, the focus of this review, the OpusX Love Affair.
Now, if this size OpusX looks strangely familiar, you are not crazy. The Love Affair has a fairly long and storied (ahem) history, which I will try and detail here.
In 2008, there were 55 boxes of a new 4 1/2 x 55 vitola of OpusX Love Story given to various members of the Fuente website CigarFamily.com. There were five per box, with each box shaped like a heart, and the 55 boxes were commemorating Carlos and Anna Fuente’s 55th wedding anniversary.
Here is the post from Fuente explaining the background:
The cigars were completed in 2006 and have been aging until they were packed and shipped to Tampa for his parent’s 55th anniversary party. The cigars were presented to Carlos and Anna by Carlito with love and respect the night of their Anniversary party.
To commemorate this momentous occasion Carlito would like to share some of these FFOX Love Story cigars. Carlito has made 55 collectible boxes of the Love Story to share with his other family, the Cigar family. Each box contains 5 cigars, are numbered from 1 to 55 matching the number of years his parents have been married and signed by Carlos and Anna Fuente. Every cigar is banded with the FFOX primary band and the 2006 secondary band, the year the cigars were actually made. These collectible boxes are called “Love of Five” representing the 5 members of the immediate Fuente family, Carlos, Anna, Carlito, Cynthia and Ricky.
The shape was not entirely new however, as the
the Altadis.U.S.A. Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve Love Story already used the name. Thus, Fuente changed the name of the vitola to Love Affair.
Having said that, there are slight differences in the look of each of the releases. The tip of the Love Story seems to be a bit rounder and pronounced, more stub-like and the cap of the Love Story is definitely more pointed than the Love Affair. The Love Affair is also just a tad, and I do mean a tad, longer.
(Love Affair on the left; Love Story on the right.)
- Cigar Reviewed: Fuente Fuente OpusX Love Affair (2009)
- 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
- Filler: Dominican Chateau de la Fuente
- Size: 4 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 55
- Vitola: Pefecto
- Est. Price: $10.25 (Boxes of 18, $184.50)
- Date Released: December 2009
As I said, the size and look of the Love Affair and the Love Story are almost identical. I do love the size and shape, always have, and I think it is the perfect size for a one hour smoke. It also has a very slight box-press to it.
As with most OpusX, the wrapper is a medium red-brown and it is a superbly constructed cigar from the outside with very few veins showing. The wrapper itself smells a bit like chocolate and pepper.
As soon as I lit up the foot of the cigar, I was literally blasted with spice, an almost overwhelming amount, which surprised me quite a bit. This lasted for about the first eight puffs, then started to recede. As the spice died down, I noticed flavors of oak and a bit of chocolate.
As the second third started, the spice had calmed considerably, but was still a factor, and the flavors started turning sweeter, with a bit more of a creamy profile. I could not put a finger on any specific sweet flavor, but it was something I had not tasted in very many sticks, if any.
The final third is where this cigar shined for me. The spice is still in the background, but not even close to as strong as in the first third; it is more of a compliment to the wonderful sweetness that was present. I was not able to put my finger on it in the second half, but the flavor got stronger at the end, and I realized I was tasting a wonderful sweetish cherry flavor that really ended the cigar on a high note. I was very surprised by the end of this cigar, as that is not a typical OpusX flavor.
- I have smoked quite a few of the original Love Story, although I have not done a review as of yet and I can tell you now that while whether the basic blend is the same as this cigar or not, there is a huge difference in flavors and strength between the two, with the Love Affair being quite a bit stronger. Of course, the Love Story is aged a bit, which might very well be the reason.
- People get tired of hearing it, I am sure, but while the flavors in this cigar were wonderful and the price is not bad for an OpusX if you can get them at MSRP, surprisingly, they will only get better with age. An aged OpusX is a thing of beauty, and these have all the hallmarks of being one of the best.
- As I noted earlier, none of the Love Affairs I smoked—four—before writing this review had any of the traditional OpusX cold draw taste. That, combined with the almost overwhelming spice at the start of the stick, with I have not tasted in quite a few new OpusX in past year, leads me to believe that this is a somewhat different blend, even if just a bit.
- The burn and the draw were perfect even before the bulb, which is fairly rare in a perfecto.
- The final smoking time for this cigar was 55 minutes.
Update (July 31, 2023) — This review originally said, “General Cigar Co.’s Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve.” That cigar is sold by Altadis U.S.A. not General Cigar Co.
While the beginning of the Love Affair was almost overwhelmingly spicy, it calmed down into an excellent cigar that surprised me with its quality and finish. While it is a pretty good cigar right now, this is a prime candidate for aging and I will be buying a box of these to put to rest for a while. The flavors, while wonderful, were still a bit young, and I think they can get nothing but better by resting for a few years. Having said that, this was truly one of the best tasting young OpusXs I have smoked.