It’s a bit hard to imagine a single cigar line could mark a significant shift in the entire cigar industry, but in the case of the Fuente Fuente OpusX, that’s pretty much exactly what it did.
The line launched in 1995, and prior to that time it was generally agreed upon that wrapper-grade tobacco could not be grown successfully in the Dominican Republic. Carlos “Carlito” Fuente Jr. sought out to prove that notion wrong, and planted 37 acres of Cuban seeds at Chateau de la Fuente. Those wrappers would go on to become the foundation of the OpusX blend and showed the industry that the Dominican Republic could produce wrapper-grade leaves.
For longtime cigar smokers, most will have a memory of the growth of OpusX, from the very limited allocations in the early days to the current day when the OpusX line has added several extensions and has thankfully become more readily available to those looking to experience not only an industry-changing cigar line, but a profile that every cigar smoker should become familiar with as a reference point on the grand cigar landscape.
As its name suggests, the latest chapter of the OpusX story celebrates the brand’s 25 years of existence. The Fuente Fuente OpusX 25 is a 7 x 50 Churchill, and while the OpusX line was known for its Dominican puro blend, the company has not disclosed any details about the tobaccos that are used in this cigar.
The company also dressed up the packaging, enlisting the French accessories company Elie Bleu to create an 88-count humidor, though each humidor only comes with 25 of the Fuente Fuente OpusX 25. It is limited to just 88 humidors, each of which has an MSRP of $9,250. Elie Bleu also produced a limited edition run of accessories for the release, including a lighter, ashtray, and cigar scissors.
There are also plans to release an even more lavish humidor that continues 144 of the Fuente Fuente OpusX 25 and comes with the Elie Blue J-14 lighter and the cigar scissors. That release is limited to 25 pieces, each with a price of $70,000.
- Cigar Reviewed: Fuente Fuente OpusX 25
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia.
- Wrapper: Undisclosed
- Binder: Undisclosed
- Filler: Undisclosed
- Length: 7 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Churchill
- MSRP: $370 (Humidors of 25, $9,250)
- Release Date: November 2021
- Number of Cigars Released: Undisclosed
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The Fuente Fuente OpusX 25 has a certain visual power to it, even before taking it out of the cellophane. While the green-dominant bands are definitely unique for an OpusX release, it’s the sunlike yellow and orange behind the X that really gives the bands a dynamic visual. Add in some touches of gold, a cedar sleeve and a bright orange foot ribbon, and it’s an impressive visual. Once the foot ribbon and cedar are removed, I find a very attractive evenly hued wrapper that has a biota redness to it. The wrapper has just enough oiliness to it to give it a bit of sheen to the eyes and a bit of slickness on the fingers. There is a very visible vein network, though the individual veins are small and thin. The cigar appears to be rolled well and is quite firm when squeezed, showing just a little give in spots. One cigar also appears to have a bit of a press to it, more like it was packed snugly into a box rather than getting the formal process at the factory. The foot has a bright and distinctive aroma that gets my mind racing to process and name what I’m smelling. The first two thoughts are cedar and a plain bubble gum, though the cedar picks up some other light woods and quickly takes over, while the sweetness turns away from bubble gum and embraces varying other sweet aromas, including red and green apples—minus the acidity—in one sample, and grilled apricot in another. The cold draw is near ideal in terms of air flow, with just a touch of resistance and the sensation that the length of the cigar is having a bit of an effect. There’s a bit more wood but it’s softer than in the aroma as a bit of creaminess joins the mix. For as good as the flavor is, it quickly gets overshadowed by a tingling sensation from the tobacco on my lips.
The Fuente Fuente OpusX 25 starts off with a sweet and spicy sensation that immediately makes me think of a Cameroon wrapper, though in some cases it is spicier than I generally associate with that varietal. It can also have a dry cedar as A bit of creaminess comes in and begins to mellow the peppery spiciness, which is welcomed as I don’t think I would have enjoyed for an extended stretch of time. There are times that creaminess gets powdery, which results in a tingling of more of my individual taste buds rather than a coating of the whole tongue. Regardless of the specifics of how it starts, it’s a lot of palate stimulation, though almost none of it is aggressive. As the creaminess builds, the pepper and spice settle down just a bit, though retrohales hold onto it a bit longer, with one sample turning it into a very familiar white pepper backed by some rocky earth. The first third closes out with a profile that brings together a smoky, grilled apple, some light chili pepper, and a very subtle creaminess. It’s a fairly full flavor, though the medium body means it doesn’t completely envelope the palate. Strength is just approaching medium. Construction and combustion are great all around.
The second third sees whatever sweetness was present in the first third largely fade away, leaving the chili pepper to tingle the nose and palate, while the body thickens up and flavor condenses just a bit to give my taste buds a tighter mix of creaminess, wood and pepper. It is a touch sharper on the taste buds, though it is nowhere near harsh or overstepping. The cedar has turned into lumberyard boards, and while I’d prefer the former on its own, the latter works pretty well with where the rest of the profile is at the moment. The flavor holds steady for the majority of the second third, something I’m more than fine with, as it is consistently very enjoyable, outshined only when the first third is particularly good. The last puffs of the second third elicit a bit of a dry mouth sensation, which has me reaching for some water to rehydrate my mouth. There’s one more transition before the second third wraps up, turning a bit more fragrant with some building dehydrated fruit sweetness, while the pepper also finds some new vigor. Flavor is medium-plus for most of this portion, body has stepped up to medium-full, while strength holds shy of medium. Construction and combustion remain essentially flawless.
Retrohales at the start of the final third hit with a good amount of white pepper, while the flavor picks up a bit of peppery heat towards the back of the tongue. Combining the two results delivers a pretty full intensity combination of flavor and aroma, yet again it still feels pretty polished and refined. The woods in the profile are the first to step out of line a bit, bringing along some of the pepper as well. What had been stimulating to the taste buds earlier is now a bit sharper, yet is still far from being flat out irritating. Depending on the sample, the intensity of this change varies from mild to quite significant, and by the time the bands need to come off, it’s clear that this is going to be my least favorite section of the cigar. Flavor varies between medium and full, body tends to be medium-plus, while strength is medium-plus. The cigar continues to burn well, putting off plenty of smoke and maintaining an even burn line, while the draw is ideal.
- The foot ribbon appears to be the same shade of orange that is used on the Casa Fuente line; I thought it looked familiar but pulled one out from my humidor to confirm.
- The OpusX band is one the most distinctive bands on the market, and it both identifies the brand clearly but shows incredible levels of detail, which isn’t limited to the colors and die cutting on its lower portion.
- They are also some of the thickest bands you’ll find on a cigar. In this case , they are so thick that they seem to not always adhere flatly, though I’d still resist the temptation to take them off any earlier than needed as doing so can result in a bit of wrapper damage. I find it best to let the internal heat of the cigar loosen up that glue a bit to make removal as easy and problem-free as possible.
- There was a time when it seemed like cigars from Arturo Fuente always had glue spots on them, yet I haven’t noticed that recently, so kudos to the company on that.
- Editor’s Note: Like many cigars that are sold only in humidors, the cigars themselves ship in a separate box. In this case, it’s a completely custom OpusX box that looks very different from any of the other OpusX boxes I can recall. — CM.
- There is a bit of nicotine strength in the Fuente Fuente OpusX 25; one sample didn’t hit me with much more than what I’d consider the bare minimum to be noticeable, while another had enough to definitely be noticeable.
- Final smoking time was two hours and 45 minutes on average.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel. We paid $400 per cigar, which included a raffle ticket to win the humidor.
The Fuente Fuente OpusX 25 is an impressive cigar right out of the gate, hitting the palate with a bold yet refined pepper and spice, and evolving from there with flavors that are reminiscent of some my favorite releases from the company over the years. The first two thirds are an impressive and very enjoyable flavor journey that are befitting of the cigar created for the line's 25th anniversary. I wasn't as enthralled with the final third of the OpusX 25, mainly because the cigar loses some of the richness and complexity while also introducing a bit of palate overstimulation that can become irritation. It would probably be mild enough to overlook if smoking the cigar with a beverage and amidst conversation, but under this microscope it is more noticeable. While I wish the cigars had finished on par with how things started, it wasn't enough to significantly affect my opinion of the cigars. Overall, and as always without factoring in price, the Fuente Fuente OpusX 25 is an impressive, enjoyable and collection-worthy cigar.