Fuente Fuente Opus X Belicoso xXx

Fuente Fuente Opus X Belicoso xXx

Arturo FuenteOrigin : Dominican Republic
Format : Belicoso
Size : 4 5/8 x 49
Ring : 49
Wrapper : Shade-grown Dominican Rosado
Binder : Dominican Republic
Filler : Dominican Republic
Hand-Made
Price : ~$20+ each
More info about purchasing Arturo Fuente Opus X cigars...

For this review I chose to smoke a cigar from my “hard to find” group in my humidor. The Fuente Fuente Opus X brand has many cigars in their line-up with different blends. The only thing they share besides the band is the fact that they are all made of Dominican filler, binder and wrapper. Opus X cigars are normally nicknamed by their fans and this particular cigar therefore also goes by the names “Power Ranger” “Triple X” or “X3”. Whatever you chose to call it, two things will remain common. The difficulty in obtaining them and their price. Although they carry with them an MSRP of $10.50, most vendors jack up the price when they have them in stock because the demand for them far outstrips supply. On most occasions you will be paying well over $20.00 for them (more in the “value” section of the review).

The Fuente Fuente Opus XXX cigar is perhaps the most popular high end non-Cuban cigar in the world. One would expect that a cigar that carries with it a hefty price tag would smoke like a dream. One would expect magnificent complexity and flawless construction. You would also expect that a cigar with as much “hype” built around the name will leave you wanting more. These cigars have become one of the most sought after cigars, akin to the Cuban Cohiba line. With all that said, I want to share with you my experience of how this cigar measures up in terms of the 4 points we cigar smokers like to take note of when smoking a cigar. Remember that in life beauty is only skin deep. The same holds true in the cigar world. Does this cigar measure up to the looks and the hype? For the purpose of this review I smoked two cigars a week apart to ensure objectivity.

Appearance : ★★★★★
This is truly a gorgeous looking cigar. It is adorned with the beautiful and large Opus X band, perhaps one of the most elaborate and recognizable bands on the cigar market. It also sports a red ribbon around the foot of the cigar, presumably to offer additional protection to the foot of this cellophane packaged cigar. The wrapper was beautiful, had no visible seams and had a very visually pleasing oily texture to the shade grown Dominican Rosado wrapper. The cigar looked and felt like a meticulously constructed high end cigar. There were no soft spots on inspection and this Belicoso truly had a flawless presentation.

The unlit aroma had mild but very discernable floral bouquet with hints of dried fruit vanilla and natural tobacco. The pre-light draw was floral and provided pleasing sweetness notes.

Construction : ★★★☆☆ (2.75)
Although the cigar looked absolutely striking, I found the draw to be a tad loose. The ash was often flaky and if you aren’t careful it will fall off on its own. For such a premium cigar I expected a firmer ash that held on to the cigar longer than the 1 inch or so I was getting. The burn on my first sample was even until roughly the halfway mark at which point it required correction. The burn on the second cigar started to go very uneven at roughly the 1/3rd point and it too required multiple corrections. Both cigars needed re-lights past the halfway mark. Back to the draw. The first one I smoked was acceptable but a bit open for my liking. The second cigar was even more open and it required many draws to get acceptable smoke output. As a result, if this cigar is not being puffed frequently it will go out on you. The cigar did provide thick white clouds of smoke but as I said, I was disappointed in the draw and in the fact that as a result it felt like it needed to be smoked quickly. I again go back to the price and that flaws like this should not be observed on cigars considered to be “premium”.

Flavor : ★★½☆☆ (2.25)
This is where I may get some flack from Opus X fans. However, I feel that in order to provide an objective review I can’t let the price tag or popularity of a cigar get in the way. Keep in mind though that taste, flavour, and aromas are all subjective. We have different palates and we all have preferred cigar flavour profiles. I understand that. Some people like sweet cigars while some others like more earthy spicy smokes. I prefer all flavors because sticking to just one flavour profile will inevitably make your cigar smoking time less enjoyable. Despite all of our different preferences, cigar smokers can usually agree on one thing; whether or not the cigar they smoked resulted in a pleasurable experience. My intent here is not to trash the cigar. My review will not impact Opus X sales and won’t keep an Opus X fan from ever buying more. I am simply passing on my own observations about this cigar.

Be prepared with a nice cool beverage when smoking this cigar. I often felt my mouth drying up on me and leaving me with a “cotton mouth” sensation. Also, ensure that you have had something to eat, preferably a nice hearty meal. This cigar is not for novices. As a cigar smoker of over 20 years myself, I was hit with quite the nicotine “buzz” on both samples along with some slight sweats and blushing cheeks.

I was hit immediately with spice on lighting the cigar. It wasn’t a ‘peppery’ spice but more of a cayenne, red pepper type spice that hit me both on the front and back end of the palate. It was like sucking on a habanaro chili pepper. I usually like to exhale from the nose and this is something I recommend you not to do with this cigar unless you absolutely love spice. The intensity of the spice literally made my eyes water. I likened it to taking a mouthful of Japanese wasabi. You know that type of heat that overwhelms your sinuses and makes your eyes tear up? As a result, any flavors that the cigar might have been trying to offer me were completely masked by the overwhelming spice. I don’t remember ever having a cigar with such a spicy heat to it.

The spicy finish was extremely long. The spicy sensation never left my palate or lips for the entire first third of the cigar. I was craving a lemon sorbet to sooth and calm my palate. For the first third of the cigar I could not discern any flavour other than natural tobacco flavour and this was strictly due to the amount of heat the cigar was giving me.

The spice finally decreased as I neared completion of the fist third at which point I started to pick up some hints of toasted nuts, vanilla and a honey like sweetness. The smoke was extremely thick and when not being overpowered by the spice I was able to get a nice velvety smoke with hints of vanilla and coffee in my mouth. The spice remained in the back end of my palate. There were some minor hints of dried fruit but the predominant flavors were woodsy and earthy which became more pronounced as I smoked my way through the cigar. The heat came and went during the second third of the cigar but thankfully it was nowhere near the intensity of the first third. A pleasant saltiness made its way into the flavour profile and remained on my lips for the rest of the smoke. I never thought I would say this about a cigar but, at times, the cigar was a bit too salty on my lips.

As I started to reach the end of the second third of the cigar I noticed that the spice was increasing in intensity again. This time the front part of the palate was getting more white pepper hints but the back of my throat and the long finish was again more like red pepper spice. At this point I mainly tasted woodsy flavors with natural tobacco and earthiness in the mix. I was only getting occasional hints of coffee, vanilla and roasted nuts. The saltiness and spice remained on my lips.

The final third had some more detectable sweetness to the smoke. The clouds of smoke were leaving a pleasing honey-like residue in my mouth however it was hard to get the same volume of smoke output as the fist half of the cigar because of the loose draw. As I noted earlier, both samples needed to be re-lit at this point. The second sample more than the first.

The large band came off with ease and the final third saw the intensity of the spice reach epic proportions again. By this time I was buzzing with the strength of this cigar. Again, whatever flavors the cigar was trying to offer up were masked by the overwhelming spice. The spice was so hard hitting that long after I finished the cigar I could still feel some chili-like heat tingling on my lips.

This cigar is strong. You start to feel the nicotine by the end of the first third and by the end you are certainly left buzzing. This is unquestionably a ‘mature’ cigar for ‘mature smokers’. As I noted at the outset, even I, a cigar smoker of 20 some odd years was hit by the nicotine buzz.

When all was said and done the cigar disappointed. On the odd occasion when I was able to cut through all that spice I did pick up some pleasing flavors noted above. I tried to think of the best way to explain the experience and came up with likening it to ordering an expensive entrée at a fine restaurant that smelled and looked fantastic when it reached the table. The odd bite was absolutely amazing but the chef simply incorporated too much spice into the dish that it ruined the meal, not allowing any of the flavors of the dish to shine and masking any complexity that might have existed.

Don’t get me wrong. I like peppery flavors in my cigars. However I found the spice in this cigar simply too much. Unlike sushi where the wasabi compliments the sashimi, this felt like I was first taking a spoonful of wasabi and then nibbling on the sushi. The spice did not compliment the cigar, ruining it instead.

Value : ★★☆☆☆
These cigars carry with them an MSRP of $10.50 however. because of the popularity of the brand, you can realistically expect to pay upwards of $30.00 for a single stick in the United States. I did a little price shopping online for the purpose of this review. My duty free online vendor in Canada sells them for $31.00 per stick (this is Canada however where high tobacco taxes are the norm... and again keep in mind that this was a duty free vendor). Another local brick and mortar cigar shop in the area sells them for $46.00 per cigar. I checked some of the well known US online vendors and have found them in the range of $20.95 to $30.95 per cigar. I did find one vendor that claims to sell them for the MSRP but they are seemingly always out of stock. In fact, the vendors I did find within 10-15% of the MSRP price were out of stock on the cigar. And that’s the problem. Because it is in so much demand and because of the limited production of the brand, even when they are in stock, expect most retailers to sell them for a considerable amount over the MSRP price. People will blindly pay for them simply because they carry the Opus X name.

I paid $17.00 each for mine while visiting Florida 2 years ago. I can’t consider this a $10.50 cigar because the reality is, anywhere that I found that actually had them in stock was charging considerably more, at minimum, 100% over the suggested retail price. Considering the high cost of this cigar then, the cigar clearly disappointed me. One would expect a much better, complex cigar for that price tag. I can buy 2 or 3 better tasting cigars for the price you can expect to realistically pay for one of these.

Overall Rating : ★★★☆☆
As I noted, cigar tasting experiences are subjective. We all have different palates and we all crave different flavors in our cigars. However, regardless of our preferences, we can always agree on whether or not a cigar was enjoyable. Unfortunately for me, I did not have an enjoyable experience with these cigars. I was left with a headache because of the extreme power of these cigars. I was also left with heartburn thanks to the overwhelming spice that dominated most of the smoking experience. It wasn’t all horrible. There were promising hints of vanilla, coffee, dried fruit combined with a pleasant woodsy earthiness that were trying to fight there way through but they were always seemingly held back by the abundant spice. I certainly wouldn’t buy any more of these. That is how bad the impression was on me. The smoke output and its texture and flavors were good at the start but diminished as I smoked my way through the cigar. Regrettably the two words that best sum up my experience with this cigar are ‘overpriced’ and ‘overhyped’. If you are really hell bent on hunting down Opus X Cigars, in terms of flavour, I preferred the Opus X Magnum O and would recommend the Magnum O over the XXX Belicoso.

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3 Comments on “Fuente Fuente Opus X Belicoso xXx”

  1. I have had a number of Opus X and found them pretty inconsistent. I have had a few that have been incredible. A great Belicoso that was particularly memorable. Most though are pretty boring and not a very nice flavor. Usually harsh. Construction is the same. The good ones have a great ash and burn but the others were flakey. I find that 90% of NC have flimsy, flakey ashes and a very loose draw.

    The Anejo is so popular as well. I have tried most if not all and had ONE good one (not great).

    I am still pretty new to cigars but most of the NC have been so unimpressive. The main exception has been Oliva V and Masters Blend which are amazing and very consistent.

    I am sticking with Cubans both for the consistency and price. For this price, you can get a great Cuban.

  2. I sampled some rather fresh ones a few years ago and they didn’t strike me as overly spicy. I still have a couple of sticks from that sampler, perhaps it’s time to revisit them.

  3. Good review. I thought I was the only one who felt this way about this line. I have tried well aged examples in 4 different vitolas and have yet to find an Opus X worth the msrp, let alone the premium prices that they really sell for. I just don’t think pure strength in a cigar is a very significant achievement. For non cc’s, Padron’s are a much more flavorful and complex cigar and can be found almost anywhere.

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