Origin : Dominican Republic
Format : Corona Gorda
Size : 4 3/4 x 56
Wrapper : Vintage Dominican Republic from 100% Cuban Seed
Binder : Dominican Republic
Filler : Dominican Republic
Price : ~$18
More info about purchasing Arturo Fuente Opus X cigars...
Sometimes it is easy or perhaps lazy for people to draw their own conclusions about a cigar having been lured by the sexy marketing and buzz created when a company releases very limited cigars. Sometimes people make a false assumption that a cigar is good simply because of its price tag. For instance, there are many novice smokers that accept as a fact that because a cigar is tough to get and costs a lot of money it means that there is some prejudice to the cigar, with a skewed opinion on it before one even touches flame to foot. There is an adage among novice smokers, and I’ve even seen it with more experienced smokers that a cheap cigar must taste bad and an expensive one must be pure heaven.
If you’ve been smoking cigars long enough you know that you have to get past the marketing hype, presentation, fancy bands and “buzz” to actually get around to tasting the cigar to formulate your own opinion. Taste is subjective. What may be good for one might taste awful to others. Some prefer sweeter cigars while some prefer more grassy/woodsy cigars. Everyone’s palate is different but you’ll know a bad cigar when you taste it and usually, you can taste a gem within the first few puffs.
With that said, I recently took shipment of some Opus X cigars. In my humidor I now have the Belicoso XXX and the one being reviewed here, the Magnum O. These cigars are extremely hard to get. You usually have to be at the cigar shop when they are released and hope that the regular clientele did not pre-order them. Luckily I have a good friend in the Tampa Bay area who was able to obtain these stogies for me. They weren’t cheap, with the Magnum O’s costing $18.00 each. However, I have seen them at some online retailers for as low as 12.75 which is more probably never going to happen because they are never in stock, and as high as $25.00. I have also seen them listed for $40.00 or more at some Canadian retailers.
I generally have a love/hate relationship with Fuente cigars. I feel they simply offer too much product in their catalogue... for example just look at the sheer number of Opus X's. I wish many non-Cuban cigar companies would follow the Cuban lead and limit the size selections and make fewer, better smokes than experimenting with another ¼ inch here or 1/8th inch there. This is my personal opinion but I find that this often leads to consumer confusion. Fuente’s along with Padrons are akin to the Cohiba of non-Cuban cigars. As such, you will pay a premium for them.
For the purpose of this review I smoked two of them in the span of 4 days to ensure that I was getting a proper understanding of the cigar. A word of caution from the outset; this smoke is powerful. I recommend less seasoned smokers have this one late in the day after a big meal. More advanced smokers know what they can tolerate but I still suggest having a little something in your stomach before embarking on one of these. Also, have your drink of choice handy. I happened to pair my second smoke with some Port and really found that irrespective of my review, the pairing worked. So, without further ado, how did the Fuente Fuente Opus X Magnum O fare?
Appearance : (4.75)
The cigar comes wrapped in cellophane. The wrapper is a medium to dark brown shade. It has a nice oily appearance with some noticeable veins and visible seams. It sports a fairly large cap. The cigar has some give to it when squeezed but no lumps. The nose had a sweet citrus/cedary aroma. Not powerful but very enticing. The foot of the cigar has a more woodsy/tobacco aroma. It sports a very wide and intricate band typical if the Opus X line. I must admit it is one of the nicest bands on the market today, perhaps only second to the Cohiba Behike bands. The band is easily removed. As you can see in the close up photo of the foot though, there was some pressing of the cigar perhaps because of the box but they are not supposed to be box pressed cigars. All five of my samples exhibited this characteristic and it should be noted that they do come in 36 count boxes. There were a few minor tears and nicks in the wrapper despite being in cellophane.
For the purpose of the review I used a straight cut on both cigars sampled. The pre-light draw was a tad loose for my liking. This held true on both of the cigars I smoked for this review. This did not cause the cigars to burn exceptionally fast however, but the draw could have been a little bit tighter. The cold draw revealed woodsy hints that reminded me of oak. It was also a tad grassy.
The smoke output was fantastic with clouds of white smoke right from the outset. However, as I neared the final third the smoke output diminished quite noticeably on both samples. My first one needed one re-light near the band and despite the excellent burn, I was put off by the second one I smoked which went out after removing the band and needed numerous re-lights. It never got me that full cloud of smoke again. As a result, I put it down perhaps earlier that I normally would have. These cigars need to be smoked at a quicker pace than normal.
The cigar’s ash was flaky on both but held firm. In fact on my second sample the ash fell off on its own well into the second third, almost halfway down the cigar. After that, every inch or so.
The first few puffs revealed a pleasing saltiness on the lips with some light pepper at the back of the throat. I did pick up a slight bitterness in those first few puffs but it went away after about a cm. The cigar felt quite light at the outset, perhaps because of the looser than normal draw but don’t let that fool you ... I will get into that later.
The primary notes were those of earth, wood and pepper. The finish was quite short but the pepper was long, lingering at the back of my tongue and throat in between puffs. It was definitely a “dry” cigar so having something to drink while smoking it is a good idea.
About halfway through the first third some cocoa hints were noticeable with the smoke becoming thicker, sweeter and more caramel-like. The main flavor remained woodsy and grassy with some hints of dried fruit at the front of the palate.
As I entered the second third, the flavor profile remained the same. Primarily it was earthy, woodsy and had minor hints of cocoa. Some mild saltiness on the lips remained and the pepper continued to be long in the finish. A note on the pepper: it was not strong or overpowering like it is on some Fuentes I had smoked in the past such as the Short Story.
These same flavor profiles continued through the second third of the cigar at which time I noticed some bitterness creep back onto the palate. Almost like a burnt coffee bitterness. There were more discernable coffee notes as I completed the second third with some sweeter tones akin to dried fruits again but these were short lived and the cigar quickly reverted back its primary woodsy/grassy profile. Hints of mild salt on the palate remained as did the pepper but at this point the pepper was barely noticeable.
By the halfway mark I clearly felt the nicotine. This is certainly a full bodied cigar. In my second sample I had to re-light the cigar at the start of the final third and from then on it appeared as though the cigar needed to be smoked quicker than I preferred in order for it to stay lit. This led to some harshness. It required a number of re-lights with almost no smoke output. The harshness and bitterness affecting my palate was unpleasing so I decided to put the cigar to rest with over an inch left. I wasn’t able to nub my first one either as I also noticed bitterness enter the flavor profile shortly after removing the band. There was nothing fantastic about the flavor profile. Actually I was a tad disappointed.
I can have many cigars with similar flavor profiles for considerably less money and without the limited availability. That's the problem. I’m afraid that the price is so high because of the buzz surrounding Opus X lineup. Fuente is perhaps the biggest advertiser and as a result those hefty marketing expenditures creep into their overall cigar prices. Also, these cigars can be tough to get and most retailers in the U.S. sell out quite quickly or raise their prices because of their limited availability. Quite honestly I don’t believe they deserve the price tag or any special consideration about their limited availability. Given that at the end of the day they are a Dominican cigar with an average and almost typical Dominican flavor profile, I don’t see the value in spending as much as they command. Considering the price tag, I expected much more but in the end got a pretty one-dimensional woodsy/grassy smoke that reminded me of a damp morning in the woods. It wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t memorable either.
Overall Rating : (3.7)
The cigar surprised me a tad because I was expecting some more complexity and depth. Quite the contrary. The cigar was not complex at all and while the flavors for the most part remained very consistent, they were very one-dimensional with only a few short-lived changes to the overall profile. The flavours were not well balanced and at no point was I hit with any palate-pleasing surprises. It was just the same woodsy and grassy tobacco flavor with the odd hint of sweetness. The smoke however was thick and velvety but I was disappointed by the significantly diminishing smoke output as I neared the band.
There was also some displeasing bitterness that came in and out. I wished some of those sweeter notes lasted longer. The same was true for both of the cigars I smoked.
It is a very strong cigar and in that regard, as mentioned earlier, it is for the more experienced cigar smoker. Seasoned or not, I would strongly suggest that you eat something before smoking one of these because even after a hearty dinner I was hit with the nicotine buzz by the halfway mark.
I rated it a 3.70 out of 5. It wasn’t poor but it wasn’t great, just a little better than an in-between average cigar.