This is one of the most daunting tasks I’ve set for myself. In some quarters, this cigar is considered the best in the world. It is an expensive cigar that only cigar smokers with a sense of adventure, or floating in cash, can afford.
The latest regalia of the cigar occurred in 2010 when in Cigar Aficionado, it was named #3 cigar of the 25 Best Cigars of the year.
And it continues to garner these high marks no matter what periodical you read. It’s a given.
This is a cigar with many names and blends. I am smoking what is basically the original. And the most successful. As far as I know. There is such a dearth of information on this cigar that I could spend hours doing research and let’s face it, I’m just too lazy to do that. Nor do I think you give a crap. You want to know if you should spend over $20 on an Opus X. Done.
There is quibbling as to whether this is a medium bodied cigar or a medium/full bodied cigar or a full cigar. I imagine most of this comes from the time the cigar is aged in one’s humidor.
Arturo Fuente is not shy about telling you what he thinks of his own creation as pointed out in this quote”
“The cigar is the pinnacle of cigar perfection, and the standard by which all cigars are measured.”
I needn’t go further. But I shall.
The X is a Dominican puro and wrapper, binder, and filler are cured in rum barrels, rolled, and then aged for a year before being placed in boxes.
The cigar I am smoking today has quite a bit of humidor time on it…more than a couple years. My buddy, Dave Griffis, was kind enough to gift it to me. So I do expect it to be milder and more refined.
The Rosado wrapper has a beautiful reddish hue that reminds me of the gorgeous rock formations in Sedona, Arizona. We lived in Mesa, for 9 years and made a yearly trek there.
The torpedo is extremely solid. With just the right amount of give. Seams are tight and there are a few veins. The triple cap is spot on. There is a small amount of oiliness and the cigar feels a little toothy.
I clip the cap to get some intense aromas. Spice, nutmeg, and cinnamon strike out immediately. A citrus component is there as well as some cereal notes at the clipped cap.
I light up.
The draw is a little tight. I squeeze the cigar carefully up and down its length. I don’t want to use my ice pick-like tool. I’m afraid of cracking the wrapper on a cigar this old. But I am forced to use it but only an inch in and I stop. That seems to have done the trick.
A red pepper does all the talking at first. I was wrong. The cigar is just too tight and I’m not sure what to do. I successfully use my 6” tool to insert about 4” into the cigar without damaging it. The draw is normal now. In fact, smoke now spews from the foot.
There is a dried fruit component. I read a lot of reviews to get an idea of what to expect and I saw the word, “raisin,” a lot. So everyone can’t be wrong and I will jump on board and say the flavor is raisin.
There is a natural tobacco sweetness that joins up. The char line is pretty good, but not even close to razor sharp. In fact, it’s wavy.
The flavors that follow are very subtle. There is some kind of nuttiness and cocoa and coffee. More like a Nic cigar. And at an inch in, a bit of creaminess. The creaminess accentuates the cocoa and coffee.
Cedar is another component on the flavor profile. It is mild but present and at attention.
The cigar seems to start out well balanced. The flavors are subtle, except for the spiciness. The body is medium, although the beginning seemed to be mild. I’m just passing the first inch mark.
The cigar has a very nice flavor profile and I believe is heading for flavor bomb stature.
The char line has evened out and is now razor sharp. The draw remains good, but a little bit more air space would have made the cigar an easier draw. Or it probably is just due to years in humidor that had a lower humidity and shrank the cigar a bit.
The first third nears the end and is excellent. I love the nuance and balance. Is it the best cigar in the world? Not yet.
There is now some wood flavor. Beside the cedar. The flavors have not changed since entering the second third. They are bolder but nothing new has been added of note.
The ash is now 1-1/2” long and I fear for its safety. Where will it land? Will Uncle Katman get it to the ashtray in time?
What makes this cigar stand out is its savory flavor and consistency. The notes are so subtle at times, that my senses tell me I am not focusing enough. That there are other flavors imbued within the cigar that are so slight, my usual sense of palate is not picking them up. I do believe that this is what the Fuente family speaks about and why it is considered such a behemoth in the cigar world. The normal cigar smoker is not prepared to accept the deep flavored stick in the manner which the Fuentes blended it.
This is a true aficionado’s cigar. Someone who’s stand-alone humidor, both in their office, and at home, are filled with the most expensive, and rare, cigars in the world.
But, of course, you can become immune to quality the way you can with mediocrity. So who’s to judge.
I’m lucky today. Loads of sunshine. My only bitch, and I gotta bitch about something, is that the aluminum-type cigar band is so shiny that it reflects sun easily ruining a photo with a cheap camera. I cannot adjust the settings on the camera to compensate for this. So today, before I post he photos, I will have taken close to a hundred shots. No chances taken.
The cigar, at the halfway point, is truly pleasurable. As good as it is, I don’t see me buying one. The price point on the whole arena of different blends on this cigar is just too steep for me. I can buy 2-3 fantastic cigars for the price of one Opus X. Yes, money is an issue.
The char line has gone back to wavy.
Pepper and creaminess still lead the charge while the rest of the flavors follow in pursuit. For me, the creaminess is the component that really makes this cigar sing. It is the one element that elevates the other flavors.
The cigar is just a finesse-mobile. I am positive that the long aging of the stick presented the blend that the Fuentes meant for the smoker to enjoy. The cigar is great. But there are blenders out there getting similar results with less complicated leaves and production processes who make cigars just as superb as this one.
And now for something completely different:
I was 15 when my grandfather lost my grandmother. He decided to take me to Europe and Israel. A 7 week vacation during my summer vacation from school.
It was a group from a synagogue and there were almost 50 people on the tour. Of those 50, there were 5 teens, including me. Within a couple weeks, I had my first girlfriend: Frieda. She was Polish, but born in the U.S. Her parents were Auschwitz survivors with the infamous tattoos on their forearms. Frieda was also 15.
Me and Frieda at the top of the Eiffel Tower.
I learned to kiss that summer. And I found out what second base was.
We spent our first three weeks in Israel and I can remember everything about it to this day. It had a huge impact on me. More on that later…
In France, we did all the tourist attractions. We managed to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Prior to that, I bought a hot dog at the base of the tower from a vendor with a cart. The buns were hard rolls. The vendor had a stainless steel rod with a pointy top. He slammed the roll on to the top of the rod, creating a hole down the center to accommodate the wiener; but would first place your condiments inside, and then the wiener.
What I didn’t know was that French mustard was awash in horseradish.
I held on to my hot dog til we got to the top. Us kids always hung together. So all of us stood at the railing, looking down. I was the only chazer who bought a dog. I ate all the time and stayed as skinny as a rail.
I took a big bite out of my dog and the horseradish did a huge number on me, mostly due to shock and awe. I have never had French mustard, at this point in my life, and without thinking, I threw the whole thing over the railing; and then in horror, watched as it gently wafted to the ground from 1000 feet above.
Everyone screamed. I just let loose of a wiener missile that would embed itself in some poor tourist’s head. I could see the newspaper the next day. “Filthy American kills Child with Filthy Wiener in a Roll.”
It seemed to take forever as the roll headed towards ground zero. None of us could even breathe. There were hundreds of people down there milling about and the roll missed all of them. I fell to the floor with my back against the rail and took a deep breath. Not a murderer today, Kohn.
To be continued….
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS