Last Sunday afternoon, i stared at, in one hand, the DVD that held the last 3 episodes of the excellent “Lost”, and in the other hand, empty. I knew that i had to fill the empty hand with a cigar, but which? The night before a Cuban masterpiece had met its Maker, so i knew that i wanted a non-Cuban gem to balance the scores somewhat. Nowadays, the only non-Cubans i smoke regularly are Opus X, Anejos and Padron Anniversarios — its not that the Toranos and the Perdomos and others are no good, its just that my tastes buds have taken a very strong liking to the former brands, and anything else creates an almost anti-climactic smoking experience.

Life is too short to smoke cigars that don’t give you a climax. It was a Sunday, i wanted a Climax. So my hand dipped into the nether regions of my humidor to pick out a cigar that hasn’t really had much time to rest — but being in its own glass tube, i felt confident, that even after such a long journey (trust me, it was a looong journey), it would be ready to serve. And, serve, it did. Heaps of heaps of all that’s lusty and sinful in the cigar world.

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The Fuente Fuente Opus X Forbidden X — only 10,000 ever produced, each one finding a partner and home in the 2004 Platinum Edition Prometheus DVD Set. Just over 6 inches with a 48 ring, i’ll call this a “stunted churchill”. Encased in test-tube-like glass, pampered by small little bits of foam, and chained with the most incredible band i’ve seen on a cigar, ever.

The cap on the tube came off with a slight “pop”, it took a bit of shaking and pinching to get the foam out, then the cigar slid right out. Rolling the cigar in my hand, i checked for the balance and found the Forbidden to be very well contructed, an almost flawless balance between shape and weight. It rolled up and down my palm effortlessly, without bump or hesitation.

The foreplay was getting me excited. I slid the tip of my quivering finger up and down its silky skin. While the wrapper wasn’t veinless, it made up for it with the smooth wax-y consistency it left on my fingers. It was like running my finger along a film of warm veiny wax. The wrapper itself is a dark rosado hue, a very nice warm, grainy colour.

It was time to bury my nose into the warmness. I quick tickle at first, then i got hungry and decided to take in deep, breaths, whole lungfuls of OpusX-aromas! The signature raisin and dried plum scent was evident, but here is the first departure from the traditional, regular Opus: the fruitiness of the Forbidden is far more muted, though sweeter, in a syrupy sort of way. Take a regular Opus, tone down the aroma a couple of notches, and throw in a shot of honey, and you’ll have what the Forbidden smells like.

The cap fell off cleanly as i circumcised it with a blade. A few dry draws to clear the passages, then my i brought my torch to bear: it was time to quench my desire for a great cigar!

Quite often, expectations and anticipation kills off a perfectly good cigar — but not the Forbidden. I’ve read about it, heard from others about it, and lusted after it. It would have been a wickedly impotent experience if this cigar didn’t match what i expected of it. Really, as i took in the first couple of draws of thick, soupy smoke, i needn’t have worried.

The first thing that came to mind as i formed my opinions of this cigar was: SMOOTH. Closely followed by, REFINED. Its been said that Scottish whiskey is simply distilled lager. Let it be said now that the Forbidden is heavenly distilled Opus X.

The first third of the cigar delivered a burst of spicy jalapenos, prominent but less direct and full-on compared to regular Opus. There was a jumble of slight earthy flavours in there too somewhere. The second third, the spiciness backed off almost completely, and hints of rosy, deep dried raisins and fruits came up, but again tempered with a second, underlying moist earth jamboree. By now, i had realized this was a totally different animal from the Opus of norm — the complexities of flavours and the twists in the aroma were just outstanding. In the last third, as i took it to the nub, and as the last episode of “Lost” started to wind up, the flavour most prominent was an intense bitter-honey chocolate mousse. For me, this was the creme-de-la-creme: the final push to the smoking climax only a good cigar could offer.

The most remarkable part of the Forbidden is how incredibly smooth it is. Its hard to describe what i mean, but let me try. Eat ice cream, regular low-grade, cheap ice cream. Then try Haagen Daz or Baskin Robbins or Ben & Jerry’s. The difference is like that. Or perhaps, the difference between a harsh, young wine, and a refined 5 year-old French chateau bottling. Without a doubt, the Forbidden is the smoothest, most refined cigar i’ve yet to come across.

Verdict: Heaven. ‘Nuff said. My Cigar Blog’s Highest Recommendation.