Fuente Fuente Opus X Robusto

(Dominican Republic) robusto 133mm x 50 ring

One of the most challenging cigars brands to obtain, partially due to production, partially due to distribution, and partially due to marketing, I managed to get my hands on one of these courtesy of a close friend from the US. (In return, I gave him a rather nice Monte #2, being embargoed and all.) I won’t lie; to try an Opus X of any sort has been on my list from early on in my smoking days, however availability and pricing ultimately put me off – when I could find one, they were always 20-30% more expensive than other cigars which I knew would be fantastic, such as the Trinidad Ingenios 2007 EL. So in the end, I never managed to try one – until today.

Construction/ Draw: 9/10

Like most non Cubans, the X is a very solidly made cigar – it has little give, but the oily feel to the wrapper and it’s glossy sheen tell me that it isn’t too dry. And if that wasn’t a huge clue, the wonderful aromas emanating from the wrapper and foot of the cigar leave you in no doubt: beautiful pre-light notes of freshly baked raisin bread and cinnamon, totally unlike most Cubans. I could just sniff this cigar all day long.

Construction-wise, both examples looked perfect; extremely fine veining on a dark claro wrapper, very well rolled and perfectly formed with a neatly applied cap. I always have concerns with the draw on cigars as firm as this, but inevitably they turn out to be unfounded – as is the case here. It seems that the Cubans prefer looser bunching, whereas the Dominicans and Nicaraguans somehow manage to make really solid, stuffed cigars that are still a pleasure to draw – the Opus X Robusto was no exception. It burned evenly requiring no touchups, producing firm, white ash tight enough to be able to see the leaf veins. Burn time about 1h-1h15min.

Flavor: 7/10

First third starts out nutty, dusty and distinctly lacking in that earthy Cuban taste. The smoke starts out dry, but has an interestingly sweet aftertaste with only the barest hints of raisin, intensifying slightly as the burn continues. The second third brings very clear spice notes, dominated by pepper with again a hint of nuts and raisin on the finish; almost like a good fruitcake but without the moistness. Somewhere between the second and final thirds, there’s a transition to a more savory, vegetable flavor, but managing to retain the pepper. Fruity sweetness is completely gone by this point, and whilst the smoke is light and very easy, you only notice the increasing strength of the cigar as you try to get up to find another drink. Surprisingly, the final third mellowed down into a very well balanced combination of all of the initial flavors. Savory, full-bodied and surprisingly like a good pizza – the crusty/ bready notes lingered on the finish. Throughout, the smoke remained cool and I had no problems nubbing this one right down to the point where my fingers were almost touching the ash.

Conclusion: 8/10

This cigar is a tough one to rate – at local (heavily inflated, anywhere up to US$60) prices, I’d have to give it a 6 – whilst excellently constructed and possessing a very interesting palette of flavors, the first half somehow lacked that punch and robustness that one would expect from a cigar of that price. However, at North American retail prices, it becomes a very different proposition – I’d venture to say that there are actually very few non-Cubans which can compete, and the Opus X Robusto could definitely hold its own against most of the Havana competition too. Bottom line? Try one, you’ll be surprised. Smoke regularly and definitely keep some in the humidor if you can find a way to get them for a fair price.