Great review Brooks! I know and love that cherry flavor Brooks. I've experienced that on many many opus. Glad I'm not the only one, lol!
Review: Opus X Love Affair (2009)
For those of you that don’t know…
During every Christmas season for as long as I can remember, the Fuente Family has released their “Holiday Releases” which are mostly cigars that are only available, in “large” quantities, for a short time. Usually Hemingway Maduros, all sorts of sizes of Añejos, and some various Opus X sizes.
Last year (i.e. 2009), the Fuentes surprised quite a few people, including me, by introducing three different vitolas and indicated that they would all be semi-regular releases. The Magnum O, the Opus X Shark (which previously was only available in the Opus 22 Boxes) and, the focus of this review, the Opus X Love Affair.
Now, if this size Opus looks strangely familiar, you are not crazy. The Love Affair has a fairly long and storied (ahem) history, which I will try and detail here.
In 2008, there were 55 boxes of a new (at the time) 4 ½” x 55 vitola of Opus X called the “Love Story” given to various members of the Fuente website CigarFamily.com. There were 5 per box, with each box shaped like a heart, and the 55 boxes were commemorating Carlos and Anna Fuente’s 55th wedding anniversary.
Here is the post from Fuente explaining the background:
The cigars were completed in 2006 and have been aging until they were packed and shipped to Tampa for his parent’s 55th anniversary party. The cigars were presented to Carlos and Anna by Carlito with love and respect the night of their Anniversary party.
To commemorate this momentous occasion Carlito would like to share some of these FFOX Love Story cigars. Carlito has made 55 collectible boxes of the Love Story to share with his other family, the Cigar family. Each box contains 5 cigars, are numbered from 1 to 55 matching the number of years his parents have been married and signed by Carlos and Anna Fuente. Every cigar is banded with the FFOX primary band and the 2006 secondary band, the year the cigars were actually made. These collectible boxes are called “Love of Five” representing the 5 members of the immediate Fuente family, Carlos, Anna, Carlito, Cynthia and Ricky.
(Note: Most Opus vitolas have been seen before, and the “Love Story/Affair” is no different. The
the Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve Love Story already owned the trademark to the name. Thus, Fuente changed the name of the vitola to “Love Affair”. So, same size, same vitola, same blend (theoretically anyway…there has been no confirmation of this as far as I know) but a different name.
Having said that, there ARE slight differences in the look of each of the releases. The tip of the Love Story seems to be a bit more round and pronounced, more “stubby” if you will, and the the cap of the Love Story is definitely more pointed then the Love Affair. The Love Affair is also just a tad, and I do mean a tad, longer. (Love Affair on the left; Love Story on the right.)
But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Fuente Fuente Opus X Love Affair (2009)
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia
- Wrapper: Dominican Chateau de la Fuente Sun Grown Rosado
- Binder: Dominican Chateau de la Fuente
- Filler: Dominican Chateau de la Fuente
- Size: 4 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 55
- Vitola: Pefectoish
- Est. Price: $10.25 (Boxes of 18, $184.50)
- Date Released: December 2009
As I said, the size and look of the Love Affair and the Love Story are almost identical. I do love the size and shape, always have, and I think it is the perfect size for a one hour smoke. It also has a VERY slight box press to it.
As with most Opus X, the wrapper is a medium reddish brown, and it is a superbly constructed cigar from the outside, with very few veins showing. The wrapper itself smells a bit like chocolate and pepper.
As soon as I lit up the foot of the cigar, I was literally blasted with spice, an almost overwhelming amount, which surprised me quite a bit. This lasted for about the first 8 puffs, then started to recede. As the spice died down, I noticed flavors of oak and a bit of chocolate.
As the Second Third started, the spice had calmed considerably, but was still a factor, and the flavors started turning sweeter, with a bit more of a creamy profile. I could not put a finger on any specific sweet flavor, but it was something I had not tasted in very many sticks, if any.
The Final Third is where this cigar shined for me. The spice is still in the background, but not even close to as strong as in the first third; it is more of a compliment to the wonderful sweetness that was present. I was not able to put my finger on it in the second half, but the flavor got stronger at the end, and I realized I was tasting a wonderful sweetish cherry flavor that really ended the cigar on a high note. I was very surprised by the end of this cigar, as that is not a typical Opus flavor.
- I have smoked quite a few of the original Love Story, although I have not done a review as of yet, and I can tell you now that while whether the basic blend is the same as this cigar or not, there is a HUGE difference in flavors and strength between the two, with the Love Affair being quite a bit stronger. Of course, the Love Story are aged a bit, which might very well be the reason.
- People get tired of hearing it, I am sure, but while the flavors in this cigar were wonderful and the price is not bad for an Opus if you can get them at MSRP, surprisingly, they will only get better with age. An aged Opus is a thing of beauty, and these have all the hallmarks of being one of the best.
- As I noted earlier, none of the Love Affairs I smoked (approximately 4) before writing this review had any of the “traditional” opus pre light taste. That, combined with the almost overwhelming \spice at the start of the stick, with I have not tasted in quite a few new Opus in past year, leads me to believe that this is a somewhat different blend, even if just a bit.
- The burn and the draw were perfect even before the “bulb”, which is fairly rare in a perfecto.
- The Final Smoking Time for this cigar was 55 minutes.
The Bottom Line: While the beginning of the Love Affair was almost overwhelmingly spicy, it calmed down into an excellent smoke that surprised me with it’s quality and finish. While it is a pretty good cigar right now, this is a prime candidate for aging, and I will be buying a box of these to put to rest for a while. The flavors, while wonderful, were still a bit young, and I think they can get nothing but better by resting for a few years. Having said that, this was truly one of the best tasting young Opus I have smoked.
Final Score: 91