The Arturo Fuente Anejo cigar, also known as the Opus X Maduro, is proof that when life gives lemons, very good lemonade can be made. In 1998, Hurricane Georges struck the Dominican Republic hard, completely destroying the famed Chateau de la Fuente tobacco farm in the process. Not only was this a huge loss in terms of overall crops, but this disaster also obliterated the entire crop of special, very rare Opus X wrapper leaves. Two years later, with a shortage of the sought-after wrappers, Carlos Fuente Jr. was faced with a tough decision: Skip the year's Opus X production or improvise. No stranger to overcoming adversity, the tobacco master decided to improvise, keeping the luxurious Opus X filler blend and binder, all grown on his farm in the Dominican Republic, and embracing the cigars with a US Connecticut broadleaf maduro wrapper. To keep with Fuente family tradition, ensuring this was no typical maduro, the Fuentes age these special wrapper leaves for a full 5 years, including a full year in cognac barrels, similar to the Opus X leaves. The result was to become one of the rarest, most highly-acclaimed and desirable ultra-premium cigars the world has ever seen. The response in the cigar world was so awesome that the Fuentes decided to keep the Anejo in their portfolio for good, although only released twice a year along with the Opus X at Fathers' Day and Christmas time. “Anejo” is Spanish for mature, well-aged, and refined.
This cigar is absolutely beautiful. It bears the elite red, white, and gold Anejo band, with the words “Anejo Xtra Viejo” in gold letters down the front of the outer cellophane. The ultra-aged maduro wrapper brings about the appearance of a bar of dark chocolate. Heavy veins cover the surface of the smooth and oily vitola, heavy with a fragrant cedar aroma. Of course the construction is superb—it's a Fuente. The draw is great and sends out huge, steady plumes of gray smoke. It's impossible to miss the very strong cedar note, especially when exhaled through the nose. The cigar is rich and powerful, with a heavy presence of white pepper and a lingering hint of cinnamon on the palate. Much like its big brother, the Opus X, there are continual blasts of cognac in the background and a bold, sweet finish. The Anejo is very complex, undeniably powerful, and a smoking experience like no other.
Beginners need not apply. This is a cigar intended to be smoked by those whose palates can discern even the slightest nuances and details. It's one of the strongest maduros on today's market, showcasing the innovative excellence that is the mantra of the Fuente family. The Anejo is a terrific morning cigar enjoyed with strong black coffee, but of course it makes a wonderful pick for any special occasion. Because of its limited availability, the Arturo Fuente Anejo is hard to come by at times. Meanwhile, similar cigars include the Ashton VSG and the La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero, or of course the original Opus X, equally limited if not more so than this. Arturo Fuente Anejo is another exotic smoking experience that proves that the Fuentes can do it like nobody else.