More than a century ago, Arturo Fuente began rolling cigars at his home in West Tampa. The company has come a long ways since then, and one of their most famous creations is Opus X cigars. These cigars are the most sought after on the planet, according to Cigar Aficionado, but what is so special about these smokes? It has a lot to do with the tobacco and the pride of the Fuente family.
The Fuente family has endured many hardships over the past 100 years, but has never faltered from their mission of making fine cigars. For example, their Dominican factories were destroyed by the Sandinistas, and they moved to Honduras, enduring all sorts of problems there also. Eventually they settled in the Dominican Republic.
Today, Carlos Sr. and Carlos Jr. (Carlito) are in charge of the cigar operation. In an interview with Cigar Aficionado, Carlos Jr. talked about the early years in West Tampa, in which the cigar factory and house were the same structure. Cigars were a way of life. In fact, the doctor who delivered Carlito received payment in the form of cigars.
Arturo Fuente came to the US from Cuba, and in 1980 the family moved to the Dominican Republic. Opus X cigars came about from a chance meeting in the early 1990s. Factory visitors from France told Carlito he wasn’t really making cigars, he was assembling them (like an auto or clothing manufacturer). It was then, Carlito decided to make Dominican cigars with Dominican tobacco wrappers, the most important part of a fine cigar.
There was a problem with growing tobacco wrappers in the Dominican at the time. Most people believed it was simply not possible, but this did not stop the Fuente family. Before long, they were growing wrapper tobacco and producing tobacco of very high quality. In fact, the Opus in Opus X cigars gets its name from the extraordinary Rosado wrapper.
Many experts still insisted Dominican wrappers would not work and the Fuente family was taking unnecessary risks, but this did not deter them. On Novemeber 18 ,1995 (the birthday of Carlito’s grandfather) the first shipment of Opus X cigars went to New York. They were a huge success and people were waiting in long lines just to try them.
For a long time, Opus X cigars could not be found west of the Mississippi. However, today they are available in fine smoke shops and online cigar shops. Yet, you may have to wait a bit, as many of the shops may be temporarily out of their Opus X selections, because they are rare and exceptional.