I’m guessing there have been more than a dozen Freedom Samplers released by Cigar Rights of America (CRA), an industry trade group. Typically, these samplers contain 10 cigars from 10 different companies. During the last five or so years, the samplers have almost always contained cigars from the same 10 companies, all of which serve as CRA’s main benefactors. Those companies are:
- Alec Bradley
- Arturo Fuente
- J.C. Newman
- La Flor Dominicana
- My Father Cigars, Inc.
- Rocky Patel Premium Cigars, Inc.
Typically, these samplers are split roughly half and half between cigars that you could purchase outside of the sampler and cigars that would be either very difficult or impossible to otherwise purchase. While Arturo Fuente has consistently provided harder to find cigars—usually an OpusX though there’s also been Casa Fuente and Rare Pink cigars used—they’ve been cigars you could purchase outside of the sampler.
As part of the CRA Freedom Sampler Spring 2023 that began shipping in February, Arturo Fuente created a new cigar that, to my knowledge, is not available any other way. It’s called the Fuente Fuente OpusX The Undefeated. The company never provided any information about the cigar itself, but it would appear to be a 6 x 56 toro extra version of the regular OpusX blend, which is made entirely of tobaccos from the company’s Chateau de la Fuente farm in Caribe, Dominican Republic.
The history of OpusX has been as documented as much as any non-Cuban cigar. It all began when the owner of Boutique 22, a store in Paris, told Carlos “Carlito” Fuente Jr. that he was not a cigar maker because Arturo Fuente didn’t make a product made entirely of tobaccos the company grew itself. That comment stuck with the younger Fuente, who began to wonder how he could go from a “cigar assembler” as the retailer called him to a “cigar maker.” The answer was to grow his own wrapper, which wasn’t as easy as it would seem. At that time, many believed that it wasn’t possible to grow good cigar wrapper in the Dominican Republic.
Angel Oliva Sr. of the Oliva Tobacco Co. took Fuente to a farm the Olivas owned in a small town outside of Bonao called Caribe. In 1991, Fuente planted a crop of tobacco under cheese cloths on the land that the Olivas still owned. In 1992 that first crop was harvested as part of Project X from Planet 9, the internal code name for what became OpusX.
Today, that land is owned by Arturo Fuente and called Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia., seemingly the most famous tobacco farm in the cigar industry. Fuente Fuente OpusX debuted in 1995, the first succesful Dominican puro that would lead the way for cigars like the Davidoff Puro d’Oro, La Aurora 100 Años and La Flor Dominicana’s Litto Gomez Diez series, all Dominican puros that came after OpusX. Today, there is now a family of OpusX brands, the original OpusX blend has been offered in shapes ranging from a lancero to a football, and there’s so many different OpusX-themed accessories that, at times, there have been three different accessory companies with licensing agreements to produce OpusX cutters.
If OpusX was its own company, that company would be a sizeable player in the cigar industry.