The tale behind Fuente Fuente OpusX The Lost City cigar is so improbable and so intricate that it seems like the work of a Hollywood scriptwriter. In fact, the idea for the cigar emerged during the production of a Hollywood movie: The Lost City, a 16-year labor of love for actor/director Andy Garcia. As Garcia worked to film this powerful story about the struggles of a Cuban family during the Castro revolution, he received invaluable help from legendary cigar maker Carlito Fuente-and their collaboration resulted in the almost accidental birth of one of the world’s rarest and most extraordinary cigars.
The Lost City portrays the passions and conflicts of a Cuban family torn apart by the revolution. Garcia plays club owner Fico Fellove, who faces intense pressure both from politicians who are pulling his country apart and from mobsters who want to muscle in on his business. In the movie’s most poignant scene, Fico’s brother Ricardo-who has become a high-ranking official in the new Castro regime-visits their uncle Donoso at his farm to inform him that Fidel’s regime will confiscate his tobacco farm. Donoso, who could not control his disappointment and anger with Ricardo, has a heart attack and dies at his own farm, and Ricardo, overcome by grief, commits suicide shortly afterward.
“For that scene, I wanted to duplicate the environment of a Cuban tobacco farm,” Garcia explained. “While I was in the process of scouting for a location, I was introduced to Carlito Fuente. I explained to him what I was trying to do, and asked about the possibility of shooting that sequence at his farm in the Dominican Republic. We share a common culture, so he was immediately supportive.”
Garcia had originally intended to shoot the scene in an office, and to use the tobacco farm only for establishing shots. In early 2004, after spending a day gathering footage of the lush tobacco fields at the famous Chateau de la Fuente, his vision of the scene changed. As he described it, “I said to Carlito, ‘It’s a shame you’re about to harvest-it would be great to shoot the scene right in the tobacco because this is what is being taken from him.'”
Carlito Fuente responded with a magnanimous offer: He would plant a few acres of tobacco right after harvest, so Garcia would have a field of 3-foot-high plants to shoot in by June. The field of tobacco leaves striving for the sunlight proved a perfect backdrop for the film’s accurate and moving portrayal of what happened to the Cuban cigar makers as businesses they had worked decades to build were suddenly taken from them.
In the Caribbean basin, cigar tobacco is normally planted in the beginning of the year and harvested in the spring. Thus, Carlito Fuente initially intended the summer crop only as a setting for Garcia’s movie. Garcia, though, had other ideas. “When we finished shooting the scene, I asked Carlito what he was going to do with the tobacco,” Garcia recalled. “He said if the tobacco was good he’d use it. I suggested using it to make a cigar with the logo from The Lost City, and that the project would benefit his foundation” – the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, which provides education and health services to communities in the Dominican Republic.
After five years of careful aging, the summer-grown tobacco turned out to be superb: a leaf exhibiting all the celebrated complexity of the original Fuente Fuente OpusX wrapper, but with a unique character all its own. The medium-to-full body, and complex and sophisticated flavors of the summer-grown wrapper make Fuente Fuente OpusX The Lost City a distinctive experience for any cigar connoisseurs, no matter what their taste or preference.
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