Hemingway- Short Story (Maduro)
Author Ernest Hemingway was an avid cigar smoker and a big fan of Fuente cigars. I'm sure Mr. Hemingway took full advantage of pre-embargo cubans and any cigar of quality; but its been said that he had a preference for Fuentes. Hell, half of the pictures you see of the old guy hes puffing a stogie. One can only imagine him sitting in the shade on a beautiful day, working words into art; a cigar between his teeth.
The Hemingway series has been a staple of the Fuente brand for some time now. What better way to honor a man than by naming a cigar after him? I'd rest in peace when the reaper takes me if I had a well-made cigar. The coolest part of the Hemingway line is that there are a variety of vitolas (sizes); their names a nod to Hemingway's writing. Just to list a few, you've got the Best-Seller, Master piece, Signature and Short Story.
8-5-8, Gran Reserva, Don Carlos... but nothing ever excited me about the brand. I respected the quality; I considered them the icon of Dominican cigars. But I considered them behind the times, especially with so many amazing cigars that come out year after year. Then I grew up and opened my mind a bit.
I smoked an Opus X (read review here) and I decided to give Fuente another assessment. That lead to me falling in love with the Anejo #50 (read review here). Long story short, I changed a long-held belief and discovered that I had been missing out on some great cigars.
The Short Story (Maduro)
This little cigar is a work of art. I mean, look at this figurado. From the masterfully twisted nipple to the seamless look of the cap, this cigar is a beauty. It is the image that pops in my mind when I hear the word stogie. This figuardo vitola is 4" in length, starts from a nipple foot, balloons to a 49 ring gauge and slims down to a 42 ring gauge at the smoking end. This narrowing seems to be a funnel of flavor intensification.
Anyways, I kick back from my rooftop in downtown Baltimore to enjoy this shorty. I've smoked the Cameroon-wrapped Hemingway Classic (review here) and found it to be a quality cigar. The Classic is 7" by 48 ring gauge, with a nippled foot; but the flavor profile is nothing to go crazy about. It fit my belief that all Fuentes were one-dimensional, well-made cigars.
I kicked back with the Short Story expecting a short burn with predictable flavor. Lets just say, I learned a little bit today.
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As I mentioned the figurado is 4" and goes from 49 ring at the foot to 42 ring at the cap. The maduro leaf is a deep brown with a marbled look to it. Some small leaf veins are seen, but it just looks beautiful. The maduro wrapper has a slight tackiness to it which is a sign of some fermented oils, and damn it smells as sweet as honey. Enough talk. Lets smoke.
I just barely lit the nipple and it bloomed perfectly to a straight burn. Right from the start the cigar has a lot of flavor, and its screaming maduro. Well fermented maduro at that. The cigar is packed with flavor, but I would say that it is medium bodied. The resting smoke is sweet and tasty, and each puff results in a chimney stack of smoke.
The cigar is only 4", so unfortunately, its done before you want it to be. But you can't knock it for that. It is what it is. A small, flavorful smoke that takes about a half hour to enjoy. I haven't found myself hitting the end of a cigar like I was puffing on a weed roach in a while; but this was so good, I'm sure anyone that could see me figured I was smoking pot.
The cigar burned like a champ from start to finish. No touch ups needed, and the ash was solid. It is said that Fuente's factory pays special attention to the figurado vitolas; only a handful of rollers are given the duty, and are limited to 75 cigars a day to ensure quality.
The taste is delicious and dessert like. Its everything you could ask for in a maduro. Chocolate, coffee and sweet quality tobacco throughout.
My only complaint is it isn't bigger. The cigar is damn good. I highly recommend this cigar. At around $6, you can't go wrong. Next time you want some flavor but are short on time, grab a Hemingway Short Story. Go for the maduro wrapper if you can. I enjoyed this a lot more then the Cameroon wrapped Classic. Different sizes, but the maduro added a lot to the experience.