Vitola: Grand Corona
Size: 6” x 47
Purchase price: $164.95/box of 25 || $36.75/5-pack || $7.10/single
Packaging: Cellophane wrapped singles
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler blend: Dominican Republic
Manufacturer: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia.
Blender: Carlos Fuente, Sr.
Distributor: Fuente & Newman Premium Cigars, Ltd.
The two cigars I smoked for this review had “breadcrust” brown, dry wrappers. The wrappers had a fine grain with a moderate amount of reddish tooth. There were a few water spots on the wrappers but none large enough to detract from the cigar. Both cigars were wrapped seamlessly in a left hand fashion.
The construction on these large figurados was perfect. I could find neither a hard nor soft spot on either cigar; and both had a perfect hand feel. Unlike some large perfectos, such as salomones, this size feels balanced in the hand, heavier at neither the head nor the foot.
Cut and light:
I read recently that some people prefer to cut the narrow tip at the foot of perfectos before lighting. I for one however, am a fan of the narrowed foot for simple ease of lighting. So, as a sidebar to this review, I cut the first cigar at its fattest point, near the foot. The second cigar I light without cutting. Both cigars were cut using my Xikar Xi grip cutter and lit with my Colibri Reload single jet torch lighter. I toasted the foot of the cigar which had been cut at the foot as I would for a parejo of the same diameter; the uncut cigar was toasted lightly and then directly lit.
Although two cigars were lit using two different approaches neither methods seemed to seriously affect the burn of either cigar. The cigar with the cut foot did, however, transition to a more medium body faster than the cigar with the intact foot. Although this is not germane to this review of the Arturo Fuente Hemingway, it is an interesting experiment and could be done with any perfecto (not unlike the Don Tomas Cameroon Collection No. 1, another excellent cigar)
Through the first portion of these cigars, the burn was perfect on the cigar that had the cut foot and nearly straight on the cigar left uncut, although not enough to require any type of touch up. The Signatures both produced a good amount of smooth, slightly dry smoke with a pencil like note and warm spice flavor. The body remained mild/medium through the entire first third and into the second while the aroma, which began light and sweet gained strength and picked up more spice. The finish in the opening third was lingering and had a woody character.
Passing on to and past the halfway point, the Hemingway Signature acquired more body and is what I would consider to be medium. The pencil hints were replaced with a deep woody taste with some good spice for kick. The smoke in the second portion of these Signatures remained dry and smooth, but began to pick up the classic Cameroon “sweet and spicy” component.
Coming into the final third of these fine cigars, the burn on the uncut cigar began to burn crooked to about a 45 degree angle. I did not notice any adverse effect on either the flavor or aromas of the cigar so I continued without touching it up. By the nub, the errant burn had corrected itself nicely. The cigar which had the foot cut burned straight, however I do not believe this had anything to do with the lighting of either cigar. The body of these cigars remained medium, although more toward the fuller side of medium. The aromas toward the finale became more pronounced with a sweet, spicy taste backed by a nutty flavor. The smoke became pleasantly spicy though the nose in the final third as well. The finish became enduring with a cedary, woody taste and a tangy end note.
Since there is already enough information and opinion on the Fuente brands of cigars, I’m not going to go into any great historic perspective or relate the secret methods used to age some Fuente Cigars. What I will say is that, without question, Arturo Fuente cigars, as a brand, represent some of the best cigars for the money as well as some of the best cigars in the world.
Then I realized that if I didn’t review the Hemingway series, I would be shorting myself on some truly great cigars. That changed my mind.
The Hemingway Series by Arturo Fuente is a stunning line of all perfecto shaped cigars. Because of the difficulty creating this old fashioned shape and the Fuentes’ insistence on only the highest quality ingredients, Hemingway’s can occasionally become hard to come by. After smoking these two cigars, the first Hemingway’s I’ve smoked in a few years, I remember why.
The cigars I smoked were aesthetically stunning. The wrappers, with just a hint of red to them, swirled their way around the oddly shaped vitola in perfect rings. There were nearly no wrapper lines showing and only one or two stitchy veins. All this is a credit to the standards used by Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia.
Why I like this cigar:
Like I said, these were the first two Hemingway’s I’ve smoked in several years. I am a huge fan of figurados in general, but in particular of the perfecto shapes and the Fuente Hemingway series are outstanding examples of what can be done with this classic vitola.
When I selected the Hemingway line to review, I also picked up some Arturo Fuente Gran Reserva (also known as the “regular” Fuente’s) for comparison. The Gran Reserva comes with a Cameroon wrapper in the natural shade and is a good smoke for the money; however the Hemingway line is different. For just a few bucks more per box, the Hemingway’s additional aging makes a big difference. In my opinion the Hemingway is more balanced and produces a smoother, more enjoyable smoke, with an added richness, than the Gran Reserva line.
If you’re not ready to commit to the cost of a box of Hemingway Signatures, there are other options such as 5-packs and singles. The Short Story and Best Seller are smaller perfectos in the Hemingway line and are less expensive by the box. If you prefer really, really large cigars, the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Masterpiece, a 9” x 52 giant sized monster, is available in boxes of 10 cigars for less than the cost of a box of Signatures, but be sure you’ve set aside ample time to appreciate this magnificent testament to the craft of the Fuentes.
Regardless of how you purchase your Arturo Fuente Hemingway cigars, be it by the box, 5-pack, or singles I promise you a classy smoke with everything that a fine Cameroon wrapped cigar should have and more. Bottom line, you can’t go wrong with a Hemingway Signature from Arturo Fuente.