Arturo Fuente Hemingway Best Seller Friday, Nov 16 2007 

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Cameroon
Filler: Dominican
Size: Perfecto 5.0″x 55 ring

Today I am enjoying another Fuente cigar courtesy of CigarsDirect.com. It is another Cameroon wrapped stick from the Fuente Family. This one is part of the Hemingway line. The entire line of Hemingway cigars are very hard to make perfectos. The shape of the Best Seller as well as the other vitolas are some of the hardest cigars to make because of their unique shape. Carlos Jr. tells the story of how the Hemingway cigars came to be on their website. He are some small excerpts from that story:

Ever since I was a child I was always fascinated with that shape, the old world, and the really difficult art of the craft that the Cuban Perfecto cigar represents…

…Today we make all these cigars and also a few very limited shapes such as the Work of Art, Best Seller, Untold Story or the Between the lines as well as others. These cigars are extremely difficult to make so our production is very small. We accumulate the limited production of these cigars in the aging rooms and usually release them around the holidays, something special for our fellow cigar smokers to enjoy. (Carlos Fuente Jr., Cigar Family Website)

Carlos doesn’t elaborate on why they chose Hemingway to name this cigar after. I think there is a perception in the general public of Earnest Hemingway as a cigar smoker, probably because of his macho persona and the bravado his personality portrayed. I think that the fact that there is a cigar line named after him just served to cement this misconception in the eyes of a lot of people, but the truth is he was not a cigar smoker.

Hemingway later said that Cuba held many attractions for him…. What he evidently did not find of interest in Havana were cigars. Although he had learned to smoke Russian cigarettes during the First World War, and once described himself in a humorous 1935 story about Key West as “sitting on the verandah enjoying a cheroot,” he told a writer in 1950 that he didn’t smoke because it diminished his sense of smell. In The Sun Also Rises, Count Mippipopolous makes a great ceremony out of clipping his cigar with a gold cutter and proclaiming “I like a cigar to really draw,” but apparently that was a procedure and preference Hemingway rarely practiced. (Cigar Aficionado People Profile).

I have been a fan of the Hemingway cigars for a while now and the Best Seller along with the Short Story and Work of Art are my favorites in the line. The size and shape of these cigars make them fun, complex smokes that can be easily enjoyed when the mood strikes because they are usually no more than an hour commitment. You can drag them out because the burn slow and cool, but if you don’t have all day they fit the bill nicely. I am also a lover of the Cameroon wrapper, and the perfecto shape, so this cigar has a lot to offer me.

There are a couple reasons I love a perfecto. Number one is aesthetics. They are beautiful cigars to look at if well made. The curves and sloping lines are pleasant to the eyes and knowing how tough it is to wrap a shape like this and the kind of skill and artistry that goes into making them enhance this. Have you ever tried to wrap a gift that had an odd uneven shape? I’m not a good wrapper anyway, but with a gift like that the wrapping job usually comes out looking more like a damaged package from UPS rather than a gift. The other reason I like the shape is because it lends itself to a more complex smoke. When the cigar starts off narrow, there is less filler mixed with the wrapper and so the wrapper plays a larger role in the flavors of the smoke to start. As you progress through the smoke and the burn starts to widen into the thicker part of the cigar you are burning more filler and the wrapper’s role is less dominate and the flavors begin to change. It’s not long before the cigar begins to narrow and the flavors begin to change again. It makes for a complex, attention holding, fun smoke. This has been my experience with the Hemingway cigars including this Best Seller.

When you first light the nipple on the foot of the Best Seller you get a bast of Cameroon that is more sweet than spice. The cigar quickly opens up as you smoke up the taper to the thickest part of the cigar. The Cameroon takes back seat to a woody/cedar flavor with a subtle nutty undertone. Once you get past the bulge, the cigar starts to taper down to the head. As I progressed through the smoke the Cameroon flavor gradually picked up in intensity once again becoming the dominant flavor toward the end. The finish is a pleasant cedar that doesn’t linger longer than it needs to. The construction is impeccable and the burn is perfect. The Best Seller is a wonderfully complex yet mild to medium bodied cigar. I have never been disappointed by this cigar.

Get yours at CigarsDirect .com: Arturo Fuente Hemingway Best Seller

Rating – B+

Oliva Serie V Double Robusto Saturday, Nov 3 2007 

Country: Nicaraguan
Wrapper: Habano Sun Grown
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Jalapa Valley Ligero
Size: Double Robusto 5″x54 ring

The newest offering from the Oliva Family is the Serie V Ligero Especial. This cigar has taken the industry by storm receiving glowing reviews from enthusiasts and professional alike, even scoring a 94 in Cigar Aficionado (take that however you like). Here is the official story on this cigar from the Oliva website.

Serie V is a complex blend of Nicaraguan long filler tobaccos. Blended
with specially fermented Jalapa Valley ligero, and finished with a high
priming Habano Sun Grown Wrapper.

Blending Notes:This cigar is blended to deliver full body taste
while maintaining an unparalleled smoothness. This flavorful blend
exhibits complex tobacco with rich coffee and dark chocolate tones.
A subtle and well balanced spice is present throughout.

Today I’m smoking what Oliva is calling a Double Robusto, but I’m not sure why they don’t just call it a Robusto. I guess you might say the 54 ring gauge is a bit big for a robusto which more commonly measure in at 50 or 52 and that could be the justification for it, but to me it’s just a Robusto. The whole idea of a double robusto is silly to me but before I get too side tracked lets get back to this cigar.

The wrapper is a beautiful rich brown and it is smooth and oily looking with only a few small veins running through it. The cap really catches your attention. It’s huge Covering the almost a full half inch of the cigar and it looks like a 4 seam cap winding it’s way up the head. Here’s a picture (click to enlarge):


(Sorry, my camera sucks for closeups)

The monster cap on this beefy cigar clipped nicely with my Palio. There was no evidence of any rib veins anywhere is the thick head or foot. The bunch of the filler looks perfect and the cigar is well filled, firm its entire length with no soft spots. Sometimes these large ring gauges can be tricky to get a good even light on but this one took the flame nicely. The well executed light made for a nice even burn right from the start.

This cigar is very smooth and refined. It started off with a classic tobacco flavor with cocoa notes. The finish is smooth with a subtle sweetness. I have heard a lot of talk of how this is a robust full bodied cigar but I just wasn’t getting that. it is on the fuller side of medium, but I’d still describe it as a medium bodied smoke. At about the halfway point the flavors change a little. The tobacco flavor is still dominate but it gets more earthy with some pepper and it maintains that cocoa undertone. It also split a bit vertically and the wrapper also cracked horizontally around the diameter of the cigar right next to the vertical split. it still held together though and smoked fine. I talked to some who had this cigar literally blowup and unravel on them so I guess I was lucky it wasn’t worse that it was. the issues were not caused by the band which came off the cigar perfectly without damaging the wrapper at all.

I found this to be a very enjoyable cigar and liked it more than any other Oliva I’ve tried since the original Master Blends. It didn’t live up to the hype on strength but the flavors were really good so that fact didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the cigar. Unless the vitolas are that drastically different, I just don’t agree with the exceptional 94 rating CA gives the Serie V. It is certainly a good cigar but I would expect more, especially in the construction department from a cigar that rates that high. I look forward to trying some of the other vitolas because I’ve seen some glowing reviews of them, particularly the Figuardo and the Lancero. I am rating this cigar a B+ even given the minor construction issues because flavor wise this was a really good cigar.

Rating – B+

Box Purchase: AF God of Fire 2005 Thursday, Nov 1 2007 

I had a little extra money and decided to treat myself to some special cigars. The email alert from CigarsDirect.com about these being in stock came at just the right time. So here are some pictures.

God of Fire 2005 Double Robustos by Carlito

%d bloggers like this: