A.Fuente Hemingway Signature Rosado Tuesday, May 3 2011 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Sun Grown Rosado
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: Perfecto 6.0″ x 47 ring

Lately I haven’t been able to hangout at my local cigar shop or on the online cigar forums as much as I once was.  Life happens and with a wife, a dog, and two small kids my free time is nearly non-existent.  So I was very surprised when I walked into my local shop after being gone for a while to find these new Hemingways sitting in the humidor.  I guess I have fallen a little out of touch.  after letting sit in my humidor for the past month I am ready to spark this thing up as see what we have here.

I know very little about this version of the Hemingway.  Is it a one time deal, a very rare release, or only somewhat rare like the Maduros?  I have no idea but I bought a couple just in case I never see them again.  Glad I did.  the Rosado wrapper is a nice change-up for this smoke.  The Signature Maduro is probably my all time favorite Hemingway Series cigar.  I like this size and the Maduro wrapped version is just spectacular.  The Rosado is nearly as good in a completely different way.  It has a mild spice with a touch of cinnamon in there, all stacked on top of a core of leather and wood.  I even picked up some subtle flashes of what I’d describe as applewood at times.  It is a smooth medium body smoke and a real treat.

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A. Fuente Hemingway Work of Art Maduro Wednesday, Sep 22 2010 

Hemingway Band(lost my camera so this scan of the band will be a place holder until I can get a pic of the cigar)

Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: Perfecto 47/8” x 46/60 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

Even new cigar enthusiasts seem to know all about the legendary and elusive Hemingway Maduros and the Work of Art tends to be one of the most coveted of that group.  Given that fact, I am not going to bore everyone with a lot of fluff on this review.  If you don’t know about them, a quick Google search will tell you all you need to know.  It seems like a lot of cigar smokers, especially the newer ones who haven’t had a chance to try these, go to great lengths to run the Hemingway Maduros down.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of a Hemingway Maduro, the thing you need to be aware of is that they only come out twice a year.  Just before Fathers’ Day and again just before the Christmas Holidays.  those are the times to be on the look for them.

While I enjoy most of the Hemingway Maduros, I find the WOAM is the one Hemingway Maduro Vitola that is truly special.  It seems to me that there is something about this specific size that the blend and the Maduro wrapper are perfectly suited and the result is amazing.  The WOAM is the one Hemingway Maduro that I will still go to some lengths to find.  I’d hate to ever find my humidor without a few of these resting inside.

So, you already know I like these cigars so my final opinion isn’t going to be a surprise, but let me tell you all about my experience smoking this particular WOAM…

The dark maduro wrapper is very rough and rustic looking.  It’s bumpy and veiny and has a dry look to it.  The aroma of the cigar is a rich tobacco with a hint of cocoa.   This unique perfecto is a great shape with a fat bulbous foot that ends in a small nipple at the tip, and a steady taper down to a perfect 46 ring gauge at the head.   The draw is always a little tight at first but it opens up quickly once you get the burn up onto the bulb of the foot.  Construction has always been consistently perfect on these.  I’ve smoked many and never had any issues with burn, draw, or any other part of the construction of these stogies.

The WOAM starts off smooth and easy with coffee and nut flavors.  As I made my way up to the thickest part of the cigar I also found earthy notes and lots of dark chocolate.  As I progressed down the taper earth and wood become the dominate players but there are still nice notes of cocoa here and there and a bit of maduro sweetness on the finish.  the last third or so is a lot of wood and earth with some pepper and spice as well as it becomes a bit fuller and more robust.  An excellent finish to a stellar and complex smoke.  The Hemingway Work of Art Maduro is a real treat.  Christmas is right around the corner so these should be showing up in cigar shops again soon.  Perhaps in a month or two so keep you eyes out.  CigarsDirect.com who generously provided the cigar for this review often has WOAM’s available. I commend signing up for their email subscription because they always send out an alert when they get these tasty treats in stock.  You can sign-up right at the top of their main page.

A. Fuente Hemingway Classic Maduro Monday, Jan 4 2010 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: Perfecto7.0″x 48 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

With the Holiday Season just passing into the rear view I figured I’d wrap the festivities with a Hemingway Maduro Classic.  The Hemingway Maduros always make an appearance on tobacconists shelves every year around the Holidays.  The particular cigars for this review are from the 2008 run.  The Classic seems to be one of the harder to find vitolas of the Hemingway Maduros.  At least I rarely ever see them.  More common at the shops in my area are the Signature Maduros and Works of Art Maduros.  Even the Hemingway Between the Lines seem to be more common around here than the Classic Maduro.

I smoked two of these cigars for this review because I wanted to see if what I thought of the first one I smoked would remain consistent with another sample.  The second cigar was identical to the first.  There isn’t much I can say about the Hemingway Classic Maduro that I haven’t already said about the Signature Maduro.  It has a dark leathery wrapper.  Construction is impeccible, the burn perfect and it produces a tn of thick white smoke.  It is a decently complex smoke with a heady aroma.  The flavors are well balanced and defined.  Rich creamy notes complimented by leather and a musty earthiness and a slight maduro sweetness.  The only thing I can say that is markedly different about this cigar is that the larger size makes for a longer smoke.  I always enjoy these cigars whenever I smoke them, but I feel the flavor profile is particularly well suited to the cold weather of the season.  A cozy spot in a comfortable chair with a nice hot cup of coffee or even a hot chocolate makes for a great smoking experience with this cigar.

You can get Hemingway Maduros @ CigarsDirect.com

A. Fuente Hemingway Between the Lines Tuesday, Dec 8 2009 

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Country: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Barber Pole – Broadleaf Maduro/Connecticut Shade
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: Perfecto 41/4 x 54 ring
Courtesy of CigarsDirect.com

The Hemingway line of Fuente cigars are hugely popular and like a lot of other Fuente cigars, very limited.  The Maduros are especially limited and are only released twice a year, one of those times being right around now, near the Holidays.  One of the more rare of the rare is the double wrapped, barber pole Hemingway “Between the Lines”.  Now plenty has been written about the background of the Hemingway cigars and I have written about them here before as well.  So if you are interested to learn a little more about them, check out my review of the Hemingway Best Seller and the Hemingway Signature Maduro.

The Hemingway BTL is an eye catcher.  The sharp contrast created by the light tan, shade grown wrapper and the dark, toothy broadleaf maduro wrapper intertwined like the stripes on a barber’s pole is a cool visual with a cigar.  They stand out among the cigars that surround them and I think the perfecto shape only enhances the beauty of this cigar.  Construction and burn characteristics are almost always a given with a Fuente cigar.  The quality of their products are superb but I wondered how this stick would fare in the burn department.  The shade grown and maduro wrappers are two very different beasts and have different burn characteristics.  I was curious to see how they would play together with this smoke.  Except for the normal oddities I experience with the burn at the beginning of a perfecto like this, the burn was even and without trouble for the duration of the smoke.  The draw was excellent and it produced thick clouds of white smoke.

Flavor is where the BTL falls a bit short of its straight maduro brothers.  I have always found the Hemingway Maduros to be delicious cigars, each one a treat to smoke.  The introduction of the shade grown wrapper on the Between the Lines has a less than desirable effect for me.  Some of the flavors I love about the Hemingway Maduros was still there.  The slightly sweet maduro flavor complimented by a damp earthiness and a subtle spice were all there but often times they were over powered by a dry grassiness and an acrid finish that I am certain was coming from the Connecticut Shade wrapper.  It really detracted from my enjoyment of the cigar.  Given that this is one of the most expensive of the “Holiday Hemingways” it is disappointing that it just isn’t as good a smoke as the others are.  It is a neat novelty, and the dual wrapper look makes it a visually appealing cigar, but flavor wise I just don’t think it lives up to the standard set by the rest of the Hemingway line.

Rating – C

Get your Hemingway & Hemingway Maduro cigars @ CigarsDirect.com

Redux: Cruzado Marelas Friday, Jun 19 2009 

Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
Size: Perfecto 55/8″ x 46 ring

My first experience with the Marelas was a little disappointing.  However, I decided to hold off giving the cigar a rating and planned to revisit it because I could see a lot of potential in it, plus all the other vitolas I have tried in the Cruzado line have been stellar, especially the Elitas.  The first specimen I tried had an odd bitterness to it that tainted my experience.  This time things were much different.

Right from the start this cigar was smooth and yet powerful, much more like the other Cruzados I have smoked.    It started off with notes of spice and fruit.  As I worked past the bulge of the perfecto it really started to pickup.  Strong robust flavors of coffee and spice mingle with a rich tobacco flavors.  It still wasn’t the power house I found the Elitas to be, but it was much fuller this time, its body on the full side of medium.  As the cigar tapers down it gets spicier and with lots of chocolate and coffee.  it never gets harsh though remaining smooth with a creamy finish that lingers nicely on the palette.  This is more like what I was expecting the first time I smoked this cigar.  An excellent smoke that I highly recommend.

Rating – A

Cruzado Marelas Tuesday, Nov 25 2008 

Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
Size: Perfecto 55/8″ x 46 ring

The Cruzado is brought to us by the same people who make the Illusione line of cigars.  I previously reviewed the Cruzado Elitas which I found to be an amazing smoke.  In that review I laid out all the details of the Cruzado line so rather than repeat all that in this review, just click here if your interested in those details.  Today I am smoking the Marelas.  The Marelas is a perfecto and a skinny one at that.  I mentioned before one of the things about the Cruzados is that not a single stick in the entire line tops a 48 ring size and that includes this perfecto, which at its thickest is just a 46 ring.  I am partial to the thinner ring gauges.  In my opinion the 42-48 range for ring size is an ideal size for a cigar allowing for the best balance of flavors between wrapper and blend.

After having such a great experience with the Elitas I smoked a few more of them and each was equally impressive, so when I lit the Marelas I was a little surprised.  Two things account for this.  The first was an initial bast of metallic bitterness on the first few puffs.  The second was that this cigar seems a bit milder in strength and body.  Thankfully the metallic taste went away quickly.  It was replaced by earth and leather.  The aroma is rich and earthy as well.  It has a Delicious sweet finish.  Once I worked past the bulge near the foot, the flavors became rich and creamy, full of sweet spice and a hint of pepper.  This was the best that it would get though.  Unfortunately it became a bit bitter again.   The bitterness kept coming and going in between pleasant notes of earth and leather and this continued all the way until the end of the smoke.  I’m not sure what happened here.  Although the size and shape of a cigar can effect the flavors of a blend, I was expecting this to be at least similar to the Elitas but it was not.  It showed promise when the bitterness was absent, but because of it I didn’t enjoy this vitola nearly as much as the Elitas.  My hope is this was a fluke, and I’ll give the Marelas another try.  If my experience is any different I’ll report back on it.  For this reason I am going to hold off on giving this cigar a rating for now.

Tatuaje RC233 Wednesday, Sep 5 2007 

Country: USA
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Figuardo 9.125″x55 ring

So I’m probably building myself a bit of a reputation for being a Tatuaje “Homer” and I won’t deny it. They are fantastic cigars and even the cheapest of the line, the white banded P series is pretty darn good for a mixed filler yard ‘gar. Tatuajes have been dominating my smoking rotation as of late which is why they also have been dominating my recent reviews as well. So keeping with that theme here is yet another Tatuaje review. This time I put an RC233 to flame.

I spent the better part of Saturday reorganizing my new garage. I had two reasons for doing so. Number one, I needed to make room to move even more junk from storage to my garage, and number two it was time to get the man room setup. The garage is my room, the “man room” if you will. It is a great place of refuge from the chaos that goes on inside the house with a wife, two small children, a dog, and a bird. So I needed to clean up the garage and get my new (but old) 42 inch rear projection TV and sitting area setup in the garage. After all it was opening day of the college football season and if ever there was a deadline to have your man room ready, that would be the day. By the afternoon everything was set and I was chilling out watching football. Fast forward to the end of the greatest football game of all time as my alma mater, Appalachian State University (2-time defending 1-AA National Champions) put the beat-down on big bad Blue in the Big House!!!! I was jumping through the roof! I’m still riding that high today. I wanted to smoke the biggest darn stogie in my possession to celebrate. None bigger than the RC233.

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So off to the humidor I go and I pull out the 9+ inch foil wrapped perfecto. This is a good looking beast of a cigar. The size of it is a little intimidating and I know I’m settling in for 2 two and half hours or more with this bad boy. I explained the name of the Tatuaje RC’s a bit in my post about the RC184, but for a quick recap, the RC stands for “Retro Cuban” and the 233 represents the cigars length in millimeters. The RCs are limited in production making them kind of tough to find so when you come across one grab it if you ever intend to try them. Given the heft of the RC184 I expected its bigger brother to feel even heavier in the hand but was surprised that it didn’t. It seemed a little light for its size to me. A google image search located this handy picture showing the two RC’s side by side.

The head clipped nicely with my Palio. Like most perfectos getting it lit was a bit tricky. You need to get the burn up past the taper at the foot before the draw opens up enough to keep from popping a blood vessel while taking a draw. Once I got it going the draw was good but a little on the light side. I don’t know what Pepin does to his cigars that gives almost every one of them that trademark pepper right at the start but it was present on this cigar as well. Once I got a little over an inch or so into it the cigar mellowed dramatically. This is the mildest Tatuaje I have smoked so far and I’ve smoked many of them. The flavors were predominately coffee and cedar. I kept hoping for more flavors to develop or for the cigar to change things up a bit, but alas it did not. I have to admit I was a little disappointed. The flavors were quite good on this medium bodied smoke, but the cigar was a bit one dimensional. That’s not good for a cigar that boasts such a long length. There was still almost four inches left on the cigar when I found myself losing interest in it. I had gotten all I was going to get out of it and there was still about 45 minutes of smoking left on it. I persevered through the rest of the smoke but began paying far more attention to the football game then I did the cigar. It was a good cigar with superb construction, a good even burn , and good(albeit one dimensional) flavors but far too long and far too expensive for the experience it delivers. This is the 1st time I’ve found myself disappointed with a Tatuaje. I was especially surprised by this since the RC184 was an absolutely stellar cigar. Maybe it was a fluke, maybe not. I have two more in the humi and I’ll give it another shot the next time I’m in the mood for a two and a half hour smoke.

Rating – B

Tatuaje RC184 Thursday, Jun 21 2007 

Country: USA
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Figuardo 7.25″x57 ring

Picked up a box of these recently. I posted pictures in a previous post. Tatuajes are hands down my favorite cigars so when I ran across these hard to find beauties I had to pull the trigger on them. The presentation on these is very cool. Pete Johnson loves cigars and has a lot of respect and love for the history of Cuban cigars, and as a tribute he designed the packaging and presentation of this cigar in a “Retro Cuban” style hearkening back to the old style foil-wrapped Cuban perfecto cigars. In fact the RC in the name stands for Retro Cuban. The 184 is the cigars length in millimeters.

The aroma of these cigars is just amazing. I find it hard to describe but it is the richest most decadent aroma I have ever smelled from a cigar. This hefty monster has some weight to it and it feels good in your hand. It’s packed full of tobacco, firm with no soft spots. It lit easily which was surprising to me. I usually find perfectos a bit tough to get going. It started off surprisingly mellow lacking the trade mark pepper that is so common in cigars made by Pepin Garcia. The flavors of this complex cigar are rich and pronounced. It started off with lots of spice and leather. Once the draw opened up a bit the cigar picked up and it developed earthy notes with cocoa and nuts. The draw was perfect and I was surprised again, this time by the burn. It managed to stay straight better than most other perfectos I’ve smoked. The ash was firm and held on forever. As I neared the end of this two plus hour smoke it picked up in intensity and got a little peppery and leathery. The flavors were bold and full but it didn’t have the same punch, or buzz factor that a lot of the other Tatuajes have. That isn’t a bad thing seeing how large the cigar is. If it was as strong as a Cojonu or a Noella it would be hard to finish it I think. The RC184 has earned itself a spot very near the top of my list of all time favorites. It’s complex, delicious and a joy to smoke.

Rating – A+

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