I recently received a gift card from Holt’s Cigars last month to use to purchase some Fuente Gran Reserva Hemingway Signature cigars to review on Stogie Press. The package arrived in pristine form and I promptly stored them in my controlled humidor to add to the review rotation. Today I offer my review of this classic cigar.
It has been quite some time since I smoked anything from the Fuente Hemingway series. I used to smoke the Short Story like crazy decades ago so I was looking forward to this one. The Hemingway Signature was first released in 1983 and has been a consistent smoke for over 3 decades. It was the first vitola to be released under the Hemingway line. The idea for the 6 x 47 perfecto Hemingway Signature was to bring back the classic Cuban perfecto vitola that at the time was nowhere to be found. In order to create the cigar, Carlos Fuente Jr. asked his father, Carlos Fuente Sr., to locate the molds for such a cigar and then Carlos Sr. worked to create a Dominican blend that would be reminiscent of the classic vitola.
The blend chosen is described as:
- Wrapper – Cameroon
- Binder – Dominican
- Filler – Dominican
The blend of binder and fillers is a closely guarded secret of the Fuente family and has been consistent ever since its first introduction and offers the cigar enthusiast something that is uniquely Fuente. These are packaged in 25-count boxes and retail for $8.00/cigar. You can pick these up for a discount on Holts.com for $185.95/box.
The Fuente Gran Reserva Hemingway Signature is a coffee-bean-brown cigar that has a dull finish and some noticeable seams in the roll. There are some small, spotty blemishes on the wrapper. The cigar is not heavy in the hand but it does seem to be packed well. The cap is simple and appears to be applied in a sloppy manner. The foot is a well-defined Figurado tip.
There is a single band that wraps the cigar. I don’t need to get into the details as you all know what the standard brand mark is for a Fuente. In case you don’t know, the black bar at the bottom of the band signifies it as a Hemingway blend from the company.
As I ran it across the nose, there were hay and barnyard aromas along the barrel. Since this is a perfecto, I can’t talk about any notes off the foot.
Now, when it comes to cutting a perfecto I will comment that you don’t cut the foot tip. That is designed to light it easily. I did however, use my double blade cutter to slice the cap which was easily removed so I could take some cold draw puffs to see what I have been missing all these years. The draw offered notes of sweet natural tobacco flavor conjoined with a mild musty earth note.
With the preliminary exam out of the way it was time to burn this to ash, which I did with two samples for this review. I used the soft flame of a wood match to ignite the tip and took in the first few puffs of sweet and spicy notes to start the journey.
Cigar Review Notes
- Sweet and spicy notes start the experience
- White ash with good form rests on a thin char line
- Ash falls early with a flat and centered burn cone
- Full volume of smoke
- Touch of bitterness enters
- Peppery spice begins to enter and grow near the end of the first third
- Wavy burn
- Cedar notes
- Hint of cocoa
- Nut enters the profile near the midway point
- Sweetness and spice and cedar maintain through second third
- Needed to be re-lit
- Pepper takes front stage with a background finish of cocoa deep in the second third
- Burns hot at the end
- Mild to Medium in Strength
- Total Smoking time was just shy of 1 hour
Overall, the Fuente Gran Reserva Hemingway Signature brought me back to days of old. Though not overly complex, it offered a core profile of sweetness and spice with added nuances of cocoa, cedar, and pepper throughout the burn. From a construction viewpoint, it had a bit of a wave in the burn and the ash falls quickly in small chunks from foot to nub. Though the burn cone was nicely centered, it was flat. It did require to be re-lit once in the journey. It burned a tad hot in the final third. I rate this an 87.
Point Deductions: (-1) Wavy Burn; (-1) Needed to be re-lit; (-2) Burns Hot in the final; (-1) Flat Burn Cone; (-1) May Purchase Another (-2) Ash Falls Quickly and Often (-1) Bitter Notes in spots