The holidays have come and gone. It always amazes me how quickly they recede into the distance. And with the passing of that special time of the year goes the small selection of those special release Arturo Fuente smokes. Fortunately for those of you who love to see a rarity captured for eternity in a tower of burn, I’m a bit of a pack rat. I still have my small stash of Añejos and Hemingway Between the Lines from over a month ago, waiting for that right time to come along. (It also helped that I spent the better part of two weeks recently with some sort of cold.)
In keeping with my resolution to light up and enjoy my rarities, now seems like a good time. And since Rich favored us with his review of the Añejo Shark recently, I’ll take on the other rarity that arrived this past year. The Hemingway Between The Lines.
According to Vitolas.net (a great resource on Fuente rarities), the Hemingway Between The Lines “…was originally created at the request of Cynthia Fuente, who wanted a cigar that wasn’t too heavy but still had an enjoyable smoking profile.” As with most of Fuentes special smokes, the exact composition of the cigar is on a need to know basis. And apparently, we don’t need to know. That’s OK, what’s important is how the cigar tastes and how it performs. Let’s check it out.
Size: 4 1/2 x 54
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade and Broadleaf Maduro
Binder: Unknown (Domincan Republic?)
Filler: Dominican Republic (Hemingway Blend)
Smoking Time: 1 1/2 hours
Price: MSRP $13.25
There’s just no getting around it. The Between The Lines is one cool looking cigar. And possibly the best execution of a dos capas cigar I’ve ever seen. The maduro leaf, unlike many barberpole smokes, is consistent in its color, not darker at one end and lighter at the other. The leaves were free of the damage that often accompanies multiple wrappers, and the veins were all very fine. Throw in the trademark red Hemingway band and you have one sharp looking little stogie.
The scent of the wrapper was a nice sweet honey compost scent, that seemed to develop and get more appealing the longer the cigar was free of it’s cellophane. And another testament to how well the cigar was constructed, I was able to get a decent draw without clipping the nippled foot. (I generally don’t clip the tapered foot. I figure, hey, if Fuente’s gonna roll it that way, I’m gonna try to smoke it that way.) I got some sweet grain flavor in the cold taste.
After gushing about the construction of this cigar before lighting it, it was mere moments before I hit a snag. After a few puffs the cigar went out. Apparently there was a little bit of a open space just behind that nipple, and it simply failed to light the rest of the cigar.
Aside from that hiccup, the burn was pretty much what you would expect from a Hemingway Short Story. Which is helpful to know if you smoke fairly often like I do. The ash is solid and white and the burn line is mostly even once it rounds the thickest part of the foot.
As the cigar burned through the nippled end, the flavor was a great creamy caramel coffee flavor, but quickly became more toasty as it got into the binder and filler. The first third seemed to have the most complex set of flavors of the entire cigar. Coffee, toasty, earthy and a bit of chocolate all were present.
As the cigar progressed into the second third, it became more solidly toasty. Additionally there was a just a little bit of spice, papery minerals and some faint hints of vanilla sweetness.
By the final third, the cigar seemed to burn a little on the hot side, which made it a little harder to get a good read on the flavor. However, I did note that the toast and minerals flavors remained and was joined briefly by a little bit of almond sweetness.
I believe the price I paid for these was around the $11 dollar mark, but its very likely these have been, and will be sold at much higher prices, depending on where you look. I was actually surprised to learn that I paid less than MSRP on these cigars. (Kudos to that shop owner!)
Though the price is getting up there into the range that makes me start thinking about looking around for less expensive smokes, I’d have to say it does seem fair. It really is a well executed stick, and a challenging vitola. And considering that they are often sold quickly at much higher than I paid, I guess the cigar smoking populace on whole agrees.
While typing up this review, I was puffing on a Hemingway Short Story. I gotta tell ya, if I had a box of Short Stories and a box Between The Lines sitting in my humidor, nine times out of ten I’d reach for the Short Story. That has a lot to do with the fact that I’m just not all that big into Connecticut leaf. That being said, it’s hard to find anything wrong with the Between The Lines. The burn was good, the flavor was pleasant, they look cool, and they’re a convenient short smoke size. If you have the opportunity, and you find them somewhere near MSRP, give one a try.
Liked It: Yeah, it was OK.
Buy It Again: Oh, probably. They are cool, and they’re great trade/cigar bomb fodder.
Recommend It: Connecticut leaf lovers should enjoy this cigar.
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.