Review: Arturo Fuente Hemingway Short Story Maduro (2011)
For those of that don’t know…
Ah, the Short Story Maduro. A cigar of myth and legend, that many people never even knew existed, and was only handed out in minuscule quantities over a period of years. Until now, I exaggerate a bit, but not by much…
About three months ago, rumors started flying fast and furious from a few people who had been to the Fuente factory in the DR that they had seen “a buttload” of Short Story Maduros being rolled and being aged. Once this was confirmed, the sure bet was that these would be the prize release for the IPCPR show, which turned out to be correct.
The history of the Short Story Maduro is extremely interesting, to say the least. While every other vitola in the Hemingway line has been available in a Maduro wrapper for over a decade, two vitolas have never been mass produced: the Short Story Maduro and the Best Seller Maduro.
The frst mention of a Short Story Maduro seems to be around the year 2000, when a few (i.e. less then 100) were passed out to attendees of the annual Cigar Family Charitable Foundation trip in the Dominican Republic, where quite a few rare and extremely hard to find Fuente cigars have been known to be passed around. About 100 more were passed out to attendees in 2002, and after that, there have been no more mass releases (that I could find mention of), meaning that there were most likely less then 250 in the public domain for over 10 years…
All of that changed at the IPCPR show this year when Fuente accounts were told that they could get a box of the SSM if they ordered a certain number of Fuente product at the show. Fuente regularly makes specific cigars that have not been seen in the public realm available for the show to accounts that purchase a predetermined number of boxes.
According to the Fuentes, only 1200 boxes of 25 were produced to be sold, making a total of 30,000 Short Story Maduros…Most accounts will only get 1 or 2 boxes (again, based on the number of product they ordered), but I do know of some accounts getting quite a few more (like Smoke Inn, for example, which has 7 stores)…
While I am sure there have been multiple versions of the Short Story produced (you never know what the Fuentes will come up with at the factory), there are 4 different versions that people could conceivably get their hands on….
They are (from Left to Right):
- Short Story Rare Vintage (Only 100 boxes of 25 released in 1983)
- Short Story (Camaroon Wrapper)
- Original Release Short Story Maduro (Released at CFC in 2000)
- Short Story Maduro (Released 2011)
Here is what the box for the Short Story Maduros looks like (photo taken at the IPCPR Show in Las Vegas):
But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Hemingway Short Story Maduro
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia
- Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
- Binder: Dominican Republic
- Filler: Dominican Republic (Hemingway Blend)
- Size: 4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 46/49
- Vitola: Figurado
- MSRP: $6.50 (Boxes of 25, $162.50)
- Release Date: Late July/Early August 2011
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,200 Boxes of 25 Cigars (30,00 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
The cigar itself is a sight to behold, with a wrapper so dark it is almost black. The wrapper smells strongly of a mix of sweet barnyard, dark chocolate and espresso. It is a little spongy when squeezed, but not overly much so. The wrapper is very toothy to the touch, and has quite a bit of oil on it. The wrapper also seems to be a bit thicker (and darker) than other vitolas.
The First Third has notes of dark bitter chocolate, coffee, cedar and leather. There is almost no pepper at all, but there is some tongue tingling spice that comes and goes throughout the third.
The Second Third has many of the same flavors. A bit more coffee (black) and a little less cedar, but same great dark bitter chocolate and leather. The spice from the first third died down a bit, but was still present and got stronger a few times, only to recede again.
The Final Third keeps the same profile as before, a very consistent cigar flavor wise. The great thing is that it is such a small vitola that you don’t have time to get bored. Spice increased at the very end, but it did not get hot at the end, and I was easily able to nub it. Strength wise, it was pretty consistent as well, landing smack dab in the “medium” category.
- Like all Hemingways, this was not the most complex cigar in the world, but the flavors it DID have, were strong and easily identifiable.
- You may have noticed that Fuente has changed up the bands. The new bands are going to be on all the products that featured the old Hemingway/Don Carlos bands. The color scheme is now red, gold and black.
- Despite its size, this Short Story Maduro produces smoke like a freight train.
- When comparing the new Short Story Maduro to the CFC Short Story Maduro, as well as the rare vintage and regular Short Story, the new one seems to have a more bulbous head. (See Photo above.)
- The burn was fairly inconsistent in the first third (although I never had to touch it up), but evened out nicely after that, and the draw was perfect for the entire smoke.
- These are stronger in body then other recent Hemingway Maduro vitolas, and I think they should age VERY well.
- Due to the rarity of these cigars (and the Fuente name), if you do find them for sale, they will most likely be sold for more than MSRP, and will most likely be sold in singles or 5 packs instead of boxes by the stores that get them.
- It seemed to burn a bit slow, and The Final Smoking Time was between 55 Minutes and 1 Hour.
- Having said the above, you CAN buy boxes at MSRP from Jeff at Tobacco Grove at (763) 494-6688, although there are only about two there at last count. They are also available at Smoke Inn (also in boxes, at least when I talked to them). Just tell them we sent you.
The Bottom Line: I am not sure what I was expecting to taste, considering the history behind this vitola and the relative rarity of it before now…While this is a very good cigar, in the end, it tastes almost exactly like what it is, a smaller Hemingway Maduro vitola. Having said that, there is quite a bit more spice on the tongue than in other Hemingway sizes, and the flavors seemed a bit more rich and potent, probably due to the freshness of the cigar as well as the smaller vitola. Would I rather smoke one of these then a recent Work of Art Maduro? Most definitely, but I would not pay more then MSRP on them in order to do it…
Final Score: 88