Origin : Dominican Republic
Format : Perfecto
Size : 5.0″ x 55
Wrapper : Cameroon
Filler : Dominican
Binder : Dominican
Price : $6 each
The Best Seller 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 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 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 is 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 blast 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.