Boutique Wednesday Cigar Review: Arturo Fuente Hemingway Between the Lines

AF_BTL_2

AF_BTL_1Size: 4 1/4×46, Perfecto

Wrapper: Connecticut Shade and Broadleaf Maduro

Binder: Dominican

Filler: Dominican

Strength: Mild/Medium

Price: $13/single (MSRP), sold in boxes of 25

Grade: 8.4

This review comes courtesy of Cigars Direct. The next time you’re looking for a rare cigar, check them out.

From the Hemingway line, the Between the Lines is a very unique and hard to find cigar. The perfecto shaped cigars from Arturo Fuente supposedly come from only one roller due to the difficulty of the shape and it is estimated that only 2,500 BTL’s are produced each year. The barber poll roll is great to look at and ads some great character to the already interesting shape. However, due to the cigar’s rarity, it receives astronomical price hikes online.

In my opinion, there is nothing more distasteful and harmful in the cigar industry than seeing a cigar soar up to three times its MSRP simply because of availability. A cigar created to retail at $13 is suddenly sold for up to $35 a stick, which causes expectations to be lifted beyond the manufacturer’s intentions. The whole cycle harms the industry in my opinion. During the review, I had to remind myself that I wasn’t smoking a $35 cigar, despite what online retailers charge.

Anyways, Arturo Fuente should not be blamed for creating a stick difficult to produce and thus limited in production. So, let’s get on with the toast, with the real price in mind.

Pre-light, 1.9:
What a beautiful cigar! The barber poll Connecticut wrappers created a great distinction in color and top each other fairly seamlessly. At the end of my smoke, I pulled the nubbed wrapper back and it revealed about a half inch overlay between the two wrappers. The single cap was a bit crooked, as was the final transition from the two wrappers at the foot, but overall it was a very clean cigar, especially considering the difficulty of the roll. The veins were minimal and there was one soft spot in the exact same place I identified in the Short Story (review), about a half inch long, vertically, in the middle of the smoke. The aroma on the smoke was very sweet and reminded me of maple syrup. The draw was very clean and open and the flavor was of dry wood, pencil shavings, and some dried fruit.

Burn, 1.9:
The draw was slow through the perfecto foot but opened up quickly. The burn line was razor sharp throughout and the ash created a very nice whitish-gray sheet with excellent hold, even after working through the unique foot. I probably could have held the ash to the nub but got tired of nursing it. The Fuente never got hot, even as I approached the nub, which is a great sign on such a thin smoke. The draw did tighten a bit in the final third, but it never went out. Overall, it produced an excellent burn.

Flavor, 2.3:
The flavor on the cold draw heightened my expectations; unfortunately, none of those flavors arrived. The Between the Lines remained bland throughout with no transitions whatsoever. The dominant flavors, which I had to fight to identify, were barnyard and wood, specifically hay and pencil shavings, and an almost cardboard taste stuck around for the entire smoke. The finish was also a bit dry and there was no creaminess in the smoke, which I always expect from Dominican filler. The cigar also went bitter toward the nub.

Overall, 2.3:
It is always unfortunate when you find a beautiful cigar with a near perfect burn that falls flat on the flavor. I am always more willing to overlook the exterior and burn if the flavor is there, but rarely do I see it the reverse way – I always look to flavor first. The Between the Lines failed to live up to its price, even the MSRP, and it definitely did not qualify as being worthy of a limited production cigar to me. I much prefer the Short Story to the Between the Lines. Rather than pick one of these up to smoke, I’d just stare at it a while at your local B&M, this is the best feature anyways.

(Total: 8.4)

Question of the Day: Have you had positive experiences with limited edition and hard to find cigars? Are they worth the money in your opinion?