Arturo Fuente Hemingway Masterpiece (2009) | Cigar Review

Wrapper: African Cameroon
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: 9 x 52 “Figurado”
Body: Medium
Price: $14.60

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Today we take a look at the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Masterpiece (2009).
Thanks to Johnny Piette of Prime Cigar for the stick.
I realized I’ve never reviewed a Hemingway. And then lo and behold, one is delivered in the mail. A 7 year old Masterpiece.

BACKGROUND:
Distributed by: Fuente & Newman Premium Cigars Ltd.
Factory: Tabacalera A. Fuente y Cia.
According to Cigar Aficionado:
“This huge perfecto has a toothy and slightly dry wrapper. It burns perfectly, and is surprisingly mellow with sweet wood and herbal notes. A dry finish.
“Issue: Sep 08, 2009
“Score: 90
“Nearly a foot long, this titanic figurado burns well, offering a mellow, woody smoke complemented by toasty, fruity notes, light orange peel and a café au lait finish.”

DESCRIPTION:
The cigar shows its age with a few minor cracks and some loose seams. Fingers crossed that this behemoth stick lasts the entire review.
The wrapper is very oily and multi-colored. Bits of russet brown along with shades of coffee bean, and light caramel.
The triple cap is flawless. The foot is just slightly coming apart.

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell chocolate, red pepper, coffee, cinnamon, baking spice, fruit, and cedar.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell cherries, chocolate, pepper, cinnamon, citrus floral notes, coffee, cedar, and baking spices.
The cold draw presents flavors of Cream of Wheat, chocolate, cream, cinnamon, citrus, and nutmeg.

FIRST THIRD:
A weighty cigar which makes it difficult to hang from one’s lips while typing.
The draw is spot on. Lots of smoke.

I’m a firm believer that, at the most, 20% of cigars can maintain flavor and get better with several years of humidor time. The other 80% lose their flavor and the ancillary elements that go along with making it a good cigar. They just don’t stand up.

I’m reviewing this cigar because I believe the Fuentes are in that top 20% of cigar makers that want you to age their cigars and eventually understand the blender’s intent.

Cracks begin to form at the midway point. Uh-oh.
The flavors: Chocolate, black pepper, coffee, floral notes, graham cracker, citrus, cedar, espresso, and cherries.
The strength is very mild.
A very slow smoke. I will be here for hours.

Even at this early point, the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Masterpiece is complex.
I just heard on CNN Trump declaring at a rally: “I’m a better person than the other candidates!” Oh lord.
The ash is nearly 1-1/2” long and hanging tough. I’m impressed.

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The strongest flavors are graham cracker, chocolate, malts, cherries, and toasty. I believe that age has affected the cigar. At least in the first half. Fingers crossed that the second half kicks in and proves aging a Fuente works.

Not a fan of mild bodied cigars. There are a couple like Manolo Estate Connecticut, Undercrown Shade, My Father Connecticut, and New World Connecticut. All are very flavorful that makes up for the lack of oomph.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 35 minutes.
Flavors are perking up.
But I’m getting a scary crack at the center of the cigar.
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The black pepper surges big time. I’ve smoked my share of all the Fuente blends. I prefer the Don Carlos. None of them were aged more than a year.
The Arturo Fuente Hemingway Masterpiece is now showing its stuff. Very complex. Nice balance. And a long finish.
The flavor profile has expanded: Graham cracker, black pepper, malts, coffee, chocolate, citrus, cherries, nutty and toasty, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cedar. Now that’s impressive.

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I shouldn’t read the cigar forums. But someone invariably provides a link to my site and it shows up on the dashboard of my blog. I follow the trail and sure enough….they are making fun of me. Flavor Bomb Katman. I know, I know…if I dish it, I should be able to take it. But it’s more than that. I cannot help it if my palate is better than most. The brain surgeons declare that they can’t taste what I taste. Is that my fault? And then I went on to read a diatribe about a certain Big Guy reviewer that was downright nasty. Pages and pages of dissing the poor guy. Sure, I make fun of other reviewers but I don’t think I’m mean. This is why I no longer belong to cigar forums. Too much mean spirit going on. And the know-it-alls drive me crazy.

Read Cigar Aficionado. Look at the flavors they come up with. I’ve never read anyone pointing the finger at CA saying that the reviewer goes overboard with his descriptions.
I often use CA as a guideline to look for the flavors they taste. The writers that rate the cigars have incredible palates. I don’t know. Is it the chicken or egg theory? Are smokers born with great palates? Or are great palates earned by decades of cigar smoking?

Strength has moved to medium body.
A seam comes loose and I glue it.
Meanwhile, the char line has not required a single touch up.
And then Bam! Flavors become intricate and well-defined.

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The cherry element is strong. So is the graham cracker. Strong creaminess shows up for the first time. The chocolate and coffee make a perfect pair. The citrus that seemed to start out as lemon zest is now orange citrus. A slight touch of sweetness that comes from a butterscotch pudding element is a nice addition.

Here are the malts: Chocolate Malt, Coffee Malt, and Caramel Wheat. (See Malt Chart).

Halfway point. Smoke time is one hour 5 minutes.
I’m pleasantly surprised at how spicy the 7 year old Arturo Fuente Hemingway Masterpiece has turned out to be.
Clearly, Johnny took great pains to maintain the cigar properly.
The char line is just perfect.
An unpleasant bitterness arrives. I shall allow the cigar to rest. Maybe that will help.

9half

I’m watching my readership slip away. When once I had nearly 6,000 hits per day, it is down to barely 2,000. I may not have to delete my web site. Readers will do it for me. Not reviewing current cigars is hurting me.

I have a couple obligations to manufacturers to review their cigars but they need a month or two of humidor time before I can write them.

I said I’d come back for special cigars. But the handful of cigars I thought I’d review are blends that everyone has smoked so I won’t be bringing anything new to the table. I will review them only to listen to my doctors and my wife who say I must continue regardless of how hard it is. It is good for my poor brain. LOL.

So unless my readers help me, the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Masterpiece will be my last review for a few weeks.
I plan to review the following cigars and that’s it:
Bespoke Cigars (3 blends)
Isabela Cigars (3 blends)
Debonaire
Henry Clay Stalk Cut
Hammer and Sickle Hermitage
We the People (Private label made by Willy Herrera)
Recluse Amadeus Habano Reserve
And the Diamond Crown 1895 Julius Ceaser Perfecto (My cousins, the Newman brothers of J.C. Newman sent me a box for my birthday.) A different blend than the original blend.

Allowing the cigar to cool down and rest rids the blend of its bitterness.
Strength is moving past medium body now. Nicotine settles in.

The Arturo Fuente Hemingway Masterpiece is, clearly, a sophisticated cigar.
This stick is so complex that flavors meld into one. The spiciness moves to the front of the line. The blend is mostly nutty and toasty now. Coffee follows. Flavors of sweetness, fruit, graham cracker, floral, and cedar move to the farthest back of the line.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is one hour 40 minutes. This is becoming a marathon.

I’ve figured out how I will die. My cat. Anytime I go down the stairs from the second floor or down to the basement, the cat runs at break neck speed to follow me like a dog. But he tries to run between my legs. If I don’t hold on dearly to the handrail, I could have fallen down the stairs dozens of times. Damn cat.
The last third is the best part of the cigar. Flavors are smooth and intense at the same time.
Strength becomes medium/full.

10third

As I am retired, I watch a lot of TV. I love watching the 24/7 news channels. No longer. Nothing is reported on except politics. The rest of the world’s news has vanished. I watch BBC America to find out what is going on.

I’ve been sitting here for over 3 hours now and I’m tired. Another hour to go to get this published. This is why I can no longer review daily. My brain goes splat. And words become very hard to find.
Smoking a 9” cigar is a real commitment.

The burn line has been impeccable the entire time.
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Is the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Masterpiece worth nearly $15.00? Sure. Based on the current price points of the new cigars, $15 is no longer crazy. But it’s an investment. You won’t be able to smoke the Arturo Fuente Hemingway Masterpiece anytime soon after buying one. Waiting a year or two is required.

The Arturo Fuente Hemingway Masterpiece finishes very flavorful, very smooth, and very complex.
No harshness or heat. No bitterness.
This was a fun cigar and thanks again to Johnny Piette for the gift.

Stick a fork in me…I’m done. With 1-1/2″ to go, I put the cigar down. I’m wiped out.
Final smoke time is 2 hours 15 miinutes.

RATING: 90

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And now for something completely different:

And now, my friends, another story from my rock god past…if you read my reviews, you are rolling your eyeballs right about now as I have told so many stories (And repeated many) about what it’s like to play big time rock n roll…so here’s another.

Normally, Curved Air headlined in all the arenas in England and Europe. But once in a while, we got to be the support act of a giant band of that era…the 1960’s-1970.

For one of those tours, we supported Emerson, Lake and Palmer for 4 gigs.

The first time we did sound check on that bill, I got a wild hair. Keith Emerson had a full sized grand piano that was mechanically fixed so it would do 360 ° roll….with Keith on it. Head over heels.

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I asked Keith if I could ride the piano. He laughed and said no one had ever asked to do that in any of the support groups they played with, so I felt honored as I climbed aboard. I guess no one wanted to vomit on his piano.

To my horror, the only way you hang on is with your feet locked underneath a special bar on the bench. Nothing to hold you in place.
The piano began to roll. Slowly at first, and then faster and faster. I grabbed the keyboard like a cat. I was completely disoriented.
Now I’m spinning like crazy and I’m thinking that I am scared for my life and would be jettisoned like a rocket…meanwhile, Keith would play while doing it. ????

After a few minutes, the piano slowed its roll and I was able to get off and then fell flat on my face on the stage from being dizzy.

I asked Keith how in the hell he did that while playing. He laughed. He saw that my face must have been green and took me to the bathroom in the arena, where he helped me to a stall where I threw up.
Each day we played with them, Keith asked me, like clockwork, if I wanted to ride the piano again? All the while laughing while asking. I politely declined.

I had some Cubans that Larry Coryell, the great father of jazz fusion guitar, had given me. And on the last night of playing with them, I asked Keith if he would like to join me for a smoke? His eyes lit up and we retired to his posh hotel room where he allowed no one else in, but me. He ordered some lavish room service and we spent the night eating, drinking and smoking cigars. It doesn’t get much better than that.

And now for something completely different PART 2:

I think it was around 1986 and I was working for a small construction company (Bartec) of maybe 20 people in the office and another 80 in the field. We fabricated and installed structural steel. I was senior project manager. And I had another PM working for me.

I can’t remember names. I am slipping into darkness. Give me an amen. The owner was one of those entrepreneurial guys that not only owned this company, but another dozen possessions included a strip club.
He was Errol Flynn dashing. I wanted to have sex with him…and I’m straight.

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He was married to Tippi Hedren (“The Birds”) who considered hubby as an ATM machine. She had an animal preserve somewhere in Orange County that’s main mission was to save lions. Tippi’s license plate said, “ROAR.”

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Now of course you know that Melanie Griffith is her daughter. And back in ’86, Melanie was a real looker. She hadn’t married Don Johnson yet, but was married to the actor Steven Bauer…of Al Pacino “Scar Face” fame.

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I remember them visiting the shop many times so they could pick up step dad and go to the “Club” for lunch.
I was one of two project managers and was upstairs by ourselves next to the company kitchen…
I remember his name: Luis Barrenechea. We called him Lou.

Anyway, Lou would come upstairs around 2 PM after his lunch with the wife and kids. And he would sit there with a bottle of vodka and get shit faced all afternoon bemoaning his status in life and all the ways that Tippi was draining him of dough. Since there were only two of us up there, he vented like a mother.

One day, we engineers got an assignment. Alfred Hitchcock had made moves on Tippi often, and without success, or so we heard from Tippi.

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At the end of the movie, Hitch gave Tippi one of the first portable radios. It was the size of a camping flashlight with a huge battery in it. And it had long ago stopped working.

So me and the other PM, and the purchasing agent, were given the task of figuring out how to replace the long dead battery and make this piece of junk work. We were told it was our number one priority while our projects went to shit.

We spent two solid days on the phone, all 3 of us and we got nowhere. When we saw Tippi in Lou’s office at the end of those 2 days, we talked to her about our fruitless efforts and all we got was a perfunctory, “Boys. You can do better than that. I am counting on you. This was a gift from my dear friend, Alfred Hitchcock, and I want the GODDAMM radio to work. You got me, boys?”

Whoa.

Now we knew why Lou drank himself stupid in the afternoons.

I remember when Melanie visited. She and Steven would be hanging waiting for mom and step pop to get going so they could get the hell outta’ there.

I got the balls one day and introduced myself. Both were very gracious, unlike their mom.

I, of course, bragged about my Curved Air days to them…and they were impressed. The Police was still together and I told my tales of hanging with them at gigs. Which was true.

After that, Steven would come up to engineering and talk to me about rock n roll. This guy really knew his stuff and we had a great time. Work stopped and my boss was thrilled to be a part of it. Melanie would always have to come up and drag him out of engineering but then got caught up in the stories too. We did a lot of laughing that disturbed the worker bees downstairs.

Tippi would then come up and see what the holdup was. She had no interest in rock n roll and since engineering let her down over that stupid radio, she wanted no part of us.

I only worked there for about a year and then moved on to work for my father’s newly opened construction company.

But there was a time when Melanie Griffith thought I was cute and would always give me a kiss and a hug when she left….and a time when Bauer thought I was cool too.
Now, I’m just plain washed up cool. Time marches on.

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9 replies

  1. I always keep checking in. Always will. All is right with the world when Katman is on the job.

  2. I check in daily at well. Regardless if you have reviewed a cigar before Katman,please do again.I always get something grand out of your reviews.

  3. I third the motion! Life is good again as we got the Katman writing and story telling. Listening to Muddy Waters’ son Muddy Jr. Singing Mannish boy with the Mannish Boys from the left coast.
    That’s you Phil.
    TR.

  4. Hey Katman,
    I’ll always read your reviews. I never stopped ,once I discovered you. So you take twice as long to do one review, just ride with it. This is one of the many talents you have. This is what you love doing. From reading the past emails from your supporters, the ones who offered to proofread your materials, have you thought of taken them up on a serious note?
    I truly enjoy your writing. Have you thought of voice recording your review since you wouldn’t have to think and type at the same time.? Is,it too late for Youtube?
    My prayers are daily for you and Charlotte.
    Phil Matzelle

    • Thanks Phil.
      It isn’t the proof reading that will solve my issues. I read my old reviews and I had a brighter, funnier sense about the reviews. That’s what I’ve lost. I lost my style. And proof reading isn’t going to help. I lost my soul so to speak.
      I will never do video reviews. I find them incredibly boring. Who the hell wants to watch a guy smoke a cigar, blow out the smoke, stare at the ceiling and say something stupid? Not me.
      My style is my style. It is too late to change. You have to understand I have serious dementia. I have trouble speaking so using a tape recorder would just double the time it takes to publish a review.
      But thanks for the suggestions. I truly appreciate your support.
      Phil

  5. I enjoyed that post a lot. Thank you for it.

  6. I don’t have the smoking experience you do but I keep a stash of maybe 100 cigars and they sit for a while before I smoke them, some for two years now, some longer still. I buy 5 packs, usually, and I’ll let them sit for a couple months before I smoke the 1st one and then I try to put the other 4 away and forget them. I cycle through cigars like that I’ve only had a couple cigars that I thought probably suffered from sitting too long and most I thought improved. I lit a Cohiba this past Father’s Day that sat for over 3 years and it was terrible.

    I don’t read many reviews anymore, outside of yours. Some years ago I found your site and enjoyed your critical humor. I also discovered that I’ve almost always enjoyed a cigar that has your recommendation. That makes your cigar ranking lists very valuable for me! Keep it up. Your reviews and whims are enjoyed.

  7. I agree with the other folks…I’m glad that you’re still reviewing pretty frequently…for me, it’s both the reviews with your palate…one that I will never have or aspire to…and the other stories you tell. Like others, I had dreams of making music my career back when I was in college. Changed my major from engineering to music. Pretty quickly, I realized that it’s probably one percent or less of musicians that actually can make a living in music, and most of those are teachers, so I went to work for government. Later down the road, I went ‘semi-pro’ with my music, was pretty busy in the regional scene, so I was able to use my musical education, not necessarily to make money, but it was VERY fulfilling and fun. So your stories about your music experiences give me a window into what might have been…and I’m pretty glad that I made the decision that I did, over forty years ago.

    Keep ’em comin’ as long as you are able, sir!

    Vance Johnson