Not to be confused with the similarly shaped (though much larger and significantly rarer) AF Hemingway Work of Art, the Short Story is the smallest of the Hemingway line of Fuente cigars. A friend once described it as the “perfect 45 minute cigar”, and one previous experience, i find that hard to argue with. In the last couple of years, i’ve only really had a chance to smoke a couple of fistfuls of these cigars, and each one was gorgeous.

The specimen that i lit up for this review has been with me for quite a number of years, since 2005, and sadly the last stick of its kind in my humidor. I once said that i rarely smoke the last stick of anything i own, preferring to give it away to a friend to enjoy, but in this case, i just had to have it for myself — it’s been a tough couple of days in the office, and i was looking for something different and special to bring the joy back to my cheeks.

At cold, the cigar, not even 5 inches long, had a distinct wood chip aroma to it. This is par for the course, and nearly every specimen i’ve smoked from the Hemingway line, besides the Maduros, are the same. Slightly veiny, with tiny water marks on the wrapper, the appearance was far from perfect. But it has character, a kind of rusticity about it. I suppose this isn’t too surprising considering that the molds for this were nearly lost to the annals of time, as the shape went out of fashion decades ago (only to be revived by the Fuente family).

With a cigar this short, you really want to snip off as little as possible from the top. So i took the tiniest cut and took a draw; at cold, there was quite a bit of peppery spice to it, and the draw was a bit looser than i prefer. Taking the foot to the flame, the cigar lit almost instantly. The tapered foot makes it really easy to get going.

The first draws were truly luxurious — billowing clouds of thick, sweet smoke. It was awesome. The taste profile was a familiar welcome, that light chocolate bite laced with hints of dry hay and high notes of thick burnt molasses. If this was the last Short Story to go from my humidor, it was certainly going to go out with a helluva bang!

The Short Story isn’t a very complicated cigar. It delivers a single taste profile consistently throughout the 5 inches, and doesn’t make any real pretentions of change. But that’s ok, when it does what it does this well. Over the next 40 minutes (just enough to watch an episode of Glee), i was treated to thick aromatic clouds of smoke, a fantastic draw (firmed up some after the first inch), and a spicy chocolate mousse. The pepperiness went up a notch right at the end, as a fond farewell. What a lovely cigar.

Verdict: 89/100. A outstanding smoke, just falling short of greatness in my books because of the general lack of complexity and evolution. But that doesn’t really take anything away from this cigar that was designed to please and that it does very well. Excellently well constructed, great burn, thick smoke and a very mild and easy flavour. 45 minutes, where i forgot the world and let myself drift.