I know I have said it before, but Emilio Cigars are on fire right now! I have not had a bad one yet and they are all really complex and flavorful. I have reviewed the Emilio AF-2 which was spectacular and the Grimalkin which was divine, but today I am reviewing the AF-1. Like the AF-2, the cigar is made by A.J. Fernandez in Estelí, Nicaragua, but it is a different blend than its counterpart. This cigar took two years in the making, and as a consumer I can say that it was worth the wait. One thing I love on Emilio Cigars website is that below the description, they have written…
“Due to our stringent quality standards these cigars are of limited production and supplies may occasionally be restricted.”
You do not see that often with cigar companies, if at all, and that is reassuring to me as it should be to you. That is a statement that says, the cigar you are about to smoke is of the highest quality and was not rushed to the market. That is a statement every manufacturer should say and more importantly do. Unfortunately they do not. The cigar is packed full of aged Nicaraguan fillers that I am sure AJ has picked from Estelí and Jalapa to begin with, and is then dressed with a Nicaraguan binder. Finally, the cigar is topped off and draped with a beautiful Mexican San Andres wrapper that has been slowly fermented under the maduro process. For this review I was given the toro vitola, which measures 6” and has a ring gauge of 50.
The cigar is wonderful in hand and very dark. It is very firm to touch and not very oily but not too dry. It is a rough leaf in certain spots, but very silky in others. Holding it to my noise I am getting wonderful aromas of cocoa, spice, coffee and earth. I love San Andres maduro wrappers, and AJ makes great cigars with them as well. As I light up the first third of the cigar, it is very pronounced showing lots of cocoa and spice flavors. There is a hint of toasted nuts and wood present, but it is predominantly that of cocoa and spice. In some ways I find it similar to the Gran Habano Azteca and Mexican Hot Chocolate, and believe me, that is a compliment. The first third remains similar with those opening flavors and has a lovely burn to it. The smoke is very aromatic and thick on the release.
When I enter the second third, I am still getting wonderful flavors and the cigar is still medium, medium-full in body. The flavor profile has changed in this third and the cocoa flavors are no longer at the fore-front. I am picking up a lot more nutty and spice flavors, such as Brazilian Nuts and Almonds, but there is also some Walnut notes present as well. The spices are of cinnamon and cloves and very pleasant. It finishes with a nice subtle hint of cocoa and coffee and reminds you that you are smoking a wonderful maduro. The final third really brings the first two thirds together with the cigar and there is a nice blend of cocoa and nut flavors present, and a wonderful espresso finish. The spice is somewhat present but not as much so as it was in the first two thirds. It has been burning perfectly since the beginning and the smoke was nice and heavy as well.
This was a tremendous cigar, and I am hoping that retailers start to carry these cigars more and more. I think Gary Griffith of Emilio Cigars is making some killer smokes, and each one is perfect for a certain smoker. I for one love the Grimalkin, but this one of the best maduros I have had of late along with the EP Carrillo Core Line Maduro. I give this cigar a 93 and would recommend this maduro to any maduro nut out there, which is a lot. I think AJ Fernandez is an excellent blender, and has a great factory, but the applause really goes out to Mr. Griffith for following the process the whole way through and choosing his blend. I look forward to future cigars by Emilio Cigars, and will continue to enjoy his current lines in the mean time!