June 13, 2011

REVIEW: Emilio AF1

The cigar I am reviewing today is starting to make some buzz online, thanks to some other sites posting reviews and due to Emilio Cigars having a pretty active Facebook presence. Emilio Cigars is a new(ish) boutique brand from creator Gary Griffith. The AF in the name AF1 stands for A.J. Fernandez who is the blender of this particular stick. All cigar geeks know who A.J. Fernandez is, but if you're a more casual smoker, just know that he is one of the hottest cigar blenders out there and, chances are, you have had one of his sticks without even knowing it.

A quote from the Emilio Cigars website: Now available, the Emilio AF-1 cigars are produced in Esteli, Nicaragua and named in honor of our friend A.J. Fernandez, blender and manufacturer.  Two years in the making, the cigars are loaded with flavor from the Nicaraguan tobaccos of the filler, and clothed with a slow fermented maduro wrapper, dark and rich with spice and sweetness.

That is one nice sounding quote and I hoped the cigar can hold up to it. On to the review.

Vitola: Robusto
Length: 5
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Mexican San Andreas
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Smoking Location: House of Cigar
Beverage: water


The Emilio AF1 (referred to as AF1 for the rest of this entry) had a visually-enticing dark wrapper with just a few light spots that look as if they could be from water. Overall it was a very smooth wrapper with minimal veins and a smoothed-out seam. The pre-lit aroma had a earthy musk tone, mixed in with some hints of leather and maybe molasses. Squeezing the cigar from head to foot, I could tell that it was evenly packed and had no soft spots. I clipped the cap easily and the cold draw was nice and free. The pre-lit flavor consisted entirely of a natural tobacco taste.
First Third

With minimal effort my AF1 lit up and started producing think clouds of smoke. Like the pre-lit promised, the draw was free and very enjoyable. The initial flavors had a little peppery spice on the front mixed with a dark chocolate finish. The flavors weren't extraordinarily strong, but they were strong enough that I could pick up the differences and changes going on. About a inch in, the cigar started to mellow and the dark chocolate flavor took over the front of the profile as well as holding down the finish. The burn was excellent and the body was right in the medium range.

Second Third 

The second third of my Af1 was similar to the first third with really only one change. The flavor profile was still dominated by a dark chocolate taste, but right about half way though the cigar, I started to notice just a hint of espresso on the finish. It was very very light, but it was there for me. I enjoyed this part of the cigar the most because the tastes really melted nicely and reminded me of nice after-dinner drink. I have not mentioned that ash yet in this review. The ash isn't typically that important in my reviews, but I though I would point out that this cigar has a very flaky ash. If you are not careful, you will end up with it on your lap. The body was still a consistent medium.

Final Third and Final Thoughts

I wish there was more to say in the final third to make this review more exciting that hadn't already been said, but the reality is there is not. The cigar smoked right along with the same dominate dark chocolate, mixed with a hint of espresso. The construction was spot on and the smoke volume never let up. The body never pushed into the full range and I think even a new smoker could handle this stick's power.

My final thoughts on the Emilio AF1?  If you are a chocolate person, you are going to love this stick. If you're someone who is looking for lots of changes thought the smoking experience, you might want to pass. Overall I thought it was a solid smoke and an easy stick to have while talking with friends. It's not going to distract you from a conversation, but it's also not going to give you a disappointing  smoke.
Would I buy it again? Depending on the price, I would pick up some more of these to keep in my humidor.

Would I buy a box? Right now we are getting so many new cigars on the market, I don't think this would be one of the ones I would rush out to get a box right away.



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