Around a week ago, Gary Griffith of Emilio cigars announced he was retiring from the cigar business, or at least the day-to-day operations. It’s fitting then that my latest review covers one of their earlier creations.
The Emilio AF1 is produced in Estelí, Nicaragua and is named in honor of A.J. Fernandez, blender and manufacturer. The cigar features a slow-fermented Mexican San Andrés. It comes in Corona (5.5 x 42), Robusto (5 x 50), Toro (6 x 50), Torpedo (6 x 52) and BMF (6 x 58).
Country of Manufacture: Nicaragua
Rolled: Tabacalera Fernandez
Size: 6 x 50
Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Price: Approx $7-$8
Sample: Provided by House of Emilio
Rest: 3.5 Weeks
Quantity smoked: 2
A very rough and tumble wrapper covers the Emilio AF1. It’s fairly dark with the color of brownies when looked at from afar. Texture wise the wrapper is soft in some areas and rough in others. If you take it into the sun you’ll see specks of light flicker across its surface. Weight wise the cigar feels a little bit light and there are some minor soft spots. The seams aren’t super tight but the construction seems adequate enough.
Off the wrapper I picked up scents of cocoa and earth while the foot provided a nice coffee-tone. Cold draw was easy-pulling with flavors or cocoa powder and red pepper.
First draws offer up a lot of sweet dry cocoa backed up by a bready, earth and light florals. On the retro-hale there is a sharp red pepper that picks up to medium-full on the palate as the third progresses. The finish is long, dark and balanced by plenty of sweetness. Some woods enter towards the second third. Already medium-full. Somewhat middling smoke production but great flavor. I didn’t exactly struggle to get a lot of smoke but the smoke production was a little below average in this third.
Some additional spices and nuttiness arrive giving the AF1 a profile of Mexican chocolate. The sweetness becomes more intense with hints of vanilla bean while also taking on a bit of tart on the finish. The red pepper mellows nicely but still the medium range. As the cigar progresses coffee notes develop on the finish. Strength sits at medium-full. I can feel it in the throat. Smoke production improved.
The final third brings everything together with great balance between all the flavors: cocoa, spices, nuts and pepper with with a tart coffee finish and mulling spices on the nose. Sure, it’s less subtle and nuanced but the boldness of the flavor really peaks here. Smoke production improves greatly, delivering the most full-bodied flavor of the cigar. Very velvety, thick smoke. Medium-full strength.
Like most cigars wrapped in a Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper, the AF1 delivers lots of cocoa. The cigars flavors aren’t bitter or smoky but there is a dark richness in the coffee and cocoa. Offset beautifully with flavors of nuts, mulling spices, pepper and hints of vanilla bean sweetness. It’s like drinking Mexican hot chocolate.
I was really impressed by the AF1. It featured a subtle strength and the smoke was never too harsh or overwhelming. Essentially, it’s my kind of maduro: excellent dark flavors, great balance, and very rich are some of the thoughts that come to mind when describing the AF1. Oftentimes when I smoke a maduro I feel like essential balance is lost as the dark wrapper overwhelms and muddles the flavor, but the AF1 is not that cigar. It’s just a damn good smoke with a chocolate core and the perfect complimentary flavors.