Emilio AF1| Cigar Review

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 5 x 50 “Robusto”
Body: Medium
Price: $7.80


Today we take a look at the Emilio AF1.

I realize everyone and his brother has reviewed this cigar. But it is the only cigar in my humidor that has nearly a couple months humidor time on it. Why? Because this dope thought he had already reviewed it. Nope to the dope.

From the House of Emilio web site:
“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 San Andres maduro wrapper, dark and rich with spice and sweetness. Available in shelf friendly cabinet boxes of 20 in five sizes: Robusto (5×50), Toro (6×50), Torpedo (6×52), Corona (5.5×44) and a 6×58 powerhouse.”

The AF1 was released back in 2011. Hard to believe that 2011 is 4 years ago. Shouldn’t we be flying around in our own personal space ships by now?

The Mexican San Andrés Maduro wrapper is very nice with its mottled appearance and glistening oil. Seams are jellied octopus jar tight. There are a million tiny veins. The triple cap is nicely done. The cigar is packed tight with the proper give. And the wrapper is full of tooth.

I just got up to take a couple photos. Even though I have new lighting gear, I still open the window for natural light to complement the artificial light. I checked the TV news and it is 30 below 0 outside. I’m from California. I’m just never going to get used to this. We used to complain when winter temps dipped into the low 60’s growing up. And mom made us wear jackets. LOL.

I clip the cap and find aromas of spice, dark chocolate, espresso, rich earthiness, cedar, and a bit of apricot along the shaft.
Time to light up.

The draw is good. Lots of sweetness and chocolate. Very nutty. Creamy notes. Where is the spiciness?

A nice woody note gives the blend some depth. And heeeere’s Johnny. A bag full of red pepper.

The flavors coalesce and it becomes a substantial multi-layered blend.

Here they are: Spice, creaminess, dark chocolate, wood, nutty, coffee, generic sweetness, and cedar. I realize I am repeating wood twice. But I am not very good at telling apart the different types of wood. Cedar is very distinctive and easy to determine. But oak is something I always guess at. I do some quick research and only find three types of wood: Cedar, oak, and smoky. That includes Wikipedia and Cigar Aficionado.

How can there only be three types of wood flavors?

My testicles shrink to the size of ant turds each time I take a photo and open the window. Lawdy, lawdy.

I hesitate to call this a flavor bomb quite yet. I read a forum that the conversation was about me using that term way too much. So now, I am hesitant to use it.

The thing is…I choose my review cigars carefully. Very few are given to me so I get to choose what I review. And I do my research and look for blends I know I will like. But then I have my share of dog rockets that are on these digital pages too.

The other thing is that I am not a snob. Cracks me up when I read that guys proudly proclaim that they smoke Cubans half the time or all the time. Like it is a badge of honor.

Lots of snooty smokers out there. I probably like the exact same blends you like. I hope so anyway.

The Emilio AF1 loves taking its time. 18 minutes in and 1” burned. I grab my abacus and figure at this rate, it will be a 90 minute smoke.

The Emilio AF1 is very flavorful but not a flavor bomb. It lingers on the fence waiting to jump one way or another.

For all I know, it will remain static to the end.

The spiciness has moved to the back of the line. Someone needs to explain to me why almost every cigar that starts with that Garcia Blast of Pepper, always tapers off quickly. And by the start of the second third, it is gone.

It is gloomy and overcast this morning. I don’t think the sun will break through. A shame as nothing like pure sunlight really reflects the oiliness on the wrapper. But more snow is coming and probably why no sun.

Lemon citrus surprises me. It is subtle and faint, but there it is.

The char line has been very good to me. And no shit. The moment I write that, the ash falls off into the ashtray when I put it down gently.

The second third begins.

I got a funny note from Kyle Hoover of Ezra Zion Cigars. He complimented me on my palate. That is had gotten the Tantrum PA dead on. We were discussing some of the way other reviewers’ palates see things. Here is what he said:
“You’d be amazed at the weird stuff that people say they taste in our cigars. It leaves us scratching our heads thinking “I didn’t taste any Twinkies, Mike & Ike’s, or pancetta in that cigar at all!”

Flavors are the same but more complex now. Individuality becomes the collective good. Yes. I do believe the cigar is a communist. I have J. Edgar’s phone number around here somewhere.

It is interesting that the chocolate has different levels. I taste very dark cocoa. I can taste chocolate cupcakes. And I can taste chocolate ice cream. And a nice cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows.

Some spiciness returns. I like that.

So it is not just me that fawns over AJ Fernandez. (Shut up Charlie H.). He is such a consistent blender, and a journeyman, at such a young age.

The sun begins to peek out from behind some clouds. Huzzah!

The stalwart cap, to this point, finally gives in to Katman chomping. A minor clip is required.

The Emilio AF1 has been a consistent solid medium body. Also, very smooth and genteel.

The price point. Nearly $8. For a boutique blend, not an unreasonable price. And since it has been out since 2011, you might find better pricing if you look around. You can find it on Cigar Federation for $7.00. If you are a member, take off 10% and it’s $6.30. Now that’s a deal.

Halfway point is here.

One thing Charlotte and I learned over the 7 years we’ve lived in the bloody Midwest is you are required to break at least one bone slipping on snow or ice. Charlotte got hers out of the way early in 2008. Picked me up from the airport, I put the truck into the garage when I hear a scream. She slipped on black ice and was on her back. I raced to her aid and did a cartoon jump into the air landing on my back…knocking the wind out of me and breaking my wrist. I crawled over to her in the wet frigid weather. Her right foot was turned exactly 90° the wrong way. Paramedics arrive. Next morning surgery. Plates, screws and pins. I went to the doctor a few days later and got a cast on my wrist.

I’m the real klutz in the family. I actually slipped on the front porch and did a head over heels over the shrubs and landed behind them totally concealed from sight as I lay on my back. No one could hear me scream thanks to the double windows used in the Midwest. Took me a good half hour to get out of there. Bruised but not broken.

Back to the Emilio AF1.

A very tasty cigar but not a flavor bomb. The nearly two months would have exhibited this if it was one. But I am still enjoying the hell out of it.
The espresso/coffee element makes a surge. Nicely complementing the chocolate and creaminess. That generic sweetness never gets past that point. I can’t nail down anything specific. Maybe the last third.

Things are going according to my calculations. It’s taken 45 minutes to get to the halfway point. I never nub a cigar. I just don’t. It has to be spectacular for that to happen. I know guys who throw the nub into their pipes to finish it off. I’ve yet to find a cigar that good.

Godamm. The 1-1/2” long ash falls into my lap but not before sprinkling ash on to the top of my camera. I use the neck strap always. So it hangs while I write. I know. Stupid.

The last third begins.

And as I’d hoped, the flavors really perk up. It is still very complex but instead of subtle and nuanced flavors, they are the bold and the beautiful.
I am very happy when I get emails from readers who tell me they are old men also. Perks me up. This reviewing thing is primarily a young man’s game. I’m pretty much close to twice the age of most reviewers.
Or at least 20-25 years on them.

But I also love my other emails from readers who aren’t the same age as Methuselah.

I have some very mature and smart readers. Should have thought of this years ago. Create a post that I add to every time someone sends me an email. Too late now.

I have to stick my neck out at this juncture of the cigar and say it is now a flavor bomb. The last third is the sweet spot. Boulder sized flavor elements.

Emilio Cigars is one of the most consistent boutique brands out there. Some are excellent and some are great. But you can put your faith in Gary Griffith that whatever he puts out, it will be good.


No need to list the flavors again. They are pretty much the same as listed earlier.

I highly recommend this blend. The price is right. The flavors are ebullient and complex. The balance is right on. And it has a nice long chewy finish.
Go figure. Just as I end the review, the sun breaks through the clouds.

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