Emilio Cigars AF1 2019 | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 5 x 50 Robusto
Strength: Medium
Price: $9.50

Today we take a look at the Emilio Cigars AF1 2019.

From Cigar Federation:
“If you think you’ve smoked Emilio Cigars AF1…think again!
Ya, it’s the same name…but this is a COMPLETELY NEW cigar! It’s re-blended. It’s got new bands and boxes!
The new AF1 was blended by James Brown (BLK WKS, Black Label) and made at Oveja Negra factory in Estelï.
The new Emilio AF1 is wrapped in a San Andres maduro leaf with all Nicaraguan binders and fillers.
Flavors are electric! Deep notes of cocoa, earth, black pepper, coffee bean, cream, wood, and molasses. It’s the perfect maduro blend…even the hardcore “maduro smokers” are going to have some of these in their humidor at all times!”

Robusto 5 x 50 $9.50
Toro 6 x 50 $10.00
Grand Toro 6 x 58 $10.50

In room light, it has a merely a generic brown wrapper. A little sunlight opens the door to an oily, rust/ginger/espresso presentation. As shown in my photos, the cigar is tooth city…like #4 grit sandpaper.
Seams are invisible. There is noticeable veinage. While the cap is expertly applied, it seems to have a double cap rather than the usual triple cap. And the sausage is filled to the brim with tobacco leaving no room for give. Solid as a rock.

Aromas are faint. They are milk chocolate, malt, caramel, cedar, barnyard, black pepper, espresso, and black licorice.
The cold draw presents flavors of barnyard, espresso, nuttiness, black pepper, caramel, malt, cedar, and a rich batch of good cigar tobacco.

The cigar is a clean machine. I’m experiencing the perfect resistance for my tastes on the draw…so I put away my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool for a different time.

I check out my 2015 review of that version. I dug it…like a pony. But it was before I was exacting numerical ratings on my readers. Still, based on my enjoyment of the blend, it probably would have been 90 or higher.

One thing I remember from that review 5 years ago…the cigar really didn’t kick in til the second half. I’ve smoked a couple prior to this review and found the same occurrence. But that was a couple weeks ago…time marches the fuck on.

Nice start…a blast of black pepper that is a tad strong, black coffee, dark cocoa, malt, and some molasses…but better than that; I detect an immediate complexity I hope sustains itself throughout…

Strength is potent. Medium/full.

The cherry part of the stick is a house afire. Like a Pittsburgh chimney bellowing out huge plumes of smoke that envelop my pin head.

The blend digs deep and finds a quick richness that impresses. There is even an early balance that leads me to hope it continues on that road and only improves with each puff.
A balsamic sweetness appears that fits hand in glove with the molasses input.
So far, the balance is on point. For me, Savory v. Sweet is all important for my palate.

The blend definitely needs some creaminess which is wildly apparent at this juncture. That would create a trifecta in the savory v sweet thing.

“Woodstock” by C,S,N,&Y is playing. I find it odd that in the last 10 years, younger people ask me way too often if I was at Woodstock. No. I was not. I was 19 and in college. And after seeing the movie…yeah, the acts were great…but I don’t do well living in mud for 3 days…the movie was just fine thank you. And yes, I turned 70 today.

The strength relents. Its initial bolt of lightning has calmed down. It now lives in the realm of a medium strength cigar.

This blend is very similar in taste to the original 2014 blend. I’m having a similar experience as my 2015 review. The first third shows promise but doesn’t come out of the gate swinging for the fences. I hope it doesn’t fall into the category of just another $10 boutique blend that can be replaced by any of a hundred cigars in this category. No real special identity yet.

And just while I’m dissing this blend in the previous category, the blend perks up. The spiciness returns in an altered form of red pepper instead of the throat killing black stuff.
Creaminess shows itself for the first time…limited, but there in spirit.

The flavor profile is improving. Very much like the 2014 version.
The parameter of the cigar’s cohesiveness is spreading out. I now realize that the first third was a narrow linear experience. At this point, the blend is spreading its wings for the first time.
Subtlety and nuance begin their inquest.

Chocolate creaminess cold cocks me…in a good way. Damn. It’s like a Tootsie Roll dipped in vanilla ice cream. Or a rich chocolate milk shake. We have movement in the right direction.

I’ve not mentioned any of the music I play while reviewing…that is because nothing has caught my attention. The most exciting Way Back Machine song was “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane. Back in 1965 or 1966, I’d have their album playing in my bedroom while I masturbated to pics of Grace Slick. Later, it became Carly Simon. Fess up, Boomers…don’t leave me hanging here.

Strength remains at medium+.

Nice cigar but really nothing special. Palates change all the time. We evolve. What bowled me over 5 years ago may not have the same impact now. There are a gazillion $10 boutique blends out there for you to choose from. Some are just mind blowing…others? Not so much and fall into the category of “What was I smoking? I forgot.”

The Emilio Cigars AF1 2019 falls into that latter category. It is a nice cigar but nothing special. It should have reached out and grabbed me by the throat from the first 3 puffs. It did not fulfill that expectation.

At this time, the cigar fits right into the (Fill in the Blank) of any decent $7 stick. It isn’t demonstrative enough for my needs. It almost feels like the cigar was aimed at a customer base without much need for complexity. It succeeded. (This is where I normally ask my British Commonwealth friends to take a deep breath over my complaints of expensive cigars…these poor chaps are paying 3 times the amount and they ain’t happy about it).

Normally, I can taste potential and report as such. I really don’t see it here…even with extended humi time, I just don’t think this blend will knock your socks off.

One tell is the number of reviews a cigar gets…a lack of glut of reviews usually means reviewers don’t want to offend the Emilio brand. You search for a review of a cigar that’s been out for 6 months and you find 3 reviews….RUN. That’s your review right there.

The second half begins. This is where the 2014 blend took off. Fingers crossed.

My family bought Charlotte and I tickets to see Joe Bonamassa this March. We also celebrated our 35th anniversary. My birthday and anniversary are two days apart. It could only be worse if I was born on Christmas.

A touch of mustiness appears. Nicht gut.
Instead of the flavor profile blooming…it is going in the opposite direction. Flavors are muted. Complexity is close to nil. Transitions are fragmented. The finish is just peppery.

The blend is morphing into ‘This could be any cigar” mode.

Emilio tweaked this from the original blend…bad idea. I liked the original better. I even declared it a flavor bomb in the second half of the cigar. That ain’t happening here. I’m afraid it will go out like a lamb.
Unless a miracle occurs, my thoughts are to tell you to save your money for something else you like or want to try for the first time.

Here we are…on the planet, Bland. It is a world in the Goo Goo G’joob galaxy.

A shit load of excelling is what I had expected and hoped for…why else would a manufacturer tweak the blend of an already successful release? Emilio screwed up.

Of course, there is always the explanation that these cigars are just too green due to lack of using some fine aged tobacco; leaving the aging process up to Emilio’s customer base to do the heavy lifting. I don’t like that. Unfortunately, the greater majority of cigar makers do this on a regular basis to crank out cigars. They don’t give a shit if you can’t appreciate the blender’s intent for 2 years…they want sales; even if they are stepping on their own dicks. Like cigar smokers don’t remember what they like or don’t like.

The Emilio Cigars AF1 2019 is totally lifeless now. All the encouraging flavors at first have disappeared into the rabbit hole. Not a lick of complexity. No transitions. And a disappearing finish.

I did not find info on how many boxes of this limited edition were released; but if it was a hot cigar, they’d be gone by now. I have a feeling they will be on the market for a while.

I’ve now reached the flavorless portion of this endeavor. Just earth, wind, and leather.
The beginning wreaked of potential; only to fail miserably.
It could be any non-descript inexpensive catalog blend.

It’s not showing any signs of improvement, so why continue? If I want to suffer, I can listen to Charlotte tell me I can’t have sex on my birthday.


And now for something completely different:

Butch Patrick is a very personable and charismatic dude. When he is sober, that is.

I’ve read that he has been on the wagon for a few years. I am happy for him. Alcohol was killing him. His problems, back when we did the “Whatever Happened to Eddie” project, was more about alcohol than drugs. He started drinking as soon as he woke up. Starting with beer and moving on to straight liquor as the day progressed.

Unfortunately, back in the early 80’s during my project, his behavior nearly killed me. He was a handful.

The record company and PR agency demanded I babysit him at all times when we did promotional tours. Normally, they just send the artist out alone. But Butch couldn’t be trusted to keep appointments. Half the time, he didn’t even know where he was when he woke up in the morning.

We did a big Chicago morning show. Same time that ex-Monkees, Peter Tork, had a new band. It was made up of very young heavy metal guys. Very strange. All leather and spiked hairdos and lots of chrome.

We sat in the green room with Tork, and his band, and all he did was piss and moan about the Monkees. It got to be disgustingly obnoxious after a while.

That night, we did the same big club promotion. Peter’s band played. And guess what? 8 out of their 10 songs were all Monkees songs. Made me laugh. Especially since he really didn’t have much of a voice. And then there were his 20-year-old band mates all dressed in black leather and wearing spiked dog collars.

Tork and I traded T shirts. I had the Eddie Munster shirts and he had…guess what? T shirts that had the Monkees’ logo on it. Still have the shirt but I couldn’t fit into it without cutting myself in half.

Should have gotten him to sign it so I could sell it on eBay for $10.

That night, Butch and Peter spent a lot of time together. They both were knocking down shots of tequila like mad men. And Peter kept giving Butch coke to keep him from passing out.

They had a lot in common. Butch was only paid $400 per episode on The Munsters. Back then, a season was 25 shows. And The Munsters was only on for two seasons. Plus, this was before residuals were in play. So, Butch doesn’t make a single nickel on all those replays of the series. He made a total of $20,000 for 50 shows.

On the other hand, Fred Gwynne was smart and demanded a cut of the show. He was the only one to get residuals. It was a couple years after The Munsters ended that residuals were mandatory. So Butch did a bunch of 70’s shows and got residuals of $65-$75. When the checks came in the mail, they went to his mother’s house and she would cash them. He changed the address so they came to me because he trusted me. I would open the letters and see these terribly low checks for doing Mannix or The Brady Bunch.

Where was I? The club with Peter Tork.
Al I could think was oh no. Not again. I would have to pry him loose from the club at a decent hour because we had more promotion to do in the morning.

As was usually the case, I left without him. He had a hotel key. I insisted we share a room. For emergencies, of course. I had literally become his parent.

More than once, I had to bring him out of a drunken stupor to get him up and out the door to do the promotion on radio or TV.

One day, as the project was falling apart, Butch came to my house in Long Beach around noon.
He was living with his mother in Gardena.

I was having leftover spaghetti for lunch. And the screen door knocked and in walked Butch. Drunk as a skunk with a beer bottle in his hand.
He started throwing stupid ideas my way on how we could get the project back on track.
I asked him politely to allow me to finish my lunch and then I would gladly talk about it.

But no. He wouldn’t let up. The whole project was tearing me apart. It was my financial investment along with a couple of investors.
I kept asking, and then yelling, for him to shut up.
Finally, I couldn’t take it. I threw my plate of spaghetti against the wall where it stuck like glue.

He stopped talking and just stared at me and then the spaghetti on the wall.
And then back to his ideas again.

I got up and pushed him out of my house.
The dumb fuck had driven himself to my house drunk. So, I pulled him back inside and locked him in my bathroom. Then I barricaded the bathroom door with the coffee table.
I sat back and watched some TV while Butch screamed.

After 30 minutes, I let him out. I made him drink several cups of coffee and sent him on his way. By that point, I didn’t care if he got caught by the cops. Best thing for him I thought.
More later….


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4 replies

  1. …and you made him play the bass on the record, too??? Lololol.

    Sorry about the AF1 experience. Guess that happens in your bizz.

    On a happier note, on your say-so I had more of the Southern Draws, this time A Quick Draw (very niiice) and a Jacobs Ladder which was only available in “Gordo” and took 2 hours to smoke but was freakin’ delicious.

    Well that’s it for now. Hail Caesar.

  2. Hey John,
    We pulled a Milli Vanilli on that project. Butch can’t sing or play an instrument.
    Brent Black, one of the ‘Monsters’ in the video sang the song.
    I played bass.
    Butch acted.

  3. I have had several Emilio (earlier sticks) from this brand that were good. This one not so much, but was wondering if I just had some bad examples or my taste was off. Sorry to hear that they just aren’t good but it confirms my judgement of them.
    Thanks for another fine review and always enjoy your rock and roll memories.

  4. I’m iffy on Emilio cigar blends. Always have been. Just not consistent for me.
    Thanks for your comment.
    All the best,

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