I received the cigars used for this review from Emilio Cigars; as always, all reviews are my own.
The blackish-brown wrapper is almost completely devoid of any inconsistencies except for a smallish vein that runs the length of the cigar. It looks well made due to its uniformity of shape and the lack of any hard or soft spots.
“Who’s it made by?” you may be asking. Well, it’s made by the wunderkind A.J. Fernandez, that’s who. If you buy cigars online with any frequency then you are probably familiar with his other works (Man O’ War and Diesel he makes for others and San Lotano is his own, which you can find at many brick and mortar shops). Enjoyable cigars all.
I remember getting some of these AF1s about a couple of years ago and immensely enjoying them so I am hopeful for this go around. The vitola I’m using for this review is the ubiquitous robusto.
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
Price: $120.00/Box of 20 | $6.00/Single
Rorschach Mask Videos Flame!
It starts out strong with notes of cutting spice, chocolate and earth. Even though it’s still early in this cigar’s flavor evolution, the flavors I’m experiencing right now are pretty complex. And although there is a lot going on with the flavors and the strength in flavors (but not necessarily body) I can easily say that the flavor profile maintains an elegance to it; it’s reserved but not boring.
Chocolate, earth and a pervasive, yet restrained, sweetness are the main components of the flavor profile during the second third. Spice doesn’t play much of a part during this third except for during the actual process of retrohaling the smoke through my nose, where spice is evident for a brief moment. Normally, I would like more spice with chocolate and earth but the flavor profile is working well for me here.
Dry earth with spice is a good description of the final third’s flavor profile. Chocolate is still lurking around in the background and the overall strength of this cigar has increased to a point where it is now safely in the full bodied spectrum.
Full bodied with a great draw and burn; the Emilio AF1 has flavors that never flag and they are pretty tasty too. The main change in the flavor profile can be experienced during the transition into the final third with the darker chocolate and earth nexus giving way to a bolder dry earth and spice mixture. It’s an impressive cigar and I hope it sticks around for a long time in its current configuration.
PS: Right before hitting the publish button on this post it occurred to me that this cigar’s flavor arc is reminiscent of a lot of Western movie heroes. Take, for example, Shane. Shane, like this cigar, is a good guy trying to do right be his adopted family and town. Things go smoothly for a while but then, when the situation requires it, he goes off and saves the day.
While this cigar won’t save any days it does solidly go on in a pleasant fashion for the first two thirds or so. And then – BAM! – you are hit by an abrupt change that is impressive. If this cigar’s total flavor contribution had remained relatively constant throughout that would have been great. The fact that it had that extra element at the end is a bonus.
Back in the summer of 2011 I reviewed the first offering from a brand new cigar company now called RoMa Craft Tobac (I don’t think that’s what it was called back then but my memory may be faulty). The cigar was the CroMagnon and it was an excellent cigar; a robust, flavorful example of what can be done with tobacco. Now I’m going to review the CroMagnon Aquitaine.
From their site:
The Aquitaine contains the same long-filler, full-bodied blend found in the US Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapped CroMagnon, including its unique Cameroon binder. However, the Aquitaine features a beautiful Ecuador Habano Ligero wrapper…
So, different wrapper. And this different wrapper looks fairly rustic with a number of medium and small sized veins running along the surface. It’s an oily wrapper, for sure, and the general feel of this medium-dark brown wrapper is that there is a little bit of roughness to it.
Vitola: gran corona
Length: 5 ¾”
Ring Gauge: 46
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Ligero
Price: $172.80/Box of 24 | $80.00/10 Pack
Flavors start out vibrant with a granular consistency to the smoke. A bit of sweetness, savory notes resembling steak, spice and hickory. There’s a lot of complexity early on and it’s barely a full bodied cigar.
The second third has much of the same flavors just in a different configuration. The spice and sweetness have created this amazing mixture of flavors that is extremely enjoyable. Sweet spice, when done right, is one of the more enjoyable mixtures of flavors for me and it is done right with this cigar. Savory notes are still present but to a lesser degree than in the first third. Hickory is gone.
The final third features the same sweet spice nexus and the savory flavor has been ramped up a bit. Very flavorful end to a great cigar.
Full bodied with a good draw and burn; the CroMagnon Aquitaine is a pleasure to smoke. Very expressive flavors from beginning to end with excellent smoking characteristics. If you haven’t tried it you should try to find some. And, yes, I do like this version slightly more than the original.
For whatever reason I had assumed that I had reviewed this cigar for some time now. I went on reviewing other cigars and then, one day, while smoking another Namakubi, I decided to see what my review said. To my surprise there was no review. I mentioned this at the end of my Top 10 Cigars 2012 post and now I am rectifying that oversight.
This one is the very short vitola, called the Roxxo, and it is easily my favorite in the line. It doesn’t look perfect, perhaps a little rustic. There’s some bumps and veins and the color of the wrapper is a lighter than medium brown color. It has a little bit of oils on the wrapper and looks well made (well made at the Camacho factories by the way).
Although in many ways long gone, Samurai culture is believed to live on in spirit within certain groups. In ancient times when two Samurai clans would gather for competition there was a great deal at stake. Normally, the losing party would die as a result of wounds sustained in battle or be executed upon defeat. The Namakubi, or freshly severed head of the losing party would be prepared on a wooden tray then tagged in a regimented manner and presented to the leader of the winning clan as a gift. We, as modern day samurai, present to you our own Namakubi.
Animal Farm Blast Furnace!
I don’t get to say this much about cigars but this one has a refreshing flavor profile. Bright flavors but also very strong. Visceral spice, which could be too strong and unruly on its own, is retarded by what I can only describe as minty effervescence (I spelled “effervescence” correctly on my first try! Now if I can only learn how to spell “occassion” [sic]). With the larger vitolas I think the flavor profile skews too far towards the minty pole but with the smaller ones the balance is just right.
During the second third the spice gets notched up a peg or two and vice a versa for mint, which is fine by me. There’s also some oak that comes on during this third. Basically, this is still a bright and refreshing cigar. Very enjoyable.
The final third isn’t refreshing but it’s still enjoyable (to a lesser degree than the first two thirds however). The spice has fallen into this milieu of mint, bread and perhaps a little meat and earth as well. Unfortunately, more flavors doesn’t always mean that the flavor profile has improved; this is one of those times. Still good, I just preferred the refreshing profile from the first two thirds.
Full bodied (just barely) with a good draw and burn; this cigar was a definite joy to smoke during the first two thirds and finished unspectacularly. In no way is that a condemnation of this cigar because even if the cigar had only had the flavor profile of the final third it would have been a very good cigar. Add in the first two thirds, which were excellent, and we have a great cigar.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo | Binder: Nicaraguan | Filler: Nicaraguan | Single: ~ $12.00 | Torpedo | 4 ½″ x 52
0/3: Viaje, which is Spanish for “boutique,” has put out a limited edition torpedo the last two years called “?”. Sounds like a Super Villain’s name to me but, hey, I guess it works.
It’s short (obviously) and it looks well made. Tightly packed, the wrapper does have some stretch marks but is also very oily.
1/3: Strong with clean, fruity spice, leather and some coco. Nice mixture of flavors. Not too strong, but the flavors are really alive.
2/3: Black cherry and spice dominate the second third. Coco and cream are there as well. So is leather. Very smooth cigar with a slight nasal spice burn that lasts for a while.
3/3: Spice, leather and a bit of bitterness. Not much bitterness but it starts to creep in during this third.
4/3: Good draw and burn, this full bodied cigar is alright. A little bit better than “alright” but not a lot better. Personally, I’m beginning to get a little Viaje limited edition fatigue because they are relatively expensive cigars and they aren’t always great cigars. Better than average, perhaps, but nothing spectacular. That being said, it’s still an intriguing brand to me.
3.5 out of 5 points
The acronym TAA conjured up images of groping and pointless delays in airports for me but then I looked again and realized that this isn’t the acronym for the much-maligned Transportation Security Administration folks but for the Tobacconist Association of America (I’m going to assume there’s less groping required in this organization). Actually, it’s a pretty cool idea because it provides B&Ms with something special for their clientele which can’t easily be found online.
This cigar is a box pressed torpedo with what I believe to be basically the same blend as the original Jamie Garcia Reserva Especial (for more info go to Tiki Bar or Halfwheel). I liked the normal line cigar a lot, giving it 91 points, and have bought more over the last few months since I published my review of the normal line. It’s a really good cigar and, to tell you the truth, I’d probably bump up that score a little now that I’ve smoked around a box more of those cigars.
This TAA Edition cigar is slightly longer than the one I did a review on previously and it has a slight box press. The wrapper is rough to the touch and is slick with oils. The construction looks perfect and I can’t find any imperfections with it. It is consistently packed and gives slightly when pinched.
Length: 6 ¼″
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Price: $150.00/Box of 16 | $10.00/Single
Hell on Wheels Conflagration!
With a slightly tight draw this cigar is starting off with a good deal of spice and some dark wood notes. The spice’s intensity is really strong, especially during the very beginning, and that might overwhelm some smokers or, if failing that, might be unpleasant. Personally, I like the initial spicy intensity of this cigar.
After the howitzer of spiciness subsides, which is about a quarter of the way through the first third, a tableau of habanero heat, chocolate and some woody notes becomes clear. It continues on like this through the beginning of the second third.
Near the end of the second third this gingerbread flavor starts coming through and you can really smell it in the smoke as well. It’s a cool flavor and works well with the spice and woody notes. That chocolate kind of disappears, but not completely.
Somewhere during the second third or the beginning of the final third the spice quiets down and becomes more sweet and floral. While I do like the hard charging spice more this does show a bit of evolution in the flavor profile and keeps my interest going.
Full bodied with a good draw and burn, this is a great cigar. There are a lot of flavors going on in this cigar and the extra bit of length and/or a change of blend (which I don’t know is the case in this situation) did make the flavor profile a little bit different from the conventional line. All in all, I think this is just as good as the regular line, which I love and I think most everyone would find something to like about it.
If you get a chance you should try this cigar. It costs a little more but you can only find it at B&Ms, which means it has a bit of exclusivity. There’s that but the most important thing is that it tastes good.