I'm thrilled that Gary Griffith of Emilio Cigars has jumped in for our next installment of "Quick 6." Let's go! (Psst. El Freako really digs the AF2. Sshhh.)
1) Tell us how you came to be a cigar brand owner.
GG: I have had the good fortune of meeting so many wonderful people in this industry that I suppose it was a natural thing that at some point I would try my hand at creating a cigar with one of them. When my first blend was well received, and I was encouraged to continue working at this by manufacturers I created the Emilio Brand.
2) Which one of your cigars holds a special place in your heart above the others and why?
GG: I hold the Grimalkin, soon to be renamed La Musa, very dear. I have a wonderful young friend who is an artist and has supported me in so many ways I could not ever repay her for that I dedicated this line to her. I have watched her fight and struggle to succeed in life, and, despite her own struggles, always have time to show me care and give me encouragement. She is unquestionably the person I hold dearest in life. I always called her my little Muse, so when the name change was needed the La Musa naming, suggested by a good friend, made all the sense in the world.
3) Describe how, for you, the beginnings of or the inspiration for a new blend happens?
GG: I like to play with tobaccos as opposed to going into a project with a fixed end result in mind. This just feels right to me. It doesn't always work out though, since every manufacturer works differently, and you have to find a way of working with them that fits the comfort zone of both parties.
4) Talking industry trends, what do you see as a positive trend, and what do you see as a negative trend right now, and why?
GG: I certainly see the emergence of so many new and wonderful boutique brands as a very positive trend in the industry. I believe the consumer deserves for us to create the very best possible products. As small production brands we are able to use tobaccos that simply are not available in the quantities needed for the bigger players. As to a negative, I see apathy on the part of consumers, retailers, and manufacturers in regards to regulatory threats as a real downer. People need to be actively engaged and quit relying on the various industry organizations to speak on their behalf.
5) What is next in the pipeline for fans of Emilio Cigars?
GG: If all goes according to plan our next release will be our first mild but flavorful cigar - the Emilio AF Suave.
6) If you could invite just six people to your ultimate herf, who would they be, and why?
GG: Obviously I'm gonna go contrary to popular wisdom here and say it would be a group of new smokers, those who need and want education and enlightenment. They are our future, and we should give all we can to encourage their enthusiasm.
Power Q) Fill in the blanks. "The best place you've never eaten is _______________. Order the _______________. Trust me."
~ Gary Griffith is the Owner & President of Emilio Cigars. He considers himself passionately curious evidenced by past careers in research & development in the precious metals industry, the jewelry business, real estate, construction, and now fine cigars. Gary has also invested much time and energy in various forms of public service believing that everyone should.
Keep up with Gary Griffith and Emilio Cigars on their website HERE, on Twitter HERE, and on Facebook HERE.
I don’t really read cigar reviews. Reviews are generally fairly useless for me. I have yet to find a blogger with a palate similar to my own. So, any tasting notes just don’t help me decide if I want to try a smoke or not. That said, part of what lies below is a cigar review, but what I have tried to do is incorporate the experience of smoking...the musings we all have as we kick back with a choice stogie. As I herf, some of the most profound and asinine thoughts flow with ease out of my mind and mouth like the smoke from the cigar I’m enjoying. So, be prepared for either the most useless piece of crap you’ll have read today, or a little entertainment.
Now put on your chaps and whip out your sticks ‘cause here we go…
I recently splurged and purchased the Intemperance Volstead Sampler from RoMa Craft Tobac. You can read more about RoMa Craft Tobac via their website www.RoMaCraftTobac.com and by following them on Twitter at @RoMaCraft. The sampler contains eight cigars. That's two in each vitola with one in each of two wrappers...an Ecuadorian Connecticut and a Brazilian Arapiraca. I wanted to compare each wrapper and, since I’m drugged up on pain killers and muscle relaxers due to a ruptured disc, I chose the smallest vitola...the 4 x 46 Petito. I figured, if I started to pass out due to modern pharmaceuticals, I could at least finish these little guys.
Note: In the photos below, the unsmoked cigar on the left is the Intemperance BA XXI Intrigue with a Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper. On the right is the Intemperance EC XVIII Charity with an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. They are reversed in the ashes photo.
I always get excited when I’m about to smoke something new for the first time and, as you can see, these suckers are striking, almost pornographic with that little bit of exposed foot poking out.
First up, the Charity - Ecuadorian Connecticut Wrapper
The wrapper smells of hay and bread, and the exposed foot gives off scents of cocoa and hay. The contrast of the caramel colored wrapper and the exposed dark chocolate of the binder and filler is really sexy. Like a bit of exposed thigh through the slit of a skirt. As I run my fingers over the body of the cigar, I’d say it's definitely an athletic thigh…sigh.
Enough foreplay, let’s light this bitch up!
Right off the bat there is an amazing sweetness that finishes slightly tart. I love tarts (in the British sense). Unfortunately, this tart is a bit tight… on the draw.
Once I hit the wrapper, there is an immediate rush of black pepper in the midst of all that tart sweetness. I’m reminded of a dark chocolate bar with chilies. As the 1st inch completes, more typical CT flavors emerge...creaminess with a touch of bitterness. The sweetness has moved to the background and there is a malty finish. The retrohale is hay and black pepper. The sweetness darkens in the 2nd inch, taking on a dark molasses-like flavor and there is an unexpected bready finish. This little lady has finally opened up to me and is producing a respectable amount of smoke. The retrohale has flavors of hops and the same bready note from the finish.
I’ve got Ruben Gonzalez playing in the background. I love this kind of old school Cuban music. Between the pain killers, muscle relaxers, and the cigar, I feel like dancing. Do you think my neighbor would mind a fat man in black latex chaps dancing in the driveway?
The Charity goes well with coffee. The smoke brings out chocolate notes in the coffee, and the coffee brings out a caramelly sweetness in the smoke.
The 3rd inch starts with a slight uptick in the bitterness...not unpleasant though.
BY ALL THAT’S HOLY! The combination of Percocet, muscle relaxers, and steroids are resulting in a portal to hell opening up in my ass! I just covered my car is ass ash! Time for a trip to the nuclear waste dump…
Ok, so as you can imagine at this point, I have to relight my smoke. Good news. This Charity is a very charitable lady and relights with no tarry bitterness.
The 3rd inch into the 4th develops a piney note while the retrohale mellows to a slight woody flavor with a mild pepper finish.
I very much enjoyed the Intemperance Charity. In 2011, E.P. Carrillo re-invigorated the Connecticut cigar market with their New Wave Connecticut. In 2012, the guys at RoMaCraft Tobac have taken the game that much farther.
Next, the Intrigue - Brazil Arapiraca Wrapper
This wrapper has a strong barnyard smell (who you call’n chicken shit?!), and the foot is pure alfalfa. Although the Intrigue is the exact same vitola as the Charity, it looks very different. This wrapper is dark and slightly oily. Except for a textural difference, the unfinished foot blends in with the wrapper. Not so sexy. Oh well. Like the Charity, the Intrigue is solid in the hand like a tootsie roll.
The Intrigue starts with black pepper and woody notes. The retrohale is has a very nice initial burnt sugar sweetness followed with earth and woodiness. Once I hit the wrapper, I get a hickory bbq savoriness with a short finish. The hickory bbq is carried over to the retrohale with an added lingering chili spice. The draw is perfect. As the 1st inch closes, there is a subtle, complex sweetness from the combination of anise and chili notes wrapped around an earthy core. The retrohale is simple by comparison with a straight forward tobacco and earth leaving a short sweet finish.
This Intrigue is a very relaxing smoke. The variance of complexity and simplicity between the palate and retrohale is melodic, seductive. The 2nd inch has a great combination of cedar and anise flavors. The retrohale is cedary with a subtle yet coating sweetness. This little lady is a siren of smoke.
I do not ascribe to the belief in humanity’s inherent goodness. I do believe in humanity’s innate ability to know goodness in thought and action.
The 3rd inch is where all the action is. It starts with a lingering herbal pepperiness on my lips, like arugula. Yes, I said arugula. There are alternating flavors of baker’s chocolate, cedar, caramel sweetness, and herbaceousness. All this with a tannic finish…and now for my “O” face. (grunt)
As I enter the 4th inch, my smoking load is spent. I have had all my senses aroused and satisfied.
The Intrigue lived up to its name and then some. She kept me guessing all the way to bliss.
The Intemperance Charity and Intrigue are well worth your consideration at an MSRP of $5.00 a stick. If you don’t at least like these smokes, you’re an idiot…or you have a very different palate than mine.
My taste buds, take ’em or leave ’em.
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~ Peter D. likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain. He's not into yoga, and has one and a half a brain. He likes making love dressed as Capt. Midnight in the dunes while wearing a cape. He's the love that you've looked for. Don't bother running, you cant escape. Follow Peter on Twitter HERE.
Mystery cigars and heavy duty pharmaceuticals. That could only mean one thing...Blowin' Smoke #154!
The Cretins assembled once again for some weekend herfin'...aches and pains be damned! After a disappointing Cigar of the Day and painful butt kicking in the last Cigar Match, the time was ripe for a mystery Cigar of the Day, perhaps to cleanse ourselves. Did it work?
Plus, the conversation covered cigar recommendations, choosing a "final" cigar, and more government cigar intrusion. We also talked about the oldest in the oldest profession, rockin' at a Motorhead concert, trends in salon treatments for guys, and more. Of course, there's a new 5 Things, and what the chicks are reading too.
So, call your pharmacist and fire up a fine handmade for Blowin' Smoke #154!
One good mystery deserves another, and that means Blowin' Smoke #155!
With a full house of Cretins, and a smoke filled Havana Room, we reviewed another secret cigar trying to redeem ourselves from a less than stellar review the last time. How did it go? We also talked about nagging cigar problems, government regulation insanity, and ideas for a cigar-related reality show.
Plus, we talked about cops screening dirty movies, squeezing the boys to death, surviving on sunlight alone, and more.
Special thanks to Commonwealth Cedar Spills for providing some great giveaways, and some fun calls from our listeners trying to win them.
So, grab a mystery stick of your own, spark it up, and join the freak show that is Blowin' Smoke #155!