The Emilio Grimalkin

Last month, I had one of the best revelations of the 2011 year – the AF1 by Emilio Cigars.   The experience with the AF1 was phenomenal for me as I really enjoyed the cigar.  In fact, I went as far as to give this cigar a “Memorable” in terms of an assessment.  I was most excited to try another cigar from the line, however I was a little skeptical only because the AF1 was going to be a very tough act to follow.  The second cigar I had goes by the name  “Grimalkin”.  My experience with the Grimalkin was incredible.  In fact, I do feel this will be another entry into what looks like a jam-packed 2011 Cigar of the Year race.

Just a little background on Emilio Cigars: Emilio Cigars is the vision of Gary Griffith of Delaware Cigars.  Gary is a Certified Retail Tobacconist who oversees the operations for the Delaware Cigars franchise.  From many emails we’ve exchanged, there is no doubt Gary truly is one of the most knowledgeable people I have encountered in the cigar industry.   While Emilio might be a Indie/Boutique brand, they accomplish what an Indie brand needs to do in any retailer’s humidor – namely, bring something special to the table and bump something else out of the humidor.  Not only does the AF1 do this, but so does the Grimalkin.

Grimalkin is a most unusual name for a cigar.  From the Emilio Cigars’ web-site, a Grimalkin is A grimalkin  (also called a greymalkin) is an old or evil-looking female cat. The term stems from “grey” (the color) plus “malkin”, an archaic term for a cat.  Scottish legend makes reference to the grimalkin as a faery cat which dwells in the highlands.   There is a certain mystique associated with this creature and while this is a most non-traditional cigar name, I could not think of a better name for this cigar.

The Grimalkin is planned to be a limited production cigar. Without further adieu, let’s unravel the mystery behind the Grimalkin Cigar.

Blend Profile

At this time, Emilio Cigars has opted to keep the composition of the blend confidential other than this is Nicaraguan Puro.  While this might be frustrating to some, I respect this.  I think sometimes (myself included), we do get a little wrapped up in breaking down the composition of a blend. When I originally asked him about the blend Gary Griffith told me, ” Building a mystery so to speak”.   I can say I did have a lot of fun guessing, comparing, and learning from this particular blend.   Therefore, the cigar name really works.

Vitolas Available

The Emilio Grimalkin is available in three traditional sized vitolas.  A Robusto, Toro, and Torpedo.   While I do not have exact dimensions, these are pretty standard for this vitola.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For this cigar experience, I opted to select the Toro vitola.  I placed a straight cut into the cap of this cigar and began the pre-light ritual.   The initial dry draws gave me notes of wood with a touch of honey.  It was then on to fire this cigar up and really unravel the mystique of this cigar.

Flavor Profile

So I was thrown for an unexpected loop.   I was treated to a very quick blast of pepper to start the smoking experience.  Given what I sampled on the pre-light draw, I didn’t expect this.   The pepper subsided rather quickly and the notes on the pre-light draw ended up re-surfacing rather quickly.   The sweetness took an interesting turn around the 10 percent mark as notes of raisin and orange replaced the honey notes.   Throughout this smoke, the sweetness had a natural and not an infused feel to it.

The sweetness mellows a bit in body and some cedar spice emerges around the 1/3 point.  This cedar spice added a great dimension to the raisin and orange notes making for a very smooth and flavorful smoke.  As the cigar entered the second third, the orange sweetness moved to the forefront over the raisin.  I also noticed the cedar spice take on some notes of cinnamon.  As you smoke the Grimalkin, you will definitely sense some of the spice notes through the nose as well.

For the most part, the orange, cinnamon, and wood notes hold in the second half.   The flavors hold right until the nub.  The end nub was a little soft, but it was cool.   There was no harshness whatsoever as this cigar experience came to a close.

Burn and Draw

The burn of the Grimalkin was solid.  It did require a few touch-ups, but nothing major.   The burn did not affect the burn rate and burn temperature which was consistent for both of these attributes.  The draw was simply outstanding.  The Grimalkin was simply a joy to smoke.

Strength and Body

One expression I tend to overuse is when I say “this cigar is a textbook study of balancing flavor and strength”.  In the case of the Grimalkin, I could not think of a better expression to describe this experience.   This is a medium strength cigar that just provides the right amount of strength.   The flavors have depth and I’m inclined to say this is more medium to full in body.

Final Thoughts

Putting the Grimalkin into a retailer’s humidor shelf side by side with the Emilio AF1 creates an outstanding 1-2 punch.   The Grimalkin was definitely one of the best cigars I had for 2011.   The amazing thing was a lot of the twists and turns that this cigar took.   While it unraveled the mystery somewhat, it creates more intrigue for going back to smoke another one.   This is a terrific cigar for both novice and experienced cigar enthusiasts.  This is most worthy of a box purchase for my humidor.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: Memorable

Disclaimer: This cigar was provided to myself from Emilio Cigars.  The request was initiated by Gary Griffith of Emilio Cigars to myself (Cigar Coop) to provide an assessment. I also purchased an additional cigar at W.Curtis Draper in Bethesda, Maryland.   Cigar Coop is appreciative to samples provided but this plays no role in a final assessment rating.