Earlier this year, Emilio Cigars announced it was bringing back what many consider to be its most iconic release, Grimalkin. The Grimalkin made its debut back in 2011. It was a project spearheaded by Gary Griffith who at the time was the brand developer for Emilio. It was a cigar shrouded in mystery in terms of its blend components and origin, although it was later revealed to come from the My Father Cigars factory. Grimalkin became a huge hit both critically and commercially. In 2012, a decision was made to rename the cigar as La Mousa as part of a new brand within the Emilio portfolio called La Musa. Following Griffith’s departure in 2015, the brand has undergone significant changes and restructuring. More recently, James Brown, of Fabrica Oveja Negra (and part of Emilio owner Scott Zucca’s Boutiques Unified distribution group) has been more involved with the production of several of Emilio lines, and has been tasked with resurrecting Grimalkin. Earlier this year, a new version of Grimalkin complete with new packaging was released. Today we take a closer look at the 2018 Grimalkin in the Toro size.
As for the name Grimalkin (sometimes called a greymalkin) it is an older, evil-looking female cat in Scottish folklore. At the time Griffith said he there was a certain mystique associated with the name – which seemed to fit the mystery associated with the cigar itself at the time.
Without further ado, let’s break down the 2018 edition of the Emilio Grimalkin in the Toro size and see what this cigar brings to the table.
While it was never revealed, it was widely speculated the original Grimalkin was a Nicaraguan puro, but the specifics of the varietals were not disclosed. We do know the 2018 is a Nicaraguan puro, but we don’t know the varietals and how much it differs from the original 2011 version.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Fabrica Oveja Negra)
The Emilio Grimalkin returns in two sizes. Each was packaged in 25-count boxes
Robusto: 5 x 50
Toro: 6 x 50
The original Grimalkin had a distinct dark cinnamon tint to the wrapper. With the 2018 edition, the Nicaraguan wrapper keeps to that characteristic. Upon closer examination, there is some darker mottling on the surface. This was a wrapper smooth side with a light cot of oil on it. There were some visible veins and the darker complexion of the wrapper did a nice job at hiding the wrapper seams.
The band is black with gold font. It has an image of the front of it reminiscent of an animal skull. To the right is the text “GRIMALKIN” with the text “EMILIO” in a smaller font just below it.
I commenced the cigar experience of the Grimalkin Toro with a straight cut. After removing the cap, I proceeded with the pre-light draw experience. The dry draw was simple but delivered enough flavor to more than satisfy as I detected notes of chocolate and wood. At this point, I was ready to light up the Grimalkin Toro and await what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Emilio Grimalkin Toro started out with a short spurt of mixed red and black pepper notes. Notes of chocolate, earth, and some fruit sweetness emerged. The fruit sweetness had a slight citric quality to it. As the pepper settled in the background, it was more of a black pepper varietal on the tongue and more of a red pepper varietal on the retro-hale.
As the Grimalkin Toro moved through the first third, the fruit sweetness settled into the background with the pepper. The chocolate and earth notes remained grounded in the forefront with each varying in intensity. Once the Grimalkin Toro entered the second third, the earth notes started to have the edge over the chocolate notes.
Toward the midway point, the earth notes took over as the primary note. The chocolate and fruit notes provided some sweetness from the background while the pepper provided some level of spice. As the Emilio Grimalkin entered the final third, the earth notes remained primary. The sweetness diminished slightly and the pepper increased a little more. There was a little less balance between the pepper and sweetness during the final stages. This is the way the Emilio Grimalkin Toro came to a close. The resulting nub soft to the touch, but cool in temperature.
The burn of the Grimalkin Toro did have some jaggedness along the way. I did find I needed to touch up the burn throughout the smoking experience. At the same time, the touch-ups did the trick and kept the burn path straight along the way. The resulting nub was on the firmer side. This was an ash that had nice salt and pepper complexion to it. Meanwhile, the burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
While I like a little more resistance on the draw, there was a little more snugness on this draw than I liked. One of the four cigars I smoked did have what I considered a tight draw, but the other three had the snugness I mentioned. In the end, while it was a little more effort, I still was able to derive flavor from this cigar.
Strength and Body
I judged the Emilio Grimalkin Toro to deliver a medium to full profile for both strength and body. I didn’t find much in the way of variance in the intensity levels for both attributes. Throughout the smoking experience, I found a nice equilibrium between the strength and body with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
I wouldn’t say the 2018 version of the Emilio Grimalkin is the same as the original 2011 version. At the same time, I will say that James Brown was able to keep the spirit of the 2011’s flavor profile with the 2018 edition. One noticeable difference is I found the 2018 edition didn’t quite offer the same amount of complexity as the original. I would have also liked a little bit of a better draw. Most importantly though, I did find the Grimalkin came up big in the flavor department and this allowed the pluses to outweigh the minuses here. Given this cigar was in the solid medium to full range, the 2018 Grimalkin Toro is probably a cigar I would steer to a more experienced cigar enthusiast. At the same time, I wouldn’t discourage a newbie from trying to this cigar – especially if one wants to “graduate” to a cigar that is medium to full. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again – and it’s one that is worth picking up multiples to smoke.
Key Flavors: Earth, Chocolate, Citrus Fruit, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Value: Buy Multiples
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted