Last year, Emilio Cigars released a new limited edition offering as a part of the Emilio LJZ line. LJZ pays homage to Louis J. Zucca, the grandfather of Emilio Cigars owner Scott Zucca. Originally the LJZ was launched in 2017, but in 2020 a new iteration of the LJZ was announced as a limited edition offering in the form of a dark wrapper barber-pole. Today we take a closer look at the Emilio LJZ Limited Edition 2020 in the Toro size.
The story of Emilio Cigars is now over a decade old. The brand gained early traction largely on social media when at the time it was being managed by Gary Griffith. Emilio as a brand grew rapidly, releasing many lines and SKUs and Griffith became the face of the brand. Simultaneously, Griffith grew a distribution arm known as House of Emilio. By the end of 2013, House of Emilio was handling distribution for nine companies. Things started to change after that as slowly several of the companies started to depart. In 2015, Griffith would retire from Emilio and House of Emilio.
Around the time of Griffith’s departure, House of Emilio went through some rebranding and changes. The name of House of Emilio was changed to Boutiques Unified. Around that time, James Brown took his distribution to Boutiques Unified where his factory would also be used for several of the Boutiques Unified brands. By this time the original Emilio brand itself had fallen into the background. Brown would eventually work with Zucca, and partner to relaunch the Emilio brand. Emilio was given a whole new facelift, many of the legacy Emilio lines would move over to Brown’s Oveja Negra factory, and some new lines would be introduced – one of them being LJZ. Around the time Emilio was relaunched, Boutiques Unified rebranded as Oveja Negra Brands.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Emilio LJZ Limited Edition 2020 Toro and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
A Nicaraguan Habano and a Nicaraguan Sun Grown leaf make up the barber-pole. As mentioned in the introduction, this is a “dark barber pole” because both leaves are darker – thus making for a more subtle contrast of the leaf colors on the barber-pole. The remainder of the blend utilizes Nicaraguan leaves for the binder and filler. The filler also contains Dominican tobacco.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano and Sun Grown
Binder: Nicaraguan Habano
Filler: Nicaragua & Dominican
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Fabrica Oveja Negra
The Emilio LJZ Limited Edition 2020 was offered in two sizes, each presented in 20-count boxes. The LJZ 2021 was recently announced, and it contains the same sizes and same blend, but adds a Lonsdale size into the equation.
Robusto: 5 x 52
Toro: 6 x 50
As mentioned above, the two Nicaraguan wrappers of the Emilio LJZ Limited Edition 2020 Toro contrast to make a dark barber pole. The darker wrapper is draped over the lighter wrapper. These wrappers contrast like medium and dark roast coffee beans. There was a slight amount of oil on the surface of the wrappers. The lighter wrapper had a slight amount of mottling. There were some thin veins also present on the main wrapper.
The band of the Emilio LJZ Limited Edition 2020 is black with yellow horizontal pinstripes on the left side of the band. The text “L.J.Z.” is in black font on an angled yellow stripe. The right side of the band has some modern art with mostly metallic colors. Over the image of a silhouette of a man is the text “EMILIO” in black font on a silver backdrop that almost looks like the beam of a flashlight. The band is also adorned with illegible cursive in gold font.
A straight cut was used to commence the cigar experience of the Emilio LJZ Limited Edition 2020 Toro. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered cocoa, cedar, and a light citrus note. Overall this was a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to toast the footer of the Emilio LJZ Limited Edition 2020 Toro and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Emilio LJZ Limited Edition 2020 Toro kicked off with notes of coffee, cream, fruit, and earth notes. Early on the coffee and cream notes moved to the forefront. The fruit and earth notes settled into the background where they were joined by notes of black pepper and baker’s spice. Meanwhile, there was an additional layer of black pepper on the retro-hale.
During the second third of the Emilio LJZ Limited Edition 2020 Toro, there was an increase in the baker’s spice and pepper. At the same time, the cream notes slowly diminished, joining the other background notes. Just past the midway point, the baker’s spice joined the coffee in the forefront. Meanwhile, the fruit and earth remained grounded in the background.
By the last third, the pepper notes were on the edge of joining the coffee and baker’s spice in the forefront, but didn’t quite make it. Meanwhile, the fruit and earth notes were more distanct – and the cream notes were practically dissipated. This is the way the Emilio LJZ Limited Edition 2020 Toro came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and soft to the touch.
The Emilio LJZ Limited Edition 2020 Toro required minimal touch-ups to maintain a straight burn path and have a straight burn line. The resulting ash was firm with a light gray color. The burn temperature was ideal, but the burn rate was definitely on the faster side. The average time to smoke the Emilio LJZ Limited Edition 2020 Toro was about 56 minutes.
The draw of the Emilio LJZ Limited Edition 2020 Toro was quite open. I’ll infer this is why the burn rate was fast. There also was an ample amount of smoke, and I’ll infer this was also from the open draw.
Strength and Body
The Emilio LJZ Limited Edition 2020 Toro delivered a medium-strength, medium-bodied smoking experience from start to finish. Along the way, there was a nominal increase in the intensity of strength and body, but the LJZ Toro remained in the medium range for both attributes until the very end. Throughout the smoking experience, the body held a slight edge over the strength.
Overall, I found the Emilio LJZ Limited Edition 2020 Toro performed very well. The cigar excels in the flavor category – especially during the first third. While there is a slight drop-off in the second and final thirds, the flavors still were quite enjoyable. As for the draw, it had to be one of the more open draws I’ve had from an Oveja Negra cigar. While it wasn’t a loose draw, it still was way more open than I preferred. In the end, this is a cigar I could easily recommend to any cigar enthusiast at any time of the day. As for myself, this is a cigar I would easily reach for and smoke again. I certainly look forward to the 2021 edition that soon will hit the shelves.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Baker’s Spice, Cream, Fruit, Earth, Black Pepper
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted