Back in 2011 Gary Griffith, the enigmatic owner of Emilio Cigars, mentioned to A.J. Fernandez, a master blender famous for his San Lotano lines, that he wanted to add a Connecticut-wrapped smoke to his ever-expanding portfolio. From Gary’s blog:
"There are plenty of Connecticuts out there, and the one thing I stressed that I didn’t want was a one dimensional cigar. Instead, I said I was playing with the idea of making something that would maintain the interest of the seasoned smoker, yet not overpower novices."
The result is the third cigar line made by Fernandez for Emilio Cigars.
Cigar Stats: Made in Esteli, Nicaragua by A.J. Fernandez, the AF Suave boasts an Ecuadorian grown Connecticut Shade wrapper and features an all-Nicaraguan binder and filler. The AF Suave is available in five sizes: Corona (5½ x 42, $6.90), Toro (6 x 50, $7.40), Torpedo (6 x 52, $7.60), Churchill (7 x 48, $7.90), and the one up for review today, Robusto (5 x 50, $7.20).
Appearance: The AF Suave features a very light, not quite golden wrapper that is slightly spongy with minimal veins and some oils. The plain band for this line suggests that Gary is going to let the tobacco do the talking.
The Smoke: The cap cuts easily and once lit, the AF Suave hits you with a black pepper blast unlike any previous Connecticut Shade cigars that I have smoked. Once the pepper mellows and moves to the back of the throat you are rewarded with creamy, nutty flavors and a silky smooth, almost buttery retrohale. At the halfway mark the AF Suave adds some leather and even gets a touch creamier, but this is all balanced exceptionally well by the pepper that is still playing out in the background. Much to my liking, the final third remains very similar to the mid-section. The charcoal ash held firm for two full inches before falling off and the burn line required no touch-ups throughout the review.
Verdict: With the AF Suave, Gary created exactly what he set out to achieve: a Connecticut that is full in flavor and mild-to-medium in strength that can be enjoyed by a broad spectrum of cigar enthusiasts. For more information on the AF Suave or any of Gary’s other lines, visit www.emiliocigars.com. – Jason Zahner