I had the pleasure of attending this year’s IPCPR with Cigar Federation and we were lucky enough to be surrounded by The House of Emilio. The man behind Emilio and the distribution of several of the hottest new boutiques on the market is Gary Griffith. Gary is nothing short of a gentleman; all class and just a wonderful person who made us feel welcome from the second we showed up. Therefore, as I was leaving the show on my last day, I made it a point to say goodbye and thank you to him for his hospitality and support of Cigar Federation. Luckily for me, Gary took me over to his private stash, and opened up a bundle of Prerelease Draig Cayuquero for 2013, and handed me two of them for review. Gestures like this are what make fellowship of cigars so awesome. I have no experience with his brand, and I will be honest, I still have some of last year’s Draig K aging because my friends told me they would kick my conny lovin butt. Going in the only thing I really know about the blend, is Noel from Guayacan is producing the line for Gary, and the wrapper is Brazilian Arapiraca with Nicaraguan binder and filler.
Dry Draw: dried fruits, herbal tea, red pepper, cedar
First Third: Bold, a good word to describe the beginning of the Cayuquero, as the power of the blend was apparent immediately. The finish was heavy on my palate, with sugary dried fruit notes and bell pepper as well. The retrohale was far too strong for me, but added heavy cedar, and strong pepper burn to my palate. I had to concentrate on not retrohaling to enjoy the draw, and I must say the sugar notes were unique in the Cayuquero blend. Having smoked many full-bodied cigars in my time, the Cayuquero was offering something intriguing to my palate, and I am curious to know which tobacco in the blend provided these flavors. This is a blend I would love to discuss with Gary in the future.
Second Third: The body of the Cayuquero definitely calmed down a bit to a medium-full for my tastes, and the draw was still delivering the dried fruit notes and sugary profile. Unique spices were lingering in the back of my mouth, so much so I hit the spice cabinet and the closest was sage. At the halfway point, the body was still too heavy for me, and I might have enjoyed this blend with less ligeros. There were no main note changes, and I really think IPA drinkers will like this cigar, as it reminded me of Stone IPA for some odd reason. Dried fruit, bell pepper, and unique spices reminiscent of jerk all contributed here.
Final Third: the retrohale became much smoother at this point for me. There was some bitterness on the finish, but that might have been my palate tapping out a bit. The sugar had subsided, and the Cayuquero became more balanced. The heft of the finish was too much for me really; however, the core flavors rounded out very well. I think time will balance the flavors of the Cayuquero as the closer I got to the end, the depth improved and the power did not mask the uniqueness of the blend.
Construction: The first one I smoked had wrapper issues. I assumed it was because I had it two days after the show and they had traveled with varied humidity for weeks. I let the second sit for a month and had no issues, excellent burn and construction.
Final Thoughts: Honestly, I think for consumer’s sake I should have given these to Logan, as they would fit his palate better, and he has more experience with the original Draig K and Emilio. However, as a writer, I must review cigars outside my wheelhouse to stay objective, and the Draig Cayuquero was just that, a cigar to challenge my objectivity. For me, this is the type of Nicaraguan cigar I do not like as a mild-medium fan, but as a writer, I must make objective conclusions. Given my experience, I would highly suggest the Cayuquero to fans of DPG blends, AJ Fernandez blends, and full-bodied cigars. I would not be surprised if Logan laughs at me and says it was medium for him, given he loves 1502 Black Golds and I can barely make it through one. The Cayuquero offers a unique flavor combination that I have not experienced before. If it was just a full-bodied blend, I would have put it down and stopped the review, but something had me coming back. I am curious to explore the wrapper and find out what binder was used. I want to thank Gary Griffith and Nate McIntyre for being such class gentlemen and treating us so well. It is no surprise their booths were slammed at the show, as these guys treat everyone the same and deliver great products to fit many palates. The Draig Cayuquero will no doubt be a hit with the Emilio faithful, given the unique experience of this blend.
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