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Lounge Presidente
Lounge Presidente

Staff Review: Emilio Grimalkin Toro



With today’s review, we will be taking a look at Emilio’s Grimalkin Toro. The Emilio brand has a relatively long history compared to some of the other well-known boutique brands on the market, and with blends like Grimalkin, I expect them to be relevant for years to come.

Feel free to skim the quick hits for an overview or jump into any section below to find the full details of Emilio Grimalkin. Let’s go!

The Quick Hits:

  • Originally released in 2011
  • Main tasting notes of cedar, white pepper, and cinnamon
  • Recommended for: fans of BLTC Salvation, Plasencia 1865 Alma Fuerte Colorado, Montecristo Nicaragua
  • With a $10.00 per cigar price point, Grimalkin is relatively affordable in relation to other blends in this category

The Story:

Grimalkin’s story dates back to when it was originally released in 2011 and was produced at the My Father factory. Within a year, and after a fair amount of criticism, Grimalkin very quickly received a packaging change and a name change (Mousa), which was designed to fall in line with the new La Musa series that the brand was launching.

Fast forward to 2018, when Emilio announced the upcoming grand return of Grimalkin, with the intention of reviving the line with a new design and blend. One of the keys to this planned revitalization was the choice to switch production to Fabrica Oveja Negra – one of Nicaragua’s hottest boutique cigar manufacturers that handled production of popular brands like Black Label Trading Company and Black Works Studios.

Eventually, Grimalkin made its return to the market in its new form and was met with open arms by consumers and critics. All things considered, the new and improved Grimalkin has proved to be a major hit for the brand and has helped usher in a new age of Emilio cigars and Fabrica Oveja Negra.

The Build:


Like a lot of other blends produced at Fabrica Oveja Negra, Grimalkin is a Nicaraguan puro that utilizes 100% Nicaraguan tobaccos, and although this may sound relatively basic, the Grimalkin blend avoids being dominated by an excess of spiciness and strength – something that a lot of people have become accustomed to with Nicaraguan tobaccos, unfortunately. The takeaway here is that Grimalkin is far from your run of the mill Nicaraguan puro.

The Look:

One of my favorite things in the world (at least in the world of cigars), is when I like the design of a cigars band just as much as the blend itself, and vice versa - I was drawn to Emilio Grimalkin in the first place because of the way it visually stood out on my local shop’s shelf, and it felt like a bonus that the blend tasted as good as the cigar looked.

The Grimalkin band is relatively simple – the black outline of the head of a cat is accentuated by a light green foiled cat skull that sits in the middle of the band. Outside of this cat head, the green foil (which I absolutely love) carries around the rest of band and contrasts beautifully with black accents on the band, and with the light brown color of the cigar itself.

This primary visual of the cat head and skull carries onto the top of the Grimalkin box in a similar fashion to its representation on the band. On the front of the box, “Emilio Grimalkin”, in a greenish gold foil, is staggered inside of a black splatter of paint.

If I were to rank my top 10 favorite cigar band designs of all time, I think Grimalkin would make it into that list; to sum it up, it’s edgy, eye-catching, and clean, and certainly follows suit with the aesthetic of all the brands produced at Oveja Negra.

The Experience:


I am just going to jump right into it – the first third of Grimalkin was a great indicator of what was to come in the rest of the cigar.

Notes of cinnamon and coffee cake are the first flavors that I notice, but they are quickly followed by a healthy amount of white pepper on retrohale that actually melds really nicely with the natural sweetness that I was experiencing. So far, Grimalkin is full-flavored, and to be honest, I was surprised to find out that its strength fell more in the medium to full range (considering the look of the cigar).

Moving into the second third, the natural sweetness I was experiencing took somewhat of a back seat and opened some room for bold notes of cedar to make their way into the mix. The distinct cinnamon note is still prevalent, and with the combination of white pepper, and the newly added notes of cedar, I am getting a pretty balanced and unique profile from Grimalkin. The burn line is razor sharp thus far, and the draw is firm (in a good way) – something that I have come to expect with anything that comes out of Oveja Negra.

To me, the final third is where Grimalkin really shines – pepper, cinnamon, and cedar combine with the return of the cake-like sweetness, and newly added notes of white chocolate and earth to create a truly one-of-a-kind profile. The strength of Grimalkin has moved more towards the full range, and the flawless burn and draw continue to stay consistent as I finish up the final third.

Grimalkin’s blend is just as good as its design, and I can honestly say that I bought a box for myself after smoking this for the first time – which is something I don’t do too often. Usually, I’ll smoke a blend a few times before taking the leap into a box purchase, but in some rare cases, like with Grimalkin, I get completely enamored and put the pedal to the metal.

The Value:

If you are in the market for a fantastic Nicaraguan blend, and a really cool looking cigar, look no further than Grimalkin. To make Grimalkin that much better, you can get a toro for $10.00. You might ask, “but how can that be?”, and to that I say, I have no idea. My challenge to anyone who reads this is to give me three blends that taste as good, look as good, burn as good, and draw as good as Grimalkin does for under $10.00 a cigar. I am getting myself too worked up, so my final sentencing is in on Grimalkin – I will continue to buy and smoke this blend until they stop producing it.

Final Thoughts:

Unfortunately, I have not been able to smoke any of Emilio’s other offerings yet, but I can say that Grimalkin was an absolute homerun of an introduction to the brand. On the bright side, I have a handful of other Emilio blends to look forward to smoking for the first time.

I was really impressed with everything about Emilio Grimalkin – the construction was top-notch, the blend was outstanding, and the aesthetic was sharp. Obviously, I can’t tell you quite yet that this is the best of Emilio, but if any of the brand’s other blends are anywhere near as good as Grimalkin, I will be more than pleased.

Considering its limited nature, I would be sure to pick up a 5-pack or a box of Emilio Grimalkin, you won’t regret it.