Gary Griffith wears many hats. He manages a large chain of B&M cigar shops across Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, he’s the developer of the Emilio Cigars brand, and he’s also an avid genealogist. To celebrate his Welsh heritage, Gary decided to create an annual series of limited releases centered around the national symbol of Wales. Enter: Casa del Dragón. First up in the Casa series is the Draig K; “draig” being Welsh for “dragon” and “K” in honor of a good friend from Wales who passed away last year.
Despite his loquacious Twitter account, Gary is being pretty tight-lipped about the composition of the Draig K. It features a maduro wrapper and some Colombian filler, but beyond that, he won’t say. He recently gifted me some pre-release samples to try out, and is aiming for a Spring 2012 release. These samples came in a toro size (the vitola for which Gary designs his blends), and the final release will likely come out in a corona & robusto size as well.
Draig K by Emilio Cigars by the numbers:
Wrapper: unknown Maduro
Filler: Colombian + unknown
Factory: Plasencia Cigar Factory in
Danli El Paraiso, Honduras
No. smoked for review: 3
Duration: 90 minutes
Source: pre-release samples (Spring 2012 release)
Est. Price: $7.00 — $10.00
The Draig K’s maduro wrapper is quite dark & oily, with a few large veins and a bit of tooth, while the cigars as a whole felt firm without any noticeable soft spots. A musty, rubber-like aroma (almost like a fresh band-aid?) emanated from the wrapper, while the foot gave off a very pronounced dark chocolate, together with coffee and pepper. The cold draw had just the right amount of resistance, except for one of the samples which was a tad tight, and provided similar sensations of dark chocolate & coffee.
The first third offered up big dark chocolate flavor and a red pepper spice that came & went in waves. The ash was gray and flaky, holding on for about an inch and a half at a time. In the second third, a really nice twangy undertone developed — a flavor element that I very much enjoy — together with woody & nutty notes. At the end, complex & balanced flavors of the Draig K kept my palate entertained with woody/toasty/twangy threads, along with a peppery sweetness to round it all out.
At the risk of receiving some #nutkicks the next time I run into Gary at the shop, I have to say that I struggled a bit with the burn on two of the three samples that I smoked. I had to touch-up the wrapper several times in order to even things out, and some of the filler tobacco just seemed to want to burn at a different rate than the rest. However, the complex flavors of the Draig K kept me satisfied and were well-worth the extra butane & attention required to keep the mischievous burn under control. Of the three, the sample which performed best had been given a day or so of dry-boxing, a treatment I’ll try to remember for all future Draig Ks that I smoke.
In the video segment, watch me put up with some combustion issues as I savor the Draig K’s rich flavors:
(Video length: 10:20)
Pretty cool intro music, right? In what I believe to be a first here at The Stogie Review, an original score was composed specifically for this cigar review video. I recently met Thomas Hogan at the Ernesto Perez Carrillo event hosted by W. Curtis Draper in Bethesda, where we chatted about a variety of things, including how I often struggled to find royalty-free music to use in my reviews. He mentioned that he was a composer and offered to put together something for my next video. I told him the next cigar I was reviewing had a dragon theme, and he ran with that to create a really fantastic composition which conjures up images of legendary knights facing off against mythical dragons. Thanks, Tom! Be sure to check out the rest of Tom’s portfolio at ProgressNotes.net. And thanks again to @jerseyjay from CigarPhoto.net for his advice to sit back & relax!
On the whole, I enjoyed these pre-release samples of the Draig K and I’m willing to chalk up the burn issues to a lack of age & rest. While I still prefer the AF2 (all but certain to appear in my top 5 cigars of the year) and the Grimalkin, this upcoming limited release by Emilio Cigars is definitely worth checking out once it hits store shelves next Spring. I’m very much interested to see where the Casa del Dragón series is going and to find out what other surprises Gary has up his sleeves…
UPDATE: Tue, 15 Nov 2011, 10:34am
Talking with Gary on Twitter this morning, he told me that he thinks he’ll be changing the bunching a bit on the Draig K the next time he’s down in Honduras, which should fix the burn issues for the final release.
Charlie has been enjoying cigars since 2000 and generally prefers a medium-bodied, full-flavored smoke. A USAF vet, he is currently pursuing a PhD in computer science, focusing on artificial intelligence and computational linguistics. Originally from Connecticut and now residing in Delaware, Charlie is also a fan of football, science fiction, political philosophy, and single malt scotch. You can contact Charlie on Twitter @greenbacker