In June 2012, Gary Griffith of Emilio announced a host of cigars at once—seven new lines in all. They were set to debut at different times over the next year, an ambitious goal at that, but not all to surprising. Included in that release was a new blend, a strong one—Carpe Noctem.

At the time, Griffith described the cigar as a three-size line, made by A.J. Fernandez and strong.

Carpe Noctem translates from Latin to “Seize the Night.” This incredibly dark, strong, and spicy cigar will feature a broadleaf maduro wrapper, and plenty of Esteli ligero in the filler. These cigars will be available in robusto, toro, and 6×60 sizes, and packed in cabinet boxes of 20.
I’ve once again gone back to A.J. Fernandez to produce this cigar, and those fond of powerhouses should be well satisfied. We’re still toying with art work for boxes and bands, and expect to release these cigars during the first week of 2013.

Obviously, the early 2013 date was not to be. In addition, the cigar will come in 21-count boxes, but the rest remains largely how Griffith announced it two years ago: Pennsylvania broadleaf wrapper, the aforementioned three sizes and strong.

  • Emilio Carpe Noctem Robusto (5 x 50) —  $9.20 (Boxes of 21, $193.20) 
  • Emilio Carpe Noctem Toro (6 x 50) — $9.50 (Boxes of 21, $199.50)
  • Emilio Carpe Noctem 60 (6 x 60) — $9.90 (Boxes of 21, $207.90)

The cigars were shown off at the 2014 IPCPR convention trade show last month and are expected to be released this month.

Emilio Carpe Noctem 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Emilio Carpe Noctem Toro
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera Fernandez S.A.
  • Wrapper: Pennsylvania Broadleaf
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $9.50 (Boxes of 21, $199.50)
  • Release Date: August 2014
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2 

Fans of larger cigar bands will be happy with both bands on the Carpe Noctem—as neither are small. The two pieces of artwork lie on top a medium-colored Pennsylvania broadleaf wrapper, a reminder that all broadleaf need not be overly thick and jet black. There’s some barnyard and leather from the outside of the cigar, whereas the foot shows off an extremely pepper-rich profile and some very distinct reminders of ligero. If you’ve been to a cigar factory and smelled different types of Nicaraguan tobacco, the distinct smell of a popular Nicaraguan ligero filler in a stronger state is clearly  present. Cold draw shows off cocoa, nuts, espresso and a bit of salmon characteristics. Draw is a bit tight, but it falls within my comfort zone.

If you had any doubts about whether the strength would be there, the first puff settles the debate. While there’s not a ton of physical smoke, there’s a heavy dose of nicotine alongside flavors of jalapeño salt, sweet cocoa, burning wood, walnuts and a hint of grapefruit. It’s a heavy and aggressive start to the Carpe Noctem, although as the cigar gets going in, the cedar notes begin to overtake things. An inch and the pepper is starting to be cut by oatmeal and espresso. While the strength is full, the flavor is medium-plus with a good bit of habanero-like pepper sticking around  in the back of my throat.

Emilio Carpe Noctem 2

Despite having no issues with the construction for the first third, the smoke production is becoming far less consistent in the second third. At times it is copious, at other times, I need to take multiple puffs to keep up a preferred rate. I cannot help but wonder if this is due to the amount of heavy tobaccos that are inevitably in the blend, although the Carpe Noctem never goes out. Flavor-wise, creaminess and caramel are now doing the work to cut through the plethora of pepper. It’s a great contrast in a lot of ways, bright sweet flavors in the mouth and a mixture of green and red pepper notes in the nose. Strength is still full, not building, but still very much aggressive.

Emilio Carpe Noctem 3

A grapefruit sweetness that I am beginning to detect in more and more Nicaraguan-based cigars comes back for the final third. That and a sweet cocoa join the cedar and pepper notes. It creates for a great finish, but the flavors are not as lively on the initial parts of each puff. Despite all the heavy tobaccos and somewhat inconsistent burn rates that force quicker puffs, there’s very little harshness down to the final inch of the Carpe Noctem, something I may have not guessed given the initial puffs.

Emilio Carpe Noctem 4

Final Notes

  • This is the second pretty aggressive cigar that debuted at the trade show I’ve smoked from A.J. Fernandez, the other being the New World. There’s a big difference in that Carpe Noctem had the nicotine, whereas the New World is medium. 
  • Many times we disagree substantially with company’s interpretations of how strong their cigars are. In this case, I can’t refute the claim this is the strongest Emilio ever.
  • For those hoping for something different, yet new, from Emilio, the company will ship Mia Dora later this year as well. It’s described as a release centered around complexity.
  • So oftentimes when smoking cigars that are this strong, the flavor becomes truly secondary and oftentimes quite dull. This is not the case, there’s transition and development, although it’s still quite strong.
  • Nicotine content is very high, one of the three strongest cigars I’ve smoked in the past year.
  • Making cigars this strong is somewhat risky, there’s not a huge segment of the market that can actually stand to walk after smoking something like this. 
  • Body is relatively medium.
  • As much as some might want to complain about the 18-month delay from Griffith’s original target, I find it somewhat remarkable that outside of a box-count change, the cigars will hit market the way Griffith originally described it. Things change in the cigar business and a lot can change over the course of 18 months.
  • Emilio is distributed by House of Emilio.
  • Final smoking time is one hour and 40 minutes.
  • Cigars for this review were provided by Emilio Cigars at the 2014 IPCPR convention and trade show.
87 Overall Score

This was a success. If you wanted to make a overly strong with an enjoyable flavor, here’s a great start. It is not the best cigar I’ve smoked from Emilio, far from it actually. While I enjoyed the Carpe Noctem, I do feel at times the cigar was more about its intense strength than its flavor, and that’s disappointing. There’s balance in that the flavor is present from start to finish, but there’s little interplay between strength, body and flavor—something that would make this far more complex. There’s a niche audience that is into strength for the sake of being strong, for that segment of the marketplace—Carpe Noctem is a real winner as it provides an enjoyable smoking experience, for most however, this is probably far too strong.

Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.