Grimalkin Toro and Emilio AF-1 Toro Cigars and “Old Wave” by Garry Berman

Over the last two evenings I had decided to couple two cigars with a new book, “Old Wave, a Comic Novel” by Garry Berman, author of several books including “We’re Going to See the Beatles”, “Best of the Britcoms” and “Perfect Fool: The Life and Career of Ed Wynn”.  The cigars are two toros, generously provided by Gary Griffith of Delaware Cigars.

The Grimalkin is made at a factory in Nicaragua that we all know of, but I’m not at liberty to divulge.  It’s a terrific cigar, layered with subtly and complexity.  Similar to “Old Wave”, the story of an ’80s New Wave band who had one and a half hits, and owned the first half of 1983.  The book is the story of the bands comeback after a 25 year hiatus, where the main character, Terry, has been managing his family health food store in a small New York town.  He’s barely kept in touch with his band mates and is convinced to get them back together for a revival tour of sorts with several other bands of the era.  It’s a comedic romp through the trials of re-connecting with the group and is loaded with more similes than a simile writers convention.  Much like the Grimalkin, the read is easy and entertaining, with characters as interesting and compelling as the flavors dancing around my palate. Even burn, perfect draw with a signature similarity to other cigars from the same factory, yet with refreshing flavors that keep you thinking.  The story bounces back and forth from present day, to stories from the past.  Two thumbs up for the cigar, and the book is holding my interest much like the cigar did.

The female singer in the band is a beautiful Russian woman named Svetlana, who is dark and glamorous, much like the Emelio AF-1 Toro.  Svetlana loves the Brazilian music of the sixties, and the band, Magenta Nun, mixed the Brazilian rhythms with a New Wave style to create their signature sound. The Emilio AF-1 has a dark, sweet maduro wrapper loaded with delicious and exotic Nicaraguan fillers.  It’s sweet and savory, and full of flavors that are lush like the tropical flavors of the music portrayed in the book.  In the book, the band goes on a cross country tour with periodic vignettes of their comedic experiences, including injuries and incidents which mirror some of the groups escapades of their brief period of fame in the past.  The humor tends to be as arid as the Sahara, and there are little names and phases that just make me chuckle.  I like dry.  The AF-1, however, is anything but dry, it’s sweet and savory, like a Brazilian Churrasco.  Again, the cigar is well made and burns perfectly until the dramatic conclusion of the book.

Hopefully I haven’t lost anyone in my attempt to intertwine cigar review with a book review.  In my opinion, all three are well worth your time.  The book is an easy and entertaining read, especially since I played in a band in the ’80s, and there has been recent talk of reviving the group in some way.  It struck a chord with me (a G Major).  The cigars while different, complimented the read perfectly. I never had to worry about the ash falling in the pages, as both cigars had an ash that knocked off in solid chunks and the intricate flavors entertained me.  Kudos to Garry and Gary for enhancing my last couple evenings. You can find “Old Wave” for sale at or through the Amazon store on the left side of this page.

Until the next time,


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3 Responses to Grimalkin Toro and Emilio AF-1 Toro Cigars and “Old Wave” by Garry Berman

  1. Lloyd L.

    Nice job, Craig! Very refreshing review. It offers us readers a different way to think about a cigar. Flavor is but one aspect of a good cigar. Pairing it with something – be it a nice beverage, a long walk or a good book – enhances the experience, in my opinion. I encourage you to find other ways to pair your cigars and write about it. It makes the reviews much more enjoyable to read.

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