I made friends with Ernie last year at the 2009 Nationals. I’ve been a fan of his yoyos ever since the second release of the 5 Star. A few weeks prior to the 2010 Nationals I hit up Ernie over email asking him to possibly let me play his new yoyo, the Essence. I didn’t necessarily plan on buying one because I didn’t think he’d have any to sell. He told me he’d be at Bird In Hand Friday morning to meet him and try it out. Friday came and while waiting at Bird In Hand I played all the new models including the Sasquatch, One Drop 54, The Rockstar, Northstar and a bunch of others. Finally, Ernie showed up in the back alley with a cigar in his mouth and a small box of goods. We spent the next few hours discussing the yoyo and playing with it. My 2 friends and I ended up purchasing 3 of the 6 he brought with him to Chico. I’m very happy I was able to secure this bad boy and I’ve been compelled to write this review for everyone.
Width: 43.00 mm
Diameter: 53.8 mm
Gap: 4.2 mm
Weight: 67.00 grams
Bearing: C-Sized AIRG General-Yo Bearing
Response: General-Yo Hat Pads or Flowable
Ernie was dropping technical jargon left and right about all sorts of specific details regarding how he builds his yoyos. The Essence is a combination of all of his 3 models besides the mini star. The Essence is a full size yoyo that has the rims of a Hatrick, the gap profile of a 5 star and the weight of a Torrent. First, the fit of the bearing seat and the AIRG bearing are perfect. The axel is short and fits air tight into both axel cavities. There is no extra room for the axel to move between the halves, it’s exactly centered in there as it should be according to Ernie. He firmly believes in keeping the guts/center weight minimal to help the yoyo design work properly. The design for the response seems to be straight from the Hatrick which is superior to the 5*'s in my opinion. Ernie is a perfectionist and doesn’t leave any loose ends to cut costs or to make machining easier. He’s also fairly simplistic with his design shapes so that the cost of machining doesn’t get out of hand. General-Yo is all about form and function, and the aesthetic beauty and appeal will naturally fall into place on their own. The shape is round and comfortable and has the classic IRG of all General-Yo yoyos.
I’m naturally a skeptic and I like to catalog all the annoyances and odd quirks first. Luckily this yoyo doesn’t seem to have any issues technically as far as I can tell. On first throw a sly smile formed on my face without my consent. I quickly bound it up and threw it down again to test the phenomena. The feel of the Essence unraveling is pretty consistent on every throw due to the great response system and gap design. The 4.2 mm gap seems to be a sweet spot providing great binds that aren’t slippy or snaggy. The binds are tight when the yoyo is spinning fast, slow, or when you’re stumbling to recover it from some mishap and you barely get a bind. It’s usually ready for the next throw without issue.
The size and shape of the Essence is definitely full size. It’s a very round and wide yoyo that feels a lot lighter in hand than it looks. During play this yoyo feels luxurious and smooth (dead smooth, bearing included). It feels similar to spreading butter on a fresh slice of warm fluffy bread or like playing Kirby’s Dreamland. Basically what I’m getting at is that it’s floaty. It’s pretty much the new standard for quality floatiness. It feels like it’s on the lighter end of the spectrum during play for being 67g. It’s quicker than you’d think, but also likes to hang in the air and keep it’s arch elegant and graceful. The width doesn’t hinder it from being agile between strings. The catch zone is wide and angles smoothly into the low walled gap which is pretty much a common theme these days.
It’s my favorite General-Yo to date, it has a very unique personality that isn’t shared with any other yoyo I’ve played or own. It’s not slow, nor is it fast and darty, it’s hitting some sort of sweet spot that I think a lot of other players will be happy about. I think if you’re going to buy a full sized yoyo that’s round and curvy, you better be ok with it being a little floaty. If you want darty and fast, think about getting a 52mm diameter yoyo or smaller OR a full sized yoyo with a sharper profile. Unfortunately most people are going to have to wait a long time before these become available. I’ve been informed by Ernie that the production is on hold until his machinist gets some new equipment. He wants to make sure that every yoyo half is machined to perfection and that every production model is as smooth as it can be. I have no idea what these are going to cost but you better hold on to that $100 dollar bill gamgam gave you for this bad oscar.