Illusione

Illusione ~HL~ Natural

There are three different Illusione ~HL~ blends on the market, this one, the original Illusione ~HL~, the ~HL~ Candela and the ~HL~ Maduro. And I have reviewed all three of them by the time you read this review, but I may or may not have published the reviews yet. I always have a bunch of reviews in stock so that if I cannot review for a while due to a busy schedule, a vacation with wife & kids, health issues of what other reason, I can still update my blog. So if you can’t find the reviews of the other Illusione ~HL~ blends yet, check back soon.


The Illusione ~HL~ is the 5 1/2×40 lancero from the Illusione brand, a brand created by Dion Giolito, and most of the cigars have names that are either numbers of have something to do with history or conspiracy theories. The ~HL~ stands for Holy Lance and refers to a lance that pierced Jesus his side when he was on the cross and later carried by the first Christian emperor of Rome, as the myth goes the lance gave him protection and special powers and therefore it was holy. The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro although it classified as a Honduran cigar as it’s made by Raices Cubanas, a factory known for Illusione, La Palina, Viaje and most of all Alec Bradley.


The cafe colorado wrapper looks pretty with a few thin veins and a silky touch. The construction feels good and the tiny pigtail fits the slender cigar. The cigar has a very faint aroma, I had to sniff a few times before it hit me: dog poo on a barnyard, and trust me, that’s different and less gross than dog poop under your shoes. The small ring is white with gothic letters in golden print and golden outlines.


I cut the cigar with my guillotine cutter, the cold draw is perfect with a mild raisin flavor and a mild peppery aftertaste. I lit the cigar with my Ronson and taste coffee and leather. After half a centimeter I also taste cocoa and some pepper. After an inch the cigar turns to wood with nutmeg and pepper and for a short while the cigar was a little harsh. Halfway the cigar gets more spicy and peppery. The pepper still gains strength. After two thirds I taste nutmeg, cinnamon, a little cocoa and pepper with just a little lime in the aftertaste. Soon after I also taste some wood.


The smoke is thick and there is a lot of it. The draw is fantastic. The ash is salt and pepper colored and reasonably firm. The burn is straight but not razor sharp. I usually don’t notice but this cigar has a very pleasant smell. The cigar is medium plus bodied and full flavored. The smoke time is an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? Yes a mixed box with the others would be nice.

Score: 91
91

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Categories: 91, Honduran cigars, Illusione, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Illusione ~HL~ Maduro

After releasing the Illusione ~HL~ natural Dion Giolito, owner of the brand, had some empty boxes left over and instead of letting them go to waste he decided to create the same vitola in the candela and maduro blends he already made for other vitolas of Illusione. As a certified lancero whore I’m not complaining about this decision.


Like the other lanceros from Illusione, this one is made at Raices Cubanas in Honduras too. So it classifies as a Honduran cigar even though the wrapper is from Mexico and the filler and binder are Nicaraguan, no Honduran tobacco is used for this 7 1/2×40 elegant cigar. The Mexican San Adres wrapper is stalk cut, a technique where not the individual leaves are picked but the whole plant is cut down and hung to dry upside down.


The wrapper has a mild oily shine to it and is beautifully dark, like a thin chocolate bar. Unfortunately the cigar wasn’t wrapped in cellophane and that caused a little damage at the foot. The tiny pigtail is a nice detail. The construction feels great. The cigar has a mild floral aroma. The ring is identical to the regular Illusione ~HL~ ring but only in a different color, brown with golden letters and black outlines instead of white with golden letters and golden outlines.


I cut the cigar and the cold draw is great. I taste a little pepper and a little citrus before lighting the cigar. After lighting with a soft flame I taste coffee. Soon I also taste chocolate. After a centimeter I taste spices with cedar and a little pepper. I also taste a tiny bit of chocolate sweetness. After a third I taste cedar with some spices and a little white pepper in the back of my mouth. Slowly a chocolate flavor returns. The flavors then change to toast with pepper and citrus. The flavors don’t change much anymore but become stronger and only some citrus shows up. Especially the pepper grows in strength.


The draw is just fine, no complaints at all. The smoke is thick and plentiful. The ash is fragile and light colored. The burn is straight as an arrow. The cigar is medium bodied yet full of flavor. The smoke time is an hour and fifty minutes.

Would I buy this cigar again? I like this one the best from the three blends and all three are worthy of another purchase.

Score: 92
92

Categories: 92, Honduran cigars, Illusione, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Illusione ~HL~ Candela

Illusione by Dion Giolito took the market by storm, from the moment it was released the brand was a favorite amongst the well informed cigar geeks. And amongst them was a 7 1/4×40 lancero, made in Honduras by Raices Cubans, famous for producing several great bands like Viaje, Alec Bradley and La Palina too. Well, as a special Dion Giolito decided to create a candela version of his lancero, the ~hl~ holy lance. Now I can tell you, it was such a success that it became a regular production with a line excention so my expectations are high.


How the cigar is named after the mythical holy lance that the first Christian leader of Rome carried that that gave him special powers. The lance became so powerful because it punctured Jesus his side while he was on the cross. Now I am not religious so I don’t care about that story, but I am a lover of lanceros and since I read this is a mild cigar I am smoking it early afternoon instead of the usual evening review.


I never liked the look of candela wrappers and this one isn’t the exception of the rule, the wrapper is pale green but the construction feels good with a beautiful triple cap. The ring is simple, a thin white ring with the roman style font that Illusione always uses in golden letters. Now that gold fits the wrapper beautifully though. The cigar has a faint aroma that is a little grassy, which is also typical for candela wrappers.


I cut the cigar and the cold draw is fine. I just taste some tobacco but the flavor is mild. I lit the cigar with my trusted Ronson lighter. I taste some mild coffee and a little chocolate. After half a centimeter the flavors turn grassy, something I expect from a candela wrapper. Slowly a mild lime flavor shows up with some cedar and a little spice. I still get hints of chocolate too. After an inch I taste nuts, salt and some pepper. After a third the cigar turns grassy again with some nutmeg. Halfway I taste pepper in the aftertaste and the cigar gets stronger and spicier overall. The final third starts with pepper and cedar but I also taste a faint chocolate again.


The draw is fantastic. The smoke is full in thickness and in volume but ugly gray in color. The dark ash is layered and not very firm. The burn is superb. The cigar starts out mild but ends as medium plus while it is medium to full flavored. The smoke time is little over an hour and a half.

Would I buy this cigar again? I wouldn’t mind half a box.

Score: 91
91

Categories: 91, Honduran cigars, Illusione, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Illusione Epernay le monde

Dion Giolito, creator of Illusione cigars, created this cigar to pair well with a good champagne and named the line after a well known Champagne region, Epernay. This blend is created with the European palate in mind, the cigar has a lighter shade wrapper than other Illusiones and is less spicy and more floral according to Illusione. I got a few of the 5¼x48 Le Ferme and of the 6¼x52 Le Monde in a group buy on my Dutch website. They are not for sale in The Netherlands. I reviewed the Le Ferme last week, not it’s time for the Le Monde.
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The wrapper is nice, shiny and dark with a few thin veins. I smell a light but deep and rich barnyard smell. The band is simple yet tasteful as all Illusiones. The construction feels good. The predraw is fine and tastes like raisin and pepper.
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I taste an earth flavor with lots of coffee, full but smooth, mild sweet. The sweetness has an unusual but nice taste. I also get some pepper on the tip of my tongue. The pepper quickly disappears and soon I taste that earth flavor with herbs instead of coffee, the sweetness is still around.
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After a third I also taste some wood with the other flavors, everything is well balanced and smooth. Halfway the sweetness disappears, just like the wood. The herbs and the earth are getting stronger. After two thirds I get some wood again with a herbal freshness and earth, the sweetness also returns.
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I enjoyed this cigar for a full two hours and got a lot of thick white smoke. The ash is no firm and quite dark. The draw and burn are really good. This cigar is full flavored and medium bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Yes!

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

Categories: Honduran cigars, Illusione, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Illusione epernay le ferme

Dion Giolito, creator of Illusione cigars, created this cigar to pair well with a good champagne and named the line after a well known Champagne region, Epernay. This blend is created with the European palate in mind, the cigar has a lighter shade wrapper than other Illusiones and is less spicy and more floral according to Illusione. I got a few of the 5¼x48 Le Ferme and of the 6¼x52 Le Monde in a group buy on my Dutch website. They are not for sale in The Netherlands.
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The wrapper, even though it is a lighter shade than other Illusiones, is still reasonably dark and is quite oily. I see a few veins. The band is simple yet tasteful. The cigar has a mild barnyard smell. The construction feels good and I can’t complain about the predraw, which is mild spicy.
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I taste a peppery coffee flavor and after half an inch I taste a lot of earth flavor. The flavors are sticky and creamy. After an inch and a half I taste wood, nuts and chocolate.
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Slowly the wood gets stronger and I taste some herbs too. The nut and chocolate flavors have gone. Little passed halfway I taste some chocolate again, very mild and a good amount of pepper. The pepper slowly loses some of its strength.
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This cigar has a smoke time of an hour and fifteen minutes. I got a lot of smoke that starts out reasonably thick and gray but it turns thick and white. The draw is great, but I had to correct the burn a few times. The ash is dark and reasonably firm. This cigar is full bodied and medium to full flavored.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I love these.

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 8/ 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

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Illusione ~mj12~

This cigar is named after the Majestic 12, a committee of scientists, military leaders, and government officials that had the task to investigate UFO’s. The Illusione ~mj12~ is a toro grande, 6×54 and a Nicaraguan puro, from first generation criollo 98 and corojo 99 tobacco. The cigar are produced in Honduras.
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The packaging of the cigar is quite unique, it is completely wrapped in tin foil. Now I am not sure, but it could be a reference to the tin foil hats and the name sake of the cigar. Once unwrapped I see a nice dark and oily wrapper with just 2 veins. The construction feels good and after punching I get a great predraw that tastes like straw and raisins.
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I taste earth and coffee with some sweetness. The flavors are medium strong but smooth and friendly. After two inch the coffee disappears and I taste sweet herbs and earth. The sweetness is dominant.
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Halfway the aftertaste is herbal without the sweetness. The main flavor still has the sweetness. After ¾ I get some leather in the background and at ⅔ I also taste some wood.
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The smoke time of the 6×54 toro gordo is about 80 minutes. I got a lot of thick smoke and a good draw. I have no complaints about the burn too. The ash is light colored and firm. This cigar is medium flavored and medium to full bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, I would like a few more of these

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

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Illusione ~eccj~

When I first heard the name Illusione ~eccj~ I thought “isn’t that confusing” because of the European Cigar Cult Journal uses that acronym but then I read that this corona gorda was created to commemorate the 15 year anniversary of the magazine. ECCJ commisioned Illusione to make a cigar blended for the European palate, and Illusione tried to do that with 100% Nicaraguan tobacco, including a corojo wrapper leaf from Rosado claro shade that gives the cigar a reddish glow. Even though the cigars are Nicaraguan puros, they were made in Honduras. The ~eccj~ is a limited production, only 300 boxes of 15 were made.
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As I said, the cigar has a reddish glow due to the rosado leaf. The band is just like the other Illusione bands, small and white with golden letters. There are lots of small and thin veins on the wrapper. The construction feels good, although the cigar feels a bit oval instead of round or box-pressed. The predraw is on the loose side and I taste some wood.
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I taste a quite strong earth flavor with a pleasant metallic feel too it and a hint of chocolate. After half an inch the metallic flavor is gone and I taste earth and toast. The earth becomes less strong while the chocolate gains some power.
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Halfway the chocolate becomes dominant with earth and herbs on the background. After ⅔ the chocolate loses some of its strength and makes a nice mix with the herbal and earth flavors.
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The smoke time of this cigar is a bit disappointing, only 75 minutes. I got a reasonable amount of thick white smoke. The draw is on the loose side, but it’s not so loose that it bothers me. The ash is quite firm and has a salt & pepper color. This cigar is full flavored and medium bodied. I only got a small flame when I purged the cigar.
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Would I buy this cigar again? I wish, this was a limited edition and sold out everywhere

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 7 / 10

Categories: Honduran cigars, Illusione, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Illusione culebra

Two years ago I was in a trade with an American friend, I would send him some Partagas Culebras and he would send me the Illusione Culebra. Soon after I got it I smoked one with two friends at an Amsterdam herf and made a quick ]review. As I didn’t took pictures back then I decided to light another for some pictures and write another review while I was at it.


I love the box, the logos and especially the stamp of a box code, so you know when this cigar is produced, just like with Cuban cigars. I wish all non Cuban cigarmakers would do that. These specific 6½x33 Illusione Culebras are made in august of 2008.


The cigars come, unlike the Partagas, without a band and with little pieces of rope instead of the red ribbon which leave a mark in the wrapper. The wrapper is mocha colored with some pimples and veins. The construction feels good and I have a flawless predraw that leaves a salty tobacco flavor on my palate. This cigar is too thin to punch so I have to grab my palio to cut it.


I taste a full and spicy coffee flavor with some wood. After an inch the coffee disappears. I get a strong pepper taste on my tongue with a smooth woodflavor on the background.

After puffing for a while I only taste herbs and spices, the wood has disappeared. Even though the flavors are spicy, they are still smooth. The wood flavor makes a comeback as a support of the herbal flavors. The flavors are mild creamy and the spices bite a little on my tongue.


A little passed the middle I taste a mild minty flavor with the herbs and spices and far far away on the background even a little hint of chocolate.

The chocolate disappears almost immediately again and the herbal flavors are getting stronger. Then suddenly after two thirds I get a dominant wood flavor that sticks until I have to lay the nub to rest in my ashtray.

The smoke time of this culebra is about one hour and twenty five minutes. The draw is fine and the burn is straight as an arrow. This full flavored medium bodied cigar gives me a nice amount of medium thick smoke. The ash is light colored and not firm at all.


Would I buy this cigar again? I might just have to get myself a new box.

Appearance: 7 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 8 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 8 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

Categories: Honduran cigars, Illusione, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Illusione holy lance

This 7 ½ x 40 lancero is the only Illusione lancero so far, and even though it is a Nicaraguan puro, it is produced in Honduras. The cigar is made from first generation Corojo ‘99 and Criollo ‘98 seeds and has a nice dark and oily Cafe Colorado wrapper. The cigar is a bit oval shaped, not round or box pressed. The construction feels good and the predraw is fine, with a mild spicy flavor. The cigar doesn’t produce a lot of aroma.
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I taste a lot of spices, hot & spicy and a little bit of coffee. After about half an inch I also get some cacao as a supporting flavor, very mild and the spices are still the dominant flavors
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The cacao flavor fades away and leaves room for sweetness. The sweetness fades away in a few puffs and I am left with the full spices that are persistent in staying the dominant flavor. Halfway I get some chocolate and even some coffee to support the spices.
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At 2/3rd the spice flavor suddenly drops in strength for just a few puffs and then returns in all its glory and power. The spices get so strong that I get a bit of a burning sensation on my tongue. At the end the cigar gives me a high chocolate boost and then reaches the turning point.
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I get lots of smoke, the smoke isn’t thick but neither thin too. I had a bit of a crooked burn in the beginning but the burn corrected itself. The ash is light gray and crooked. This is a full flavored stick, medium to full bodied.
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Would I buy this cigar again? I think so, I like this cigar but I am not a big lancero fan, although the vitola is growing on me a bit.

Appearance: 8 / 10
Construction: 7 / 10
Draw: 7 / 10
Burn: 7 / 10
Smoke & ash: 8 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 7 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

Categories: Honduran cigars, Illusione, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Illusione culebra

Culebras are very funny looking smokes, 3 cigars strangles together like Siamese triplets. The Illusione culebra is bound together by two pieces of robe, then are about 7 inch long and have a 36 ring. The smell is heavy, sweet and reminds me of a stable. I smoked it on the first night of the Amsterdam herf with SmokeyNL and Screwbag. I got the cigars in a trade with Bao and I was lucky enough to receive them in time for the herf.


The first flavor to hit the palate is a sweet peppery flavor with a tiny bit of leather. I could feel the cigar progress, the strength and the flavors were really building up, lots of pepper and spices, but still with a certain sweetness that prevented the cigar from becoming too powerful. The turning point comes very late.


The ash is dark and the cigar produces a lot of smoke with a good draw. I think I smoked the cigar too young, as I had to relight it often.


Would I buy this cigar again? Yes, it’s a great smoke to share with friends


Appearance: 9 / 10
Construction: 8 / 10
Draw: 8 / 10
Burn: 6 / 10
Smoke & ash: 7 / 10
Aroma first part: 7 / 10
Aroma second part: 8 / 10
Aroma third part: 8 / 10

Categories: Honduran cigars, Illusione, Raices Cubanas | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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