Monday, March 8, 2010
Illusione 88 - Illusione is one of the up and coming brands shaking the traditional tobacco industry at its core. These Nicaraguan Puros are manufactured Jalapa Valley of the Esteli region in Nicaragua; an area that is booming with cigar success.
The Illusione series are made with first-generation Corojo 99 and Criollo 98 tobacco and wrapped with a Colorado wrapper. The '88' is the Robusto size of Illusione's full-flavored line and the title '88' pays homage to the owner, Don Giolito's decision to leave college in Oklahoma to start college in Reno back in 1988.
I've smoked Illusione's medium blend, the Epernay, and found it to be a quality cigar, so I'm very interested to try their full-flavored cigar.
Prelight- I'm a sucker for a Robusto-sized cigar; with a selection of the brand laid out before me, I reach for the 88. The cigar looks great and the Colorado shade wrapper glistens with a light sheen of oil. The cigar feels solid and well made. The draw is slightly resistant and tastes of licorice and fresh tobacco.
Sparking it- The cigar lights easily and we're in business. The cigar wastes no time in producing loads of smoke and some nice flavors. The prelight licorice taste is present but subtle and there is a little spice in the first inch or so. That spice soon changes from pepper to cinammon as the smoke moves towards the half way point.
Early into this smoke I'm extremely happy with the flavor profile I'm getting. The smoke is creamy and full of sweet aroma.
Smoking it- This cigar burns great until about the last 2", where I have some issues keeping it lit. Usually, a cigar is almost finished at 2", but I liked the flavor so much I didn't want it to end.
The cigar isn't over-powering in any way. I would say that this cigar is a medium-full, leaning towards the medium side. While full of flavor and complexity, you could handle the 88 without having a three-course meal in your stomach.
The cigar presented quite a bouqet of flavors throughout the smoke. A desirable amount of spice with a richness and creaminess to the smoke. As nice as this cigar was, the ash was ugly as hell. Not that it matters, but the ash was a blackish-gray color. It held together nicely so I can't complain too much.
I liked this cigar and am looking forward to trying some other vitolas. I'm interested in seeing if a smaller ring-gauge packs the flavors together and makes the cigar a little stronger. Either way, the 88 will be part of my regular rotation.
Hear what the guys over at nicetightash.com have to say about the lines biggest cigar - the mj12 -