March 3, 2017

Cigar Review: Illusione ~88~

Robust, a term that is perfect for a cigar of this nature. While the term robust does not fall into the category for all cigars that are in the robusto vitola, this cigar definitely does. The number 88 symbolizes the year in which Dion left college in Oklahoma only to transfer to Reno, Nevada. It is in that city that Dion has established his cigar shop Fumare, and it is in that city that he has established the headquarters for his cigar brand, Illusione Cigars. As you know, I am a huge fan of Illusione Cigars and the ~88~ vitola in the main line, and I think it is truly a classic non-Cuban robusto.

The cigar is somewhat larger than your standard robusto, and though it measures 5" in length, it has a ring gauge of 52. Like all of the cigars made for Dion and the Illusione lines, the cigar is made in the great and well known Raices Cubanas Factory in Honduras. The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro, and features a Colorado Cafe wrapper. It is made in the Cuban fashion, and features a great triple cap. The wrapper is definitely Colorado Maduro in coloring, but there are times when the wrapper is more Colorado in coloring. Firm in hand, the cigar has a wonderful aroma of rich earth, wood, leather, spices and stone fruit.

The cigar begins very spicy, and from the get go there are tons of pepper, cinnamon and clove notes. Very spicy, the first couple draws of the cigar show a strength that is full in body. I find that it is showing similar qualities to a Pepin cigar beginning, but slightly richer as well. As I get further into the first third I begin to pick up lots of rich earth notes, along with this oak, jammy and stone fruit characteristic. It has softened some, down to medium full, and it is still very robust, and a great robusto. The cigar is burning slightly wavy in the first third, but as I get further into the third, and close to the second third it corrects itself to be almost razor sharp. The cigar has a large draw, and it produces a great amount of smoke.

I am in the second third of the cigar now, and it is still very rich and robust. The flavors are really showing those rich earth, damp oak, jammy and cherry notes, and it is really a flavor bomb. The spice level has remained present as well throughout this third, and it is really showing these Asian spice notes that are perfect compliments to the other flavors. The strength of the cigar is remaining at that medium full level, and it is a perfect cigar to end the day with. The ash is holding on to the cigar perfectly, and it shows this lovely dark charcoal gray color. The smoke is thick with each draw, and I am getting some great smoke rings as well. Truly a fabulous robusto so far, I am looking forward to how the cigar will finish.

I am in the final third now and it is showing those characteristics that were present in the first third. The spice level is dominant again, and I am getting some nice sweet pepper notes. It is still showing those strong cinnamon and clove notes, but it is mostly this sweet cayenne pepper flavor profile. Along with spices I am getting definite wood notes of oak and cedar, and this nice strong rich earth characteristic as well. One of the balancing flavors with all of these strong characteristics is the jammy and stone fruit notes, and it is really showing some dark cherry and blackberry fruit notes. The cigar is burning perfectly all the way to the end, and even on the last draw it is flavorful and producing tons of flavors while staying cool. The strength of the cigar throughout remains at that medium full level, and was a great smoking experience.

This is a terrific cigar that shows tons of rich and robust flavors, while the strength remains at that medium full level. It has a definite finish to the cigar, and it remains long after the cigar is done. It is constructed perfectly, and blended wonderfully. The flavors are really top notch throughout the cigar, and the strength is definitely present as well. If you are looking for a richer robusto than this then you will struggle, and I would recommend not even bothering. In the Illusione line, I think this is one of the best vitolas, and that is why I give it 93 points. These are cigars that I always have in my humidor, and make sure I never run out. If you have not had the pleasure of smoking this cigar then I suggest you pick up at least five of them.
Illusione ~88~
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