Ashton VSG Illusion

Ashton VSG Illusion

Origin : Dominican RepublicAshton
Format : Lonsdale
Size : 6 1/2 x 44
Ring : 44
Wrapper : Ecuador
Filler : Dominican Republic
Binder : Dominican Republic
Price : ~$10 each

Ashton VSG (Virgin Sun Grown) was introduced in 1999 and it’s without doubt the most successful blend of the marca. Conceived in close cooperation with Oliva and Fuente families, it is blended from Dominican tobacco aged for 4-5 years, wrapped in an Ecuadorian leaf which is slowly matured under the sunlight filtered by clouds always present in the region. It has scored countless 90+ ratings from CI/CA and is considered one of the most sought-after cigars on the market.

Appearance : Rating: ★★★★★
The cigar is… gorgeous. The sun-grown wrapper is quite toothy and seems to radiate sunlight. The cap is expertly applied and the band looks really classy.

Ashton VSG Illusion

Construction : Rating: ★★★★☆
I’ve had 3 singles for this review and the only thing I can reproach to the VSG is a slightly uneven burn which might need a few corrections here and there. Other than that, there is nothing that can distract you from the smoking experience…

Flavor : Rating: ★★★★½
…which is exceptional. Pre-light, it exhales strong notes of coffee with an obvious sweetness due to the sun-grown wrapper. Once lit, the initial spiciness is nicely mixed with sweet vanilla flavors. As the spice mellows out, a whole array of flavors appears – nuts, roasted coffee, butter – with earthy undertones in the background. The bouquet is incredibly smooth but the smoke is definitely full-bodied.

Value : Rating: ★★★★☆
A $10 price tag suggests that this cigar is positioned in the premium category. Nice presentation, good construction and wonderful flavors justify this positioning.

Overall Rating : Rating: ★★★★½
I will join the opinion of many aficionados and will admit that the Ashton VSG must be the best blend produced by the company. I was impressed by the creaminess offered by such a powerful cigar. I highly suggest you to try one if you somehow managed to avoid it until now.

Photo credit: Richard Cordero

11 Comments on “Ashton VSG Illusion”

  1. Mike - KnightRid says:

    Nice review! I am just worried about the power with these puppies! Sounds like a nice smoke, but i hate to spend $10 and find out my wussy ass can only make it 1/3 or the way ;)


  2. Very nice review! One of my favorite cigars. Actually, along with the Padron 1964, the cigar that got me hooked on premium smokes. This is probably my favorite size in the line as well.

  3. One of my favorites. A great smoke. Highly recommended!

  4. Spot on review of this particular VSG vitola – arguably one of the best non-cuban blends in the world today.

    Two years ago, I was gifted the cigar world’s equivalent of winning the mini lotto when a very good friend gave me a box of Ashton VSG Wizards. With it’s huge ring gauge, beautiful dark wrapper and mega flavor profile (not to mention that a box of Wizards is a 37 COUNT box), I can only imagine what they will be like when I finally open the box. The singles that I have are reserved for when I have a solid uninterrupted 2 hours at my lounge (The Oliva Lounge @ The Cigary in Wilmette, IL). What do you think a Panatella would be like in this blend?

    Thanks for all of your great reviews!

  5. You hit the nail on the head with this review. I just finished another VSG and in the last 2 years I think this is the stick that has been the most consistant and enjoyed on a regular basis.

  6. I’ve been sitting on a few VSG Wizards for several months, waiting for the right occasion–what libation would you recommend to pair with the VSG?

  7. I like pairing it with a single malt, but not a very peaty one. Dalmore 12 y.o, Talisker 10… Your mileage may vary :)

  8. Daniel Baril says:

    Ashton VSG cigars are some of my favorites.They truly are premium smokes,a must have!

  9. First VSG I ever smoked was an Illusion. It was a particularly dark wrappered example. One of the most memorable smokes in my 37 years of smoking Cigars. Wonderfully rich and chewy smoke. That wrapper is something really special. Sometimes I take a longer butt, like one that you had to unfortunately put down half way through, and transfer the wrapper to something like a LFD Ligero. Makes for an outstanding smoke.

  10. My review of the Ashton VSG

    For a higher end stick I am disappointed with the way the cigar is constructed. There is a very large vein running the length of the cigar and the cigar is kind of lumpy. It does have a slight box press which is nice, but overall this cigar does not look very appealing. I do like the band on these cigars though, very classy looking.

    The first third of this cigar offers dry notes of cedar and natural tobacco. There is tanginess to the cigar that is somewhat fruity but the finish is so dry I can’t seem to place it. The second third is much of the same but the finish becomes less dry and a leathery component is added. The final third is again much of the same, but the body picks up which makes the flavors a little more pronounced.

    The draw was great on this cigar but the burn is uneven and required multiple touch ups. The ash held on pretty good but was pretty flaky. The body started out just shy of medium, but progressed in the second third to medium and in the final third, medium to full.

    For a higher priced stick and with all the attention this cigar gets, I was expecting more. The construction was poor and the burn was way off. Usually I can deal with those elements but the flavors were somewhat one-dimensional and didn’t have much depth for much of the cigar. For the price I can find many other cigars I enjoy much more. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice stick but I’ll pick up a Tatuaje or a Pepin that I can enjoy much more.

  11. Adam, everything you didn’t like in your review are subject to individual example and the uneven construction in your example would explain the lack of flavor development. So you’ve decided you don’t like this brand/vitola after one self-described poorly made sample and managed to name drop your favorites. Well done. As the rest of us can contend, after many many smokes, this is an excellent cigar and a great value.

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