Illusione 888 “Necessary & Sufficient”

Illusione 888

Origin : Nicaragua
Format : ChurchillIllusione
Size : 6 3/4 x 48
Wrapper : Nicaragua
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Hand-Made
Price : ~$9 each
More info about purchasing Illusione 888 cigars...

The Illusione 888 “Necessary & Sufficient” is a Nicaraguan puro Churchill created by Dion Giolito. The name of the cigar is a testament to Giolito’s Christian faith. The number 888 is a numerological representation of the name of Christ. “‘Necessary and Sufficient’ both describes the balance and profile of the cigar,” explains Giolito on his website. “It also represents to not go wanting. He is all I need, He is necessary and sufficient.” The Illusione brand may not be the most globally famous cigar brand, but it still has quite a following, and for good reason. Illusione cigars have a reputation for quality, and the 888 is no exception.

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Illusione ~2~

Illusione No. 2

Origin : Nicaragua
IllusioneFormat : Torpedo
Size : 5 1/4 x 52
Wrapper : Nicaraguan
Filler : Nicaraguan
Binder : Nicaraguan
Hand-Made
Price : ~$8-9 each
More info about purchasing Illusione cigars...

The Illusione ~2~ looks feisty. Short and stubby but a deep brown that exudes power and as I turn it to peer down the foot, I see a dense weave of ligero throughout the bunch.

As I light it, I find myself a bit surprised. At first it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be as spicy as I thought and certainly not as spicy as the ~mk~ (which is a limited release with an extra oomph thrown in).

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Illusione Epernay Le Matin

Illusione Epernay Le Matin

Origin : NicaraguaIllusione
Format : Corona Gorda Extra
Size : 6 3/4 x 46
Wrapper : Nicaragua
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Hand-Made
Price : $12 each
More info about purchasing Illusione Epernay cigars...

We are glad to welcome Kaleehb, our new reviewer, to the CigarInspector.com community!

Released in 2010, the Le Matin is the first size in the Epernay line to be box pressed and offered in boxes of 25. After seeing the discontinued M-7 boxes lying about the factory floor, Dion Giolito decided to put them to use in making a cigar with balance and elegance. By perfectly blending Nicaraguan Criollo and Corojo tobaccos and topping it with a Rosado wrapper Dion was able to create this newest member of the Epernay portfolio.

On to the review…

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Cruzado Domenicas Extra

Cruzado Domenicas Extra

Origin : HondurasCruzado
Format : Toro
Size : 6 x 56
Wrapper : Nicaraguan Criollo '98
Filler : Nicaraguan/Honduran (Criollo '98 & Corojo '06)
Binder : Nicaraguan
Hand-Made
Price : $10 each
More info about purchasing Cruzado cigars...

The Cruzado is a line of cigars released by Dion Giolito, owner of Illusione cigars. They are the only cigars that are not Nicaraguan puros in his portfolio. Cruzado means "bearer of the cross" and the bands are gilded in gold, silver, and black with the Cruzado name aside the Crest of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Much like the Illusione MJ12's, the Domenicos Extra is wrapped in gold foil instead of silver.

It seems that availability of the Cruzado line is fairly more limited than his other popular lines (Epernay & Illusione). And among the Cruzados, the Domenicos Extra is the rarest. Several of the other vitolas have been discontinued over time only leaving a few sizes left. It's no secret that I am a huge fan of the Illusione & Epernay lines, and the former seems to be the overall favorite cigar amongst my circle of friends. The Domenicos Extras I smoked for this review are the first I have had of the Cruzado line. So here goes,...

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Illusione Ultra MK

Illusione Ultra MK

Origin : NicaraguaIllusione
Format : Corona
Size : 5.1 x 42
Wrapper : Nicaraguan Corojo
Filler : Nicaraguan
Binder : Nicaraguan
Hand-Made
Price : $7.80 each
More info about purchasing Illusione MK Ultra cigars...

The Raices Cubanas factory has made a quite a bit of noise the last few years with releases from the likes of Viaje and especially Illusione. Dion Giolito has carved out his own niche in the cigar world and keeps coming up with new hits. The Ultra MK supposedly is the first release of a new line of cigars within the Illusione mainline brand (his other brands being Epernay, Cuchillos Cubanos, Cruzado, and the former joint venture Nosotros). These particular cigars were recommended by buddy Abdul @ Habana House Cigars in Austin, TX (3601 South Congress, Suite-D200, (512)447-9449). Abdul has pretty similar tastes to my own, and these new sticks came in, and he immediately took me into the humidor to pick these up along with some of the new Cruzado Domenicos Extras. This being only my second review of Illusione cigars for Cigar Inspector, how did it fare?...

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Illusione ~88~ Candela

Illusione ~88~ Candela

Origin : Honduras
IllusioneFormat : Robusto
Size : 5.0″ x 52
Wrapper : Candela
Filler : Nicaraguan
Binder : Nicaraguan
Hand-Made
Price : $9 each
More info about purchasing Illusione cigars...

Green is the new Brown… Or something like that. Dion Giolito of Illusione Cigars seems to be single-handedly championing a return of the Candela wrapper to premium cigars. Once a mainstay of American cigar smoking, the modern smoker tends to look down on the green cigar wrapper as being too mild, near flavorless, or too grassy. The truth is they are right. Just about any candela wrapped cigar you find on the market today isn’t very good. It turns out that perhaps this is because no one bothers to put the wrapper on a good cigar. That is until Dion started putting it on his Illusione cigars. The first to get the green treatment was the lancero - the ~hl~ or Holy Lance. Now you can also find the Candela on the very large ~888~ and the beefy robusto ~88~.

When I saw the Candela ~88~ on the shelf and I was intrigued. I hadn’t tried a Candela wrapped cigar in ages and none I have ever had were any good, but this time the wrapper was on a cigar/blend that I knew I really enjoyed so I had to give it a try. I was amazed. The wrapper dramatically changes the cigar when compared to an ~88~ with its normal Nicaraguan wrapper. It was crisp and smooth. The Illusione core flavors of Earth and leather are still very much present, but they are expertly balanced with a slight sweetness and tea notes. Later in the smoke I started to pick up a floral component to the flavors as well. It was an amazingly good smoke, complex in flavor and visually interesting with its bright green wrapper. This is one Candela that is certainly worth trying.

Illusíone Singularé 2010 Phantom

Illusíone Singularé 2010 Phantom

Origin : Honduras
IllusioneFormat : Toro
Size : 6.0′ x 50
Wrapper : Nicaraguan
Filler : Nicaraguan
Binder : Nicaraguan
Hand-Made
Price : $12 each
More info about purchasing Illusione cigars...

The Phantom is the 2010 version of Illusione’s Limited Edition “Singularé” cigar line. It is a refined looking toro with a handsome wrapper that has the look of fine leather. It is a mild to medium bodied smoke. Not much spice to be found here which is unusual of a cigar that uses all Nicaraguan tobacco. It starts off light and mild with creamy flavors of cedar and toasted tobacco with a subtle bit of earthiness. Eventually it picks up a bit. The flavors are consistent but develop more body and there is an added floral undertone and a bit of sweetness that adds some complexity. This was an excellent smoke and a very different profile for Illusione. I found it to be even lighter and more mild that some of the Epernay line. Still mild doesn’t mean flavorless as this stick had plenty to offer. I feel like I use this word a lot when talking about various cigars from Illusione, but it fits so I’ll use it again… Elegant. This cigar has a very refined and elegant feel to it. Grab some if you can still find them.

Raices Cubanas Candela War

Illusione 88 Candela VS Viaje White Label Project Candela

Illusione 88 Candela VS Viaje White Label Project Candela
Origin : Nicaragua
Format : Robusto
Size : 5 x 52 (Illusione), 5 x 50 (Viaje)
Wrapper : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Filler : Nicaragua
Hand-Made
Price : $8-9 each
Smoked 2 of each for review

Since two of the top brands in the industry (Illusione and Viaje) decided to come out with candela cigars, I found it only appropriate to match these up face to face to see how they compare. The two cigars are the Viaje White Label Project Candela and Illusione’s 88 Candela. What makes this match up even more interesting is that both cigars come out of the same factory. For a lot of people out there this may be a problem, especially for those loyal to their brands and they don’t like the fact that the factory allowed two candelas to leave its doors. Some even have gone as far as to say that Andre Farkas of Viaje is following (or copying) the lead of Dion Giolito. But the only question to myself, was which one of the cigars was better? So whose cigar is King of the Candela?

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