Origin : Honduras
Format : Toro
Size : 6 x 56
Wrapper : Nicaraguan Criollo '98
Filler : Nicaraguan/Honduran (Criollo '98 & Corojo '06)
Binder : Nicaraguan
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,...
The Domenicos Extra is a dark brown, perfectly cylindrical cigar with several large, long veins and visible seams. The tiny veins are even visible and highlighted by a lighter tan coloration. There is a Cuban triple cap and the tiniest of pig tails wrapped atop of the cap.
Just looking at it, everything seems to be in order with this cigar. The Cruzado is tightly packed with not much give when squeezed along its sides. The dry draw is a little tighter than I like but I can still move air through it fairly easily.
The burn through the first third was a little wavy but self-corrected sufficiently. The light grey ash holds on for an entire third and only fell off cause I drop the cigar on the ground.
From the second third in, the burn was hampered by thick veins and would not burn properly around the seams. There were 2-3 touch ups that were minor and afterwards the cigar would burn pretty well. All the way through the cigar put ample amounts of good creamy smoke.
Flavor : (3.75)
Dry draw reveals a little potpourri/floral thing going on with some hints of sweet tobacco.
On the first couple of puffs, the cigar is quite smooth, with little pepper, and nice flavors of cedar and leather. The strength of the smoke is definitely light and a little shy of medium strength. To me, this is a lighter Illusione MJ12 with a touch of cedar thrown into the mix.
Coming near the second third, the leather flavors I associate with Nica tobacco have disappeared and are replaced with nuttiness, cedar, and cinnamon spice. The body continues to be very mild and just short of medium still. Interesting enough, the profile is now more akin to the Epernay line.
In a unique turn, the last third of the cigar makes almost a complete 180 and heads for strength town. The body is amped up quite a bit and is a solid medium+. The mild cinnamon spice has been replaced with peppery spice that is mostly felt in the retrohale. I feel a lot of tannins in this portion of the cigar which leads me to believe that this cigar could age for a year or two and not lose much. The nuttiness is now met with woodsy flavors with a strong backing of cedar. This is a nice, long, enjoyable smoke that lasts almost 2 hours.
For the size and balance of this cigar it delivers a pretty solid value. $10 is really pushing it and I wouldn't pay anything over that for this particular stick. There is just too much out there to compete with if the price tag was a little higher.
Overall Rating : (3.75)
This is a good cigar. It's not my favorite among any of the other cigars Dion puts out, but with that said, I don't think there is a single bad stick that he has ever released. The profile is unique to the other offerings by Dion and I believe deserves a little more recognition compared to its cousins. It's not box worthy to my tastes but if anyone wants an Illusione-Epernay hybrid-like experience but not all of the strength, this is a good place to start. For me though, I like the other brands better, and prefer to stick with them, but this should not discourage any others out there from seeking out this cigar. Keep smoking my friends,...