Origin : Honduras
Format : Perfecto
Size : 5 5/8 x 46
Wrapper : Nicaragua
Filler : Nicaragua, Honduras
Binder : Nicaragua
Price : ~$8 each
More info about purchasing Cruzado cigars...
In this review, Tim A.K.A. Handypilot draws a comparison between Cruzado and Illusione flavor profiles. Enjoy!
This stick is part of Cruzado series of smokes from Dion Giolito's Illusione brand. Similar to the Illusione, though a slightly lower price point, they incorporate blends of Criollo and Corojo. However, the Cruzado line is 2 parts Criollo and 1 part Corojo, as opposed to Illusione's 1 part Criollo and 2 parts Corojo. This stick was gifted to me from a fellow BOTL and was my first Cruzado. I was somewhat anxious to smoke the Marelas as I'm a big fan of Illusione. Here's my take...
Prelight: A distinct barnyard smell, prelight draw was great with sweet tobacco flavor. Construction was good - it had a nice semi-smooth wrapper and attractive shape. However, there was a little too much vegetable gum to hold the foot together, which caused some burn issues I'll discuss momentarily.
1/3: Initial tastes of sweet chocolate with a little spice, and smooth. Draw is near perfect once the foot burns down a bit. Burn is pretty even so far with one correction from a poor initial lighting. The initial lighting flamed up a bit around the wrapper from vegetable gum burning. Smooth and sweet without any spice now. Ash holding at 1/2" to 3/4". Very much like some of the Illusiones with flavors more subdued and lacking the distinct flavor floral/earth sweetness - More of a caramel sweet. Burn a little uneven, and needing another correction.
2/3: Starting to get hints of that Illusione earthy sweetness now. Burn uneven again and requiring a touchup. Ash holding on about 1". Aroma is very nice and sweet, smells like something sweet baking. The Illusione taste has gone away, but flavor has gotten more carmely sweeter with a near perfect burn and a perfect draw. Very smoothy and creamy - no spice.
3/3: Spice has come back a bit. A little bitter after a relight, but that didn't last too long. I did notice, along with my wife, a little nutmeg aroma.
The perfecto shape is very attractive, with a nice rich brown color and a slight colorado tone. The band was simple and elegant, though it won't win any art awards like the Opus X. The wrapper is semi-smooth with a couple small veins that blend well with its format.
This is a well constructed cigar. The perfecto shape lends witness to the skills of the torcedor... especially when it has a perfect draw. The burn issues mentioned are simply attributed to my humidity issues, and my dry-boxing impatience. The one thing I did deduct for was the vegetable gum flare-up at the foot. The liberal use of gum to create the perfecto foot caused the initial burn issues.
This is a medium bodied cigar, with medium strength and flavor. There was a great deal of complexity with subtle flavors going in and out... This sit well with me. The Cruzado Marelas occasionally had hints of the Illusione line, which I really like, and may be attributed to the Corojo it shares. This cigar was also smooth, but had the occasional tingle on the tongue to mix it up a bit. The Marelas would've received 5 stars if the flavors were more pronounced, but that's my palate. The flavors were pretty good for a cigar that has more viso than ligero, and would make the medium-bodied cigar lover very happy.
This is a good cigar for the money, and any fan of Illusione should consider Dion's Cruzado line. It shares much of the same qualities and flavor as it's older brother, but a little cheaper. However, it's not much cheaper than Illusione (~$1/stick). I would spend the little extra and get the fuller flavored sibling.
Overall Rating :
This was a nice cigar with regards to flavor and complexity. The flavors came in and out, and sometimes paralleled Illusione. It took me about 1:15 to smoke, but takes me a while. Most will probably smoke this in 1:00. There were some issues with the burn and there was a couple relights. I attribute this to my humi being slightly high, and I dry-boxed it for only an hour. I'll give the Cruzado line another try, but I'm not convinced to stock it regularly. To be continued...