Cruzado Marelas

Cruzado Marelas

Origin : HondurasCruzado
Format : Perfecto
Size : 5 5/8 x 46
Wrapper : Nicaragua
Filler : Nicaragua, Honduras
Binder : Nicaragua
Price : ~$8 each

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.

Appearance : Rating: ★★★★½
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.

Cruzado Marelas

Construction : Rating: ★★★★☆
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.

Cruzado Marelas

Flavor : Rating: ★★★★☆
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.

Value : Rating: ★★★½☆
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 : 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…

11 Comments on “Cruzado Marelas”

  1. Stephen P says:

    Good review. I haven’t had either of the smokes. My local B&M recently started carrying Illusion.

  2. The Cruzado line sounds like a must try cigar. I have not smoked any of Dion Giolito’s lines yet but hope to change that soon.
    Thanks for the review.

  3. I love Cruzado. Anytime I order from a site that carries them, I try to throw a couple in the basket. The Elitas is probably my favorite size, though I smoke more of the Dantes.

  4. I’ve been on the fence about Illusione but every review of the Cruzado I’ve seen seems to fit my taste preferance a little better. I’ll have to try this when I can. Any Illusiones are hard to find where I am.

  5. Keith1911 says:

    I’ve tried multiple Illusione cigars and can say the Cruzado is the only one I’ve liked. I enjoyed the earthy flavors on the one I smoked.

  6. My first shot with the Marelas wasn’t that great but I gave it another shot and the second time around was markedly better. I am a big fan of the Cruzados. The Elitas is my favorite of the bunch. Thanks for the great review.

  7. What am awesome cigar!

  8. Having smoked both the Illusione and Cruzado lines I can say they both are very, very good cigars. Try the Illusione Epernay La Elegance it is smooth. On the Cruzado side Avalitios it is a great short smoke.

  9. have avoided Cruzados so far, maybe I should give ’em a try.

  10. I’m with Daize: been avoidin’, mebbe should be enjoyin’!

  11. Try the Cruzado Avalitos – these are the best of the Cruzado line in my opinion!

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