Illusione Fume d’Amour Viejos

Illusione Fume d'Amour Viejos

Origin : Nicaragua
Format : RobustoIllusione
Size : 5 x 50
Wrapper : Nicaragua
Filler : Nicaragua
Binder : Nicaragua
Price : ~$9.50 each

Illusione isn’t a brand that adds several new cigars to its line every year—and that’s a good thing. The pressure to release a new cigar every year can lead to compromises in quality, and personally I think it’s best when a company puts in as much time as it needs to in order to make something really excellent. At the time of its releae at 2014 IPCPR, the Illusione Fume d’Amour was the first new cigar line from this brand in three years, which makes it a very exciting release.

The name Fume d’Amour uses French words but according to a friend it doesn’t really make sense to French ears (it should have rather been called fumée d’amour). I guess it could be translated to “love smoke” or “to love to smoke”. It’s a Nicaraguan puro manufactured at the TABSA Factory in Jalapa. As a matter of interest, no ligero leaves were used in its construction, only seco and viso leaves. It’s available in four sizes: Lagunas (4.5 x 42), Clementes (6.5 x 48), Viejos (5 x 50), and Capristanos (6 x 56). For this review, I smoked the Viejos.

Appearance : Rating: ★★★★½
The Illusione Fume d’Amour is a lovely stick to look at with a wrapper the color of milk chocolate. Oil adds a sheen and there are a few large veins and a number of small ones. The triple cap is perfect and the wrapper is smooth to the touch. The band is all right, but isn’t particularly eye-catching. The letters are very small and not the easiest to read.

Construction : Rating: ★★★★★
There is nothing whatsoever to complain about here! The draw is perfect right from the start and stays that way, and so does the burn, which was razor sharp. I did have to make a couple of minor adjustments, but nothing outside the norm. The ash was firm and built up nicely without much flaking, medium gray in color.

Flavor : Rating: ★★★★★
The appearance and construction of this cigar are matched by its wonderful flavors. There is a lot of complexity here. You start out with sweet nuts, red pepper, cocoa, and an undercurrent of cream. There’s a lot of sweetness and just a dash of salt, and also a hint of citrus, perhaps lemon. The flavors only continue to build through the first third. Cedar enters, followed cinnamon and something like pastry, and then a floral note. Caramel has also come out to play. During the second third, the red pepper becomes more prominent and so does the sweetness, balancing it out perfectly. In the final third, the most prominent flavors are coffee, cream, red pepper, cocoa, nuts and that floral note I can’t identify. Cedar also becomes more expressive.

Essentially there is a slow build in flavors during the first third, and then during the second and final third, those flavors trade places, emerging and submerging, but no new flavors present themselves.

Value : Rating: ★★★★☆
I’ve seen a price range for this stogie; at the lower end you can buy the Illusione Fume d’Amour for around $6.50, and at the upper end you’ll pay closer to $9.50. I feel like the upper end of that is getting a bit steep (but still for a very good cigar), but the lower end is quite an excellent deal.

Overall Rating : Rating: ★★★★★
The Illusione Fume d’Amour is a wonderfully complex cigar which not only has an interesting flavor profile, but builds up in an exciting way. All of the flavors meld together beautifully in an intricate dance on the palate. Construction is phenomenal. This is the result of three years of hard work. Illusione may not release cigars as often as other brands, but when they do, it’s well worth the wait.