The long-awaited Illusione Nosotros blend was released in 2009 in a joint venture between Jonathan Drew from Drew Estate and Dion Giolito from Illusione Cigars. These cigars are rolled in Drew Estate's factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. They come in eight vitolas with the Robusto been the subject of today’s review.
So as the story goes, Pepin’s son Jamie had a secret project he was working on. He was creating a cigar in tribute to his father and he was doing it behind Pepin’s back. He managed to keep it a secret up until he was nearly finished with it and when Pepin found out about it he told his son to give him three cigars which he promptly smoked and loved. That is the Birth Story of My Father Cigars. The cigar is made up of tobacco from the Garcia’s own farms for the binder and filler, and the wrapper is a lovely and oily Habano leaf grown in Ecuador by the Oliva Tobacco family.
This is a cigar that I came across immediately following the release of Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 list of 2009. Naturally, being the obsessive-compulsive BOTL that I am, as soon as the list was published I immediately went to my local tobacconist to search out the 22 cigars on the list which are available in the U.S. My long trek through the top 25 list spanned several months, two states, and at least a half-dozen shops (and I still haven’t smoked the Opus X). Some of the cigars I smoked, of which reviews are forthcoming, were positively superb (the Padron 45th, the Casa Magna Solomon, and the Padilla 1932, to name a few), some not so much, some pretty good but simply not worth the hype, or the price tag, or both; but the broke college student in me holds in highest esteem those smokes that can consistently put a smile on my face for less than 12 dollars. The cigar that I’ll be reviewing today does just that, and for a mere 6 dollar price tag and about 70 minutes smoke time, you simply can’t go wrong.
I don’t know about you, but over the past several years it seemed to me that everything CAO did was centered around some kind of gimmick. Neon lighted humidors, barber pole wrappers, car trunk cigar boxes, etc. The focus has been all on the marketing and gimmicks to the point it seemed as if they had lost touch with just making cigars. It showed in the quality of the smokes they were putting out too. Then the go and release the La Taviata. No gimmicks, no fancy boxes or over the top elaborate modernized bands. Just a classic style cigar with a classic looking band and even using an old classic Cuban brand name. Very un-CAO like really. I have to say they should concentrate on the cigar itself more often, but more on that soon.
The Joya de Nicaragua Antaño Dark Corojo blend was introduced in 2009, and it is definitely a powerhouse. This puro features tobacco from the famed Esteli region of Nicaragua. It is a strong cigar, as the foot band indicates (Fuerte Doble = Double Strength). This 6 X 54 Torpedo is known as the “Poderoso” which, in Spanish, translates to “Powerful”.
The Verocu extension of the Tatuaje Havana VI line was first introduced as a two vitola regional release. There was the West Coast version, the No. 1 Lado Occidental, and the East Coast’s No. 2 Zona del Este. Each was sold in cabinets of 50 cigars. They were a huge hit and remain a favorite of many Tatuaje fans. They were a limited release however, and much to the dismay of those fans, they are no longer made and extremely hard to find and generally unavailable. If you don’t already have some you aren’t likely to get any. But despair not, there have been subsequent releases of the Verocu blend like the No.9 which is a Holts exclusive. The most recent addition to the line is the Verocu Tubos, a tubed Torpedo measuring an ample six and one eighth inches in length and sporting a beefy 52 ring gauge. It comes armored in a very nice, bright red aluminum tube and is available in boxes of 10.
When I first began smoking, a fellow BOTL generously set me up with a large assortment of cigars including some that he deemed as daily smokers. A dozen of these were the Sol Cubano Series B’s. Being far more focused on premium smokes at the time, I stored these away in my humidor. After gifting several of them to infrequent smoking friends and family along the way I discovered that almost everyone who tried them deemed it an enjoyable session. While traveling recently, I had a failed attempt (underfilled) at my first PSD4 and the only other smokes with me were ones that I had planned on giving out, one of which was the Series B. Thinking it the perfect opportunity, I broke one out in order to see what everyone was so pleased with.
The Tatuaje Cojonu 2009 is part of the Cojonu extension of the Tatuje Brown Label line. Also known as Tatuaje Miami, Tatuaje Classics, Tatuaje Cabinet series, and even more formally (and very rarely) as Tatuaje La Seleccion de Cazador. The Cojonu extension is a series of very strong cigars that are released in a new shape every three years. It started with the Cojonu 2003 which was a long toro, and that was followed by the Cojonu 2006; a belicoso. So 2009 predictably brought us the next installment which happens to be a very long torpedo with a very short and rounded taper at the head. As I have always understood it, each of these cigars is the same blend with the same binder and wrapper, the difference with each edition being the vitola. So it is good to note that the year on these cigars does not refer to what most cigar smokers normally associate a year with. It doesn’t have to do with the crop, or the year it was made. It is simply the name of the vitola. Much like the Lonsdale in the classic Brown label line is called a Havana Cazadore, this torpedo is called 2009. All three vitolas are regular production cigars and all three are still made and available today.