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Cigar Geeks Geek Critique

Illusione Gigantes
Written by Cigar Geeks Member: Gary (headfirst)
84
Cigar Geeks Rating

Welcome to another Member sponsored Geek Critique.  This one has been generously sponsored by our member biggsy16 (Rich).  The cigar provided for this round is the Illusione Gigantes Maduro.

The Hype:
Illusione cigars were a dream made into a reality by cigar retail veteran Dion Giolito. Dion had been working in cigar stores and eventually running his own cigar shop for about 15 years. Like a lot of cigar fanatics, he wanted to create his own cigar that was blended for his own personal taste. Dion made a great choice when he paired up with Paul Palmer of Casa Fernandez cigars to make Illusion cigars. Illusione cigars are made with 1st generation Corojo ’99 and Criollo ’98 tobacco grown in Nicaragua. Illusione cigars are a bold, medium to full bodied experience with a complex blend of flavors ranging from coffee, earth and leather. The taste is reminiscent of pre-Sandanista Nicaraguan cigars.

Illusione Gigantes cigars are a big follow up to the very popular Illusione Rothchilde. The newest cigar from the boutique brand is full of flavor yet medium-bodied, precisely what Illusione is known for.

This large and in charge cigar is packed with earthy flavors such as cocoa, salted nuts, leather, pepper, and has a sweet creaminess from the dark Mexican San Andres maduro wrapper and the well-aged blend of Aganorsa long-fillers derived from Nicaragua. Joined with an enjoyable floral aroma, this premium cigar is not too big for your britches.

A blend of Nicaraguan Criollo ’98 and Corojo ’99, and finished with a 'Capa Rustica' San Andreas Wrapper. Medium to full-bodied and very complex. The CT series is a blend of Nicaraguan Criollo ’98 and Corojo ’99, and finished with a Connecticuit Shade Wrapper from Ecuador. Medium bodied and very complex.


Length:
6.5
Ring Gauge:
56
Country Manufactured:
Nicaragua
Filler:
Nicaragua
Binder:
Nicaragua
Wrapper:
Mexico
Color:
Maduro
Strength:
Full
Shape:
Toro Gordo

This cigar was enjoyed with Masterson's Rye Whiskey and water

Pre-Light: 17 Points of 20 Possible

It's aptly named, a big ol' stick somewhere between a gran toro and a churchill, with a weight in the hand that feels about right and no soft spots.  No obvious veins in this dark maduro wrapper, not very oily but also not very toothy.  The seams were tight and barely visible and the cap seemed well applied.

A guillotine cut revealed a draw that was a little too tight for comfort.  I squeezed the head and rolled and ended up cracking off half of the remaining cap, and it didn't help the draw.  Perfectdraw tool to the rescue, boring out a couple inches loosened it up enough to work with.

Prelight aroma was barnyard, florals, and spices on the foot, not much on the actual wrapper.

Light & Burn: 11 Points of 15 Possible

She lit up like a dream, real easy to get her going, which is funny given that I had to stoke it on nearly every puff to get a full draw into my mouth.  It didn't get overly hot until the nub though so it was workable.

It burned wobbly all the way but never so much that I had to correct it with a lighter.  The ash held for about 2 inches, it wasn't flaky but the uneven burn made for a sloppy ash with the wrapper leaf curling back often.  Smoke volume after stoking was very nice, very full draws.

Total smoke time was about 2 hours, very reasonable for this size cigar.

Construction: 28 Points of 30 Possible

As mentioned before, the draw needed a little help pre-light, but no problems thereafter.  The busted cap never loosened, no unraveling, and I wasn't babying it.  The wrapper leaf was sturdy given all the stoking and purging I was doing, no cracking in the heat or anything.  Very well made.

Flavor: 28 Points of 35 Possible

She goes right to work kicking me in the face with immediate tobacco strength and flavors of earth/coffee, black pepper, leather, and oak.  I know right away whiskey will not be too overpowering for this sucker. The strength seemed to ease up a little about halfway down, from full to medium to full I'd say.  The pepper faded after the first inch or so but the other flavors carried on through the rest of the smoke.  As far as personal preference goes, this was a little more earth/coffee dominant than I like, but the flavors are good nonetheless.  It's one of those that leaves your tongue a little raw from the strength.

Summary

Thanks to Rich for telling me I will be reviewing this one, ha ha.  It was a pleasure to give this a try.  It's a pretty solid cigar.  If you like an earthy maduro that is potent, this is worth considering, but give yourself a couple hours at least, she's gigante!



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