Size: 5″ x 52
Smoking Time: 1.5 hours
First Impression: As I was browsing my B&M looking for a stick, the Illusione 88 jumped out at me. With its curiously bumpy rich red-brown wrapper it was certainly unlike the other sticks I was considering. So I bought a couple. 9 months later it is time to review them! The foot is very clean and the triple cap is expertly applied. The sticks are rather veiny, but nothing large or out of hand. It cut well and the cold draw gave me a nice woody leather taste with a spicy aroma left in the nostrils.
First Third: The cigar lit beautifully and there is a delectably complex wood flavor, mostly cedar and mahogany, coupled with a caramel-like sweetness and a moderately peppery finish. It’s very earthy and thick. Most of the wood flavors must be coming from the wrapper as the same flavors linger on the lips. The smoke is dark-brown and grey that matches the color of the somewhat odd-looking ash. The burn is relatively uneven, but not needing a touch-up. The one thing that does stand out to me beyond the nicely complex flavor is the superior draw. I mean, it was phenomenal.
Second Third: Almost immediately after the first third, the cigar ashed and went out. What a bummer. However the second third is where this stick truly blossomed. The pepper subsided to the background and the sweetness came forth. The wood flavor is still just as present, but there are hints of coffee now too. The only unfortunate part was the constant babysitting and relighting that was required. 3 times it went out and had to be restarted. It seemed guaranteed with every ashing.
Final Third: The burn troubles continued in this final third, but the great flavor compelled me to continue. During this final third there was actually an interesting flavor that I could only pick up on the relight. It was strange. Like a whipped sugary egg white. Syrupy almost. It was brand new texture. I put the cigar to rest when the wood started to taste more like charcoal.
Conclusion: This was a complex and very unique stick. From the diversity of the flavors to the interesting tactile sensation of the wrapper, this was definitely unlike most cigars. Although there were many things to enjoy about the cigar, the constant babysitting and relighting got tedious at about the 3rd relight. Still, I know this is a cigar that I will return to and one I would recommend trying at least once as it is so unique.
I give this cigar a 4.25 out of 5
Notes: Caramel, pepper, cedar, oak, earth, coffee, egg, graham cracker