Illusione Cruzado

2/19/2014 been in humidor since 1/29/2014

Illusione Cruzado Elitas (6 x 44)

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollio Rosado

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filelr: Nicaraguan

Blender: Dion Giolito

This cigar has been around since 2008. It is a variant of the original Illusione blend, with this blend focusing more on the criollo leaf more than the corojo and the ligero leaves being replaced with viso leaves. These changes make the cigar more flavor driven and less power driven with a softer feel.

In a way, this makes them more traditional than many of the cigars on the market currently. The classic Cuban ring gauge and the lack of over the top power does not seem to appeal to the large ring gauge and spice bomb driven non-Cuban market. Therefore Illusione, and specifically the Cruzado, seem to go under the radar on many big name forums, B&Ms, and even online. It seems that the hardcore enthusiasts are the only people talking about Illusione.

Don’t think that this cigar is so unknown that it has nothing to show for itself. The brand, and this line, have been very positively reviewed on many of the top publications and review websites, winning accolades that include terms like “best of show” and “cigar of the year” and “hottest boutique brand.”

The Cruzado Elitas is a wonderfully dark brown/red lonsdale. The wrapper is very uneven in tone, showing the actual natural fementation process. The cap looks expertly crafted and winds up to a pigtail that is flattened against the cap. If not careful it would be easy to miss that it has this classic Cuban cap. There are many veins in the both the wrapper leaf and showing through from the binder. The rustic look makes the cigar look almost seamless. A simple but striking band of gold, silver and black completes the cigar. It is an excellent color scheme given the color of the cigar itself.

DSCN1086

This cigar has almost no bouquet, a quality that is usually found on aged cigars. The aging of the tobacco probably happened before the cigar was rolled. The lick on the cap is cedar in taste with a bit of a tart note on it as well. After cutting with a double guillotine a near perfect draw is discovered. There is a gentle umami note that leans to roasted nuts and rye bread.

Light with a soft flame.

The first hot draws bring on heavy flavors of earth and leather and cedar. There is an undertone of sweetness to the initial part of the draw as well. On the finish there is a bit of a pepper note that lingers long into the finish. As the cigar settles in the cedar note begins to slowly cannibalize the leather, and then most of the earth. Through the nose there is a bit more pepper and a bit more cedar but the cedar is a bit more sharp through the nose making it a touch floral.

As the cigar settles in, these notes mellow out and become very relaxing. The spice dies out and is only an impression on the tongue in the finish. This finish is very mush a fresh mushroom flavor. It goes very well with the soft cedar on the initial draw.

The middle third becomes more earth and leather again. The cigar is smooth mellow and round in flavor. Nothing is overpowering on the palate, but once smoke is pushed through the nose there is a bit of a burn that is just slightly out of balance with both the flavors and body of the cigar. The retrohale also has a slight musk to it that stays into the finish. The finish of the middle third has a slight drying quality. Without this quality the spice may be lost. Given the flavor profile on the palate this drying quality is needed because the spice makes the finish complex and enjoyable.

The final third starts off with a touch up on the burn. This cigar apparently does not enjoy a slow smoking style. The flavors have transitioned to a roasted earth flavor. It has the same roasted qualities that a dark roast coffee has but it is not coffee. It is definitively earth. The retrohale is essentially the same as the first two thirds but the flavors on the palate are different. The transitions are not defined. They are noticed long after they have changed. Its a slow subtle change but absolutely there.

The cigar ends on warmer earth note with walnuts and black tea. The complexity of this smoke is fairly amazing.

Burn to the burn

time: 1 hour 55 min

burn: 8.5
draw: 9.5
taste: 9
aftertaste: 9
construction: 10
balance: 9
feel: 9

overall: 9.1

I suspect this cigar will also age well.

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~ by kuzi16 on February 20, 2014.

One Response to “Illusione Cruzado”

  1. I haven’t had this one yet, but I love pretty much every Illusione that I smoke.

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