Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
Size: Corona 6.0″ x 44 ring
The Cruzado is the newest creation from the man behind the immensely popular Illusione cigars, Dion Giolito. This new line is billed as being medium-bodied/medium strength in comparison to the full-bodied, powerful Illusione. Apparently to tone down the blend Dion chose to use the viso leaf instead of using ligero. Viso is the priming right below ligero on the tobacco plant. The Cruzado is made at the same factory as the Illusione, at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras. They are available is six sizes:
- Avalitos 4″ x 46 – petit robusto
- Dantes 5″ x 48 – robusto
- Domenicos 5 5/8″ x 46 – corona gorda
- Elitas 6″ x 44 – corona
- Marios 7″ x 47 – churchill
- Marelas 5 5/8″ x 46 – perfecto
One thing about this line that immediately jumps out at me is the ring gauges. Not a single one of these cigars breaks 48 in ring size, not even the perfecto. I applaud this. In an age where big, fat, jaw breaker cigars with 50+ ring gauges seem to be all anyone wants to make, I am happy to see a line of cigars made in more traditional sizes. I happen to think that cigars in the 42 to 48 range of ring sizes is ideal, allowing for an optimal marriage between the filler blend and the wrapper leaf. I am very excited to see the smaller ring gauges in this line of cigars and I look forward to trying all of them.
First up is the Elitas. A 6″ x 44 corona, this seemed like the perfect place to start. Afterall, you can’t get more traditional than the Corona. I am going to use a word, probably more than once, that I am beginning to feel I over use a bit, but it is the best word I can come up with in those situations that I use it. Rustic. The Criollo wrapper on the Cruzado is very rustic looking. It is rumpled looking, dark, and bumpy. It has a strange little pigtail on the head. It almost looks like a half-pigtail. Like they started to give it a pigtail cap and then just decided, “nah, never mind” and clipped it off leaving just little stub of the tail behind. The band has a medieval look too it. The silver looks more like steel and it is trimmed in gold that looks more like riveted brass. The font used to spell out Cruzado looks like it was lifted off of a knights coat of arms. All told it is a cool looking stick. I feel like I should be wearing some shades to be cool enough to smoke it, ha ha.
My initial draw delivers a blast of pepper and spice. This is supposedly a medium bodied cigar which makes me chuckle because this cigar has the volume turned up to 10, full bodied at least at the start. As I worked my way into the smoke it does settle down a bit but this is still a full bodied smoke and it packs a nice little punch in the strength department as well. The flavors are spicy with a slightly sweet finish, full of earth and leather. There are flashes of chocolate and something else I can’t identify. Maybe a slight tinge of citrus. What a complex flavor bomb. Not even half way through the cigar and I am blown away by this smoke. Chocolate, spice, earth, and a sweetness I cannot place keep swirling in and out with each puff all capped off with a long satisfying, citrusy finish. I have never smoked a cigar like this. It is truly unique. This is as good as any super premium cigar I’ve tried. Thick clouds of smoke billow out with each draw and the aroma is rich and decadent. The Burn and draw were perfect. The only negative thing I can say about this stick is the that the ash splits and curls off. tapping it frequently is a must to keep the ash out of your lap.
From start to finish this is an amazing smoke. This is nothing like an Illusione which is an outstanding cigar in its own right. Dion has come up with a completely different cigar with the Cruzado and it is a spectacular cigar. The Cruzado was billed as a medium bodied cigar, flavorful but a little less robust than the Illusione. If you ask me this is as full and strong as an Illusione if not more so. This may be the best cigar of 2008 and is possibly the best cigar to come out since the Tatuaje Brown Labels hit the scene. It is a MUST try.
Rating – A+
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