Illusíone Singularé 2010 Phantom Tuesday, May 24 2011 

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Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Toro 6.0′ x 50 ring

The Phantom is the 2010 version of Illusione’s Limited Edition “Singularé” cigar line. It is a refined looking toro with a handsome wrapper that has the look of fine leather. It is a mild to medium bodied smoke.  Not much spice to be found here which is unusual of a cigar that uses all Nicaraguan tobacco. It starts off light and mild with creamy flavors of cedar and toasted tobacco with a subtle bit of earthiness. Eventually it picks up a bit. The flavors are consistent but develop more body and there is an added floral undertone and a bit of sweetness that adds some complexity. This was an excellent smoke and a very different profile for Illusione.  I found it to be even lighter and more mild that some of the Epernay line. Still mild doesn’t mean flavorless as this stick had plenty to offer. I feel like I use this word a lot when talking about various cigars from Illusione, but it fits so I’ll use it again… Elegant. This cigar has a very refined and elegant feel to it. Grab some if you can still find them.

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Illusione ~hl~ (Holy Lance) Maduro Tuesday, Feb 15 2011 

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Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Lancero 7.5 x 40 ring

The standard Illusione ~hl~ is a favorite of mine.  I consider it the single best Lancero on the market right now.  Whether you agree with me or not on that point, there is no denying it is an excellent cigar.  Recently Illusione added a Maduro and Candela version of this elegent Lancero.  I smoked a few of the Candelas recently and it proved to be an excellent version of the Holy Lance.  One I enjoyed very much.  It seemed only natural that I finish the cycle and try the third and final incarnation of the Lance.

I really enjoyed the ~hl~ with the maduro wrapper.  The flavors were very rich and very different from the others.  It was earthy with very nice dark chocolate notes and subtle bitter/semi sweet component to it.  It was perhaps not as complex as the other two.  It never really changed much but the thing about is that it doesn’t need to.  The flavors are deep and delicious. It is a great smoke that I enjoyed and never got bored with.  It is a total change of pace from the Rosado and the Candela ~hl~’s.

Illusione ~hl~ (Holy Lance) Candela Sunday, Jan 23 2011 

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Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Candela
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Lancero 7.5″ x 40 ring

I have to believe that this cigar is a first in the Modern Cigar Era.  A Candela wrapped Lancero.  I recently reviewed the Illusione ~88~ Candela which kindled a spark of interest for this wrapper that I largely ignored in the past.  Like I said in that review of the ~88~, Candela wrappers seemed to be reserved for use on bad cigars.  The regular Illusione ~hl~ sports a rosado wrapper and is probably my number one favorite Illusione cigar.  The standard ~hl~ is the definition of elegance and balance.  The Candela ~hl~ is a different animal.

I don’t know if the blend of this cigar was tweaked or just entirely different from the blend used for the standard Holy Lance but this green version tastes nothing like the original. The Candela is heavy on the palate with a strong spice.  The Candela wrapper imparts a crispness with a slight grassy note and a subtle sweetness that is almost complete over powered by the spice and tobacco flavors.  The heaviness of the flavors is backed up by a fairly stout punch in the strength department.  I found the ~hl~ Candela to be a bit rough around the edges but still a really good robust smoke.  If you asked me to pick a favorite of the Candelas I think I’d have to give the nod to the ~88~. One I will certainly enjoy again. Still, I thought the Lancero was excellent and offers a different Candela experience.  It is a cigar I will certainly enjoy again soon.  My Local just got a bunch of boxes in so I should be able to stay in good supply.

Illusione ~88~ Candela Wednesday, Jan 12 2011 

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Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Candela
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Robusto 5.0″ x 52 ring

Green is the new Brown…  Or something like that.  Dion Giolito of Illusione Cigars seems to be single-handedly championing a return of the Candela wrapper to premium cigars.  Once a mainstay of American cigar smoking, the modern smoker tends to look down on the green cigar wrapper as being too mild, near flavorless, or too grassy.  The truth is they are right.  Just about any candela wrapped cigar you find on the market today just isn’t very good.  It turns out that perhaps this is because no one bothers to put the wrapper on a good cigar.  That is until Dion started putting it on his Illusione cigars.  The first to get the green treatment was the lancero, the ~hl~ or Holy Lance.  Now you can also find the Candela on the very large  ~888~ and the beefy robusto ~88~.

When I saw the Candela ~88~ on the shelf and I was intrigued.  I hadn’t tried a Candela wrapped cigar in ages and none I have ever had were any good, but this time the wrapper was on a cigar/blend that I knew I really enjoyed so I had to give it a try.  I was amazed.  The wrapper dramatically changes the cigar when compared to an ~88~ with its normal Nicaraguan wrapper.  It was crisp and smooth.  The Illusione core flavors of Earth and leather are still very much present, but they are expertly balanced with a slight sweetness and tea notes.  Later in the smoke I started to pick up a floral component to the flavors as well.  It was an amazingly good smoke, complex in flavor and visually interesting with its bright green wrapper.   This is one Candela that is certainly worth trying.

Illusione ~hl~ (Holy Lance) Thursday, Oct 1 2009 

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Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: Lancero 7.5″ x 40 ring

Since Illusione cigars burst on the scene they have been well received and its creator Dion Giolito has reached near rock star status in the cigar community.  I shared some details on Dion and his cigar company in my review of the Illusion ~cg:4~ if you are interested.

The Holy Lance is a good looking lancero.  It has leathery rosado  wrapper with a traditional pigtail cap.  I am a fan of the lancero.  I feel that it is a size that lends itself to the ideal blend of filler and wrapper delivering the cigars true flavors.  The ~hl~ starts off with a blast of white pepper and heavy floral notes with an underlying sweetness that are just fantastic.  My enjoyment of the cigar is enhanced by a heady bouquet of floral aromas.  The whole experience reminds me of sitting down with a fine 16 year old scotch in a way.  The ~hl~ is not as powerful as other Illusiones providing a smooth medium bodied smoke.  Half way through the floral notes are complimented by smooth creamy flavors of nuts and wood.  In the last third it develops a nice spicy bite.

The construction is superb which is hard to do with this vitola that is sometimes prone to draw problems.  The draw was excellent and the burn is dead even.  The ash doesn’t hold for very long which is also common with a lancero so be sure to tap it often or you’ll have ash in your lap.  The ~hl~ is a superb,complex, and elegant smoke.  It is my favorite Illusione.  I have smoked a fair amount of lanceros from Oliva, Pepin Garcia, Litto Gomez, etc…. and I dare say the ~hl~ is the best lancero available today.

Rating – A

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