Archive for the ‘dion giolito’ Tag

Cruzado Dantes Cigar Review

Another one of Dion Giolito’s masterpieces is under review this week. The Cruzado.

Cruzado

Cruzado

I have heard of these cigars, but most shops locally in El Paso, Texas don’t even carry Illusione cigars, so unless I was to receive these as a gift or trade, I probably never would have got my grubby little paws on one.

Luckily, a great little shop by the name of Tobacco Road recently jumped on the Illusione bandwagon and not only started stocking Illusione cigars, but Cruzado as well. Adam, the owner of the shop, actually gifted me a few of the Cruzado cigars in hopes to spread word of the brand. If you’re ever in town, Tobacco Road is a must-stop.

The Good Stuff: As stated earlier, the Cruzado line of cigars is another line blended by the mastermind himself, Dion Giolito. The Cruzado line was released in mid 2008. With the success of Dion’s Illusione lines the Cruzado had quite a bit of hype to live up to. Unlike the full-bodied Illusione cigars the Cruzado is best described as a medium to full, with complex flavors, soft spices atop leather and general creaminess. The size I have recieved is the Dantes Robusto. The Cruzado is blended by Dion, and then rolled in the Raices Cubanas along with the rest of the Illusione line.

Size: 5 x 48 –  Wrapper: Nicaragua Criollo  –  Binder/Filler: Nicaraguan/Honduran  – Strength: Medium

Cruzado

Cruzado

Prelight: The Cruzado’s wrapper is very firm to the touch. There were no soft spots whatsoever, actually quite the opposite. The wrapper was nice and oily, but at the same time it seemed a bit firmer than what I was used to. As most of Dion’s cigars the Cruzado sports a nice, rounded triple cap. I really wish more cigar manufacturers would take a que from Cuban construction and triple wrap their caps. The cap seems to be the only portion of the cigar I ever really have any problems with. not only is the wrapper a nice, milk chocolate shade of brown, but it also carries with it chocolate scents with hints of spice. The foot of the Cruzado smells very leathery with notes of nutmeg.

Cruzado

Cruzado

Cold Draw: I cut this particular cigar using my Palio double-bladed cutter. The cut was very clean, and there were no signs of misconstruction upon the slice. The cold draw was very spicy, with timid hints of what I could only categorize best as German pastry.

First Smoke: The Cruzado was wrapped a bit too tight for my liking. I was able to pull a decent draw off of the cigar but it took far more hits than I am used to. Almost instantaneously I was smacked in the face with a burst of pepper I wasn’t expecting. Other flavors were oats, bread, spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, leather, and again the German pastry. The Cruzado didn’t leave much of an aftertaste, just the slight lingering tobacco taste that is expected when smoking cigars. The burn started off well but is beginning to get slightly wavy. It’s still too early into the cigar to tell how this will affect the overall experience. The Cruzado is a great retro-hale cigar, clean, non-burning. I got about and inch and a half into the Cruzado before the ash gave way for the first time.

Cruzado

Cruzado

Halfway There: Shortly after I reached the halfway point the draw began to open up a whole lot more. I was no longer having to hit this cigar three or four times to get the massive burst of smoke I wanted. The burn line did get a bit wavy and I had to touch it up, I don’t see any further issues with it though. The flavors are holding their own. At this point the pepper is no longer in the mix, more spice, vanilla, oats, and bread. I’m really quite surprised how slow this cigar is burning. The smoke is thick and very light in color where as the ash is a whole lot darker than what you would normally expect out of any cigar. It’s not really flaky, but it isn’t really packed either.

cruzado5

Cruzado

Finish: There was a slight harshness to the nub of the Cruzado, but not anything serious. It may be in part to the massive smoking I did early into the cigar. The Cruzado finished very smooth otherwise. There was no nicotine feel. Overall the Cruzado was an incredibly smooth smoke. The pepper made a quick return towards the end of the cigar, but just enough to effect the aftertaste. After the halfway touch-up I had no further burn issues at all. The flavors finished off very Vanilla Coffee Creamery, with Oaky Leather and hints of pepper.

Cruzado

Cruzado

Overview: Although the Cruzado had great flavors, and was extremely smooth, it was just a little on the light side for my taste. This isn’t to say I won’t have it again. I actually think the Cruzado will be one of the few Medium smoke I will have in my regular rotation. This is a perfect cigar for novice and casual smokers.

Cruzado

Cruzado

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Illusione Epernay Le Elegance

Right on schedule this week I set time aside to site back, relax, and enjoy an Illusione Epernay Le Elegance.

illusione_epernay_1

This Epernay was actually gifted to my by Agent 24 over at cigarspy. I have been trying to get my hands on a few Illusione’s for quite sometime, but no local shops anywhere near me whatsoever carry the line, nor do they plan to in the near future. (so if you have a few extras, let me know, we’ll set up a trade). I honestly couldn’t wait not only to smoke the Epernay, but to get a review done on it as well. Dion has a massive following, and his strength as a cigar manufacturer is quickly building up.

The Good Stuff: Illusione is a company founded by Dion Giolito, who started the company with hopes of creating a cigar that resembled old Nicaragua. Dion produced the Illusione line of cigars with only the best tobacco grown from Jalapa Valley, and Esteli Nicaragua. These cigars are perfectly constructed using Corojo from 1999, and Criollo from 1998 seeds that are then wrapped in Cafe Colorado with a near perfect cuban style triple cap.

Size: 5 3/4 x 40  –  Wrapper: Café Rosado  –  Filler/Binder: Corojo/Criollo  –  Origin: Nicaragua

Illusione Epernay

Illusione Epernay

Prelight: The Illusione Epernay is a bit different than most vitolas. This cigar sports a very long, slender shape. Honestly, I forsee this as a possible problem for the draw. It has a long way to travel, and not a lot clearance to go by. Luckily Dion knows his stuff and to compensate the Epernay is very loosely wrapped. The cigar is a bit soft, but nothing to be concerned about. I found one small soft spot directly in the center of the cigar, hopefully it won’t be too much of a pain once I get there. The Epernay is very light, and creamy brown in color. It looks similar to a pecan sandie, and even smells a bit like one too. The first scents I pulled off of this cigar were grassy, earthy, with hints of nuts, vanilla, and honey. The triple cap is completely evident, you can even see it through the blur in the above picture. 99% of the time this is where I personally run into issue with wrapping, so a triple cap is more than welcomed. Outside of the soft spot I mentioned earlier the cigar seems to be constructed perfectly. There is only one really visible vein, but it’s tucked nicely it and shouldn’t cause me any problems. The Cold draw was a bit surprising. I picked up on massive notes of spice right away. Seemed almost a bit Christmasy with hints of nutmeg, honey, and cinnamon. This cigar was cut using a Cuban Crafters double bladed “perfecto” cutter, and lit pretty quickly under my single flame colibri torch.

Illusione Epernay

Illusione Epernay

First Smoke: The one thing on my mind was the draw. How was the vitola going to affect it?! Honestly, if anything, it improved it. The Epernay produces a massive, massive, draw accompanied by very thick, large clouds of smoke on the exhale. This is a perfect cigar for retrohaling. It’s smooth enough not to bother you, yet flavorful enough to be worth the effort. Right from the start The Epernay starts to produce a very strong, spicy, pepper taste. Paired with the pepper are grassy, woodsy, flavors with touches of honey, and caramel. This Illusione is producing a slight pepper after taste that is actually tickling the back of my throat. The burn line is quite consistent, and the Epernay produces almost no stationary smoke. The smoke itself isn’t the best of aromas so it’s not going to be a very welcome cigar by non-smokers. The ash is very pepper colored, and fell off about an inch into the cigar.

Illusione Epernay

Illusione Epernay

I thought the ash would hold on longer than it did, so I didn’t get my usual snap just before it ashed. But, you get the idea.

Halfway There: Halfway through the Epernay there is a drastic change up in flavor. The pepper has simmered down quite a bit, and there is a slight chalkiness overpowering it. Don’t take that the wrong way, it is in no way dis-tasteful and actually brings a great balance to the cigar. The honey is a bit stronger and there are small hints of grassy/floral/nature mixed in with it now. I am starting to get waves in the burn line but, for sake of the review, I refuse to correct them unless it’s a matter of life or death. Along with the burn line the draw itself is acting up a bit. It seems as though the filler is burning a bit faster than the wrapper thus, making it harder to get a good draw after the cigar has been stationary for some time.

Illusione Epernay

Illusione Epernay

Shortly after snapping this picture the Epernay actually put itself out. I wasn’t babysitting this guy either. The wife wanted me inside to watch a movie so I wasn’t taking it lightly. After ashing before the relight, I realized it was in fact the filler burning much faster than the wrapper. I burned a chunk of the wrapper and continued on.

Illusione Epernay

Illusione Epernay

Finish: As I got further and further into the smoke, the pepper diminished more, and the cigar became much smoother, and creamier. This is how I wish all cigars would end. The honey/floral arrangement of flavors remained consistent through the end, and after the relight I didn’t have any further problems with the burn. The Epernay did get me slightly light headed upon standing up, but until that point I felt little, to no sign of any nicotine in the smoke.

Illusione Epernay

Illusione Epernay

Overview: Dion came through just as I hoped he would. The Epernay is an incredible cigar that I would LOVE to have in my regular rotation (if I could just find them). This cigar is complex enough to recommend to any cigar afficianado, and smooth enough for even the most novice of smokers. I’m not too sure on the price point on these bad boys so I can’t talk about value, but if it’s anything less that $8  a stick then you’re golden.

Illusione Epernay

Illusione Epernay