Deep in flavor. Deep in your mind.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Illusione Cigars ~ultra~ op. no. 3 - Cigar Review Redux by Kaplowitz

WRAPPER: Nicaraguan Corojo
BINDER: Nicaraguan
FILLER: Nicaraguan

STRENGTH: Full
FORMAT: Petite Robusto
ORIGIN: Tabacos Valle De Jalapa S.A. (TABSA)

More? Soitenly From the co. site: "A blend of Nicaraguan Criollo '98 and Corojo '99, and finished with a[sic] AAA Grade Corojo Colorado Rosado wrapper. Full-bodied and very complex, enhanced by a good amount of Ligero from 2 regions in Nicaragua."

How's 'bout this from Cigar Aficionado re: its no. 9 kin (their #6 cigar of 2015): 
When Illusione brand owner Dion Giolito released the Illusione Ultra line, they were the most full-bodied cigars he had ever blended. Big and box-pressed, the cigars came in near-black wrappers and were made in Honduras. That was three years ago and Giolito has made some changes. 

While the cigars are still indeed dark in appearance, they aren’t quite as close to black as the originals, and the Ultras aren’t made in Honduras anymore. Giolito moved the production to the TABSA factory in Nicaragua, citing logistical reasons. But a change in factory can have a significant effect on a cigar. In the case of the Ultra, it seems to have been a change for the better. The cigars performed so well and so consistently that the Ultra Op. No. 9 made it to the No. 6 spot on our list. 

The cigar is an imposing toro and one of this year’s best examples of a strong, spicy Nicaraguan blend that also has some of the qualities of a pint of coffee stout. The smoke is dense and chewy and leaves a reverberating peanut-and-caramel aftertaste that sticks to the palate. Since it was first released, Ultra was intended to be a full-bodied offshoot of the core Illusione line. Giolito makes fewer Ultras than any other brand in his repertoire."
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This Petite Robusto iteration is less-so imposing in size & a tick paler than dark in shade... oh heck... lettuce just get to it, Gentlepersons:

Full-flavors are dark and then bright. Yin & Yang. Well-rounded, then. Overtones are a darkly roasted sour note with its own salty nethers alongside bitter bits with their own sweet nethers. Sweet Nethers was my B-Boy name back in the day, yo. A high-riding undertone is a slightly salted savory note which tandems with a pepper-spice which drives the whole dang rig. Excellently balanced and quite complex. Even more-so, nuanced. A great bit of complexity is found across over-under w/ a mingling of sour-pepper-spice.
  • Pepper (black, red, white)
  • Chocolate (semi-sweet)
  • Coffee (beans)
  • Nuts (black walnut)
  • Wood (hickory)
  • Herbs (anise, alfalfa)
  • Mushrooms
  • Earth (compost, top-soil)
The notes are rigid but not mercilessly-so and the body does slowly build in creaminess. There is an occasional sharp pull, but not bite. Smooth like fine grit sandpaper. Rich. Full & heavy but not dark & burdensome. Some light shines through. 'Nuff for the Yin & Yang thing to hold. Finish is long-legg'd and bittersweet with a pungent kicker. Medium-Full bodied, this ~ultra~.

Strength is a robust medium ya feel in the noggin and in a bit of schvitz upon the upper lip (me, anyways).

Combustion occurs because I applied fire AND I AM GOD and does-so on an even line with only an occasional and slight ripple. Very nice both active and passive smoke out-put yields a sweetly-spiced leathery room-note. The pace is even and moderate. Ash don't grow a bunch, but it is windy in my carport. OK, breezy. Fine, the ash seems visually aerated.

Construction features a firm and smooth roll from gate-to-wire sans hard/soft spots. The draw is a tick stiff, we'll call it medium+ in tension. Seams hold nigh invisibly-so. Shoulder stays well-formed and cool smoke is delivered on-down to nub.

FINAL GRADE: A-
A 90-100 B 80-89 C 70-79 D 60-69 F 0-59

I earlier reviewed the Illusione Ultra op. no. 9 HERE.

Whilst Illusione is a sponsor *buy a box* of mine, that in no way *buy a box* influenced my review. *Buy a box*.

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