Cigar Review: illusione ~mk~

Last week I got to hang out at De La Concha in New York City with some friends and I picked up a few sticks for review. Some of those sticks were the illusione mk which is also known as the Teaching Machine. For fans of the line, the first thing you notice is the band being gold and white like the ECCJ instead of the usual black and white. This is where Twitter is handy as Dion Giolito is on there and when asked why the difference in color he stated, “It was a slightly different blend than the illusione B&W bands. Needed more tooling/attention due to the smaller ring, hence different band.”

So then how does the illusione mk rate? There is only one way to find out and that is to smoke one….

Cigar: illusione
Size: 5 1/8 x 42 (mk / Corona)
Wrapper: Rosado/Rosado Oscuro
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Strength: Medium

Appearance and Construction (18/20): I know what you are thinking, doesn’t the mk have a Cafe Colorado wrapper? That is what I thought, but Dion informed me it was a Rosado/Rosado Oscuro. So who am I to argue, after all he is the mind behind this cigar. This is a well rolled masterpiece with no soft spots and a nice weight. The wrapper feels a bit coarse due to the veins but there is an abundance of oils as well.

Flavor & Notes (28/30): The mk offers a prelight draw is reminiscent of leather with a slight molasses while the foot has a nice sweet tobacco. The 1st third of the cigar begins with some pepper that fades around an inch before revealing some nice coffee notes and a touch of leather. The second third the coffee notes becomes the focal point but some wood starts to show up as well while the leather and pepper remain. The final third was an explosion of notes as I picked up cinnamon, espresso, wood, pepper and leather leaving me wanting more.

Smoking Characteristics (23/25): As you enjoying your smoking experience you realize that this cigar has one ugly dark ash that does not want to hold. This is very reminiscent of a Cuban cigar, or at least my experiences with them. The cigar has a decent burn. It isn’t perfect but it passes. I clipped the cigar with my Palio cutter and the draw was ideal with a slight resistance. It produced a nice amount of smoke as well and had no problems staying lit.

Overall (23/25): Normally I would sum up the cigar here, but today I am going to preach for a bit. For me the best size of a cigar is the corona. While I also love a robusto or lancero the corona embodies both sizes. The majority of flavor I have been told comes from the wrapper. So when you smoke a larger ring gauge you are losing some of that. I believe that Dion subscribes to a similar belief since for the longest time he did not make a larger ring stick. I ask all of you big ring gauge smokers to give the smaller ones a try. As far as the cigar, this one stands above the rest.

Rating: 92
Price: $153.99 a box of 25 @ Famous Smoke Shop