An Interview with Dion Giolito


Dion from illusione was nice enough to sit down with us and answer some questions as we recover from an upper respitory illness that has prevented us from smoking. I can’t thank him enough for taking the time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions. As you know we here at are big fans of his cigars. From the original illusione line, Cruzado, Cuchilos Cubanos, Epernay and the new Nosotros.

For those interested in following Dion on twitter he can be found via @vudu9

acigarsmoker: What prompted you to go from retailer to manufacturer with your own line of cigars?

Dion Giolito: I Just wanted to learn about the back-end part of the industry. I knew certain cigars tasted good, I just didn’t know why they did. It was only until I started back-engineering certain brands that I found out why certain tobaccos tasted certain ways.

acigarsmoker: It seems that the illusione has had a wrapper change lately, can you explain the difference in wrappers and the reason for the change?

Dion Giolito: Not huge at all. In fact, we only switched to a thicker priming that was done way back in 05/06. The color was naturally darker as a result. I just haven’t changed the info on my site yet. This was done so the cigar would hold up to more extreme/drier conditions. My biggest pet peeve is cigars that explode, or come apart.

acigarsmoker: With all the laws coming into effect against smokers what do you see as the future for cigars and cigar smoking?

Dion Giolito: I really don’t see much of a future at all for tobacco in general. Without outright banning it, The Government is going around the prohibition methods by supplying endless amounts of money to the anti-tobacco machine to feed it’s agenda. They are literally making science up to fit any approach, and nobody really even seems to care, except for us in the cigar industry. I think we can win little battles here and there, but the war is lost.

acigarsmoker: What new products do you have planned for 2010?

Dion Giolito: Only Singulare’ 2010 is on the table for 2010. It’s my LE that came about from the initial eccj release. It will be a different blend, and a different size every year, packaged in boxes of 15. It will be released at IPCPR.

acigarsmoker: How do you feel boutique cigars such has yours has changed the cigar market?

Dion Giolito: The word Boutique has become sort of a catch-phrase in the industry within the past few years. Even companies like General Cigar now are attaching that word to certain projects they’re doing. I’ve really never liked the word, I just really haven’t been able to come up with anything else that suits the brand, other than small-batch – which it really is in theory.

acigarsmoker: The Nosotros is a joint venture between yourself and Jonathan Drew, are there any future endeavors between you two or others slated for the future?

Dion Giolito: No other definite projects in the works. I have all the work and all the brands I can handle right now. Besides, there’s way too many friggin’ cigars in the market right now.

acigarsmoker: A couple of times I commented on twitter that I was smoking your cigars while listening to Bad Relgion & Social Distortion and you seemed to like the pairings. What kind of music do you listen to?

Dion Giolito: I really listen to everything. I was a Theory and Composition major in college, so I really tend to lean towards Classical and Opera for the sedative. Punk Rock has always been the energy drink for me, so-to-speak. I like old Nardcore stuff, Alternative Tentacles, SST labels etc. I’ve been listening to MIA alot lately.

acigarsmoker: I found the humour of the MJ12, with the aluminum cover up much like people believe in regards to a cover up in Roswell. Are you a believer in UFOs and other so called conspiracies?

Dion Giolito: I think alot of it can be explained away rationally, but there are mysteries out there. It’s a subculture that keeps me interested in all of the engaging, and sometimes totally whacked-out theories that are out there. The important thing is to not swallow the hook on anything, and not to get caught up in a drone-like, hive mentality. Again, just look at the amount of junk science against our industry – that’s a great conspiracy avenue right there.

acigarsmoker: You are fairly active on Twitter, do you feel social media has helped your brand and is important for the growth of your customer base?

Dion Giolito: I think that it can create a more loyal customer base, in that the response you get from a question comes right from the source – me. Whe it comes down to it though, I’m really a brand owner second, and a fan first.

Thank you very much Dion for your time!

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  • Chris McCann

    Thanks for the great interview, Barry!

  • Matthew

    Great interview Barry and Dion, thanks for taking some time with all of us.

  • Tony Casas

    Great interview man, glad to see you asked a few more personal questions.

  • TimD

    Great interview Barry, always good to get some insight on the folks behind the cigars we love. Illusione and Liga Privadas are some of my favs – I’m very excited about the Nosotros!

  • Adam

    Nice interview B! I can’t wait to try Dion’s new stuff. I just want to comment on his statement of there being a lot of cigars on the market right now. In some aspects I agree with that but I love all the choices we have. I think he is looking at things from a new cigar smoker’s eyes. When you have thousands and thousands of choices it can be overwhelming for a new cigar smoker. I know that’s the reason I can’t get into wine as much as I want to because there are millions of different brands out there; there is just too many choices and it’s just overwhelming. Consumers want choices and boy do they ever with cigars. I think that’s why some refer to cigars as a lifelong pilgrimage, because it’s a never ending journey.

  • WhamIAmTheMan

    good cigar……….but she is too expensive

  • Paul Shing

    Great interview Barry! Keep up the awesome work with the site!

  • Carlton

    Great interview. Dion seems like a really cool, down-to-earth guy. The quality of his smokes aside, I find myself much more likely to pick up more of them over others when the owner takes the time to talk to enthusiasts like you.

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