Top O’ the morning to you lads! For the most part I have never met a candela I like with the exception being the Arturo Fuente 858. At one time candela wrappers were easy to find and I remember them having a little section in a local Humidor during the cigar boom, and for the most part they did nothing for me. I wanted to smoke one of these last week when the Jets beat the Patriots but I had to put it off as I was sick.
It seems like everything Dion touches lately turns to gold and the candela is no exception. It feels like Dion has brought back the candela as these cigars have been sought after by collectors, connoisseurs and everyone in between. As soon as some online retailers get them, they are gone and Dion has assured us via twitter that as long as there is a demand for the green, he will produce them.
Cigar: Illusione 88 Candela
Size: 5 x 52 (Robusto)
Appearance and Construction: Looking at a cigar wrapped in a Candela wrapper makes me think of two things. The first being a stuffed grape leaf and the second being a sour pickle. The 88 Candela is a gorgeous looking cigar and the wrapper is flawless with no veins visible. There is a slight tooth to the cigar, and this well packed specimen has a nice weight to it. Perfectly rolled and virtually seamless the band is the same simple, but traditional looking white and black.
Flavor & Notes: I feel like to smoke this cigar I need to wear a fedora due to the fact it was so popular in a time when the fedora was a mainstay. The foot of the cigar has a slight spice to it and significant earth to the nose. Once the cap is clipped (and it sounded crunchy when i clipped it) the draw is earthy and a note that reminds me of bok choy. The first third of the cigar served up notes spice and leather, but through the nose I picked up a sweetness and some more bok choy. Just before the pepper faded it got really hash as we entered the 2nd third. Once it dissipated the notes of leather increased. A sweetness remained though in the background with some herbal notes reminiscent of good tea. The final third is a bit stronger then the first two with notes of ;leather and spice with a subtle sweetness on the finish to round things out.
Smoking Characteristics: This was one smokey cigar and I wonder if the candela wrapper played into that. The cigar had a decent burn to it, although a bit wavy at times it never got out of hand. The medium to dark color ash was strong, and held for the first half of the stick before I ashed it on my own accord. The draw had a slight resistance which is how I like it. The biggest surprise was the aroma of the cigar which reminded me of, yes you guessed it, bok choy. I think I will order some wonton soup from a local restaurant that still includes this vegetable in the broth.
Conclusion: Gimmick. That is the first thing that entered my mind when Dion released the illusione in this format. But after smoking the 88 Candela this was definitely not a gimmick. I hope interest remains strong because this was a damn good cigar and it rivals the original release of the 88. Extremely flavorful with a nice complexity I plan to stock up on these while they are around because they are definitely worth while. To quote Kermit The Frog, “When green is all there is to be; It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why; Wonder, I am green and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful; And I think it’s what I want to be.”
Price: $8.80 at Uptown Cigar Company (877-238-1172)
Disclaimer: As always all spelling, typographical and grammar mistakes have been left in place for you amusement and/or to annoy my good friend Gary J. Arzt.