illusione ultra MK – Cigar Review
I don’t recall when I had my first illusione but I remember it was the ’68 Bombone that someone sent to me in a Cigar Bomb. Since then I have been a big fan of the illusione line. Perhaps I have been brainwashed, or there is something in these cigars that pulls me back to them, or the countless other conspiracy theories I can come up with to poke some good-natured ribbing at the creator Dion Giolito. In the end though it is the quality that pulls me back to the brand made at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras.
The Ultra was first released a few years back but in a very small batch. Since then the cigar has undergone some changes so it fits in better with the original lineup. I picked up a 5-pack on-line as I was eager to try them. Right now you can only find them in a 5 1/8 x 42 format but more sizes are expected in the near future.
Cigar: illusione ultra MK
Size: 5 1/8 x 42 (Petit Corona/MK)
Wrapper: Nicaragua (Corojo)
Cigars Smoked For Review: 5
Appearance and Construction: The Corojo wrapper grown in Nicaragua has a nice chocolate hue on the illusione ultra MK. There are some thin veins present, but the oily leaf is blemish free and rolled to visual perfection right down to the cap. In the hand the ultra is firm to the touch with no soft spots and a nice weight to it that catches me off size due to the size. I’ve smoked some Churchill’s that were lighter than this stick. The band is a reverse of the traditional original illusione smokes.
Flavor & Notes: Bringing the ultra anywhere the nose one gets lost in the sweetness of the leaf that just draws you in. There is a chocolate/cocoa off the wrapper and foot while the cold draw is spicy, specifically a slight paprika. Once the cigar is lit a nice amount of refined spice is present that continues into the first third of the smoke where it is joined by a wood note reminiscent of pine. In the second third of the cigar some sweetness begins to emerge with a hint of cocoa. The last third continues with spice and some coffee through the nose with a nice finish.
Smoking Characteristics: Of the samples I smoked some had a bit of a tight draw but based on a twitter conversation with Dion I got the impression these were still a work in progress and the draw issues would be worked out by the time the line is released. The dark ash wasn’t that strong which is expected given the vitola and I needed to relight the review sample once in the last third.
Conclusion: The illusione ultra should satisfy those who want something stronger in a cigar. The flavors are there as well, but the strength is the focal point of this cigar. It’s not as complex as the original line, but it is still a satisfying smoke. I’ll reserve final judgement until they reach the shelves of tobacconists around the country.