2011 has been a big year for Dion. First he came out with one of the best candela cigars I have ever smoked. Then he moved his cigar shop Fumare located in Reno, Nevada into a bigger location. Lastly, some sizes (CG:4, 88, 888, and MJ 12) of the Illusione Original Documents got the Maduro treatment. The cigars don’t look like your typical maduro, but more on that later.
The MJ 12 shows the mind of Dion at work. A believer of some conspiracy theories the MJ 12 was named after the Majestic 12. The scientists that allegedly were assigned to the Roswell incident in 1947 by President Harry S. Truman. The original MJ 12 release was wrapped in silver foil to acknowledge the alleged cover up by the US Government. This time around, the MJ 12 Maduro is wrapped in black foil.
Cigar: Illusione MJ-12 Maduro
Size: 6 x 54 (MJ-12)
Wrapper: San Andreas Maduro
Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Appearance and Construction: Looking at the illusione MJ 12 maduro the shade of the cigar isn’t tremendously darker then the original document. I know it’s not fair to compare one brand to another, but I liken it to the Padron Anniversary, which at times the difference between natural and maduro is minimal at best. The wrapper on the MJ 12 Maduro has a splotchy look to it with varying shades. There is a fair amount of oils present the maduro from San Adreas that has a slightly rough feel and a few ultra thin veins. The cigar is rolled to perfection with no soft spots and a perfect triple cap. The band of the cigar is crimson, gold and black instead of the original white and black.
Flavor & Notes: Once the cap is clipped the pre-light draw, or the cold draw if you will, serves up a sweetness with some anise. The foot of the cigar has a compost like nose. Once the cigar is lit there is a sweetness that instantly gives this cigar a classic maduro feel. As we smoke our way into the first third of the cigar the sweetness becomes fruity with some subtle spices and licorice. The second third of the cigar the spice develops into a subtle cinnamon, while the licorice remains and is joined by coffee. The combination reminds me of an espresso with a touch of sambuca/anisette. As we enter the last third of the cigar a rich chocolate begins to develop which compliments the previous notes extremely well. The cigar has a nice long finish of coffee with a subtle sweetness that is mouth watering.
Smoking Characteristics: The draw of the MJ 12 Maduro from Illusione was as perfect as they come. The cigar had a nice amount of smoke and never went out on me. The burn line was slightly jagged from time to time, but never got out of hand. The carbon line was thin and crisp and the aroma of the cigar was delightful. The ash had a salt and pepper like appearance and held on for half the cigar at a time.
Conclusion: When I first smoked this cigar at Tobacco Plaza on Long Island, I was unsure if I liked it. It grew on me though, and I think my unsure feelings is the fault of some in the cigar industry as a whole. When I first started cigar smoking this is what a maduro was supposed to be. However, lately we have gotten away from the traditional maduro cigar. It seems that many are trying to make a cigar stronger then the other manufacturer and as a result the flavor is disappearing. To quote Dion Giolito, “Never sacrifice flavor for strength.” And that my friends is an important statement.