Illusione Singulare 2012 Vimana (Maduro)

The Illusione Singulare 2011 and 2012 are long-awaited additions to the Illusione Singulare series.  The Singulare series was introduced two years ago.  It uses the limited release concept of one size and one blend.  It is a true limited concept because once the cigars are gone, they are gone.  Illusione fans embraced the original Singulare offering (the Illusione Singulare 2010 Phantom) and were anxiously awaiting a the 2011 version.   However, there were some delays and Illusione Founder Dion Giolito made the decision to push out the Singulare 2011 and package it with the Singulare 2012.   The two Singulare each have been given the name Singulare 201x Vimana – with Vimana referring to the name of the vitola.   I have recently had an opportunity to sample the Singulare 2012 and this was a very impressive blend.   This cigar provides high scores and will probably be listed as one of 2012’s best cigars.

Back in March, Giolito mentioned back-orders in tobacco were much of the reason for the delays of the 2011 Illusione Singulare.   While the 2011 Singulare was delayed, Giolito was already at work on the 2012 version.   As we said earlier, Giolito made a decision to package both the 2011 and 2012 together in the same box.  The two Singulare blends are also different.  The 2011 Singulare features a Cafe Rosado Corojo wrapper, while the 2012 Singulare features a San Andres Maduro wrapper.  The maduro cigars are tissue-wrapped.  Both the corojo and maduro cigars are arranged in an alternating fashion in each of
the cigar boxes.   There will be 15 cigars packaged per box and production will be capped at approximately 1200 boxes.

Illusione Singulare 2012  -wrapped (Top),
Illusione Singulare 2011 (Bottom)

 

Illusione Singulare 2012 (Top), Illusione Singulare 2011 (Bottom)

A note on the name Vimana – which was given to the 2011 and 2012 releases.  Vimana has its origins in Sanskrit.  Cigar Aficionado reported the term was a Sanskrit term for UFO (Unidentified Flying Object).  The Vimana refers to the vitola name.

Let’s break down the Illusione Singulare 2012 Vimana and see what this brings to the table.

Blend Profile

First up, the 2011 and 2012 are not identical blends with a different wrapper.   Giolito has said these are different blends.  As mentioned the 2012 is a maduro blend with a San Andres wrapper.  The cigars are made at  Eduardo Fernández’s TABASA factory.  This is a change as most Illusione cigars are made at Fernández’s Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras.

Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

The Illusione Singulare 2012 Vimana is available in a single vitola – a 6 x 52 Toro.

Appearance

The Illusione Singulare 2012 has a classic maduro wrapper.  The wrapper has the rich roasted coffee bean color.  There is a slightly oily sheen in the wrapper’s appearance.   At the same time, there is a sandy feel to the wrapper when it is touched.  The wrapper also has some visible veins and visible wrapper seams.

The band features the Illusione Singulare band.  This is the same band that was used on the original Singulare.  The band has a silver and white color scheme.  It features the text “Singulare” in a gothic silver-colored font.  To the left and right of that text is the text “illusione” – in a smaller gothic silver font.   On the back there are two gothic letters in black font – “E and L”.  I’ll infer that these letters mean “Edicion Limited”.   There is also a silver stripe across the top and bottom of the band.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

My pre-light ritual began with a straight cut into the maduro cap of the Illusione Singulare 2012.  From there it was on to begin the pre-light draw.  Overall, the pre-light draw didn’t excite me too much – it had a combination of leather and pepper.  Given we do not score the dry draw as a part of our final assessment or score, there was no loss of points here.  It was now time to toast the foot of the Singulare 2012 and see what the cigar would bring to the table.

Flavor Profile

The start to the Illusione Singulare 2012 continued with the leather and pepper notes that I had detected on the pre-light draw.  The flavor profile started to evolve as coffee notes joined the leather in the forefront and the pepper notes moved to the background.  Around the five percent mark, there was some more activity with the background flavor notes – namely some cedar notes joined the pepper spice and a honey-like sweetness also surfaced.

By the ten percent mark, the coffee flavor expanded into more of a combination of chocolate and coffee notes.  I would not categorize this as “mocha” as it was easy to separate the chocolate and coffee.  Meanwhile in the background the pepper/cedar spice remained, but some raisin sweetness joined the honey sweetness.

By the end of the first third, the honey/raisin sweetness joined the chocolate flavors in the forefront.  While this might sound like a confectionery delight, there is a true tobacco component to these flavors – giving the cigar a very rich taste.   The flavor profile holds throughout the second third.

In the last third, the chocolate and coffee became more of an espresso syrup.  That syrup remained for the first part of the last third, but as the cigar came to a close, the notes are more espresso and leather-like.  There is not a lot of spice or sweetness at the end of the Singulare 2012, but it still had a nice flavor.  The resulting nub was outstanding – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

The burn of the Illusione Singulare 2012 gets pretty much a perfect score.  This burn was razor-sharp from start to finish requiring minimal touch-ups   The resulting ash was white and firm throughout the smoking experience.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.   The draw was equally solid – making the Illusione Singulare 2012 a joy to smoke.

Strength and Body

From a nicotine standpoint, I did not find the Illusione Singulare 2012 a cigar that will overpower you. I assessed its strength to be squarely in the middle of the medium range on the strength spectrum.   The flavors had some nice depth to them.  I assessed the Singulare 2012 to be medium to full-bodied.  While the equilibrium of the strength and body is close to each other,  I do give the body of the Illusione Singulare 2012 a slight edge over the strength.

Final Thoughts

A few weeks ago, I wrote an installment of my 2012 IPCPR Trade Show Preview and discussed Mexican wrapper as a somewhat over-rated trend.  I also mentioned this has not been a strong year for maduros.  In the case of the Illusione Singulare 2012, these argument can be thrown out the window.  This is a blend where the San Andres wrapper works extremely well.   In a way, this should not be a surprise as Illusione seems to have incorporated San Andres wrapper very well with their Illusione Maduro line.   This is one of the best cigars ever produced by Illusione and eclipses the Illusione Singulare 2010 (a very good cigar in my book).  This is a cigar I would recommend to novice and experienced cigar enthusiasts – namely because it has great flavor and great construction.  As for myself, if I am able to buy any more of these, I plan on doing so.


Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Excellent
Assessment: Memorable
Score: 95

Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, Tennessee