Illusione Pactum

The Illusione Pactum is the ninth installment of South Florida retailer Smoke Inn’s MicroBlend Series. The concept has involved Smoke Inn teaming up with some of the biggest names in the cigar industry to produce a one time limited run exclusive to its shop. The Pactum represents the first collaboration with Smoke Inn and Illusione Cigars for the MicroBlend Series. 2014 has been a busy year for Illusione with several notable releases (Illusione Fume D’AmourIllusione *G* Gigantes, and Illusione ~eccj~ 20th among several of them).  Illusione has also recently garnered a nomination for the Cigar Media Association Brand of the Year.  The Pactum actually is one of three shop exclusives done by brand owner Dion Giolito in over the past year joining the Illusione Sin Cinta (Fox Cigar Bar) and Illusione MC Slam (R. Field Wine Co.). We concur that 2014 was a great year for Illusione. At the same time we have been very high on the consistency of the Smoke Inn MicroBlend Series. Recently, I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Illusione Pactum. Once again, Illusione and Smoke Inn keep their track records at a high level as this is another winner.

The definition of Pactum comes from Roman Law and refers to a simple or informal agreement between two parties. In a press release announcing the Pactum, Giolito gives some context about the project:

Pactum embodies everything that Abe (Dababnah – owner) is, both as an individual and in business. Like the man, the presence of the cigar is undeniable. It is a steely look into the eye, a firm handshake, a bond, and a word of truth. The cigar measures 5 ½ x 56, throwing up thick plumes of smoke and attitude. The body is full and rich with earthy Nicaraguan tobaccos chosen from the upper-priming’s of the plant and finished with a San Andres ‘Capa Fina’ maduro cover leaf.

While the Illusione Pactum is a part of Smoke Inn’s MicroBlend Series, it is also part of a series within the Illusione itself called Cigares Privé.  This is a branding concept within Illusione for the shop exclusive / private labels Illusione is doing for select retailers.

Without further ado, let’s break down the Illusione Pactum and see what this cigar brings to the table:

Blend Profile

Giolito described the blend above, but there are couple of noteworthy points about this blend. First, it is the first MicroBlend release being rolled at Casa Fernandez (who makes all of Giolito’s cigars and was our selection for Cigar Coop Factory of the Year). Secondly, it is the first MicroBlend that uses a San Andres wrapper.

Wrapper: San Andres “Capa Fina” Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (TABSA Factory)

Vitolas Available

The Illusione Pactum has been made in one size – a 5 1/2 x 56.   The cigars are packaged in 15 count boxes.  A total allocation of 400 boxes has been produced.  200 boxes were released in late 2014 with the remaining 200 boxes slated for later this month.

Appearance

The Illusione Pactum is a well packed box-press.  The San Andres wrapper’s color is a cross between coffee bean brown and colorado red. Upon closer examination, there is some darker marbling in the color scheme. There are some visible wrapper seams and a few visible veins. The wrapper itself had has a somewhat sandy texture feel to it.

The banding uses a band that is now being used as a part of the packaging for the Illusione Cigares Privé line. It is a midnight blue colored band with a white stripe across the top and bottom. The text “cigares privé” appears in white gothic font. To the left and right of that text is the text “illusione” – also in white font. By using a common band for all of the Cigares Privé releases, it allows Illusione to focus on the blend and not get bogged down with the overhead in terms of packaging design. At the same time, it allows Giolito to give his retailers something exclusive with the Illusione name on it. This is the second cigar branded with a Cigares Privé band.  The first was the Illusione MC Slam.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

As I normally do, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut to remove the cap.  After the cap was clipped off the Illusione Pactum, I moved on to the pre-light draw phase.  The dry draw provided a mix of natural tobacco, earth, and light spices.  It also featured an interesting blackberry note that would play a key role during the smoking phase.  Overall I considered the pre-light draw to the Illusione Pactum to be outstanding.  At this point I was ready to light up the Pactum and see what the smoking phase would have in store.

Flavor Profile

The Illusione Pactum started with a mix of red pepper and cedar spices.  The blackberry note that I detected on the pre-light draw was also present, but was more of a secondary note.  By about the five percent mark, there was an earthy / tea note that also surfaced in the background.  The mix of pepper and cedar spice was also present on the retro-hale – delivering a sweet spice through the nasal passages.

By the middle of the first third, the blackberry notes took over and added some additional sweetness.  At times there was a near-syrupy quality to these flavors.  The earth, tea, and spice notes remained secondary.

Toward the start of the second third the blackberry sweetness started to diminish and began to shed its syrupy quality.  The earth and tea notes transitioned into the forefront during this phase of the smoke and the blackberry notes eventually became secondary by the second half.  During this stage, I found the spices to exhibit more of the red pepper quality.

By the last third, the Pactum was dominated by the earth, tea, and spice notes.  The blackberry sweetness was now more of a subtle background note.  This is the way the Pactum came to a close.  The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

The burn and draw performed outstanding.  The burn remained on a straight path from start to finish. The actual burn line had a slight curvature to it, but for the most part the Illusione Pactum did not require many touch-ups.  The resulting ash was mostly white in color with some darker speckling mixed in.  The ash was mostly firm and came off the cigar in nice clean chunks.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

Burn of the Illusione Pactum

Overall I found the draw to perform very well.  The draw was not too tight, nor was it too loose While I like some resistance on the draw, with box-pressed cigars I’m finding lately I do find it better the way the Pactum performed.  Overall this was an enjoyable smoke.

Strength and Body

From a strength perspective, I did not find the Illusione Pactum to be an overpowering smoke.  For the most part I found it to be medium strength from start to finish.  In terms of the flavors, I found them to have some nice depth.  Overall I assessed this as a medium to full-bodied cigar throughout the smoking experience.  In terms of strength versus body, I gave the edge to the body here.  This is a cigar where the flavors really shine.

Final Thoughts

As I stated upfront, Illusione and the Smoke Inn MicroBlend Series have each individually been doing some great work.  It’s no surprise that these two entities coming together have produced an outstanding cigar.  The Illusione Pactum is definitely a more unique cigar.  The blackberry flavors really stood out for me.  The one cigar this reminded me of was the Viaje Satori 2011 as it had a similar note, but the Satori and Pactum still are very different experiences.  This is a great cigar for either the novice or experienced cigar enthusiast.  As for myself, this is a cigar certainly worth checking out while it’s still around.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Excellent
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
Score: 92

References

News: Illusione Pactum Becomes Ninth Smoke Inn MicroBlend Release (Cigar Preview)
Price: $8.50
Source: Cigars Provided by Retailer
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