Earlier this month, when I reviewed the lIlusione 88 Candela, I made the comment that I had not paid enough attention to Dion Giolito’s Illusione line. I have another confession to make – while I feel Illusione has some the highest quality cigars out there, they just have not fit in with my taste profile. This does not make them bad cigars, just not for me. At the same time, I recognize the huge following this brand has built. It wasn’t until the Illusione 88 Candela, that I gave any Illusione cigar a “Memorable” assessment. The good news is, I can add another Illusione cigar into that category – this one is the Illusione Singulare Phantom 2010.
While the Illusione line has limited annual production for its core line, the Illusione Singulare is Dion Giolito’s foray into the world of limited release cigars. The Singulare will be limited to 1000 boxes annually and each year the blend and vitola will change. Let’s get into some of the particulars about this cigar:
My research has come up empty on the particulars of the tobacco of this all Nicaraguan puro, but this is Nicaraguan through and through.
The Singulare Phantom is available in a single vitola – a 6 x 50.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For this cigar experience, I opted to place a punch into the 50 ring gauge, cap. The prelight draw was most interesting. I picked up the taste of almost a honey graham cracker. Thinking I was crazy, I did google this and notice that 2 Guys 1 Stick also had similar flavor notes. I have to admit, the prelight flavor notes were as good as I have tasted on a cigar. It was then on to toast the foot and begin the full cigar experience.
Like when I smoked, the Illusione MJ12, I did not get a salt or pepper blast with the Illusione Singulare (something typical with Nicaraguan puros). The flavor tones emerged very quickly and it was the honey sweetness that I had on the prelight draw. The difference is that the honey was much more pronounced when lit. The best part of this sweetness – it wasn’t infused-like, pure natural flavor from the tobacco.
The flavor profile of this cigar was not very complex. The honey sweetness is going to be the dominant flavor for 70% of this cigar. Early on, I did detect some red pepper through my nose, but not on my tongue. About 5% into the cigar, I tasted some of the signature tea notes that Illusione has become famous for.
About 33% into the smoke, with the honey notes still in the forefront, I did sense some of that same sweetness through the nose. In that second third of the cigar, there are a couple of times the tea notes do rise to the forefront, but overall it is the honey that continues to be #1 taste note. It is in this middle undertone that I do pick up a some nice spices. These were subtle pepper notes – almost like a cross of white pepper and cedar.
It is the last 30% of the cigar where the honey notes finally subside. The tea and subtle pepper notes are the ones that will bring this cigar home. The finish was fabolous – not harsh at all. The nub of the cigar was a little soft, but it was cool.
Burn and Draw
Illusione doesn’t seem to disappoint in these categories. I did one touch-up on this cigar experience. The burn is razor sharp and goes at the perfect temperature and rate. The draw is flawless as well – a real joy to smoke.
Strength and Body
This cigar isn’t going to be a powerhouse in terms of strength, but it doesn’t need to be. The medium strength profile is the perfect balance for the taste profile. Overall, the honey sweetness really is pronounced and this cigar is solid medium to full in terms of body.
There is nothing negative I can say about this cigar. This along with the Illusione 88 Candela are two crown jewels of this line. I only wish these two cigars would be made core. Overall, this was a unique cigar experience. The Singulare series really flew off the shelf, so if you are fortunate to find out – definitely buy it.
Body: Medium to Full