Illusione cg4 Maduro

Over the past year, Dion Giolito has expanded his core line of his popular Illusione Cigar line.  This included the addition of candela wrappers to the several cigars in his core line and now includes the addition of maduro wrappers. Earlier this year, there was some debate on other manufacturers using candela wrapper on the heels of the Illusione releases.  Pete Johnson of Tatuaje made a statement saying “I think what Dion (Giolito of Illusione) did with candela is brilliantand I think he deserves to have his time with it.”   While I had no issues with other manufacturers using candela, after sampling the Illusione candelas, I agree that Dion something special.  Now after sampling his Illusione cg4 Maduro, I’m inclined to think that Dion has done something even more special with maduro.

First up a little on the cg4.  The following was taken from the Illusione Cigars’ web-site on where the name came from.

I wanted to associate it with the wine country – French wine country. I called Pete (Johnson) when he just happened to be in Miami celebrating (Don) Pepins’ birthday. He handed me off to Pepin and I wished him happy birthday. When Pete got back on the phone, I asked him what the cliche should be on the side of my box. I told him it was Cg:4 Corona Gorda….. He said Cheval Blanc “The white Horse” PERFECT I thought – Corona Gorda, the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse, The White horse which is the Conquer, the false prophet – Revelation 6:2.

When I previewed the Illusione Maduro line, I mentioned that each cigar in the maduro line is essentially a similar blend its core counterpart, but utilizing a maduro wrapper.  From a packaging standpoint, Illusione has made a change.   The new maduros will not contain the white and black bands that are so identified with Illusione.  The Illusione maduros will have red background and gold lettering (except for the foil-wrapped  mj12 that will feature a darker foil wrap from its core counterpart).

Let’s take a closer look at the Illusione cg4:

Blend Profile

The Illusione Maduros will feature a San Andreas wrapper. As I’ve said many times, tobaccos from San Andreas make for some of the best maduro wrappers.

Wrapper: San Andreas Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

The Maduros won’t cover the whole core line.  In addition to the cg4, here is what else is planned to be available:

cg4: 5 5/8 x 48
hl: 7 1/2 x 40
88: 5 x 52
888: 6 3/4 x 48
mj12: 6 x 54

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For my cg4 Maduro, I placed a straight cut into the cap. When I started the pre-light draw, I was treated to some very robust chocolate notes with a hint of spice.  This is a typical for many San Andreas wrapper cigars I have had, however these chocolate notes were some of the best I have gotten on any dry draw.    At this point, I was very excited to light up my cg4 Maduro and see what it would bring.

Flavor Profile

The chocolate notes were very much present on the initial draws.  I would categorize the chocolate notes as sweet, but I would also say they were rich.  In fact, I commented this was almost like smoking a “chocolate bar”.  Shortly afterwords, some of the signature tea notes that Illusione is famous for emerged.  I particularly liked the way the chocolate and tea blended together.

As the flavor profile of the cg4 Maduro developed, around 5 percent into the smoke some sweet raisin notes were added into the fray.  Around 10 percent into the smoke, cinnamon spice notes emerged.  The chocolate, tea, raisin, and cinnamon notes would form the basis of the flavor profile for the majority of the experience with the cg4 Maduro.  These flavor notes would alternate several times on what was in the forefront.

As the cigar entered the second third, I noticed the depth of the flavors diminish a bit.   The signature tea notes moved into the forefront.   If these were the sole notes, I would say this would be pretty average, but complemented by the raisin, chocolate, and cinnamon notes, it made for a very enjoyable smoke.

The last third saw the chocolate and raisin notes emerge back in the forefront and the depth of the notes increase again.  As the cigar experience came to a close, the flavors were still extremely smooth.   The finish featured a firm and cool nub – a testament to a well-made cigar.

Burn and Draw

The burn of my cg4 Maduro was outstanding.   The cg4 had a very good burn requiring few touch-ups.  It burned at a perfect rate and temperature.   At times, the draw was tighter than I prefer.  Sometimes I like some tightness on the draw, but in this case it went further than I prefer.

Strength and Body

Illusione core line cigars are not going to be nicotine bombs and the cg4 Maduro is no exception to the rule.  I categorize the strength of this cigar as a medium.  From a body standpoint the flavors were robust for the most part (except for the middle third).  If I average this out, I would say this cigar is generally a medium to full when it comes to body.

Final Thoughts

After smoking this cigar and the hl (lancero) Maduro, this confirms that Dion has truly done something special with his Maduro line.  The San Andreas wrapper truly works some magic on this blend.  2011 is proving to be a strong year for maduro cigars and Illusione seems right in the forefront of these great releases.  This is a cigar that will appeal to both experienced cigar enthusiasts and novice cigar enthusiasts looking to graduate to a maduro blend.  Overall, a great smoking experience.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Good
Complexity: High
Strength: Medium
Body: Medium to Full
Recommend to Experienced Enthusiast: Yes
Recommend to Novice Enthusiast: Yes
Assessment: Memorable

Source: This cigar was purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.