Illusione Rothchildes

The Illusione Rothchildes is the latest release by Dion Giolito’s Illusione Cigars.  If you consider the Illusione Ultra the last core line to be released, this marks the first new release by Illusione since late in 2011.  At the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show, Illusione opted to focus on their existing product and not launch anything new.  The trade show is normally a time where cigar companies have elaborate booths, but Illusione had a very simple setup.  In a lot of ways, the booth setup’s theme was a return to simplicity.  With the Illusione Rothchildes – the first release since the trade show, the cigar itself reflects that theme.  The Rothchildes is a very good cigar by Illusione and one that should become popular among many cigar enthusiasts.

The return to simplicity theme of the Illusione Rothchildes is described on the Illusione web-site under the title “An Old Beginning”.

New is old. Forward is backward. Making arrangements is necessary when confronting the all-kontroling. We have here for the loyal masses – a cigar –  ‘Illusione Rothchildes’  – a classic 4 1/2 x 50 ring of long filler Nicaraguan tobacco led by a decadent maduro wrapper. New yet familiar, our new release will please the palate and the pocketbook. A stand alone cigar. A stand alone size. A stand alone brand.

Let’s take a closer look at the Illusione Rothchildes and see what this cigar will deliver.

Blend Profile

The cigar features a maduro wrapper over Nicaraguan long-filler tobacco.  The country of origin for the wrapper has not officially been disclosed at this time.  The cigar is being made at the TABSA factory in Esteli, Nicaragua.  This is where the Illusione Singulare 2011 and 2012 were also made.

Wrapper: Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

Technically the cigar we are talking about is the Illusione *R* Rothchildes.  Rothchildes is the name of the cigar and I’ll infer that “*R*” can be considered the vitola.  However, the vitola is still a Rothchild shape – basically a petite robusto size.  This cigar measures 4 1/2 x 50.  

Given that this is a “stand alone size” this is the only size that has been made of the Rothchildes.


The Illusione Rothchildes has a rustic and Cubanesque look to the cigar.  The wrapper has a coffee bean color with some marbling.  The wrapper itself has an oily complexion.  There are some visible veins, but the darker coloring to the wrapper does a good job at hiding the wrapper seams.

The band design is a departure from all other Illusione bands.  It also has a Cubanesque look to it.  The band has a gold, red, and white color scheme.  There is a large red square on the front of the band.  On that square it says “ILLUSIONE” and “ROTHCHILDES” in large white font on two separate rows.  In between the rows is a white star and two lines.  There is gold trim going around the red square as well as the rest of the band.  Going around the sides and back of the band is a white background.  On that white background it says “nicaragua” in a red gothic font (a font style common to many of the other Illusione bands).

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For my smoke of the Illusione Rothchildes, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap.  I then moved on to the pre-light draw.   The dry draw notes were flavors of chocolate, leather, and some cherry sweetness.  These were very classic in terms of a maduro – and reflect the theme of “return to simplicity”.  At this point, I was ready to light up the Rothchildes and see what the smoking phase would bring to the table.

Flavor Profile

Like the pre-light, the smoking experience of the Rothchildes has classic maduro flavors to it.  For the most part it isn’t going to reinvent what a maduro is, but it will produce a solid flavor profile.

The start to the Illusione Rothchildes has a mix of leather, hay, and spice.  The spice was more of a baker’s spice, but was most interesting was how it provided a natural tobacco dimension on the finish.  By the first five percent, the leather transitioned to more of a cocoa powder.  The cocoa notes were secondary as the spice and natural tobacco combination became the primary flavor.

By the second third, the cocoa powder transitioned into more of a rich espresso/chocolate quality. These notes move into the forefront with the spice.   It was also at this point of the cigar where some nut flavors emerged in the background.  The hay flavors were now pretty much out of the picture.

In the last third, the spice moves back in control as a primary flavor.  At this point some of the signature tea flavors that Illusione has become famous for emerged – and replaced the chocolate notes.  The tea notes are more of a complementary flavor joining the nut flavors in the background.  I would say this is the one flavor that was more “Illusione-like” to this classic maduro flavor profile.  The end to the Rothchildes was spicy, but not harsh.  The resulting nub was outstanding – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

The Rothchildes is a very well made cigar.  The excellent construction is reflected in the burn and draw as both attributes score very well.  The burn line remained straight for the duration of the cigar experience – requiring minimal touch-ups.  The ash was tight with nice white color – with only occasional flaking.  The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.

Burn of the Illusione Rothchildes

The draw to the Rothchildes had a touch of resistance to it.  I find a little resistance makes for an ideal draw as it is not too loose.  In other words, this was a great cigar to puff on.

Strength and Body

I found the Illusione Rothchildes to have a nice punch to it.  The strength of this cigar will sneak up on you.  While it is not quite a full strength cigar, it still is in the upper half of the medium to full range of the strength spectrum.   The flavors are rich and robust.  There is enough depth to these flavors to qualify this as a full-bodied smoke.  The flavors will not sacrifice the strength this cigar delivers. Overall, I give a slight nod to body over strength with this cigar. 

Final Thoughts

One thing that was mentioned about this cigar is that it is “pleasing to the pocketbook”.  While I have not seen a confirmed SRP, this cigar is one that appears to have a price point of around the $4.00 mark. While we don’t factor price into our assessment rating and scores, we do mention this for informational purposes.  Overall, the look, feel, and actual smoking experience do reflect the theme of “return to simplicity”.  As I mentioned, this cigar won’t reinvent what a maduro is, but it will deliver a really good maduro.  Overall, Giolito seems to really be doing some great things with maduros.  This was seen in the Illusione Maduro line (our #14 Cigar for 2011) and Illusione Singulare 2012 (our #3 Cigar for 2012).

This is a cigar I probably would still steer to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast as it does have a little more strength than a newbie may handle.  As for myself, this is a nice cigar to keep in the rotation. It’s definitely a cigar I will smoke again.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Full
Finish: Good
Assessment: Nice to Have
Score: 91

Source: The cigars for this assessment were gifted by a friend.  Thank you SG.