Illusione Singulare 2013 Rose Croix

At the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show, Illusione Cigars announced their fourth entry into its Singulare line – the Illusione Singulare 2013 Rose Croix. The Singulare line is an annual limited production release of a single blend done in a single size.  Over the past three years, the Singulare has developed into one of the most anticipated annual releases in the industry.  Last year, Giolito actually co-released the Illusione Singulare 2011 and Illusione Singulare 2012 releases in a single package.  The Singulare 2012 was a San Andres Maduro that blew us away – and finished as our #3 Cigar for 2012.  For the Rose Croix, Giolito goes back to his roots as he delivers a Nicaraguan puro in a long 7 x 46 size. Once again, the Illusione Singulare does not disappoint as it delivers an excellent cigar experience.

The Illusione web-site provides some more context around the Singulare concept:

Singulare’ is an annual, Limited Edition cigar that changes in both size and blend each year. Each year, Dion Giolito scours bales of tobacco along with the farmers each year and picks a particular leaf component to blend around. These tobaccos are often times very rare and can only make a small run given the particular farm, lot and priming selected. Depending on yield, the yearly release can bring anywhere from around 500 to 1500 boxes to market. 

Each year, Giolito gives the vitola released a unique name.  For the Illusione Singulare 2013, it is called “Rose Croix”.  The name has a couple of meanings.  It can refer to as the “Rosy Cross” – a Rosicrucian symbol found in Masonic Christian organizations.   There is also a Masonic Rite in England and Wales known as Rose Croix.

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Illusione Singulare 2013 Rose Croix:

Blend Profile

As mentioned the Rose Croix is an all Nicaraguan puro.  The blend incorporates Nicaraguan grown Corojo tobacco:

Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

Consistent with the Singulare line, the Illusione Singulare 2013 is available in one size – a 7 x 46 vitola. As mentioned above, this vitola is known as “Rose Croix”.  This vitola can best be described as a longer corona gorda or a thinner Churchill. Either way, the Rose Croix is the longest and thinnest vitola to be release under the Singulare line.

As with previous releases in the Singulare line, the Rose Croix is packaged 15 per boxes.  A total of 900 boxes were produced.


The wrapper to the Illusione Singulare 2013 Rose Croix has is medium brown with a reddish almost clay-like tint.  There is some oil on the surface.  There are also some visible veins and wrapper seams.

The band of the Illusione Singulare 2013  is the same band seen on previous editions.  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

As I normally do, I started things with my usual straight cut. Once the cap was clipped, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The dry draw provided a nice array of flavors including berry, natural tobacco, cream, and some spice. Overall I considered the pre-light draw of the Illusione Singulare 2013 Rose Croix was excellent.  At this point I was ready to light up the Rose Croix and see what the overall cigar experience would deliver.

Flavor Profile

The Rose Croix continues where the pre-light draw left off.  At the start I detected a mix of berry sweetness, natural tobacco, and exotic spice notes.  I could also detect some of the exotic spice through the retro-hale.  There was a nice cream note in the background that gave the cigar a nice smoothness.

By the start of the second third, the natural tobacco notes continued to be the primary flavor.  The berry and spice notes joined the cream in the background.  This created a very nice balance on the flavor profile.

As the Rose Croix entered the second half, the spice notes moved into the forefront joining the natural tobacco.  The spice had more of a baker’s spice upon drawing the cigar, but it still had an exotic spice quality on the after-draw / finish.  The cream and berry notes were more distant in the background.

Toward the end of the Rose Croix, there was still plenty of flavor.  I did find a few harsh notes from the spice at the end of the cigar experience, but the Rose Croix had already done its job – and done it well.  The resulting nub was cool in temperature, but slightly on the soft side.

Burn and Draw

From a burn perspective, the Illusione Singulare 2013 Rose Croix scored very well.  While there was a slight amount of jaggedness on the burn line, the cigar itself burned relatively straight – requiring little maintenance in terms of frequent or major touch-ups.  The resulting ash was more of silvery, gray-color with some darker streaks.   The ash itself was on the firm side and was not prone to flaking.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

Burn of the Illusione Singulare 2013 Rose Croix

The draw to the Illusione Illusione Singulare 2013 Rose Croix was a little on the snug side with each of the cigars I smoked.  I usually like a little resistance on a draw, but this one was a little snugger than I usually prefer.  Still, I would not categorize this as a tight draw either.

Strength and Body

Overall, I found that the Illusione Singulare 2013 Rose Croix delivered the right amount of strength and the right amount of body.  I assessed this cigar as being medium to full in terms of strength and body from start to finish.  Both attributes balance each other very nicely – with neither attribute overshadowing the other.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Illusione Singulare 2013 Rose Croix delivers an excellent smoking experience.  One thing I really have enjoyed about each of the Singulare releases is that each is unlike the others.  While I’d personally still put the Singulare 2012 at the top of my list, it probably is going to come down to personal taste preferences on how one assesses their favorite blend.  This is a cigar I would not hesitate to recommend to an experienced cigar enthusiast.  I also think that long-time Illusione fans will be satisfied.  This is also a nice cigar for a novice to graduate to something on the “medium plus” side.   As for myself, this is a cigar that is certainly box worthy and one I would smoke again.


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


Price: $12.85
Source: Purchased
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