Agile Cigar Reviews replace what we termed “Assessment Updates”. The concept is the same, but the name is different. Agile Cigar Reviews use a lightweight, shorter format. These will never take the place of our comprehensive reviews. They are only used for blends we have previously assessed. This might be a blend we are re-scoring or providing a score for a first time. It might be a blend we are looking at in a different size. Today we look at the Illusione Ultra OP No. 3. We have assessed the Illusione Ultra before, but in different sizes, most recently in the OP No. 7 size back in October 2015.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A – TABSA)
OP No. 3: 4 1/4 x 50
The 2016 IPCPR Trade Show was probably the busiest one in the history of Illusione Cigars. The trade show saw several new lines, some revamped existing lines, some limited lines become regular production, and some line extensions. The Illusione Ultra line saw two new line extensions – one in the form of a Churchill known as the Ultra OP No. 8 and a Petite Robusto known as the Illusione OP No.3. Today, we take a closer look at the Illusione OP No. 3. The cigars used for this assessment had approximately one year of aging in the Cigar Coop humidor.
The Illusione Ultra is a powerhouse blend and has been positioned as Illusione’s fullest cigar in terms of strength and body. The Ultra is a Nicaraguan puro highlighted by a Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper. The cigar is made at Casa Fernandez’s Tabacos Valle de Jalapa SA (TABSA) facility.
The Ultra has seven vitolas with a mix of both box-pressed and parejo offerings. Measuring 4 1/4 x 50, the Illusione OP No. 3 is the shortest vitola on the line. It is available in 20-count boxes, but there was also a limited run of 300 48-count boxes.
The Ultra OP No.3 delivered a nice mix of sweetness and spice. The sweetness consisted of notes of caramel and red licorice while the spice delivered a mix of black and red pepper. There was also an underlying oak note along with some natural tobacco flavor thrown into the mix. I assessed the strength and body of this cigar as being medium to full – which was a little more dialed back compared to other vitolas in the Ultra line. Since these cigars had a year of age, it was a little hard to infer if this dialing back was due to aging and/or size of the vitola.
I’ve seen a change for the better since the Illusione Ultra line moved into the TABSA factory. However, I’ve also found this blend performs much better in the parejo format as opposed to the box-pressed. Overall I enjoyed the flavors produced with the Ultra No. 3. I liked the 4 1/4 x 50 format for this blend. It’s still a blend I would recommend for a more seasoned cigar enthusiast. It’s a cigar I would smoke again – and it’s one I would buy multiples of.
Key Flavors: Caramel, Licorice, Pepper, Natural Tobacco
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy Multiples
Previous Assessment: Illusione Ultra OP No. 7
News: Illusione Ultra Line Extensions Unveiled at 2016 IPCPR
Source: Illusione and Purchased
Brand Reference: Illusione
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop