Just prior to the 2018 IPCPR Trade Show, Dion Giolito brought back a brand known as OneOff. OneOff is a brand that was created by Andrea Molinari back in 2001. It was a brand that achieved a cult status in the marketplace. Eventually, the brand fell dormant and pretty much disappeared from retail shelves. It was a brand that had always intrigued Giolito. In addition being a brand that would qualify as a predicate brand, it became that much more of an attractive property to acquire. After successfully acquiring the brand, Giolito would work n fine-tuning the cigar and this past June it would start to appear on retail shelves. It would also be the showcased release by Illusione at the 2018 IPCPR. Today we take a look at Giolito’s interpretation of the OneOff in the Canonzo (Toro) size.
When Molinari created OneOff, he was a tobacconist who ran a La Casa del Habano in Milan, Italy. After failing to get his own brand made in Cuba, he turned to the Plasencia family, who would create the cigars at Segovia Cigars S.A. A year later, Molinari turned to Felipe Gregorio (owned by Philip Wynne) to handle his U.S. distribution. By 2004, distribution would move to Paul Giacalone of Massachusetts. Eventually, Plasencia stopped making the cigars and Molinari would sell the brand to Cuban Crafters.
Now in Giolito’s hands, OneOff is not branded with the Illusione name, but its a cigar under the company umbrella of Illusione Cigars. It’s positioned as the most premium brand in Illusione, with pricing ranging from $11.95 to $17.95 for seven sizes. There is also a special Super Robusto size known as the +53 which will be in the ultra-premium range of $30.00. Not much is known about the +53 other than its different than the other seven sizes. This is relatively consistent with Molinari’s brand, which was also in the ultra-premium price range.
Without further ado, let’s break down the OneOff in the Canonazo size and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The original blend released by Molinari that was produced by Plasencia consisted of a Honduran wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. As for the current blend, Giolito isn’t disclosing details other than its being made at Aganorsa Leaf’s TABSA factory.
Wrapper: Not Disclosed
Binder: Not Disclosed
Filler: Not Disclosed
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacos de Valle Jalapa S.A. (TABSA)
There are seven offerings for the base blend of the OneOff. All of these cigars are offered in ten-count boxes.
Cartuchos: 3 7/8 x 52
Corona: 5 1/2 x 42
Corona Gorda: 5 3/8 x 46
Robusto: 4 7/8 x 50
Canonazo: 6 1/8 x 52
Pyramides: 6 1/8 x 52
Julieta: 7 x 47
As I mentioned above, there is an eighth marca under the OneOff brand known as the +53 Super Robusto, a 5 3/4 x 48 vitola that is also offered in ten-count boxes. The blend for this cigar is said to differ from the other seven.
The wrapper of the OneOff Canonazo features a medium brown color with a strong cinnamon color tint to it. The surface of the wrapper had some oil on it. While there were some visible veins as well as some visible wrapper seams, I found this to be a cigar with a relatively smooth surface.
The OneOff line had one simple, yet unique and eye-catching band. It was a white peace symbol on an orange background. Giolito didn’t mess with the design and it carries over to his interpretation of the band.
A straight cut into the cap commenced the cigar experience of the OneOff Canonazo. From that point, it was on to the pre-light draw phase. The dry draw delivered a mix of classic wood, cedar, natural tobacco, along with a slight graham cracker and a creamy undertone. I found this to be a very good pre-light draw. At this point, it was time to light up the OneOff Canonazo and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
Out of the gate, the OneOff Canonazo picked up where the pre-light draw left off. Notes of classic wood and cedar surfaced in the forefront and would be a staple there for a good part of the smoking experience. In the background, there were notes of black pepper, natural tobacco, graham cracker and cream. As the cigar moved through the early phase, the cream notes joined the cedar and wood in the forefront. The retro-hale delivered a mix of black pepper, cedar, and classic wood. The black pepper had the edge here and at times it was on the sharp side.
As the OneOff Canonazo moved through the first third, the cedar seemed to have the edge. From the background the natural tobacco and graham cracker notes. Going into the second third, the pepper notes started to increase in intensity on the tongue.
By the midway point, the black pepper and natural tobacco notes closed in on the cedar and wood notes. By this point, the cream notes were diminishing and to a lesser extent the graham cracker notes. This continued into the last third where the difference was that there was a kick of black pepper toward the end. This is the way the smoking experience of the OneOff Canonazo came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and slightly soft to the touch.
For the most part, the OneOff Canonazo maintained a straight burn path and had a straight burn line. Early on, this cigar did need some extra attention in terms of touch-ups to get going. Once it did, the frequency of these touch-ups greatly reduced. The resulting ash was skewed toward the firmer side. This was an ash with a light gray color to it. Meanwhile, the burn temperature was ideal. I did find this cigar to be a slower burner as each sample was a 2+ hour smoke. Other than an extended smoking time, there were no adverse effects of the slower burn.
The draw to the OenOff Canonazo performed excellently. There was a slight but pleasant resistance to the burn. I didn’t find it was a chore to derive flavor from this cigar. At the same time, despite the slight resistance, the OneOff Canonazo produced ample amounnts of smoke.
Strength and Body
Overall, I found the OneOff Canonazo delivered a medium-strength, medium-bodied cigar from start to finish. The cigar started on the lower end of medium for both attributes. There was a slight uptick in the intensity levels of the strength and body, but by the end, I found both attributes still were in the medium range of the spectrum.
In terms of strength versus body, both attributes balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
It’s been quite a long time since I smoked an original OneOff, so doing a comparison to the Illusione one is unfair. In fact, a side by side comparison would be equally unfair because of an original one would have significantly more age on it. The best thing to do is to evaluate how this cigar stands on its own. When it comes to the Illusione OneOff, I found the blend worked excellently with the Toro format. While notes of cedar, pepper, and wood aren’t the most exciting, it was the secondary notes that clicked with this blend. In the end, I found an enjoyable cigar. This is a cigar I’d recommend to either a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it’s a cigar I’d smoke again, and it’s worthy of picking up multiples to keep in the humidor.
Key Flavors: Earth, Cedar, Classic Wood, Black Pepper, Natural Tobacco, Graham Cracker, Cream
Strength: Medium to Full (1st 2/3), Full (Remainder)
Body: Medium to Full (1st 2/3), Full (Remainder)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy Multiples
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop