Review: Illusione Singulare “Phantom” (2010)
For those of you that don’t know, about 1 month ago, it came down the cigar grapevine that Dion Giolito of Illusione Cigars fame (Twitter.com/vudu9) were releasing their first Limited Edition cigar. Dubbed the Singulare “Phantom”, it is a 6×50 Nicaraguan stick rolled at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras from 100% Nicaraguan tobacco and comes in boxes of 15 cigars, with only 1000 boxes released. The word is that Illusione will release an LE every year, but each will be a different sized cigar.
Incidentally, Illusione has now released 4 new cigars in the last month or so…three of the releases were additions to existing lines, and one is a brand new release. The Additions to existing lines are the Holy Lance Candela , the Holy Lance Maduro and the Epernay “Le Matin”. There is also an ~888~ Candela that is making the rounds that I would love to review, and if anyone has a line on one, drop me an email. The Brand new release is, of course, the Singulare “Phantom”, which we are reviewing today.
The boxes for the Illusione Singulare “Phantom” (LE 2010) look like this:
But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Illusione Singulare “Phantom” (LE 2010)
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L. (Raíces Cubanas)
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRO: $12.00 (Boxes of 15, $180.00)
- Date Released: 2010
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,000 Boxes of 15 Cigars (15,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
The cigar itself is obviously extremely well constructed, almost “Padrón-esque”, and everything about it screams “quality”, and the wrapper is a medium brown color, and smooth as silk. The cigar is quite firm when squeezed, and the wrapper smells of leather, tobacco, imagine that, and just a little bit of what I wrote down as “mint”.
The First Third starts off with some slight spice on the tongue, but quick fades as flavors of sweet cedar, tobacco and a nice earthiness develop; not gritty at all, fairly mild, and a great start to a cigar.
The Second Third picks up where the First Third left off. The woodiness note (mostly cedar) becomes quite dominant, and there is still a sweet earthiness that is present, but there is also a very interesting floral undertone that is hard to describe for pretty much the entire third of the cigar. There is also very little spice for most of the second third, but it does start to increase substantially as we move into the last third.
The Final Third changes dramatically, as the spice that was present in the first and second thirds ramps up dramatically. The basic flavor profile is the same, sweet earth and creamy cedar, along with a slight honey flavor, and the increase in the spice really made the other flavors that much more enjoyable. It did get a bit harsh at the end of the cigar, most likely because I smoked it too far down to the nub, but that will diminish with some age.
- I find it interesting that Illusione is one of the only non-Cuban cigar brands to put dates on their boxes. The date is from when the cigars are boxed, NOT sold, but I really wish that more cigar manufactures would adopt the practice.
- The bands on the Phantom are quite different then the normal Illusione bands, as they should be, being an LE and all. The text is silver on white, instead of black or gold on white, and there is an extra “EL” in script font, which supposdely stands for “Edition Limited”.
- The smoke coming off this cigar was extremely spicy, a stark contrast to the sweetness of the cigar flavors.
- This was not the strongest cigar in the world, but the strength it DID have, it displayed wonderfully, and I would put it solidly in the “Medium+” range.
- The Final Smoking Time for this cigar was 1 Hour and 40 Minutes.
- Although quite a few places are already sold out of the Phantom, you can still buy both boxes and singles at Empire Cigars (click for link)…
The Bottom Line: I have always been a fan of Illisione cigars (the ~mj12~ has long been a go to cigar for me), and I have to tell you, this is a slightly different profile from most of Dion’s sticks. The complexity was great, with flavors fading in and out all the time, and it is definitely the mildest smoke in the Illusione line, but with a great spice that just made everything better. Add in the amazing construction, burn and draw, and this is a winner in my book. An almost perfect example of how a cigar can combine spice, flavor and strength effectively. Honestly, I liked the Singulare “Phantom” just a bit more then the eccj 15th, and I can only imagine how these are going to taste with a few years on them. I am extremely glad I got a box to put down for a while…
Final Score: 91