Please see my review on the La Flor Dominicana candela. This Illusione candela is just as bad. Save your money and try the AF 858.
Review: Illusione ~hl~ (Candela)
For those of you that don’t know…
About three months ago, Dion Giolito of Illusione Cigars posted a few interesting tweets on his Twitter account (@vudu9) that he would be releasing a very limited number of Holy Lance (~hl~) Lanceros in both Maduro and Candela wrappers. According to Dion, the first production was limited to 400 boxes of 25 for each blend, with more to be produced, but how many more depends on how well the first batch sells, among other things. From a post of Dion’s:
(The New Lanceros were) Rolled at Raices Cubanas. I had a bunch of extra ~hl~ boxes, so rather than eat the cost that it took to make them, I’m gonna put some maduro’s and candelas in them. They’ll be available to any authorized retailer ’till they’re gone.
While the Maduro wrapper was expected eventually (it is a natural progression, after all), the Candela wrapper was a surprise to many, myself included. After all, for years, the Candela wrapper has been thought of as a “joke” cigar, something that you try once (perhaps on Christmas or St. Patrick’s Day) and then forget about.
However, the history of the Candela wrapper in relation to American cigars cannot be denied…An article in Cigar Aficionado says it thusly:
Green cigars are latter-day oddities, but they once were the preferred smokes of Americans, so popular in the United States that cigars with candela wrappers became known as American Market Selection. (Natural cigars, the ones that make up the vast majority of today’s cigar market, were dubbed English Market Selection.) From about 1958 to the early 1970s, Americans smoked billions of cigars, and nearly all of them were as green as your front lawn after a May rain. The popular tint was not a function of the use of underage leaf, however. It resulted from a unique process by which the wrapper tobacco was being cured.
The Hulk-colored cigars went out of favor in the early 1970s, replaced by cream-colored smokes with Connecticut-shade wrappers, and were all but absent during the cigar renaissance of the 1990s.
In order to produce the green colored wrappers, the wrapper is essentially cooked to a temperature of about 165 degrees in a barn. After about 65 hours of this, the chlorophyll has been locked into the leaf, causing the (somewhat unnatrual) shade of green that is the hallmark of the Candela cigars.
But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we? Here is a photograph of the Illusione ~hl~ Candela.
And, just as a comparison, here is a photo of both of the new Holy Lance blends, the Maduro on the left and the Candela on the right.
- Cigar Reviewed: Illusione ~hl~ Candela
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L. (Raíces Cubanas)
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 7 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 40
- Vitola: Lancero
- MSRP: $9.35 (Boxes of 25, $233.75)
- Date Released: 2008
The cigar itself is VERY green. I mean, you expect that from a Candela Wrapper, but I felt kinda weird smoking it (and one of the people I was smoking with at the time said it looked like I was smoking “a long thin booger”). It is an obviously extremely well made stick, with veins visible, but not very prominent. It is quite spongy when squeezed (fairly normal for a Lancero), and also a very dry feeling to the wrapper. Interestingly, while I did get a (sweetish) grassy scent from the wrapper, it is not as overwhelming as I expected.
The main flavors in the cigar are a sweet grass (but like the wrapper, this is not an overwhelming flavor at all), some oakish and leather notes, and a small hint of cinnamon heat (especially towards the end)
There was also a surprising amount of spice throughout the entire smoke, definitely more so then in the regular ~hl~ blend. It was a very nice addition that really bumped this Candela blend over any other Candela cigars on the market, in my opinion. The cigar also got quite a bit stronger as the smoke went on, and while I would only put it at about a medium+, it was a fairly noticeable nicotine hit.
- This is by far the best of the Candela cigars I have smoked…better then the Arturo Fuente 8-5-8, the Camacho and the Don Tomas candela.
- It is fairly obvious to me that this was a well thought out, high quality release, and not just a “joke” cigar that is being released for the novelty of the different color, and I would expect nothing less from Dion, of course.
- As I mentioned, this cigar had a noticeable increase in spice from the regular ~hl~ blend (and interestingly enough, more then the Holy Lance Maduro which I have smoked as well)…I wonder if the blend is different between the wrappers, and if this was done on purpose to try and diffuse the obvious grassy note from the Candela wrapper.
- The Burn and Draw were perfect for the entire cigar, never had to worry about them.
The Bottom Line: Honestly, I was not expecting much from this cigar (I don’t smoke many Candela cigars on a regular basis, and the ones I have tried have ranged from just ok to mediocre), but I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. While there was a sweetish grassy note to the profile (kinda hard to keep that out, I would say, considering all of the extra chlorophyll in the wrapper), it was not overwhelming at all, and the spice that was present for pretty much the entire cigar was a VERY nice surprise that really made the whole experience better. It was not the most complex of smokes flavor wise, but I would not hesitate to use it as a “change it up” cigar, or for specific holidays that call for green colors.
Final Score: 87