Compared to most years, the 2016 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show was quite different for Illusione, as the company celebrated its 10th anniversary by introducing multiple new brands in addition to converting some former limited editions into regular production lines.
One of those former limited editions was the Cigares Privé line, which started as a series of single store releases, and is now being shipped nationally in two different wrappers: Corojo and Mexican San Andrés.
As the name suggests, the new regular production version of Cigares Privé Corojo is composed of a Nicaraguan corojo wrapper along with Nicaraguan tobacco used in both the binder and filler, while the Cigares Privé Maduro is covered in a Mexican San Andrés wrapper along with a binder from Nicaragua and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua. Both versions are available in the same three vitolas with the same prices, and both are being rolled at Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA) in Nicaragua:
- Illusione Cigares Privé Corojo Robusto (5 x 52) — $7.90 (Boxes of 25, $197.50)
- Illusione Cigares Privé Corojo Prensado Suave (5 1/2 x 56) — $8.55, Boxes of 25, $213.75)
- Illusione Cigares Privé Corojo Prensado 660 (6 x 60) — $8.90 (Boxes of 25, $223.75)
- Cigar Reviewed: Illusione Cigares Privé Corojo Prensado Suave
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 5 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 56
- Vitola: Robusto Grande
- MSRP: $8.55 (Boxes of 25, $213.75)
- Release Date: July 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Visually, the Cigares Privé Corojo is covered in a mocha brown wrapper that is quite smooth to the touch and features a reddish tint as well as some noticeable oil. Although there are multiple veins present, they are not overly distracting, and the cigar has some nice give when it is squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of sweet oak, earth, manure, dark chocolate and hay, while the cold draw brings flavors of creamy leather, roasted coffee beans, aged oak, black pepper and a touch of raisin sweetness.
Starting out, the Illusione Cigares Privé Corojo features a dominant combination of flavors that include creamy peanuts and cedar with lesser notes of bitter espresso beans, dark chocolate, hay, bread and leather. There is a great raisin sweetness on the retrohale has been brought over from the cold draw, and it combines nicely with some significant black pepper that is also present. Construction-wise, the draw is excellent after a simple straight cut, and although the burn is a bit wavy, it is nowhere near bad enough that I need to correct it yet. The smoke production is copious off of the foot, while the overall strength starts out quite mild before settling at a point between mild and medium by the time the first third comes to an end.
There are some significant changes during the second third of the Cigares Privé Corojo, including a decrease in the amount of black pepper as well as an increase in the raisin sweetness on the retrohale. The dominant flavors remain a combination of creamy peanuts and cedar, while other notes of hay, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, espresso beans, leather and baking spices bring up the rear. While the burn has evened up nicely, it is still not close to razor sharp, though both the smoke production and draw continue to impress. The strength has increased noticeably and ends the second third still a bit short of the medium mark, although I think it will end up higher than that before the final puff.
The final third of the Illusione Cigares Privé Corojo shifts a bit again, with the cedar note becoming the dominant flavor in the profile, followed by a still strong creamy peanut flavor and other notes of sawdust, cinnamon, sawdust, earth and a touch of citrus. The raisin sweetness that has been noticeable has decreased noticeably, and the black pepper on the retrohale actually increases a bit. The overall construction seems to have found its sweet spot, with the burn, draw and smoke production all working in perfect harmony, and while the strength level increases as expected, it still just barely enough to hit a solid medium by the time I put the nub down with about an inch left.
- I have to say, I am impressed not just with Giolito’s optimism in his video interview when it comes to the FDA, but also that fact that he is converting so many of his former limited editions to regular production lines, something that is certainly not the norm in the cigar industry these days.
- None of the three new regular production sizes in the Cigares Privé line are the same as the previous releases.
- The original ~eccj~ from 2008 and the ~eccj~ 20th released in 2015 remain not only my favorite Illusione cigars, but also two of my favorite cigars of all time.
- I find it interesting that Giolito kept the Cigares Privé name for these cigars—which translates into private cigars from French—considering they are now available nationally.
- The ash was not exactly flaky, but did seem to fall at unexpected—and inopportune—times.
- Illusione advertises on halfwheel.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- The final smoking time for all three samples was surisingly quick for the vitola, and averaged one hour and 38 minutes.
- If you would like to purchase any of the Illusione Cigares Privé Corojo, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar and Elite Cigar Cafe (972.661.9136) have them in stock now.
I have smoked a very large number of Illusione cigars over the years, and have found the vast majority of them to range from very good to legendary. The Illusione Cigares Privé Corojo falls short of the latter, but it toes the line nicely. The profile is quite complex with a great creamy peanut and cedar combination dominant for most of the cigar, along with some raisin sweetness that—while not a major component at any point—is strong enough to have a positive impact on the blend. Construction was excellent overall, and the end, the new Illusione Cigares Privé Corojo is a wonderful addition to an already great line-up.