Illusione Fume D’Amour Juniperos

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In the summer of 2015, Dion Giolito gave his fans something they had been clamoring for, a lancero vitola in his most recently released new line, Fume D’Amour.

Launched at the 2014 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, Fume D’Amour was based off the company’s Original Documents line but used a different wrapper from Nicaragua and dropped something that is a staple of most cigars: ligero. Using only viso and seco tobaccos from the middle and lower thirds of a tobacco plant, Giolito was able to find a certain set of leaves in AGANORSA’s inventory that delivered both the strength and flavor he was looking for in this new line, which debuted in four sizes: Lagunas (4 1/4 x 42), Viejos (5 x 50), Caprastanios (6 x 56) and Clementes (6 1/2 x 48).

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In the summer of 2015, Giolito answered the requests for a lancero, bringing the familiar 7 1/2 x 40 size used for the ~hl~ to this line and dubbing it the Juniperos. The new cigar debuted at that year’s IPCPR trade show before shipping in August, and would go onto place #5 in halfwheel’s Top 25 of 2015.

Here’s what I said about the Illusione Fume D’Amour Juniperos when I reviewed it in October 2015:

The cry for lanceros is one heard often in the cigar world, one that is occasionally heard and with varying results when it comes to the final product. In the case of Illusione’s Fume D’Amour, the question of whether or not a lancero works in this blend is an unquestionable yes, and while I’d need to do a vertical tasting to see just how it compares to the other sizes, it would almost certainly be the first one I reach for, time allowing. The flavors are strong without being overpowering, pepper is used with incredible discretion, the interplay between aroma and flavor is fantastic, and the construction—minus the flaky ash—is as good as any. If there was ever a no-doubter of a cigar, this could very well be it.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Illusione Fume D’Amour Juniperos
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 7 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 40
  • Vitola: Lancero
  • MSRP: $9.50 (Boxes of 25, $237.50)
  • Release Date: August 2015
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1

The Illusione Fume D’Amour has kept its matted caramel color and as soon as I picked it out of the humidor, felt very familiar in the hand—and that’s in keeping with that it feels longer than a typical lancero and certainly not a 40 ring gauge. It’s an attractive cigar, with this particular sample marred only by a slight chip in the wrapper above the band; a blemish that I can’t attribute to a certain point in time or if that’s how it arrived. It’s a firm cigar, particularly at the its core, with just a small amount of give to be found, consistent in amount from head to toe. The foot offers a very enjoyable lead aroma of apple that gets followed by a light but potent pepper, and try as I might I can’t shake the comparison to apple pie that this cigar puts in my head. If I can’t call the cold draw perfect I’d have to say it’s just a touch firm, which is perfectly fine by me, presenting a bit subtler flavors with a caramel sweetness preceding a bit of black pepper.

The Juniperos opens with a surprisingly peppery and baking spice-filled flavor, wasting no time getting to a medium-full profile on the palate and retrohale. There’s still a bit of sweetness to be found, but it’s overshadowed by the fuller notes that the cigar is currently offering. While lanceros aren’t known for having the best ash, the Juniperos’ seems to be particularly weak, breaking off at about half an inch long, well before a picture seemed in order, and something that has been a constant frustration with every Juniperos I have smoked. With a few inches burned, I’m quite surprised by just how much the pepper has moved to the forefront of the cigar’s profile, something I don’t recall from my original experience with this vitola and have experienced only on occasion with it since then. Dry cedar becomes an increasing presence in the flavor through the second third, adding more complexity but also drying out the palate at an increasing rate. Other than the aforementioned issues with the extremely flaky ash, the first half of the Juniperos have been free from technical issues, with plenty of smoke thanks to a near perfect draw, and a sharp, even bun line.

Illusione Fume D'Amour Juniperos

As someone who is fond of quality sweetness in my cigars as well as food and drink, I find that I’m really missing the apple pie notes that I so fondly remember the Fume D’Amour Juniperos offering. While there is no shortage of flavor, it has become much more dominated by pepper and dry cedar, which are certainly enjoyable in their own right, but knowing what this cigar once offered has me focused more on what’s missing than what’s there. The strength of the pepper has been dialed back a bit since the first third, though a retrohale or two will quickly reintroduce it if need be. At the start of the final third, the cigar takes a new turn by introducing a bit of bran muffin, with the smoke picking up a slightly more creamy profile than it has offered previously. Other than a bit of heat from the approaching core, the Fume D’Amour Juniperos is hitting its highest level of complexity and flavor, closing out on a very enjoyable and savory note that leaves me wanting to fire up another one of these gems.

92 Overall Score

While the Illusione Fume D'Amour Juniperos has certainly evolved in the six months it has been resting in my humidor, it is still a no-doubt fantastic cigar. I'd love for the sweetness to have stuck around as it will always be the hallmark flavor of this blend, but the balance of the remaining notes never wavers and is full on the palate without being excessive. The final third is a new turn on the smokey and peaty flavors the cigar showed several months ago and provides an outstanding conclusion to the cigar. While I'd still take the profile I got six months ago over this one, I'd have no qualms about lighting up any Fume D'Amour Juniperos I could get my hands on.

Original Score (October 2015)
93
Redux Score (May 2016)
92

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.
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