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The Illusione Singularé 2018 Turin hasn’t been a secret for long; company owner Dion Giolito announced it at the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, though some things have changed since that time.

Originally shown off in a 7 1/2 x 50 vitola, the cigar appeared at retail in April in a 6 1/4 x 52 toro vitola. It remained a Nicaraguan puro made with tobacco from “select farms,” as Giolito has been known to say, though this go round he declined to name said farms. He also said that it will be the smallest release in the Singularé line, which puts it at under 900 boxes of 15 cigars.

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It’s the latest in the company’s generally annual limited edition series that began in 2010 with the Illusione Singularé Phantom, which have generally been Nicaraguan puros but saw a Mexican San Andrés wrapper grace 2012’s Singularé Vimana. That was also the year that Illusione moved production of the Singularé line from Raíces Cubanas in Honduras to the Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA) factory in Nicaragua, which is owned by Eduardo Fernández, the principal in AGANORSA S.A., the company which supplies the tobacco for the release.

Of note, the 2011 and 2012 editions shipped together due to production delays, with boxes containing seven of one year and eight of the other, though the split depended on the individual box. Additionally, no cigar was released for 2017.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Illusione Singularé 2018 Turin
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA)
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Length: 6 1/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Toro
  • MSRP: $13 (Boxes of 15, $195)
  • Release Date: April 2018
  • Number of Cigars Released: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Other than EL on the white and silver band, the Illusione Singularé Turin doesn’t have any inherently distinctive marks or attributes that signal its pedigree. It looks much like any toro you’d find on the shelves; the wrapper is generally even in color but shows some differences at the seams, while the veins are small, tooth is minimal, and there’s a slightly oily, slightly velvety texture for the fingertips. It’s a firm roll with just a bit of give, while the cap is applied well and there is no obvious visual flaws.The foot of the cigar is brighter and more complex than I was expecting, delivering the sweet citrus of orange peel, some banana, a bit of black pepper or peppercorn depending on the sample, and a note that binds them together that reminds me of cold pizza dough. However, the more I try and decipher what that third component is, the more pepper I get, leading to a bit of a sneezing fit from the first sample and an overall more challenging task. The cold draw isn’t as forthcoming with the pepper or sweetness, but takes the dough and bakes it before leaving it to cool on the counter. It’s thick and chewy, which overshadows some cedar and thin dry woods, along with a pinch of pepper.

There’s something that doesn’t feel right about calling any Illusione full-bodied right out of the gate, but the Singularé Turin certainly warrants the descriptor. There’s a fairly creamy base note that is easy to overlook in light of the initial strength, but after focusing on it a bit more, I realized what an integral part of the profile it is. After nearly an inch, the pepper begins to settle down and gives way to some baking spices, while the base note loses the creaminess but picks up a more muffin-like texture and taste. After some clumps of ash drop off, the black pepper found on the foot has returned and gets back to work on the tongue and nostrils, while the core flavors begin to turn a bit toasty. There’s a good amount of white pepper to be found through the nose via a retrohale, and somehow it turns to black pepper on the finish, leaving a decent tingle in the nostrils. The construction and burn of the cigar have both been good, though the wrapper’s fragility is readily noticeable as a few cracks begin to appear in two of the three samples.

The second third of the Illusione Singularé 2018 Turin catches my attention by way of the flavor taking on a bit of matchstick wood; it’s a bit thin and cuts through the other flavors, with the pepper holding fairly steady in intensity but shifting away from traditional flavors. It almost picks up a bit of pepperoncini bite, though it’s neither as juicy or intense as the real thing. For the most part, I don’t pick up a ton of changes in the cigar, as it has dropped a good chunk of the pepper it started with and reprised at the end of the first third, with the original creaminess starting to slowly return and providing more nuance and subtlety. I still have no complaints about how the cigar burns, as the draw is smooth and easy, the burn line is sharp, and smoke production is more than sufficient.

Even as the profile stay relatively mild on the palate entering the final third, there’s plenty of punchy white pepper to be found via retrohales, so much so that I’m engaging in them less than I might with other cigars, which is saying something from a person who enjoys getting the smoke through my nose. At various points in the final third I find myself reaching for a lighter to touch up the cigar, and in the third sample I’m stunned to find it tunneling quite a bit. I’m also beginning to feel some nicotine strength from the Illusione Singularé 2018 Turin with about two inches to go; while the cigar hasn’t lacked in flavor, it is now beginning to impart some decent physical reaction as well. There’s also a bit more sharpness from the flavors, which encourages me to slow down the puffing rate and keep the cigar from getting unnecessarily hot. When it’s cool, the cigar offers just a bit of sweet cream to finish things off, though it’s easily dashed by too strong of a draw. Other than some issues with the wrapper in the first sample, the cigar continues to perform near flawlessly until the final puff.

Final Notes

  • The wrapper on the first cigar did not fair well in the outdoor environment, developing some cracks in the second half early on that continued to grow until it was time to put the cigar down. The third was almost as bad, and had me employing some adhesive to tame the damage.
  • Charlie Minato recently reviewed the Illusion Haut 10 Churchill, which shipped alongside the Singularé 2018 Turin. It’s a new size in the blend that took home top honors in halfwheel’s Top 25 Cigars of 2017.
  • Dion Giolito’s video from the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show is almost certainly my favorite that has ever been shot.
  • Something I’ve come to notice about Illusione cigars in cellophane is that there seem to be small, dark flakes of tobacco that end up adhering to the wrapper. I first noticed it when picking out a Rothchildes CT for someone, and it gave an initial appearance of beetle holes. They weren’t, but I noticed the same thing with the Singularé Turin, and in one sample it appeared to be a chip of wrapper.
  • Somewhat shockingly, this isn’t the only use of the word Turin on a cigar; Boutique Blends has a 5 x 46 size in the La Bohème Encantador line named Turin.
  • In 2016, Illusione not only rolled out a new Singularé release named Kadosh, but announced that the Anunnaki, Phantom and Miserere would become regular production releases.
  • Illusione advertises on halfwheel.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time was two hours and 10 minutes on average.
  • Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar and Corona Cigar Co. carry the Illusione Singularé 2018 Turin.
89 Overall Score

To say I was surprised by both the start and finish of the Illusione Singularé 2018 Turin would be an understatement; there's a much bolder start than I generally expect from the company, while the final third was sharper and harsher than I'd like from any cigar. That leaves the second half of the opening third as well as the second third, which are both quite good and almost signature Illusione: a refined, medium bodied and flavored profile with underlying creaminess that invites the person smoking it to dive into its nuances. For as good as those puffs are, the finish leaves such a punch of strength that it's seemingly all that occupies the mind once the cigar is put down. This is a cigar I could see evolving well with some time, and one I'm hopeful will preserve the best parts and smooth over the ones I found less than ideal; if and when that happens, this will easily rank among the top in the Singularé series.

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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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