This year, Illusione celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Epernay brand with a special cigar, but there was also another decade milestone for one of the brand’s lines: Singularé.
Singularé is Illusione’s annual limited release, a collection of different sizes and blends. Dion Giolito, Illusione’s founder, has said that he likes to focus on a specific tobacco or farm for each release, though he’s been increasingly coy on what specifically is the star of the show in any given year.
While this might mark the 10th year of Singularé, it’s only the ninth release as there was no cigar for 2017.
- Illusione Singularé 2010 Phantom (6 x 50) — August 2010 — $12 (Boxes of 15, $180) — 1,000 Boxes of 15 Cigars (15,000 Total Cigars)
- Illusione Singularé 2011 Vimana (6 x 52) — July 2012 — $11 (Boxes of 15, $165) — 1,500 Boxes of 15 Cigars (11,250 Total Cigars)*
- Illusione Singularé 2012 Vimana (6 x 52) — July 2012 — $11 (Boxes of 15, $165) — 1,500 Boxes of 15 Cigars (11,250 Total Cigars)*
- Illusione Singularé 2013 Rose Croix (7 x 46) — December 2013 — $12.85 (Boxes of 15, $192.75) — 900 Boxes of 15 Cigars (13,500 Total Cigars)
- Illusione Singularé 2014 Anunnaki (5 1/4 x 54) — November 2014 — $13 (Boxes of 15, $195) — 2,000 Boxes of 15 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars)
- Illusione Singularé 2015 Miserere (6 3/4 x 48) — March 2016 — $13 (Boxes of 15, $195) — 900 Boxes of 15 Cigars (13,500 Total Cigars)
- Illusione Singularé 2016 Kadosh (4 1/4 x 48) — July 2016 — $8.80 (Boxes of 30, $264)
- Illusione Singularé 2018 Turin (6 1/4 x 52) — April 2018 — $13 (Boxes of 15, $195)
- Illusione Singularé 2019 Sevin Horns (6 3/4 x 52) — October 2019 — $15 (Boxes of 15, $225)
Like many Illusione releases, the name has biblical roots, specifically Revelation 5:6:
And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
As for the cigar, it’s a Nicaraguan puro made at the Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA) factory in Estelí. Giolito says that the production is limited to 500-700 boxes, all depending on the supply of tobacco.
Of note, this is the first time that Singularé has been in a non-parejo size.
- Cigar Reviewed: Illusione Singularé 2019 Seven Horns
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A.
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 6 3/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Diadema
- MSRP: $15 (Box of 15, $225)
- Release Date: Oct. 28, 2019
- Number of Cigars Released: 500-700 Boxes of 15 Cigars (7,500-10,500 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
This isn’t the prettiest Illusione wrapper I’ve ever seen. It’s not ugly, but if you are hoping for some of the super red corojo rosado wrappers that AGANORSA uses, this isn’t it. Once out of the cellophane, I pick up some berry fruitiness and a touch of bark, but not much else and only mild to medium. The foot is medium-plus with creaminess, milk chocolate, an almost plain bagel-like bread flavor and some raw pasta smells. The cold draw has white pepper, onion bagel, paprika and Persian limes. It’s super compact—difficult to find anything really standing out—and around medium-full.
Seven Horns begins medium-full with a deep dough flavor, some Sprite sweetness and an earthiness, around medium-full. After the initial puff, my attention turns to keeping the cigar lit through the end of the perfecto tip. It’s pretty clear that the cigar needs a bit quicker puffs until it’s reached the end of that phase, otherwise you will quickly need to relight it. Fortunately, I avoid that on each of the three samples. The initial flavor has a super doughy-bread flavor that reminds me of some butter-filled bagel bites, joined by some salty pretzels, pomegranates and nuttiness. The more I get into this Illusione, the more the saltiness cuts through the other flavors. Retrohales have espresso, apple cider and some duck-like meatiness. Interestingly, after a 10-second or so delay, the finish is rather floral. Flavor is full, body is medium-full and smooth, and strength is medium-plus. Construction is great, though the ash is very fragile around the perfecto tip.
The second third of the Illusione sees the saltiness leave the profile entirely. That’s for the better in my opinion as it was starting to drown out everything else. Instead, the profile is a mixture of Ritz crackers, leather and some nuttiness. Retrohales have burnt crackers, a thick creaminess, natural wine flavors and when I smoke slower, some lemon. The finish is a mixture of crackers, creaminess and some herbal flavors, the latter of which isn’t my favorite. Flavor and body are both full, while strength is medium-full. One sample requires a touch-up and all three Singularés need a quicker puffing rate or the smoke production drops significantly.
For a little while, the only flavors I can pick up in my mouth are mineral flavors. Eventually, the Singularé opens up a bit and I get some burnt coffee and a gyro meat flavor. The profile is definitely spicier, though it’s not because of an increase in pepper. Rather, there are some raw spices and then other complementary flavors like peppermint that make the cigar seem hotter than it is. With under an inch left, retrohales show a bit of white pepper, joining the paprika, burnt bread and some corn. The flavor finishes full, the body is just shy of that and strength is medium-full. I still need to smoke quicker to keep the Illusione from going out, particularly the middle of the cigar, but one sample needs touch ups throughout the final third to keep the combustion going.
- Outside of the 2011 and 2012 releases—notably, the first Illusione cigars made at the revamped TABSA factory—the Singularé Series has provided some of the best cigars on the market in any given year. It doesn’t really get the praise but the series should be considered alongside stalwarts like Padrón Family Reserve in terms of great limited edition collections.
- Dion Giolito has said that he wanted to make the Nicaraguan version of Davidoff. There’s no brand I associate more with the diadema vitola than Davidoff. This cigar is nearly identical in size to the legendary Davidoff Diademas Finas.
- At one point, next to the score I had a line that despite my issues, this was “still a better cigar than most on the market.” That’s still true, but the more accurate statement is that this is “a far more interesting” cigar than most on the market. The flavors are super unique, but the construction isn’t great.
- The first cigar I smoked was rock hard, the next two were what I would expect. One cigar required relights—while the others just needed me to smoke quicker—that was not the rock hard sample.
- I think that an Aperol Spitz would make for a really fun pairing.
- Cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Illusione, which advertises on this site.
- Final smoking time was just shy of two hours and 30 minutes on average.
There are times in which the Seven Horns’ blend lives up to the incredible reputation of previous Illusione Singularé releases. Then there are times in which there’s an off-putting flavor, or something that gets too dominant, but one thing is consistent: the construction isn’t great. It’s not overly problematic so long as you have a lighter handy, but I can’t help but think that three cigars I smoked weren’t what Dion Giolito wanted me to smoke. There was the rock hard sample, relights needed on another cigar and all three requiring me to either choose between smoking quickly or not getting much smoke throughout. I try not to put much in the way of expectations for a cigar but the bar for Singularé is so high—and rightfully so—meaning that any imperfections are big ones.