There was a plan for the Illusione Singularé.
Singulare’ is an annual, Limited Edition cigar that changes in both size and blend each year. Each year, Dion Giolito scours bales of tobacco along with the farmers each year and picks a particular leaf component to blend around. These tobaccos are often times very rare and can only make a small run given the particular farm, lot and priming selected. Depending on yield, the yearly release can bring anywhere from around 500 to 1500 boxes to market.
All it takes is four words into the statement from Illusione’s website before you have to add a footnote. Singularé, now in its fifth year, is supposed to be annual, but production delays cancelled a release for the year 2011. That being said, there was a 2011 version, released in July 2012, which leads to the part about “changing in both size”—the 2012 version was the same size.
It’s probably easier to say that three releases, including this year’s, in the Singularé series have followed the description, with the 2011 and 2012 release being a big exception to the rule. Except for of course the fact that this year’s release is exceeds the 500-1,500 box production described above.
This year’s release is known as Anunnaki, a 5 1/4 x 54 double robusto, that showcases tobaccos from the Chilamate farm in Jalapa. On top is the Nicaraguan corojo 99 wrapper used on the company’s Epernay line over Jalapa criollo 98 and Estelí corojo 99 binders.
- 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)
*The 2011 and 2012 versions were released at the same time and in the same box, with boxes featuring seven of one cigar and eight of the other, depending on the box you got.
- Cigar Reviewed: Illusione Singularé 2014 Anunnaki
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA)
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo 99
- Binder: Nicaragua Jalapa Criollo 98 & Estelí Corojo 99
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 5 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Double Robusto
- MSRP: $13 (Boxes of 15, $195)
- Date Released: Nov. 12, 2014
- Number of Cigars Released: 2,000 Boxes of 15 Cigars (30,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The wrapper of the Singularé seems to be a deeper in color and oils than the Epernays I’ve seen lately. There’s a bit of wet leather, nutmeg and some sweetness from the wrapper, but the real star pre-light aroma-wise is the foot. Gigantic and rich floral notes cover an array of woods and a touch of wheat. Most of that makes it over to the cold draw, which shows the floral and wheat flavors in spades along with a fair bit of green pepper on a slightly tight draw.
It starts off soft with hay and nuttiness before a coffee bean joins the mixture on the finish. I wasn’t expecting things to be this mild to begin with, but after two puffs the cigar has already ventured into medium-full ranges flavor-wise. The Anunnaki settles into a mixture of chestnuts, apple peel and floral notes up front, quickly transitioning into a finish of coffee bean, sawdust, chestnuts, a creamy orange and a familiar, but short-lived, green pepper. As the cigar burns the mouth flavor seems to inch closer to holding on, but it’s still quite quick. Construction is great with an even chunk of inch-and-a-half long ash holding despite a very windy November afternoon.
The smoothness of the Illusione Singularé 2014 continues to impress in the second third with coffee bean, wheat and a subdued generic nuttiness upfront in the mouth. Through the nose, there’s a great hickory, an orange fruitiness and cumin. A sourness sometimes shows itself through the nose, something I think actually helps what has been a semi-sweet profile for the first half of the cigar. The Anunnaki adds a bit of bread on the finish along with a creaminess that has now separated itself from the orange notes. Construction remains excellent despite the windy conditions and strength continues to be on the lower end of medium-full.
I find some gingerbread cookie flavors on the transition to the final third, along with small doses of the familiar sourness. Creaminess, wheat and floral notes are still big upfront with the citrus note now solely through the nose. At around two-inches black pepper shows up for the first time in the Singularé. It definitely adds more contrast and does not hurt things in anyway, although I’m honestly not sure it’s helping my experience. A bit of youth begins to show itself below the one-inch mark, probably due to an increased puff rate, and I eventually decide I’ve gotten enough from this year’s Singularé.
- Anunnaki refers to a group of gods in ancient Mesopotamia. I’m not going to try to explain it beyond that, so here’s the Wikipedia link.
- Two rollers are responsible for all the production of Singularé 2014.
- There was actually smoke production, but it was extremely windy when I photographed the cigar. Windy enough that my lights were nearly knocked over a few times.
- I find a lot of similarities between the Singularé 2014 and the two larger sizes of Illusione’s new Fume D’Amour. Singularé 2014 is definitely fuller in body, strength and flavor and the floral note is a big difference.
- A week before this review, I smoked an original 2010 Phantom just to see how it has held up. This one was not as good as the one I had a year ago, but I still think they are worth the suggested retail price even after four years.
- In a little over two years TABSA has gone from a factory that probably has no business at the time making Singularé to being able to produce very good cigars. It should be noted that the production at Raíces Cubanas for Illusione and other brands has had a much better 18 months than where it was in 2012.
- Strength is in between medium-plus and medium-full, right around a host of other Illusiones.
- Cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Illusione, who advertises on halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 50 minutes.
The Singularé series started with such a bang. Many Illusione faithful will say that the Phantom was the greatest cigar Dion Giolito has produced to date. While that’s not my opinion, it’s not the easiest statement to dispute. Yet, after that great cigar we were presented with delays and the two most disappointing Illusiones to date: Singularé 2011 and 2012. Last year’s release gave me hope things were back on the right track and Singularé 2014 Anunnaki should restore whatever faith disappeared about how good the annual Illusione release should be. While some will complain about the size—the shortest and thickest to date—if this is about flavor, it’s second only to the Phantom and seems like an ideal candidate for a short bit of rest.