The previous year marked a number of things in the cigar industry, most notably the dawn of FDA regulation but certainly not to be overlooked is the 10-year anniversary of Illusione. Dion Giolito’s company has become a mainstay in numerous humidors, and his reputation for having a gifted palate and blending ability has become well-known. It should come as no surprise that the cigar blended in celebration of the occasion would be of utmost quality, and some might say it ranks at or near the top of Giolito’s creations.
A Nicaraguan puro made with a cafe claro AAA grade wrapper and a blend of Nicaraguan criollo 98 and corojo 99 tobaccos from AGANORSA that he called “seco dominant,” Giolito created a cigar that is lush and nuanced, diving almost immediately into a high level of complexity and building from there. Familiar, comforting notes of nuts and breads get accented by measured amounts of pepper that nudge the cigar into medium-full territory, but much like Giolito himself, the cigar can be intense without being overbearing. Retrohales offer copious rewards of berry sweetness that complete what is truly a fantastic experience and celebration. — Patrick Lagreid.