Posted by Jack | in Illusione | on 12 Sep 2013 | at 2:04 PM | 2671 views
Among my five favorite brands, Illusione cigars retain a certain enigmatic quality.  Dion Giolito makes some marvelous cigars to be certain, but there is a wonderful mysterious quality to the brand.  The naming convention is often simplistic - a few numbers or letters - and the tobaccos he uses are often unusual.  To this day, the Epernay still ranks as one of the best cigars I have ever had, the CG4 is on my short list for my top 25 this year, and the Holy Lance is one of the best lancero cigars money can buy.  So, droppping by The Market, I spied the as-yet-untried Crusado line just sitting there looking gorgeous and mouth watering.  I picked up a couple of the more ostentatious looking vitolas - both wrapped in gold foil.  The subject this review is the Marelas Supremas.  Draped in another unusual wrapper leaf, a gorgeous Nicaraguan Criollo Rosado, the Marelas snagged me with the presentation alone.  Let's get to the review....
Construction: The Marelas is a beautiful cigar both before and after you unwrap it.  The half gold foil presentation is just gorgeous.  Once removed - which is very simple as the band peels off easily and the foil slides off in one piece - the Marelas shows a nice red-brown wrapper with a few very minor veins and some subtle color mottling.  The real eye-catcher is the Cuban Partagas 109 style cap.  Rather than a standard parejo dome shaped cap, this one is like a morph a quarter of the way to a classic belicoso.  It's a very unique rolling that makes the whole thing even cooler.
Pre-light Aroma and Draw: Once out of the foil, this version of the Crusado gives off a nice cedar spice, barnyard, and leather aroma.  Even using a depth restrictive cutter - where I could only snip about an eighth of an inch from the cap, the draw is perfect.  A cold pull gives a nice sweet tobacco and earthy flavor.
Light and Burn: Lighting was really not an issue - it rarely is.  The burn started off a little troublesome for about a half and inch and then it performed perfectly until the end with a heavy dark gray ash and no coning.
Tasting: The start is creamy smooth with a dry cocoa and earthy profile.
The first third starts with a hefty amount of cinnamon, oak, red pepper, leather and earth.  The flavors are very uniquely blended and unusual.  It smooths out after a tiny bit of harshness and adds a cocoa flavor to the mix.  It seems to get richer, smoother, and toastier as the first section burns through.
The second third pumps up the leather a bit more while adding a heavy espresso note.  It is retaining that nice dense earth touched by some cinnamon.  There are some mild herbal notes and the cocoa from the first third drops off a bit as well.  The smoke is very dense and aromatic.
The final third shifts the pepper from red to black with the continuation of the earthy, leathery, creamy core.  I get some nutty flavors with touches of black coffee and unsweetened cocoa.  The flavors mingle in the last three inches into one well balanced amalgam.  A very interesting and tasty surprise.
Value: The Marelas Supremas will run you around $10, which is easily worth it for such a great cigar with a killer vintage presentation.
Final Thoughts: Every single Illusione I try is terrific.  I have yet to try one I don't like - and that is saying something.  The Crusado Marelas Supremas is easily tied for second place among my favorite Dion Giolito crafted cigars.  So far it shows signs worthy of my top cigars of the year list.  Highly recommended.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo Rosado
Size: 6.5 x 52
Simply beautiful presentation
Love the gothic style band in conjunction with the foil
There is the 109 style cap.  It's an amazing thing I would love to see on more cigars
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