Posted by Jack | in Illusione | on 04 Apr 2013 | at 11:08 AM | 2285 views
REVIEW  UPDATED 4/15/2013
Illusione has a great catalog.  Everything I have tried by them has been excellent and always leaves me looking for more.  The Holy Lance is one that many of my friends at The Wharf look for as the popularity of the lancero shape continues to increase.  I was on BOTL the other day and noticed that in a poll, smaller ring gauges are more popular.  Talking to friends I tend to see this trend increasing.  My take on this is that smaller rings give you a couple of advantages.  First - they keep from breaking your jaw like so many of the massive ring sizes on the market are capable of doing, and second - with less filler you get to taste more of the wrapper leaf.  After running into the Holy Lance at The Market, I snagged one for review.  I was more than a little excited about this one so let's see how it smokes....
Construction: The HL has a very nice rustic look to it.  It reminds me of the cigar Kurt Russell smokes in Tombstone.  Very nice indeed.  Finished with a nice pigtail cap and wrapped in a beautiful oily Nicaraguan Cafe Colorado wrapper, this beauty just begs to be smoked.
Pre-light Aroma and Draw: Unlit, the hl gives off a nice rich tobacco aroma with a hint of spice.  The draw is a bit stiff so I am hoping it opens up but the tight draw stuck with me until the middle of the cigar.  Sad really.  This is the only Illusione I have had with a tight draw.  Perfect draw on the second sample I smoked.
Light and Burn: The lighting is a snap even with the tight draw on this particular cigar.  The burn is razor sharp from beginning to end.
Tasting: The opening of the HL is smooth with a nice hint of spice.  It's a creamy smooth cigar with a very nice woody and leathery texture.  I am really enjoying the extremely aromatic smoke it gives off.  Into the middle third I get a nice increase in the spice while not becoming harsh at all.  I love what Dion does with these cigars.  Every one is an absolute masterpiece.  I am getting some nice coffee and cocoa hints to the overall woody character of this beauty.  I am hampered a bit by that tight draw but it's still a cigar I will go back to as often as I can find them.  I don't consider Illusione cigars to be overly complex in terms of having loads of different flavors but they are always delicious and extremely consistent from start to finish.  Much more spice as the cigar progressed.  Loads of cinnamon. black coffee, earth, and wood were noted.  Easily a much better experience.
Value: The Holy Lance will run you around ten bones.  Totally worth the price...as is every Illusione.
Final Thoughts: With the draw, I am disappointed....but with the taste and performance, this is a grade A cigar that should be in your humidor.  To be quite honest, Illusione is probably my third favorite brand at present after the Tatuaje and Emilio brands.  As the year progresses, I can't wait to see what Dion releases this year.  As a side note, The Wharf is expanding their Illusione selection and should have the Epernay in sometime in the coming week!
Regarding the review of this cigar - I intend to get another one of these and re-rate based on the draw.  This is easily a 94 or 95 cigar and I intend to prove that claim.
Prior review rating was a 91.  I can easily give it a 93 this go around.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Cafe Colorado
Strength: Medium to full
Size: 7.25 x 40
Long, slender, and elegant
I love the simplicity of the Illusione bands and that gothic font they use is gorgeous
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