Cigar Review: Cruzado


Size: 4×48, Dantes (Robusto)

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo

Binder: Nicaraguan

Filler: Nicaraguan & Honduran

Strength: Medium

Price: Box of 20, $172

Grade: 8.9

Cruzado2The Cruzado was born when Don Giolito of Illusione fame wanted to create a milder version of his Nicaraguan treats, which was attained by removing the trademark Ligero featured in Illusione cigars. Still medium bodied and full flavored, the Cruzado features Nicaraguan and Honduran tobacco. Originally the cigar was going to be produced by the maker of Joya de Nicaragua, in the Tabacos Puros de Nicaragua S.A. factory in Esteli, but complications arose due to a surge in production; instead, production was moved to Raices Cubanas, the Honduran factory where the Illusione cigar line is produced.

Sold in boxes of 20, there are currently six sizes available, each with a pigtailed cap: Dantes (4×48), Avalitos (4×46), Marios (7×47), Marelas (5 5/8×46 perfecto), Elitas (6×44), and Domenicos (5 5/8×56).

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Now, on to the toast.

Pre-light, 1.7:
The first thing that jumps out on this smoke is the pigtailed triple cap. The cigar is well packed with no soft spots and the medium brown wrapper is rustic at best, with a few bumps and veins spread throughout. The band on this smoke is simple, yet striking, and is exactly what I would expect from the creator of the Illusione brand. The pre-light aroma is of earthy tobacco along the wrapper with a hint of sweet spice at the foot. The cold draw presents more spice than sweet, with the solid tobacco flavors rounding out the finish.

Burn, 1.7:
The draw on the Dantes is solid and produces an adequate amount of smoke with a minimal amount of effort. The ash holds well and is mixed in color, from a dingy white to solid black. Smoke temperature is solid for a thin ring gauge and no touch ups or re-lights are required.

Flavor, 2.8:
The first puff on the Cruzado gives off a blast of spice, but it is balanced well with the tobacco flavors after the initial burst. Into the first third, the dominant notes continue to be spice with earthy tobacco, but there is a hint of nuts and sweetness. The second third follows the above profile but the spice is subdued a bit; on my palate a solid profile of earthy tobacco arrives and the continued sweetness lingers on the finish. The final third doesn’t transition; it is still full of flavor and I take it to the nub.

Overall, 2.7:
The Cruzado was a nice smoke; I enjoyed the more traditional ring gauge and the smoking experience that it provided. Priced at $7-8 a stick, this is a tough call for me to make – it is worth the cash for sure, but for me personally, it is not a go to smoke with that price tag. Pick up a few in any ring gauge and see for yourself; if you like the Illusione line, you will enjoy this smoke as well.

(Total: 8.9)