Cigar Review: Illusione Singulare 2011

Cigar Review: Illusione Singulare 2011

Illusione Singulare 2011

Size: Vimana (Toro + ) (6″ x 52)

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler:  Nicaragua

Strength: Medium

Price:  $11 MSRP (as per press release)

Grade: 9.0

Last week in one of my numerous treks through B&M’s in my hometown I was lucky enough to show up as the new Illusione Singulares were being put on the shelves (it pays to stop into you local B&M frequently!).

In 2010 Dion Giolito of Illusione released the Singulare “Phantom”, a Nicaraguan puro, which quickly became one of the hottest cigars of the year.  The Singulare was such a successful line that when I was able to go back and grab a box they were gone, and unfortunately they were not to be seen again.

Unfortunately last years release, the 2011, was held up in production and not released until now.  This year Illusione decided to release both the 2011, and the 2012 vintages together in a single box that consists of seven of one blend and 8 of the other.  Here’s more information on the release from Greg Mottola of Cigar Aficionado (May 4, 2012):

“Last year we were back-ordered by about a half million  Illusione cigars,” said Giolito. “It doesn’t make sense for me to release a limited edition when I can’t get my regular product out to my customers. But now we’ve caught up.” Each box of  15 cigars will contain two different vintages, the 2011, which has a Corojo wrapper, and the 2012, which comes wrapped in a Mexican San Andrés cover leaf. Both measure 6 inches by 52 ring, a size that Giolito has  dubbed Vimana (Sanskrit for U.F.O.), and will retail for $11 each.

“The blends on these cigars are both completely different,” said Giolito. “But they do share common leaves from a Nicaraguan farm called Chilamate, which grows very distinct tobacco.”

You can read the entire Cigar Aficionado article here.

But enough about that, let’s toast the foot.

Pre-Light:  (1.8) The 2011 Singulare bears a striking resemblance to the 2010 version at first glance, albeit with a slightly darker wrapper.  The Café Colorado wrapper has a slight reddish hue to it.  As expected there is a perfectly applied triple cap.  The 2011 Singulare sports an identical band to the 2010 vintage.  The Singulare 2011 is tightly packed, and firm to the touch.  The wrapper has a few veins to it and a small bit of mottling in the color.   

The scent off the foot consisted of an earthy, rich tobacco.  The pre-light draw had a similar earthiness to it with a hint of sweetness from the tobacco.

Burn: (1.7)  .The 2011 Singulare burn smoothly with a good draw through the first two thirds.  Getting close to the nub the resistance tightened up, but not significantly enough to be an issue.  The burn line struggled to maintain an even line and got jagged on a number of occasions.  At no point did it develop a hot spot, or get particularly uneven, but the burn line was not “crisp” either.  AS I smoked the last third I experrienced a bit of cracking in the wrapper, but again, that wasn’t enough to prevent from trying to burn my fingers through the nub.

Flavor:  (2.7)  The 2011 Singulare opened up with a moderate spice and pepper which quickly more to the background.  After the initial few puffs I experience notes of nuttiness, cedar, and earth with a bit of sweetness and a touch of spice on the finish.

As I progress into the second third the cedar seems to have picked up and moved to the front, but it is a very smooth cedar note that is balanced out with the earth and sweetness.  Again the spice reemerges and disappears at various times in the smoke and on the finish.  There is a sweet, warm bread note when passing through the retro hale.

The final third presents much more of a woodsy core and a reemergence of the spice.   The flavors, while not overtly strong, are very nicely balanced.  The blend really provides a nice platform for the natural spice of the Corojo wrapper to shine without the spice getting out of balance.

Overall: (2.8)    Scoring the 2011 Singulare is a bit tricky.  The pre light inspection didn’t really stand out, the burn and draw both had minor issues, and the flavors didn’t amaze me.  However, I really enjoyed the 2011 vintage of the Singulare.  While I was smoking it I couldn’t put it down and I kept enjoying each lasting puff.  There was a really nice interplay between the smooth filler blend and the spice and pepper presumably from the wrapper.  While I typically look for a wider range of flavor, or deeper notes, the 2011 Singulare just hit the spot and that’s what it’s all about.

Total: 9.0