Cigar Review: Illusione H-Town Lancero (Stogies Exclusive)

Cigar Review: Illusione H-Town Lancero (Stogies Exclusive)

Illusione / Stogies World Class Cigars
Country: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Size: 7” x 40
Strength: medium-full
Price: $9.95

Overall Rating: 9.4

Anyone following Toasted Foot over the last year is certainly familiar with how outstanding the H-Town Lancero Series from Stogies World Class Cigars in Houston is. So the question becomes, “How do they top what they’ve already done?” Obviously, by releasing an Illusione H-Town based on the blend of the Illusione Singularé 2010 Phantom, which was perhaps the greatest Illusione ever made, and in the process making the greatest H-Town ever made. The Illusione H-Town is everything one would expect from Dion Giolito and Jorge Ahued, who made our list of the Most Fascinating People in the Cigar Industry 2015.

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Pre-Light: All the H-Town Series looks pretty great, but the Illusione just seems to look a little nicer. There’s a slight reddish hue to the medium brown Corojo wrapper. Smooth with no noticeable veins, there a nice oily sheen to the cigar. Unlike the other cigars in the H-Town line there is no secondary H-Town band, as Dion only uses one band for all store exclusives (it was used last year on Smoke Inn’s Illusione Pactum), but the dark blue hue with white lettering is my favorite of all the Illusione bands. The only place you’ll see the word “H-Town” on this release is on the side 15 count boxes.

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There is a distinct peanut aroma to the wrapper of the Illusione H-Town, that is joined by subtler hints of leather.  The foot of the cigar has a pleasing mix of peanuts, mild cocoa, oak, leather and spice. On the cold draw flavors of peanuts, leather, mild cocoa, basil and spice come through easily.

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Burn: The draw on the Illusione H-Town is perfect, allowing through just the right amount of smoke.  The cigar burns very even from start to finish. There’s a really aromatic floral and spice smoke that comes from the burning cigar that is extremely pleasing.

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Flavor: The Illusione H-Town begins with an instant burst of nuttiness that is soon joined by graham cracker and herbal spice notes. Soon into the first third of the cigar flavors of peanuts, coffee, cedar, oak, basil, spice and graham cracker are all present in varying degrees. On the retrohale there is a mix of sweet mix of spices, floral notes and pine nuts. During the transition to the second third of the cigar there is a good deal of cedar, spice, grass, pine nuts.  As the second third gets going, there is a pleasing creaminess to the peanut notes that reminds me of my mother’s peanut soup, yet this never overwhelms the other flavors present during the second third of the Illusione H-Town. A really interesting floral note joins coffee, cedar, pine nuts, oak and cocoa during the second third of the cigar. The cigar’s herbal and spice notes have a depth to them, adding significantly to the cigar’s complexity. As the cigar begins to transition to the final third the coffee note that becomes noticeable, and reminds me of a dark Kenyan roast.  There is just the slightest lemon citrus that occurs at the transition to the last third of the cigar. Cedar, nuts, floral spice, cocoa, coffee and wheat bread round out the flavors during the final third of the cigar.

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Overall: Cigars from the H-Town Series have made our Honorable Mention 2014 and 2015 lists, but had the Illusione H-Town been reviewed before the holidays it would have definitely earned a spot in our Top Ten. The Illusione H-Town Lancero is a very complex cigar. The mix of nuts, cedar, spice, coffee, mild cocoa and floral notes make for a delightful smoking experience. Medium-full bodied, the strength of the newest H-Town is not overwhelming, but it is a little surprising. Fans of Dion’s cigars will be impressed with the flavor and complexity provided by Illusione H-Town. I find it hard to believe that and future H-Town will be better than the Illusione. Personally, I can’t wait to add a box or two to my locker at Stogies. This is one of the best lanceros I’ve ever smoked, and one of my three favorite Illusione cigar.

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Pairing: When it comes to pairing, the newest H-Town pairs very well with a glass of red wine. The rum drinker will not be disappointed with the Illusione compliments a fine sipping rum. Speyside single malts like the Macallan and Balvenie will pair quite well with the Illusione H-Town.

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On a side note: The Illusione H-Town will be released on January 1, 2016. When this cigar arrived at Stogies via UPS earlier this month, I had the opportunity to be one of several people to smoke it early. When pictures of people smoking it made their way online, another site erroneously reported that the cigar was on sale. They were subsequently informed of the January 1 release date, but in their review of pre-release cigars this week they said that the cigar was available for preorder online. It was not. However, after all the phone calls and confusion Jorge Ahued, in an attempt to stem off any confusion this other site’s screw up caused with his customers, has decided to make the cigar available for preorder on Stogies website. Still, preorders will not ship until January 1st. This is why I strongly urge you to support Cigar Media Association member sites, because at ToastedFoot.com and other CMA sites we do our best to work with manufactures and retailers to provide accurate information and avoid screw ups like the one I just mentioned.

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Cigars for this review were provided by Jorge Ahued of Stogies World Class Cigars. While the generosity is greatly appreciated, it does not effect the overall rating or review of this cigar. At Toasted Foot we remain committed to providing the best impartial cigar and products reviews around.