Cigar Review: Illusione OneOff Julieta

Cigar Review: Illusione OneOff Julieta

Illusione Cigars
Country: Nicaragua 
Wrapper: Undisclosed
Binder: Undisclosed
Filler: Undisclosed
Size: 7” x 47
Strength: medium
Price: $17.30

Click here to buy it now.

Overall Rating: 9.3

In 2002, the OneOff brand made its US debut, as a release from Andrea Molinari. Recently the brand was purchased from Cuban Crafters by Dion Giolito of Illusione Cigars, and rereleased with the same packaging as brand identity as the original release. While Giolito says that the blend is true to the original cigar, he has not disclosed any of the tobacco used in the cigar’s blend. The original OneOff had a small cult like following, the new Illusione OneOff may have a wider fanbase that is just as excited about this unique cigar. 

Pre-Light: The OneOff from Illusione is not the prettiest cigar. The greenish khaki wrapper has mottled dark brown spots. There are a few tiny tears in the wrapper (that do not effect the way it smokes) were the binder shows through. Slightly bumpy, with few real prominent veins, there is a bit of oil to the wrapper of undisclosed origin. A simple bright orange band with a peace symbol on it completes the cigar’s look. 

The cigar’s wrapper there is a leafy grass aroma to it. From the unlit foot of the OneOff there are aromas of wood, leafy greens and cinnamon. A fairly easy pre-light draw lets through flavors of wood, cedar, grass and spice. 

Burn: The Illusione OneOff Julieta has a perfect draw, and allows through a good amount of smoke. Though the burn line is a bit wobbly, the cigar burns down evenly. The OneOff Julieta holds a medium ash quite well, and only falls off when tapped off. 

Flavor: The Illusione OneOff Julieta begins with flavors of sweet woods and spice. The spice from the OneOff lingers on the tongue and lips after each puff. There is a unique interplay between flavors of maple, cedar, cinnamon and prominent spices during the first third of the cigar. Occasionally, there is a hint of something resembling dried apples, though it never lasts long. A mellow mix of wood, nuts and spice come through on the retrohale. The transition to the second third sees the flavors mellow slightly. Cedar, herbal spice, almonds blend together in a well balanced way during the second third of the OneOff. A subtle coffee note lingers in the background behind the flavor profile. Through the nose, notes of herbal spice and cedar. As the OneOff burns into the final third, the coffee note mixes with cedar, cardamom, anise and other spice for a pleasing effect. Spice and wood notes carry through to the very end. 

Overall: The original OneOff was one of those cigars that earned a cult like following in its original release, and the new Illusione OneOff is likely to have the same kind of ardent fanbase. While it is not a great looking cigar, the OneOff is a great tasting cigar, especially in the Julieta (Churchill) size. Primary flavors of cedar and spice throughout blend together with notes of cinnamon, almonds, herbal spice, coffee, cardamom and anise at various points in the cigar. The flavors are well balanced with a unique interplay between the note of the flavor profile. Despite there being spice throughout the cigar, the spice never overpowers any of the other flavors. Although the cigar is medium bodied, there is a subtle strength to the OneOff that fans of fuller bodied cigars will also find pleasing. While the OneOff is on the pricey side ($17.30 for the Julieta), it is not unreasonable for a cigar with such a unique interplay of flavors. (Note: We do not take price into account in a cigar’s Overall Rating.) I personally enjoyed the Illusione OneOff a good deal. Having tried the OneOff in several vitolas, the Julieta (Churchill) is the one that really allows the cigar’s flavor profile to shine. While, the $11-$17 price of the cigar makes it an unlikely choice for everyday smoking,  the OneOff great for celebrating on special occasions. I’d definitely recommend picking up a 10-count box or 5-pack to those that are looking for something unique to add to their humidor. 

Pairing: Due the variety and interplay of flavors in the Illusione OneOff Julieta, I’d recommend pairing it with a glass of sparkling water, especially on the first try. The Illusione OneOff is a cigar that pairs well with the strong cup of Cuban coffee or espresso. For those looking for something a bit stronger, the OneOff pair well with something sweeter such as a sipping rum like the Zafra 21, or a fruity whisky such as the Glenmorangie LaSanta or Penderyn Welsh Single Malt. 

Reviewed by Jonathan David (@toastedfoot)