Team Cigar Review: Illusione ~eccj~ 25th

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Cigar Details: Illusione ~eccj~ 25th

  • Vitola: Robusto Extra
  • Length: 5.5″
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Factory: TABSA
  • Blender: Dion Giolito
  • Price: $11.80
  • Release Date: May 2019
  • Source: Developing Palates

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The wrapper on the Illusione ~eccj~ 25th is light brown with some darker marbling. There is a network of lightly raised veins and while the seams are smooth, they are easily visible due to color variations. The head is finished off with a well applied triple cap. The band is the traditional design for the line, being gold on white with no designation which anniversary this is celebrating. The aroma from the wrapper is sweet hay while the foot brings wood and tobacco sweetness. The pre-light draw is dry cedar with a light white pepper and then a medium level spiciness on my lips.

Pre-light Experience

The Illusione ~eccj~ 25th is great in hand and sports a lovely Colorado wrapper. Has some beautiful red coloring throughout. It is silky in texture with a slight fine grit texture as well. There are some light oils present with medium size veins. Aromas on the foot and wrapper are of light and dry wood, sweet baking spices, stone fruit and sweet, soft earth.

Pre-light Experience

The Illusione ~eccj~ 25th has a brown wrapper, with visible lumps throughout the construction. Nosing the cigar, I was able to smell sweet cedar, with more intense sweet cedar in the foot.

Pre-light Experience

The Illusione ~eccj~ 25th is a Robusto Extra sized cigar. Wrapper looks and feels good as it provides an oily Colorado Claro shade. Major veins are well pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll slightly loose and head finished off with a well wrapped cap. Aromas from the wrapper tell pencil lead minerality, cedar and hay. Nosing the foot gives a kick of black pepper spice and rich roasted nuts. Cold draw gives a tingling black pepper on the lips and roasted nuts.

First Third

The cigar begins with a mix of wood, mustiness and cinnamon. At a quarter inch in, the wood gains a bit of a toasted note. At a half inch in, the toasted wood is now more defined as cedar while the mustiness is paired evenly with it and the cinnamon is barely hanging on in the background. The retrohale is musty and dry cedar. At an inch and a quarter the mustiness gains a mushroom component. As the third comes to a close, the profile is an even mix of toasted cedar and mushroom mustiness. The strength in this third was right at medium.

First Third

The first third begins by showing some sweet spice notes and I am picking up some anise and cinnamon. There is some cream with the cigar and it is finished with some dry wood, earth and dry cocoa notes. I would classify the body and strength as being medium-full and it is a full flavored cigar. Just a beautiful start.

First Third

Sweet cedar with underlying creaminess opens the first third. Those flavors are intensified to medium minus on the retrohale. Lingering post draw baking spices begin to join as the cigar progresses. Lingering post draw cedar joins several minutes later. As the cigar starts to settle in, milk chocolate defines the center of the flavor profile, with graham cracker at approximately the one inch mark. The flavor profile remains steady as described until the end of the third.

First Third

The first third has a pretty well melded formula. Medium in strength and body, with flavors of welcoming black pepper, cedar, nuts, bread and near palate full of tannins. Retrohaling brings out deeper notes of black pepper and rich nuttiness. Further, it adds a creamed cherry note. The finish tells a mixture of minerals and cedar.

Second Third

The second third sees the cedar transition back to a general wood note, but it keeps the toasted aspect. At a half inch in, the toasted note is replaced by some char and there is a slight burning paper note that has joined the profile while the mustiness remains but has lost the mushroom note. The retrohale still has the mushroom mustiness and it has a slight lead over toasted wood. At an inch and a quarter, the mushroom note returns to the mustiness. At an inch and a half, a vegetal note joins the profile while the mushroom mustiness and slightly charred wood are up front. There is still a slight burning paper note remaining as well. The strength in this third remained at medium.

Second Third

I am in the second third of the cigar now and finding that it is creamier and woodier overall. I am getting some wood shavings and with that is that sweet tobacco you get with AGANORSA. There is stone fruit and earth profile present as well and the finish has this Bing Cherry quality. The body and strength have come down to a level between medium and medium-full, and the same goes for the flavors in this third.

Second Third

The second third starts out with mild hay on the retrohale. Dry cedar settles into the center of the flavor profile. Mild baking spices join the retrohale as the cigar continues, with a mild drying cedar lingering on the post draw. By the halfway point, dry cedar is carrying the flavor profile.

Second Third

The second third highlights a profile that is more spice and mineral forward with a fuller mouthful of tannins. Even with that said, the other notes of cedar, nuts and bread are still prominent. The strength also ramps from medium to medium plus (body staying medium).

Final Third

The final third has the charred wood up front with the mustiness sans mushroom right behind and the vegetal note and a light burning paper note in the background. At a half inch in, the char lightens a bit and the burning paper has left. The retrohale is just musty wood. The cigar wraps up with musty wood up front and the vegetal note not too far behind. The strength remained at medium.

Final Third

I am in the final third of the cigar now and there has been more transitioning in the cigar. I am getting this creamy and sweet spice quality, and with that is some cinnamon, wood and stone fruit. It is a complex finish and balanced. Smokes cool to the end and leaves me wanting another. I found the strength, body and flavors to be at the medium level, and it was great!

Final Third

The last third begins with dry cedar and finishes with a sour note. Some post draw earthiness joins as the cigar settles in. Bitterness accents the cedar at the front of the draw, and eventually moves into the middle of the profile. The finish to each draw at this point is an earth bitterness.

Final Third

The last third shows some interesting twists and turns. What didn’t turn was the medium-full and medium strength and body (respectively). What did turn was the flavor profile, now being more focused on spice, minerals and a nice barnyard funk. The profile also becomes nuttier with a distinct rich roasted nuttiness, which pairs well with the barnyard funk. Tannins also become fuller, really sticking onto the palate.

Burn

The burn line was a little jagged but never needed any attention. The ash held on in inch and a quarter increments.

Burn

The burn was far from perfect throughout the cigar and required some touch-ups but with the flavors delivered, it did not take away from the smoking experience.

Burn

The cigar burned very straight with the ash holding on up to 2 inch increments.

Burn

Aside from some flowery ash trickling off the cigar and a quick touch-up, the burn performance was perfect. Overall even burn and cool burning temperature.

Draw

The draw was slightly tighter than I prefer but didn’t cause any issues with the smoking experience.

Overall

The cigar began with wood, mustiness and cinnamon and then became more defined as cedar and gained a toast note. The cinnamon left as the mustiness gained a mushroom component. The cedar transitioned back to a general wood note and gained some char as a light burning paper note also joined. Later, a vegetal note joined the profile. Construction was very good and strength was medium the whole way. The Illusione ~eccj~ 25th began fairly average and by the second third, the profile took a step down as the wood was charred and a burning paper note had joined in. It never really recovered after that, even when the burning paper left in the second half of the final third. Having only smoked the original 15th, this didn’t quite live up to that release. This was my least favorite release from Illusione this year and probably not something I’m going to return to anytime soon.

Draw

I would have liked for the draw to be a little bit more restrained, but it was not a problem at all.

Overall

Here is a cigar that smoked so well from start to finish and that does not seem to be the case in 2019. There was depth, complexity and transitioning, and that took place from start to finish. It was balanced and simply a beautiful cigar. Yes, the burn was far from beautiful, but when you have a cigar that smokes like this and tastes great, who cares. The Illusione ~eccj~ 25th is a great release from 2019 and I am not surprised that Illusione delivers another gem to the market.

Draw

The draw had a slight resistance to it, roughly 1-1/2 to 2 notches.

Overall

The Illusione ~eccj~ 25th started out promising in the first third. Nuanced flavors of sweet cedar, creaminess, baking spices, cedar, graham cracker and mild chocolate. Unfortunately, the complexity didn’t hold, with the profile becoming flat in the middle third, and unbalanced with bitterness in the last third. Overall, my experience was average. Total smoking time was 1 hour and 57 minutes.

Draw

The draw was slightly tight but nonetheless very good without needing to pay attention to it.

Overall

As it stands now, the Illusione ~eccj~ 25th is a solid cigar providing a fairly well melded balance of flavors. Classic Corojo forward Illusione with a nice bouquet of spice, earth, sweetness and natural creaminess. However, it can use the help of time to even out some of the sharpness inherently embedded within the entire smoking experience. Also, based on my experience of smoking aged (4-5 years) ECCJs, I know the cigar can reach a smoother and silkier level, yet still maintain full and deep flavors. When that happens, I look forward to lighting up another one.

Aaron
Seth
John
Jiunn
GoodPre
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GoodPre
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Good
AverageFirst
Third
Very GoodFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
Good
SubparSecond
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Very GoodSecond
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AverageSecond
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Good
SubparFinal
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Very GoodFinal
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Very GoodBurnGoodBurnAmazingBurnVery Good
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SubparOverallVery GoodOverallAverageOverallGood

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

4.43

Cost/Point

$2.66

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

8.08

Cost/Point

$1.46

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

5.60

Cost/Point

$2.11

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

6.92

Cost/Point

$1.71

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Illusione ~eccj~ 25th
Seth GeiseTeam Cigar Review: Illusione ~eccj~ 25th

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