The wrapper is light brown and has a fair number of veins present which are slightly raised. The seams are fairly easily seen based on the texture of the wrapper and the vein prominence. The head has a well applied triple cap that is finished off with a flag. The band is a fairly simple strip band that is white on silver with black borders. The aroma from the wrapper is a mix of aged wood and faint barnyard funkiness while the foot brings stone fruit sweetness, wood and a decent amount of white pepper. The pre-light draw brings aged wood and slightly sweet hay along with a mild spiciness on my lips and tongue.
The Illusione Haut 10 Churchill has a medium brown wrapper shade providing a semi-slick oily feel on the finger tips. Construction of the cigar looks and feels well executed as veins are well pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll even with out any hardness or soft spots and a well applied triple cap. Aromas from the wrapper tell fresh ground black pepper, cedar, dry barnyard and baking spices. Aromas from the foot give rich nuttiness, more aggressive black pepper and cedar. Cold draw tells cedar, hay, nuts and white pepper.
The cigar begins with a mix of aged wood and spicy cinnamon. At a half inch in, a slight cream joins in to smooth out the cinnamon a bit and create a better balance with the wood. At an inch in, the aged wood is at the forefront while the cream and cinnamon are working together in the background. The retrohale is a mix of wood and light cinnamon. At an inch and three quarters, the cinnamon has mellowed significantly as the aged wood is up front and a bit of cream also remains in the background. The strength in this third was slightly below medium.
Similar to the Haut 10 Toro, the Churchill format is one that is flavor driven and not strength driven. Flavors of ginger biscuits, cedar and a slightly grit filled earthiness. Retrohaling highlights full flavors of white pepper and rich nuttiness. The finish is namely a refined grit earthiness paired with cedar. Strength and body is medium.
As the second third begins, some mustiness joins the aged wood while there is still a bit of creaminess in the background and the cinnamon has morphed to a mild general baking spice. At an inch in, the musty aged wood is up front with some cream and very mild baking spice remaining in the background. At an inch and a half, the retrohale is providing more of the musty aged wood. As the third comes to a close, the profile is primarily the musty aged wood note with a slight amount of cream in the background. There is no longer any trace of baking spice. The strength in this third bumped up to medium.
Moving into the second third, the flavors of especially ginger biscuits and creamed bread/toast becomes fuller such that it almost tastes like the real things. Retrohaling becomes even more important than the first third. Without it, you’ll miss out on the deep notes of rich nuttiness and white pepper spice. The finish becomes less earthy, replaced by baking spices and bread/toast. Strength and body continues to be medium
As the final third begins, the cream increases a bit to support the musty aged wood. At a quarter inch in, some bitterness joins the profile. At an inch in, the wood loses the aged note while the mustiness, cream and bitterness remain at their previous levels. The cigar finishes out with this same profile. The strength in this third bumps up to slightly above medium.
The first half or so of the final third is like the second third, focusing on creamed bread/toast and ginger biscuits. The latter half shifts towards highlighting more spice (white pepper), minerals and spice with intermittent citrus fruits. Strength and body finishes medium.
The draw was slightly tighter than I prefer but didn’t cause any issues with the smoking experience.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original Haut 10 release, but the Churchill is definitely a step up for me. Lots of aged wood along with some mustiness, cream and cinnamon later morphing to baking spice was the flavor profile. Construction was very good allowing me to just focus on the flavors. The final third was a drop off and in this long format, I would have been fine stopping at the end of the second third. If you’re a fan of the original, this will be a no brainer. If you haven’t visited this line, it would be well worth your time to do so. The price point is fairly high, but if you enjoy it, the long smoking time will provide value.
|Good||Second Third||Very Good|
|Very Good||Burn||Very Good|
The draw was perfect, as it struck the best balance of air flow and resistance.
The Illusione Haut 10 Churchill in many ways follow suit as last year’s Haut 10 Toro release. A profile that is flavor focused as opposed to strength focused. I find the Churchill to be sharper in flavors and in a way less nuanced than the Toro. The flavors themselves were great, delivering ginger biscuits, creamed bread/toast, white pepper, cedar and just enough earthiness. The importance of retrohaling couldn’t be more true than this cigar, as if you don’t you will miss out on the depth of flavors. My personal taste prefers the Toro over the Churchill namely due to the Toro being more nuanced, but the Churchill is still fantastic and well worth your money.
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