The wrapper is light brown with a few prominent raised veins. The seams are easily seen but very smooth. There are three well applied caps with the top cap having a flag finish. The band is a bit of a departure for Illusione as it’s primarily silver with white and black lettering and some black bordering. The aroma from the wrapper is a distinct barnyard. The foot aroma is a mild sweet tobacco. The pre-light draw is a lightly sweet hay along with a red pepper spiciness on my lips.
The Illusione Haut 10 has a Colorado Claro shade wrapper. Wrapper’s feel is reminiscent of fine construction paper. Major veins are for the most part well pressed and seams invisible. Cigar’s bunch and roll feels well executed as there are no soft spots and a uniformed give from head to toe. The head is finished off with a thick and well adhered triple cap. Wrapper smells of a mixture of hay and barnyard. Nosing the foot provides dry white pepper, baking spices and hay. Cold draw tells subtle notes of hay, cardboard paper, white pepper and aged dry wood.
The cigar begins with some aged wood and a little bit of cinnamon. Nearing half an inch, the cinnamon mellows a little. The retrohale is just the aged wood note. After a few more draws a mild cream comes into the background to support the aged wood. At an inch in, the cream goes away and the aged wood becomes a bit drying. Nearing the end of the third, the dryness goes away and a slight bit of cinnamon comes back. The strength in this third is just below medium.
Initial handful of draws creates balance, complexities and nuances of flavors. Specifically, dry white pepper and dried roasted nuts. Further, there is a mustiness and meatiness to the profile adding great depth of mouth feel. Roughly a quarter inch in, cream, hay, aged dry oak and floral notes. The retrohale provides intensified (and just the right amount) black pepper, earthy mustiness and dry nuts. The finish is long and lingering providing aged cedar, cream, black pepper and hay. In terms of body and strength, medium throughout the entire first third.
As this third begins, the aged wood actually transitions to a bit of young green wood. A quarter inch in, the aged wood comes back. The retrohale continues to be the aged wood as well. At three quarters of an inch in, a slight bitterness joins in with the aged wood. At an inch in, the bitterness goes away and is replaced by a slight baking spice while the profile is slightly drying again. This is the profile the third finishes with. The strength in this third was right at medium.
The second third continues its path of a complex and nuanced profile. Still providing dry white pepper, dried roasted nuts, mustiness, cream, hay and aged dry oak. Coffee and cream as well as a bright fruit note enters the palate as new flavors. Through the nose, still the same preferred levels of black pepper, earthy mustiness, dry nuts, wood bitterness and bright fruit. The finish is still long and lingering with a mixture of cream and dry nuts, aged cedar, wood bitterness and subtle hay. Body and strength continues to be at the medium mark.
As this third begins, the slightly drying aged wood continues. There is also a little bitterness that has returned. At a quarter inch in, the bitterness picks up a fair amount and has a long finish. The retrohale maintains the aged wood note. At three quarters of an inch, the aged wood and bitterness are pretty even. At an inch in, the bitterness decreased a bit with the aged wood up front. This is how the cigar finished. The strength in this third was slightly above medium.
The last third for the most part carries over from the second third. The profile still contains dry white pepper, dried roasted nuts, cream, wood bitterness and subtle hay. New notes of baking spices and creamed coffee mixes well with the other aforementioned notes. The retrohale consists of preferred levels of black pepper, earthy mustiness, dry nuts and wood bitterness. The finish still lingers with a mixture of cream and dry nuts, aged cedar, wood bitterness and subtle hay. Body and strength finishes out at the medium mark.
The burn was a little wavy but never caused any issues. The ash held on in one inch increments.
Burn performance was overall very good. Total burn time clocked in at 2 hours and 20 minutes. Burn line was fairly sharp throughout the entire smoking time, never needing a touch-up or re-light. Ashes held on fairly tight with slight flowering, averaging one inch increments.
The draw was just slightly tighter than I prefer, but still allowed me to take full draws.
The cigar started out with a decent profile of aged wood and slight cinnamon, but getting into the second third it was then a monotonous journey of just aged wood and bitterness. Strength profile is right around medium. I was hoping for a lot more from this cigar, so there was a bit of disappointment as it wasn’t at the same level I’ve come to expect from Illusione. I will definitely revisit this cigar to see if I have a different experience, but as it sits, it’s not something on my must smoke again list.
|Average||Second Third||Very Good|
|Very Good||Burn||Very Good|
The draw was perfect. Cutting the cap in line with the ring gauge of the cigar yielded perfection.
The Haut 10 is one of the handful of cigars released this year that I was highly anticipating. Understanding the cigar utilizing Aganorsa tobacco, blended by Dion, triple selected, seco dominant, made me think of a cigar hopefully being deep in flavors. My smoking experience did not disappoint and has met my expectations. The cigar had balance, complexities and nuances in spades. The retrohale tied it all together making the flavors more distinct and full. This is an easy box buy for me.
Sam C. - December 30, 2017
I have smoked three or four HAUT 10s, and my experience has been somewhere in the middle of this team review. I smoked one fresh and it blew me away. It was fairly humming with flavor: spice and sweetness in equal mixes, very different to anything I’d had from Illusione. Now, with months (a year?) of rest, the HAUTs that followed have been much more subtle in comparison, which is probably to be expected. However, in terms of nuance and flavor, the HAUT still falls behind the eccj, H-Town, and Singularé releases when I reach for a cigar. That said, I am glad I have a box of the HAUTs, and I will continue to enjoy them.
Shlomo - February 1, 2019
What is the best illusione to date in your opinion? How good is the palate of the haut 10 in relation to the singular releases and the Warped aganorsa blends? If there is only 1 aganorsa leaf that you can haul to a desert island, what cigar would it be?
Aaron Loomis - February 1, 2019
In my opinion, the original Phantom is the best. The Haut 10 just didn’t hit for me.