Ok, today’s review is on a cigar that has been around longer than Stogie Press has existed, but not longer than yours truly, Boston Jimmie, has been enjoying cigars. I have to say, I have never smoked the Illusione “88” in any form until my good friend Alton Otto gifted me two of the candela varieties late last year. Thank you Alton for bringing me out from under the rock on this one.
Released in early 2011, the Illusione “88” Candela Robusto was one of a number of Illusione cigars that received a Candela (Green) wrapper. Candella is a special wrapper that is cured using a special process where the leaf is harvested and quickly dried using higher heat that locks in the plant’s natural chlorophyll content. This produces a leaf that has a more natural sweet and grassy component in the profile.
So let’s get into the review of the beautiful craft that has lasted almost a decade and is still being crafted and sold to this day.
To start with, the Illusione “88” Candela is available in a single 5 x 52 Robusto and has an MSRP of $9.20/cigar. They come packaged in 25-count cabinet style boxes.
The Nicaraguan puro blend of the Illusione “88” Candela is described as:
- Wrapper – Nicaraguan Candela
- Binder – Nicaragua
- Filler – Nicaragua
Like all Illusione cigars, the “88” Candela is hand crafted at the premier Raices Cubanas factory in Nicaragua.
The Illusione “88” Candela is a beautiful Candela robusto that is expertly finished with a triple cap, has a few veins running along the barrel, and it has an enticing dark brown filler when looking at the foot. It is tightly packed and solid to the touch with a decent weight.
The cigar is adorned with a simple white and black band that identifies this as the “88”, printed in black, and Illusione printed on the side. Dion Giolito, owner of Illusione Cigars has never been known for fancy and elaborate bands on his cigars. Keep it simple, the fans know what’s good!
Running the Illusione “88” candela along the nose, I detected no real aroma along the barrel but there was a rich buttery note off the foot.
I gave it a clean straight cut across the shoulder, and took in some cold puffs that I would say were spot on with regards to restriction, and offered a pleasant butter and light black pepper set of notes.
I reached for a double flame torch lighter to get things started, but then my better judgment kicked in and I decided to use a cedar spill to ignite the foot, as I did not want to scorch the delicate candela wrapper. The soft flame warmed the foot nicely as I drew in the first puffs of pepper and sweetness.
Cigar Review Notes
- Initial pepper and sweetness right off the ignition
- A tangy fruit note joins the mix early, that plays well with the sweetness
- Cream adds nicely to the flavor profile
- Light grey ash forms on a medium – thick char line
- A mild earthiness enters along with a light spice
- There is a pleasant buttery finish after each puff
- Sweetness and cream returns near the end of the first third
- Oils are growing well above the char line
- Ash falls in a nice chunk revealing a perfect burn cone
- Cinnamon spice joins the sweetness in the second third
- Floral citrus aroma fills the air
- Extremely balanced cigar and so smooth, the smoke creeps into my lungs
- Mild jaggedness in burn
- Final third brings in a light coffee note
- Burns a tad hot to the touch in the final
- Mild to medium in strength
- Total Smoking time was 1 hour and 25 minutes
Overall, the Illusione “88” Candela was a very well balanced and flavorful cigar that provided easy transitions and a smooth full volume of smoke. Sweetness and cream notes provided for a prefect background through the journey. The burn was excellent with just a slight jaggedness in the final third and it burned a tad hot to the touch. This is certainly box worthy and I rate this a 93.
Point Deductions: (-1) Jagged burn in final; (-2) Burns hot to touch in final
Bonus Points: (+1) Nice Oiling Above Burn Line; (+1) Buy a Box