Cigar Review: Illusione MJ12 – Rated 94

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of attending the Underground Cigar Shop NFG19 boutique cigar festival in Fort Worth, TX. As part of the event, I purchased a Illusione Cigars sampler that contained a fine collection of
Dion Giolito’s craft. One of those in the collection was the Illusione MJ12 which is the subject of today review.

Now, I may be late to the party for a review of this cigar, but considering it is still on the shelves after 10-years of being in the market, Dion and his team must be doing something right.

For those that do not know the story behind the MJ12, it is reference to the Majestic 12, an alleged group of elite scientists, military leaders, and government officials, formed in 1947 by an executive order by U.S. President Harry S. Truman to facilitate recovery and investigation of alien spacecraft. The MJ12 is part of the company’s “Original Documents” series of cigars.

The Illusione MJ12 is a 6 x 54 toro cigar that comes packaged in 20-count boxes and currently has an MSRP of $10.65/cigar. Each cigar is encased in a silver foil wrapping which represents the alleged material of the 1947 UFO crash in Roswell, NM.

Illusione MJ12
Illusione MJ12

The MJ12 Nicaraguan Puro blend is described by Illusione Cigars as Nicaraguan Criollo ’98 and Corojo ’99, and finished with a AAA Grade Corojo Rosado wrapper.

Pre-Light Examination

As I mentioned, the Illusione MJ12 come completely encased in silver foil that with a small twist at the end allows you to easily remove it and expose the pristine looking cigar. The wrapper has a medium brown color to it with a slight orange tinge to it. It is silky smooth to to the touch with no major veins or bumps along the barrel. The cigar is finished with a well applied cap.

Illusione MJ12
Illusione MJ12

Besides the silver foil, the cigar is branded with a single thin white band that declares the cigar as the MJ12 in black ink. The word Illusione is also printed on the sides of the band.

Running the MJ12 along the nose. I picked up a sweet fermented leaf aroma along the barrel and peppery notes off the foot.

I used a double blade cutter to give it a straight cut right above the shoulder and proceeded to take in some cold draw puffs that were nicely restricted and offered growing pepper notes on the lips and earthy notes on the palate.

With all the preliminaries out of the way, it was time to take the evidence of the MJ12 and burn it to ash. I used a double flame torch lighter to warm the foot, bringing it to a fine orange glow and took in the first nasal cleaning puffs of peppery smoke.

I have to apologize for the lack of photos as I was having some camera issues and the MJ12 had me so intrigued with flavor and aroma, I just forgot to take more photos..

Cigar Review Notes

Illusione MJ12
Illusione MJ12
Illusione MJ12
Illusione MJ12
Illusione MJ12
Illusione MJ12
  • Initial notes of pepper on the nose and throat
  • Dry fruit enters quickly as the pepper recedes
  • A light grey ash evolves atop a slightly wavy burn line
  • An enticing bread and nut aroma wafts off the foot
  • Sweet woody notes start to take center stage
  • Ash fell early revealing a decent burn cone
  • Aroma shifts to more floral-fruit
  • Nice oiling develops above the burn line
  • Slight wave opens up
  • Moving into the second third, coffee and cream notes join the profile
  • The wood shifted to more of a charred oak
  • Minor touch up was required
  • Toasted sugar nuance appears in the end of the second third
  • Dry fruit reappears
  • Light spice enters and grows in the final third
  • Spice and savory notes finish the journey down to the nub
  • Medium in Strength
  • Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 45 minutes

Overall, I found the Illusione MJ12 to be a fine smoking experience that had a complex flavor and aroma profile which kept my interest through the journey. There was some waves in the burn and it did require a touch up in the second third. I can understand why this cigar has been on the market for 10 years and I would recommend this to any cigar enthusiast. Pick up a box to add to your rotation. I rate this a 94.

Point Deductions: (-1) Wavy Burn; (-1) Touch-up in the second third; (-1) Slight Off Burn

Bonus Points: (+1) Buy a Box