It’s been a good year for my cigar collection, and a good year for road trips. It seems like everyone was climbing into their chariot of choice and driving really long distances, well, just for the heck of it. One such trip is the reason I’m bringing this review to you today. A fine BOTL by the name of Mark (a.k.a. “Shelby07” on the CigarLive forum) hopped in his sweet Shelby Mustang in Colorado back in September and drove to the Blue Havana II herf in Atlanta. And he came bearing gifts. On the seat next to him was a box of Illusione 68’s he planned to hand out to the lucky attendees.
And give them out he did. I smoked the one he gave me immediately, and I had an idea. This would be a great cigar to review. I knew almost nothing about them, but I had heard good things from the few occasions they’ve been brought up. So like a weasel, I hit him up for a few more. I think he saw through my weak attempts to trade for them (perhaps he didn’t like my cigars!), and he just gave me a few more. If you have a chance to read this Mark, thanks! Now let’s see if compromising my integrity was worth it.
Size: 4 x 44
Smoking Time: 1 hour
It’s not the size that counts, but how you burn it
Right away what struck me about this cigar was the contrast. Not the contrast in the white and black band against the lovely deep rosado oscuro wrapper, but the difference in size been this cigar and others I’ve been smoking recently. Next to the Oliva Serie V’s I’ve been hitting pretty heavily recently, this cigar almost looks like a cigarillo. I had to assume I was in for a pretty short smoke. (Which wouldn’t be such a bad thing as busy as I have been.)
That’s no moon, it’s a space station…
I looked the wrapper over, and noticed that it was pretty veiny, but without imperfections. That is with the exception of a small hole in the wrapper in the second cigar. The scent of the wrapper was like a combination of coffee and molasses. Very nice indeed. I whipped out my flamboyantly-red Xikar and took a tiny shaving off the cap and took a cold taste. More molasses, only darker and richer in flavor.
That’s one blemish Clearasil won’t fix
I have to say I was a little disappointed in the burn. The burn line just wouldn’t behave. At less than a half an inch in burn line formed defensive crenelations and was determined to fight me in my quest for an even burn. I kept my lighter handy and with the occasional touch up, I tamed the unruly burn.
Yar! Cap’n Hook be sayin’ hello!
In other ways, the burn was great. The cigar burned much slower than I would have expected, which came as a surprise. Coupled with my tendency to puff leisurely (especially for reviews), the first cigar lasted almost an hour and fifteen minutes. Additionally, the draw was always perfect, which is often more important to me than anything else about the burn. As far as the ash goes, it dropped a little earlier than I hoped, but not soon enough to be a bad thing.
I noticed differences in the flavor between the two cigars I smoked, and I think that is probably the result of two different smoking paces. At slow-and-savor speed, I noticed the cigar was full of rich nutty flavor from one end to the other, and also pretty consistently honey sweet. In the final third, it took on a bit of a drier flavor, and I tasted more creamy leathery than nuts.
The second I smoked a bit faster while I was working on the computer. In the first third it started off with that similar nutty flavor, but instead of being sweet, it was more savory, and had a little bit of spiciness to it. The spiciness continued into the second third where the cigar took on a smooth paper flavor. And then suddenly I hit a very distinct pocket of caramel. Absolutely no guesswork to that diagnosis. Bam! Caramel! The though caramel flavor subsided, from that point on the cigar had a consistent sweetness. In the final third, the nutty flavor returned and brought some coffee with it.
Given the duration of time it took me to smoke this cigar, I’d say five bucks is a pretty good price. And considering that I haven’t seen them around anywhere, the price may well be justified just because of the scarcity.
I enjoyed this cigar, in spite of the consistently obnoxious burn. And as I mentioned earlier, the size is a bit deceptive. I full expected to be giving up on the nub about forty five minutes after lighting it up. And even though I smoked the second cigar considerably faster than the first (don’t do it, it’s worth smoking slowly), it was still good for about an hour. And no matter what speed you choose to smoke it, you’re in for a very enjoyable set of flavors.
The 68 reminded me a lot of another cigar I reviewed (and enjoyed) here recently, the El Primer Mundo Rosado Oscuro. And that probably shouldn’t come as a surprise, as both cigars are wrapped in a tasty rosado oscuro corojo leaf. So if you’ve enjoyed one, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll like the other.
Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: Yes, if I come across it again
Recommend It: Yes
The Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.