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Cigar Insider: Dion Giolito of Illusione Cigars

27 Feb 2008

Lately there has been quite a lot of buzz surrounding Illusione Cigars. The company, which is only a few years old, was founded by Dion Giolito. According its website, the idea behind Illusione is to recreate the flavor of Nicaraguan cigars from the period before the Sandinistas took over in 1979. Illusiones are a Nicuraguan puro made in Honduras. To find out more about this brand, I spoke with Dion Giolito.

Dion GiolitoSG: Tell us a little bit about the founding of Illusione. What made you decide to start producing your own cigars?

DG: I’ve been in the retail business for over 15 years. It wasn’t until I decided to open my own shop when I really considered doing my own line. Nicaraguan tobacco has always had my attention from the beginning. Joya de Nicaragua was, and still is, one of my favorite cigars, particularly the original blends. I had pre-Sandanista Joyas and smoked them from time to time. I was very surprised at the life and power of them after all these years. Those cigars kinda pushed me into the arena of manufacturing.

SG: What was the greatest challenge in starting up your cigar manufacturing operation?

DG: Dealing with all of the liars. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in this side of the business is that everybody lies – farmers, factory owners, managers, etc. My biggest challenge has been to get my ideals and approach across to these guys without them cutting corners every time the cat’s away. Sometimes the leaf you choose is mysteriously not the leaf that goes into the cigar. I’ve refused entire orders because of one component. I need to be able to look someone in the eye when they ask me what my favorite cigar is and tell them it’s the one I make. I don’t want to be the guy that makes a cigar and smokes someone else’s. There are a lot of those guys out there.

SG: Excluding Illusione cigars, if you could only smoke one specific cigar for the rest of your life what would it be and why?

DG: Now, you know that’s practically an impossible question to answer! Pre-illusione it would have been around three cigars depending on my mood: the Hoyo de Monterey Rothschilde Double Maduro, the Vegas Robaina Don Alejandro, or the Davidoff Gran Cru No. 1. My number one “desert island” cigar is the Illusione MK (5 1/8″ x 42).

SG: In your opinion, what is the best beverage to enjoy while smoking a fine cigar?

DG: The best alcoholic beverage would be the Zacapa 23 Anejos. For something non-alcoholic, it would be coffee.

SG: How do you keep cigars in your personal humidor: Cellophane on or off?

DG: I’m a Ziploc bag guy, mostly. Long-term storage for one vitola would be cello off. Short term – doesn’t really matter.

SG: If someone has never tried a Illusione cigar before, which vitola would you recommend as the best cigar to introduce them to the brand?

DG: The F9, it’s a Lonsdale. Lonsdales and Coronas are the best vehicle for flavor in my opinion.

Many thanks to Dion Giolito for taking the time to speak with us. For more information and to find a Illusione retailer, please visit

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

19 Responses to “Cigar Insider: Dion Giolito of Illusione Cigars”

  1. Lisa B. Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 6:58 am #

    Great interview Patrick! I just love his Illusione 68 "Bombone" and totally lucked out getting a box of it recently as they seem to be very hard to find, especially at a resonable price. I admire his determination to make sure the quality of his cigar remains consistent. He sets a great example for the whole industry.

  2. Daniel Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 10:20 am #

    Good Q&A. I do enjoy a Lonsdale every now and again. I'll have to try one!

  3. Ricky Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 10:29 am #

    I'm going to have to try more of these. I was surprised to see just how frank he was about the realities of a part of the industry. Not too many people putting that word out there on the street, so it's refreshing to see someone say what many of us know goes on. Nice little interview. Would love to have more from him.

  4. jabba Saturday, March 1, 2008 at 10:34 am #

    One thing you get from Dion is honesty… that is refreshing. I completely agree with his comment about lonsdales and coronas, now where the heck can I get a box of MKs Dion!!!

  5. Да уж… Много комментов и практически ни одного по теме 🙂

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