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Stogie Reviews: Illusione Singulare Phantom LE 2010

14 Apr 2011

It’s so predictable it’s almost inevitable: After a few years of sustained success, cigar makers begin introducing limited edition cigars, usually annual releases. Dion Giolito’s Illusione brand is no exception.

But I’m not complaining. As I’ve written before, limited edition smokes can be the great because cigar makers need not worry about a long-term tobacco supply. Instead, small batches of top quality tobacco can be turned into a limited run.

Singulare will be an annual release from Illusione and the toro-sized (6 x 50) 2010 “Phantom” was the first such annual edition.  At the 2010 IPCPR Trade Show last August, Dion Giolito told us his plan was a different blend and size every year.

The Nicaraguan puro comes in boxes of 15 and sells for around $12 a stick. Being a limited run cigar, only 1,000 boxes were made. Before writing up this review, I smoked my way through most of a box that I was able to pick up for $150.

The Phantom features a velvety brown wrapper with a nice bit of sheen. Pre-light, the it imparts a tannic flavor on the lips.

Despite being a Nicaraguan puro, there’s much of that Nicaraguan zing. Instead, I got plenty of honey and graham cracker. A complex flavor profile, there’s also a touch of cedary spice, an earthy sweetness, and a certain chewiness that’s hard to pinpoint.

As the cigar evolves it becomes more medium- to full-bodied, yet the finish becomes shorter. Dion told us the Phantom was “the mildest cigar that he makes,” but I didn’t find that to be the case.

While the Singulare 2010 has many similarities to the Epernay (a medium-bodied smoke that I would classify as Illusione’s “mildest” smoke), I found a tanic edge to the Phantom that the Epernay lacked. More Burgundy subtlety than Bordeaux boldness, the excellence in this limited smoke comes out only when you focus on the complexities.

Those complexities have made the Phantom a staple in my humidor, at least until the 1,000-box run is exhausted. And it doesn’t hurt that at $12 each, it’s reasonably priced compared to many other limited smokes. That combination earns the Illusione Singulare 2010 Phantom LE a rating of four and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

6 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Illusione Singulare Phantom LE 2010”

  1. Keith Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 4:06 am #

    Awesome review. I smoked this right off the truck when it came out last fall, and was underwhelmed. I regretted my decision to buy a box. However, the months have done amazing things to this smoke. You are dead-on about the complexities. And although I never would have come up with the word "tanic," it is a perfect description of the edge in this smoke compared to the Epernay line.

    Thanks for the review!

  2. Patrick M Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    I completely disagree with my colleague. The way that these cigars are smoking right now I would have given it 5 stogies. Nice review.

  3. Patrick S Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 12:03 pm #


    Thanks for the kind words. I was drinking some Pinot Noir with this cigar and it just hit me that that was the best way I could describe the flavor. The benefits of drinking while smoking I guess!

    Patrick M-

    I wouldn't argue with you if you gave it a 5/5. It is a very impressive cigar. Looking forward to the Singulare 2011.

  4. mighty Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 7:21 pm #

    Only had two of these so far. First one was really nice, second one was just a little lackluster and wouldn't earn a recommendation from me to a friend for the $12 price.

    Third one will let me know which of these flavors are more typical of this cigar for my palate.

  5. Nino Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 11:54 am #

    Only had one of these myself but it was the next cigar I smoked directly after an Epernay and I fully agree with you on the comparison with the two; the Phantom has just a little bit of something else while the Epernay is subtle silky smooth (Say that 5 times fast).

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Quick Smoke: Illusione Singulare Phantom LE 2010 | The Stogie Guys - Sunday, August 7, 2011

    […] gave this annual release (every year the plan is for a new Singulare blend and size) from Illusione high praise. Since then, I’ve only enjoyed the cigar more, even picking up a second box before the 1,000 […]