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.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys