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Stogie Reviews: Illusione 88 Candela

26 Apr 2011

Just before the annual IPCPR Trade Show last August, Illusione released the “hl” (or “Holy Lance”) in both candela and maduro wrappers. Now, additional Illusione vitolas have started to spring up with candela wrappers.

When asked why he decided to make a candela-wrapped cigar, Illusione creator Dion Giolito said that he loves candelas, enjoys smoking them, and, naturally, wanted to make one of his own. Currently, the hl, 888, and 88 are the only candela-wrapped Illusione vitolas available.

The 88 Candela measures five inches long with a ring gauge of 52—the same dimensions as the original 88. Beyond the green wrapper, the cigar remains the same with an unchanged blend of Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. The wrapper is dull and lacking in oils. Pre-light, the cigar gives off a strong grassy smell, which is to be expected from a candela, as well as a hint of pepper and some earthy notes. The draw is a tad loose.

Upon lighting, the 88 Candela gives of a good volume of smoke that seems slightly less dense than the regular 88. Surprisingly, the initial flavors feature only a slight hint of grass with a core of black pepper, leather, and earth.

One of the biggest changes from the original 88 to the candela-wrapped variant is that a slight sweetness replaces the chocolate and coffee notes that are predominant in the original. The best way to describe this sweetness, which is present on the palate but much more noticeable through the nose, is that it tastes like what fresh cut grass smells like.

While the flavors remain mostly constant throughout, some tea flavors join in for the second half of the smoke. One of the other big differences between the regular 88 and the candela is that the candela has a dry, almost tannic finish, whereas the regular 88 has a creamier, denser finish.

Construction-wise, most of my samples required a number of touch-ups to keep the wrapper burning evenly.

All in all, the 88 Candela is a different yet enjoyable cigar. It doesn’t possess any of the harsh bitterness that’s typical of so many candelas. It’s also a great example of how a wrapper can really change a cigar. At almost $9, I don’t think I’d buy a box, but this Dion Giolito creation is a nice change of pace, worthy of three and a half stogies out of five.

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

Patrick M

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

One Response to “Stogie Reviews: Illusione 88 Candela”

  1. Todd Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 5:33 am #

    As far as I can tell this is the best candela cigar around.

    Problem is it is still a candela, which makes it a novelty/change of pace cigar for me.