26 Jul 2012
On Tuesday I gave my opinion of the brand new Illusione Singulare 2012. Now I turn to its box-mate, the Illusione Singulare 2011 (which, despite its 2011 designation, is also new). To recap, here’s what I wrote two days ago about the dual release:
The original Illusione Singulare 2010, known as “Phantom,” is one of my favorite cigars of all time, a cigar I bought four boxes of before the the 1,000-box run was exhausted. I remarkably still have half a box left. If ever I’m pressed to give my hypothetical “desert island cigar” (a single cigar that would be the only one you’d smoke for the rest of your life), Phantom is always in consideration.
That makes the 2011 and 2012 Illusione Singulare cigars some of my most anticipated smokes of the year. Both were shipped to stores last week together in boxes of 15, selling for $170 (around $11 per cigar). Boxes apparently randomly have eight of one blend and seven of the other. The two blends can be easily identified because the 2012 comes wrapped in tissue paper and the 2011 doesn’t.
More obviously, the 2012 features a San Andreas maduro wrapper, while the 2011 features a natural corojo wrapper that looks similar to the original 2010 version. Both have a combination of Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. Notably, these are the first Illusione cigars to be made in Nicaragua at the TABSA factory operated by Eduardo Fernández, who also owns the Honduran Raices Cubanas factory where all the previous Illusione cigars have been made.
Like the San Andreas-wrapped 2012, the corojo-wrapped 2011 is a toro (6 x 52), whereas the 2010 was slightly thinner (6 x 50). The wrapper is relatively veinless with a bit of shine. It looks a lot like the original Illusione Singulare 2010 Phantom. Not to mention that Illusione-maker Dion Giolito says both (the 2010 and 2011) use a corojo wrapper.
Flavor wise, there are also some similarities to the 2010 Singulare. Like that cigar, the 2011 strikes me as a combination of the Epernay and original Illusione (natural) line. It’s medium-bodied with a lot going on.
The cigar is a very Cuban-esque combination of cedar and earth. Balanced and complex, with flavors that are hard to identify. There’s a hint of the tannic flavors I so enjoyed from the Singulare 2010, especially in the second half of the cigar, but not as pronounced.
It features excellent construction, with an easy draw and even burn. Though wholly unscientific, I think this cigar has real potential for aging, if you have the patience not to smoke them all too quickly.
While currently I think the Singulare 2012 smokes better than the corojo-wrapped 2011, I suspect (given the experience of the 2010) that the Singulare 2011 will age tremendously. With excellent construction, balanced, complex flavors, and good aging potential, the Singulare 2011 earns a formidable four stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys