12 Mar 2015
There are very few new cigars that I would feel comfortable about buying a box of without trying. A high price doesn’t guarantee quality, and good inexpensive cigars are hard to find. That makes a box of cigars that I’ve never tried before a real gamble, no matter the cost.
One of the few boxes I will buy blind is the annual Singulare release from Illusione. I’ve bought at least one box of the Singulare release every year since it was first introduced 2010, which also happens to be my favorite. (Though if you read the reviews of the 2011, 2012, and 2013, you’ll see I’ve been impressed with them all).
The latest Singulare is called Anunnaki after the Sumerian God. (Who said you’d never use that semester of Ancient World History?) Every year the size and blend changes. The 2014 format is a “double robusto”(5.5 x 54).
Anunnaki started shipping last November, but apparently all 2,000 boxes of the production weren’t ready to ship just then; mine has a box date from mid-January. Each box has 15 cigars and the price is $13 per cigar. Like many recent Illusione offerings, it’s made at the Nicaraguan TABSA factory, as opposed to the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras where earlier lines were rolled.
The Nicaraguan puro has a Corojo ’99 wrapper (the same wrapper as the Illusione Epernay) over dual binders of Jalapa Criollo ’98 and Estelí Corojo ’99. The cigar, which was blended to feature low priming tobaccos from the Chilamate farm in the Jalapa region, contains only a small percentage of Ligero.
Once lit, I found a tasty combination of sourdough bread, cream, and light cedar that’s very similar to the Epernay, but with more sweetness and a velvety texture. It starts out mild, though it does build to a more medium-bodied profile. Past the halfway point, it adds coffee notes and more wood spice, though it maintains excellent balance throughout.
With solid construction and complex, balanced, and interesting flavors, I have no second thoughts about buying this box blind. Fans of Illusione’s Epernay, of which I’m one, will particularly enjoy this classic, mild- to medium-bodied cigar. The Illusione Singulare LE 2014 Anunnaki earns a rare rating of five stogies out of five.
photo credit: Stogie Guys