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Cigar Review: Illusione Garagiste Gordo

16 Aug 2017

Garagiste winemakers (sometimes referred to as “super-cuvée” or “microchâteau”) are primarily associated with the Bordeaux region and known for super small-batch wine production and a style which is bold, fruit-forward, and tannic. Although Dion Giolito‘s Illusione Cigars is no longer among the smallest producers of cigars, the brand has long been associated with the boutique cigar movement, which makes the name of this Illusione line fitting. (It also isn’t the first Illusione cigar with a name associated with wine; Epernay is the region of France best known for producing Champagne.)

One of multiple new Illusione cigars made available for the first time at last year’s IPCPR Trade Show (in addition to a looming FDA deadline, it was also Illusione’s 10th Anniversary), Garagiste is the first Illusione cigar to feature an Ecuadorian wrapper. In materials distributed to retailers last year, Garagiste was described as follows:

“Garagiste is a medium- to full-bodied cigar concentrating on the combination of two tobaccos: Viso Corojo, and Viso Criollo from a specific farm from Aganorsa fields. Sweet and spice are the focal efforts of this cigar. Garagiste is finished with an Ecuador Habano wrapper that has been put through final fermentation techniques at TABSA in Estelí, Nicaragua.”

The line comes in four sizes (Short Robusto, Robusto, Toro, and Gordo) with suggested retail prices ranging from $8 to $12. I smoked four of the Gordos (6 x 56) for this review. Each featured a notably oily, shiny wrapper and pre-light notes of leather.

The cigar starts out very full-bodied with lots of leather and earth notes, along with some black pepper spice. An inch or so in, it dials back to a medium- to full-bodied, balanced profile as some sweetness emerges in the form of burnt sugar combined with bread and oak.

The cigar mostly features a clean, balanced finish, although occasionally graphite-like tannic notes emerge. Construction was excellent start to finish, with the densely packed cigar drawing flawlessly and producing an even burn trailed by a sturdy multi-gray ash.

Garagiste is a bit of a departure for Illusione and not just since it is the first Habano wrapper to be featured on an Illusione cigar. It’s a cigar with some sneaky strength, especially in the first third, though it also features the promised sweetness and spice.

Although it isn’t my favorite Illusione cigar (that high bar is set by the original 2010 Singulare) or even my second or third favorite, the Illusione Garagiste Gordo is another welcome addition to the impressive Illusione family. It earns a rating of four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

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