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Cigar Review – Illusione 4/2g Slam

Illusione is one of the most talked-about brands on the market, and up until today, I only had the privilege of smoking one of their cigars—the Illusione Epernay Le Ferme. While I’m more than happy to have smoked something from the Epernay line, the core line seemed much more my style. I had heard they were stronger, they have darker, oilier wrappers, and the design is like nothing else out there. Well today I was able to put those preconceptions to the test, as I just smoked the sizeable Illusione 4/2g Slam.

This was one of the only Churchill-and-up cigars I’ve ever smoked, so I must admit it was a little bit intimidating at first. But having smoked my fair share of powerhouses, I knew this wouldn’t be too much of a challenge. First off, the construction on this thing is easily as good as it was on the Epernay I smoked earlier this year—solid from head to foot with an airtight triple cap and no cracks, holes, or loose seams.

After clipping the cap with a Xikar Xi1, I took a few pre-light draws and got blasted with peppery spice, so much so that I started coughing pretty violently. This was probably the residual dust from the cut, so it was my fault for puffing too deeply from a freshly snipped cigar. After recovering, I took a few more draws and got cocoa, toast, and surprisingly little pepper.

The cigar lit in seconds with a dual torch, and immediately began delivering notes of cocoa, coffee, red pepper, and toast. I was expecting some kind of introductory spice blast, but was instead greeted with more complexity than I usually get from the first third of a strong cigar. I’ve found that with more powerful cigars, the pepper is usually the only thing you can taste for at least the first half inch, but none of this cigar’s flavors overpowered the others.

Further down, the pepper hung back a little, letting the cocoa and espresso flavors come through a bit more. It was here that I noticed an impressive 1 ½-inch ash was still hanging on. The ash was flaky and gnarly but solid nonetheless, and when it fell off (barely missing my shoe, which has nothing to do with the cigar itself but is always a plus), it stayed in a pretty solid chunk.

As I got to the last third, the coffee and cocoa all but disappeared and the pepper pretty much exploded. Balancing out the spice were rich aromas of well-aged tobacco, as if Dion Giolito meant for you to take a step back and remember that it all boils down to the quality of the leaf. I smoked and smoked, expecting for the cigar to get harsh and bitter as it shrank, but I ended up putting down the nub only because it was coming close to burning my fingers.

Some people expected a dip in quality when Dion Giolito moved production of Illusione from Nicaragua to Honduras a few years ago. I don’t have anything to compare it to since this is the first core-line Illusione I’ve smoked, but if the 4/2g Slam was any indication of the rest of the line, I can’t imagine that their quality control suffered at all. This was hands down one of the smoothest, most well-constructed cigars I’ve ever had, especially for something billed as full-bodied, and I’m definitely going to try to squirrel some money away to buy at least another 5-pack.