Once again we welcome guest panelist Barry Stein of The Cigar Authority as a part of this review. Barry Stein has been in the Cigar Industry since 1996 when he first stepped into a cigar shop he would eventually become partners in. When his work as a private investigator became too much, he and his business partner sold the cigar shop in 2003. Missing the cigar industry from an insider’s perspective he started a website in 2008 at the encouragement of Sam Leccia.
In 2012, he began to work for Miami Cigar & Company overseeing social media and working in marketing and advertising. Missing the Northeast, he returned to his roots where he does social media and web work for Two Guys Smoke Shop, maintains TheCigarAuthority.com where he posts breaking news and reviews. He has also joined the team as an on-air personality for our broadcast on the United Cigar Radio Network. Today he will be reviewing the Illusione | Haut 10 with us.
We also welcome William Cooper of Cigar-Coop.com. Will Cooper is best known for founding Cigar Coop – the cigar industry’s leading daily online news and review site. In August 2013, the partnership of Stogie Geeks and Cigar Coop was announced and Will can be heard each week on Stogie Geeks. Will serves as a Cigar Rights of America Ambassador for the State of North Carolina. He has also been a contributing writer to The Cigar Lounger magazine and was one of the founders of the Cigar Media Association.
Will was born in Brooklyn, NY and after some stops in Orange County, New York and New Jersey, Will and his family now call the Charlotte, North Carolina area home. Will loves cigars and always welcomes the opportunity to enjoy one – especially in the friendly confines of a cigar lounge. His goal is to smoke a cigar in each of the 50 states in the U.S.A.
Just prior to the 2016 IPCPR Trade Show, Illusione Cigars announced a major expansion to its lineup. One of the most exciting of these was the Illusione | Haut 10 – a new cigar to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Illusione brand.
Haut 10 is described as a mild-bodied, complex cigar. The blend itself is said to be “Seco dominant” , meaning from a lower priming of the tobacco plant and less powerful, and features tobaccos that are triple sorted in order to use the best materials. The cigar is a Nicaraguan puro featuring a Nicaraguan Cafe Claro Corojo. The Haut 10 is available in one size – a 5 1/2 x 52 Robusto Extra. The cigars are packaged in twelve count boxes and each cigar is priced at $15.95.
Ring Gauge: 52
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo Cafe Claro AAA
Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA)
Blender: Dion Giolito
Number of reviewers: 4 – Isaac M. (The Nothing) Barry (Barry2Guys) Gregg (McGreggor57) Will Cooper (Cigar_Coop)
Age: 1 Month
Release Date: November 2016
Contributed by: Blind Man’s Puff
“The pigtail is the first thing that catches my eye. The thin wrapper has an interesting crisscross pattern throughout making me anxious to smoke this one.” –Gregg (McGreggor57)
“This cigar has a nice subtle baker’s spice aroma from the wrapper.” –Will Cooper (Cigar_Coop)
“The prelight draw came across very leathery. Torching the foot and lighting, this cigar hits with cedar and a creamy peppercorn. After initial light, flavors move to an intense leather with underlying earth and hazelnut. Retro is a pronounced cedar. There is a mild peppery feel. Smoke production is average. Halfway through the first third, I found the flavors diminished greatly and almost completely go away. There is a mild leather and graham cracker. Retro has reduced in intensity, but remains the same flavor. Draw has been effortless. Before the end of the first third, flavors return of leather and cedar, accompanied by a creamy pepper that tends to coat the palate. Ash is firm and the burn is turning wavy.” –Isaac M. (The Nothing)
“Notes that are in line with baking spices dominate the cigar. Nutmeg, Cinnamon and hints of warm bread. The nutmeg notes are especially noteworthy on the finish and retrohale of the cigar.” –Barry (Barry2Guys)
“The transition to the second third is very nice.. Creamy leather and cocoa accompany a faint cedar and assorted baking spices. At the halfway point some char returns on the finish. This provides balance and contrast to the sweeter flavors.” –Gregg (McGreggor57)
“The fruit component subsides. There still is a nice natural tobacco component. There was also still a nice creamy texture which kept the cigar smooth.” –Will Cooper (Cigar_Coop)
“The last third announces itself with the return of the leather that’s been absent since the cigar began. The Leather, along with a slightly intensified raisin, has nearly made the cedar note more of an afterthought, though it remains strong on the retro. Nicotine starts becoming noticeable at this point as well. It has been mild until this point. Leather, raisin and cedar continue to work around each other until the end of the cigar. The three prominent flavors seem to switch places as the primary flavor every puff.” –Isaac M. (The Nothing)
“The last third has notes of white pepper, wheat, nuts and cedar. It’s impressively complex and burns cool all the way down to the nub. The finish is morderate in length with a peppery aroma.” –Barry (Barry2Guys)
“I found this draw ideal. It had the right amount of resistance from start to finish.” –Will Cooper (Cigar_Coop)
“Several times the burn got a bit wavy, and every time it managed to straighten out fairly well on its own. I never need to touch it up.” –Isaac M. (The Nothing)
“Despite a little bit of a tough draw, the cigar burned well and remained lit throughout. It burned cool as well.” –Barry (Barry2Guys)
Overall Strength: Medium-Strong
Overall Body/Complexity: Medium-Full
Experience Overall: 88
“While I felt the cedar notes to be a little extreme for my tastes, this was a great cigar. I never had to touch my lighter after the initial light and the cigar performed very well from start to finish. I would not hesitate suggesting this cigar to anyone.” –Isaac M. (The Nothing)
“An enjoyable cigar, that depending on the price point, it could be a regular rotation cigar for me.” –Barry (Barry2Guys)
“The first two thirds were a pleasure to smoke while the cigar was literally falling apart near the end. There was a nice transition of flavors through the thirds although the balance was off a bit in the final one. Construction issues didn’t help the final outcome.” –Gregg (McGreggor57)
“While there were some issues with construction, I still enjoyed the flavors. It is still a cigar I would smoke for again and hope I don’t get this problem again.” –Will Cooper (Cigar_Coop)
Smoking Time (in minutes): 78
- Appearance 90%
- Aroma 90%
- First Third 89%
- Second Third 91%
- Final Third 89%
- Draw 96%
- Burn 91%
- Construction 88%
- Overall Experience 88%