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Illusione ~mj12~: Majestically Magnificent

Posted by dabyrdman33 on September 1, 2010

In an effort to get away from my recent run of “short smokes”, I have decided to tackle a cigar that I have only had the privilege of trying a couple of times prior to this review. As you may well know, we have had a decent run with Illusione cigars over the last two months with reviews of the Nosotros and Epernay lines appearing during that timeframe. Once again, I am delving into another cigar that is the brainchild of Dion Giolito, a man as fascinating as the symbolism, character, and attitude that accompanies his cigars. Just a little background before I get into the cigar. As always, I will attempt to just hit the highlights, but you can dig deeper by going to the Illusione website. The Illusione line is made from “1st generation Corojo ’99, Criollo ’98 seeds wrapped in grade one Café Colorado wrapper”. The cigar is manufactured at the Raices Cubanas factory. This week’s vitola is the ~mj12~ also known as “The Majestic 12”.

Size: 54 ring x 6 inches

Wrapper: Café Colorado

Filler & Binder: Nicaraguan

MSRP: $8.50 – $9.00 plus applicable taxes

Construction: The cigar is presented in a “majestic” silver foil wrapper which has shelf appeal and initially called me to purchase my first one. Upon removing the foil, the cigar displays a carefully applied triple cap and emits aromas of rich tobacco and that sort of “barnyard” aroma. The wrapper is fairly smooth with no prominent veins. The cigar is firmly packed but not overly packed. The wrapper does have some waterspots but otherwise is a rich coffee color.

Pre-light: The cold draw is again dominated by flavors of rich tobacco with a hint of coffee.

First third: Upon toasting the cigar, the first thing I noticed was a sweet smoky wood aroma reminiscent of a backyard barbeque. Hopefully, the fact that I am starving is not lending itself to this aroma. The initial puffs produce some cinnamon-like spice and a peppery spice on the retrohale. The finish on this cigar is extremely long. In fact, the finish goes like this…smoke……tobacco………retrohale…………peppery spice……………wood………………cinnamon in that order over the course of about 60 seconds or however long you tend to take between puffs of your cigar. The body is solidly in the medium range coating the palate gently but not in any way overbearing. The strength is also medium at this point even with little to nothing on my stomach. The ash held for about the first inch before falling and the burn so far is even.

Second third: The cigar is still giving lots of smoked-wood flavor; however, the cinnamon from the tail end of the finish in the first third is starting to “flatten out” and dissipate. The rich tobacco and coffee flavors are more dominant on the finish during this segment of the cigar. The cigar continues to produce a moderate amount of smoke when puffed but remains fairly “quiet” when resting. The body is still well within in the medium range as well as the strength. Just beyond the halfway point, I am starting to notice a bit of leather flavor but at this point it is just beginning to creep in.

Final third: The leather flavor is now the dominant player on the tail end of the finish with the rich tobacco and a hint of the smoky-wood appearing on the initial exhale. The cinnamon note has pretty much left the building, but it was good while it lasted and has made the cigar very interesting so far. The body is now in the medium-full range with the smoke starting to sit slightly heavier on the palate. The strength is still medium and at this point I would deem it “safe” for anyone willing to venture into medium range cigars but trying to avoid full strength cigars with a heavy nicotine kick. The burn has been consistent and even throughout.

Overall: This is definitely a cigar that I would recommend to any of my herf buddies in The B&B Cigar Club as well as you readers if you are looking for a cigar with some size, intriguing flavors, and an overall quality cigar experience. Worthy of a box purchase even though the price point is out of what most “bargain shoppers” may be aiming to hit. This cigar is a classic case of the consumer getting every bit of what they are paying. On my unofficial “official” rating scale, I give it a 4.85 out of 5.0 (I know that’s picky but if it had just a tad more strength I’d be hooked on it like Pookie was hooked on crack in “New Jack City”). Needless to say, this cigar had me dancing like Gator in “Jungle Fever”.


Until next time, remember the only way to fly is to fly hiiiigh!


9 Responses to “Illusione ~mj12~: Majestically Magnificent”

  1. tmbryant73 said

    Great review Byrd! I have not had the pleasure to trying many of Dion’s cigars, but this sounds like it is in line what I’ve been smoking lately so I will definitely be picking it up next time I see it. Thanks for all the info; as usual your review is very helpful 🙂

    • I picked some up at Cigar Connection. I’m definitely becoming more of an Illusione fan with each cigar I try. Really like the Epernay line too.

      • tmbryant73 said

        The Epernay line is the one line I have tried most and I have to say it is becoming my go-to when I want something not so full-bodied, which is my usual preference.

  2. The Champ said

    Awesome review as always…may have to pick a couple of those up from Drapers this weekend!

  3. This is one of my top five favorite cigars period. I try to keep them in stock, if for no other reason, so I can smoke a few.

    Strangely, there was a period recently when they ran out of the foil wrappers and they shipped naked — and vulnerable to alien influence (you gotta know that mj12 is short for the Majestic 12 that investigated the Roswell, NM alien crash landing.) The naked mj12s sell better — I think because you can see the cigar you’re buying before you unwrap it.

    • Thanks for the comment, Reverend Mike. I like the foil-wrapped mj12 just because it’s shiny. Seriously just a great cigar that I feel I have to have in my humidor at all times. I thought the Roswell angle in the Illusione symbolism was in reference to the mk but I was drunk when I did my research. That’s why I refer people to the manufacturer’s website if they have one. LOL

  4. JoseFloresJr said

    great review man, mj12 is a great smoke just wish i could afford and access to smoke more of them. Keep up the great work guys

    • Thanks for the comment, Jose. Based upon the advice of our Cuban correspondent last week, I am learning to smoke better cigars instead of smoking more cigars. With that reasoning, I have toned down my “bargain shopping” and started looking for cigars like the Illusiones and Tatuajes that may cost more but offer exceptional quality and a great herf experience. I’ll come back to earth when I see my credit card bill.

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