August 8, 2011

REVIEW: Illusione CG4 Maduro

The much anticipated release of the Maduro line from Illusione is starting to hit the shelves this week. I know the quantity that is actually in the country is small at the moment, but I was told more are on the way. The story behind these cigars is that they are the original Illusione line with a Mexican San Andreas wrapper.

Quote from New Havana Cigars Website: The scoop on Illusione Maduro:  The -hl- made an appearance last year as a short run, to rave reviews.  That original -hl maduro- used a Corojo wrapper.  When contemplating a release of multiple sizes, Dion revisited the wrapper and found the San Andreas Maduro more to his liking for the Illusione blend.  So the Illusione Maduro vitolas are the original blend, with a San Andreas Maduro wrapper.  Available in -hl-, -cg4-, -88-, -888- and -mj12-.

We also had the the chance to interview Dion at this past years IPCPR trade show where he went in depth on the blend of the new Maduro Cigars.  You can watch that video here.  

Personally, I was a big fan of the first release of the HL Maduro (reviewed here) so it will be very interesting to see what this new wrapper does to the blend. Although this review is not the HL size, I think it will give me a pretty good idea of what this line is all about.  Now, on to the review. 

Vitola: Cg4
Length: 5 5/8
Ring Gauge: 48
Wrapper: Mexican San Andreas Maduro
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $?
Smoking Location: New Havana Cigars
Beverage: Coffee


Pulling the CG4 Maduro from its fresh box, I was happy to see that there was a band change for this line.  Some original line Illusione have really dark wrappers, so the change in the band design makes it easier to pick apart which are the Maduro and which are not, even from a distance. (If you've never had a hard time picking the difference between a natural and a maduro wrapper on the same vitola, go take a side by side box comparison with the Padron 45th family reserve. You'll see what I mean.) 

The wrapper on the CG4 is a dark coal brown color with lots of little veins all over it. The aroma coming off of the wrapper was mild and smelled like sweet hay. Pinching the cigar from head to foot, it was hard as a rock and packed solid. The prelit draw was free with just a little resistance and had a interesting sweet berry flavor, almost like a hard candy type of taste. Interesting, for sure.

First Third   
I torched my CG4 Maduro and was welcomed into the smoke with a nice warm cinnamon spice that was most prevalent on the taste buds on the sides of my tongue. I love this flavor in cigars. The smoke had a creamy texture to it and the flavor on the finish was long and leathery. The draw was great at this point, even with the cigar being so packed full of tobacco. The flavors were nice, but slightly muted. The strength of the cigar was in the medium range. 

Second Third  
The second third of my CG4 maduro brought on the flavor change that I was waiting for. I've smoked a few different cigars with the San Andreas Maduro wrapper and all of them have had a really dark chocolate flavor to them. The second third of this cigar is where that showed up. Some of the warm spice continued to mix in with the chocolate, but it was definitely not the dominate flavor it was in the first third. The finish was still leathery and I'd say the power of the flavors ramped up a bit right before the half way point on the stick.  Unfortunately, right when the flavor ride seemed like it was about to get started, the draw on the cigar tightened up. I don't know if I hit a bad part of the roll or if I got some build up in the cigar, but getting a good draw of smoke became difficult. The strength of the cigar was still in the medium range.

Final Third and Final Thoughts 
Unfortunately, the final third continued on with the draw problems that begain with the end of the second third. From the smoke I could get out of the stick, it had that great maduro dark chocolate flavor, but it was hard to get enough smoke to enjoy it. I tried relighting and recutting the cigar, but didn't have any luck helping the problem. A disapointing end to what was really getting promising.

My final thoughts on the Illusione CG4 Maduro? The flavors were spot on, but it was really hard to enjoy much of the second half of the cigar. With the draw tightened up, pulling smoke through the stick was just too difficult. All that said, this review is of one cigar so it could well be that I got the tough one in the bunch. These are hand made products and it is going to happen from time to time, even to the best of them, which I consider Illusione products to be.

Would I buy it again? As soon as more of these are availble I will be grabbing them. From the flavors I got I was really enjoying the cigar.

Would I buy a box? It's too early to tell for me if I'm grabbing a box. I want to try my other favorite size (the 88) and pick which one is really my box worthy purchase in this blend.



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