Illusione Haut 10 Toro
Posted on April 26 2022
Smoking Time: 74 Minutes
Cigars Smoked: 4
Body: Medium +
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
Illusione was founded in 2006 by Dion Giolito. The imagery of the company is wildly unique, often using code words and names hinting towards conspiracy theories. Such as one of Illusione’s first blends, MKULTRA. Known for being a boutique brand that does not stay inside the box of societal norms, Illusione will provide you with a pleasant experience, and quality Nicaraguan cigars, and if nothing else, very interesting instagram posts. Illusione has landed on many publications “top whatever” lists, and will continue to do so. “Deep In Flavor, Deep In Your Mind.”
Visual Inspection: I have smoked cigars since 2012, but back in 2020 I started to get into boutique companies. Illusione was the first cigar I smoked that wasn't widely heard of. So the brand has a special place in my heart to say the least. Anyway, the Haut 10 is a spectacle, it has a nice red hue to the wrapper, and is well packed throughout. There are plenty of veins running along the cigar, they appear rustic, giving it character. Visually it looks like a Foundation El Güegüense. There isn't much oil present, but what it lacks, the aroma makes up for it. There is a strong citrus scent on the foot, followed by cinnamon, and a sweetness very similar to a Byron Petite Poemas.
The head is adorned with a pigtail cap, and a very nice, tidy, triple cap. A cold draw brings ample airflow, with notes of orange zest, chili pepper, marzipan, and cream. There is a lot of complexity to the cold draw and aroma, which is quite special.
First Third: Upon first light, notes of rye whiskey, cinnamon, and charred wood, are very forward. There is a slight touch of sweetness lingering on the back of the tongue, and on my lips. It isn't similar to the notes of cinnamon, but it compliments it well. The draw has gotten tighter, but only ever so slightly. There is a very slight bit of pepper in the retrohale that helps build some body. Haut 10 is floating somewhere around the medium range, with it going to medium + during a retrohale.
There is some wavering to the burn line; it was significantly worse at the start of the cigar, but it has cleaned up by the end of this third. The ash stacks very nicely, bringing layered white and grey colors, with a black line below the ash.
Second Third: Haut 10 is starting this third out much sweeter than the first, almost night and day. The citrus from the cold draw showed up, and they brought guests along. Hints of ginger, anise, and coffee, are now in charge, with sub-flavors of charred wood, mixed nuts, and cinnamon. This is a noisy cigar, I thought it split on me a few times, but it is just the high oil content, which I did not expect based on the wrapper.
The ash finally fell, at around 2 inches, and it stayed mostly intact. The quality is very good, my only gripe is the slightly tight draw. Notes of sweetness keep becoming stronger, there is a sugary blast that comes forward when taking a drag. It almost completely masks any other notes that were present. This isn't like the raisin-sweet forward that might come out of a Plasencia, it is unlike many Nicaraguan blends. A final retrohale brings a touch of green tea and pepper.
Last Third: Once hitting the last third, the profile changed yet again. I haven't smoked a cigar with this complexity, and such distinct profile changes in a while. Notes of mixed nuts, yeast, and charred wood are most prevalent. The sweetness has dwindled, now most prevalent after exhaling. A retrohale brings even deeper notes of pepper and charred wood. There is a slight tunnel that is making it harder to get smoke production, but it isn't altering the flavors at all.
The burn line is doing very well, and the ash has turned consistently lighter in color. The sweetness has returned, and compliments the smokey, charred flavors nicely. Haut 10 pairs incredibly well with a cup of black coffee, and I would imagine it would pair better with some bourbon cream.
Final Thoughts: As I said in the beginning of this review, I have a sweet spot for Illusione’s blends, but this is otherworldly. The sweetness that it brings is beyond enjoyable, the body is a consistent medium, and the flavors are always full. This is a special cigar. The quality was spot on, only having slight flaws. If you like a medium bodied cigar, that brings much complexity, and sweet flavors, this is your cigar. They are harder to find, but we have them in stock right now. I'd suggest grabbing a few for yourself, as these would age beautifully.