Illusione One Off
While IPCPR is in our midst, I found time to cut away from the distractions and fire up one of Illusione’s newest releases, the OneOff paired with a bottle of Bruery’s Out of the Lunchbox peanut butter infused brown ale.
The Good Stuff:
If you were a cigar smoker in the early 2000’s there is little doubt that you have heard of, or smoked the OneOff brand. Originally owned and created by Andrea Molinari who was a tobacconist at La Casa Del Habano in Milan, Italy. Eventually the cigars made their way to the US market and were found in a variety of shops scattered throughout the company before disappearing just a few years later. A few years ago Cuban Crafters had purchased the brand with the intent to revitalize the cigar but it wasn’t until last year when Dion Giolito, owner of Iluusione, purchased the brand from Cuban Crafters that the revitalization dream came to fruition. The cigars are created at the TABSA factory in Nicaragua by Casa Fernandez. The OneOff sports a Honduran wrapper with both Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. The brand has just been released in VERY limited quantities which will continue to ramp up as production continues on the cigars. OneOff will be produced in eight sizes: Cartuchos (3 7/8 x 52), Corona (5 1/2 x 42), Corona Gorda (5 3/8 x 52), Robusto (4 7/8 x 52), Super Robusto (5 3/4 x 48), Canonazo (6 1/8 x 52), Julieta (7 x 47) and Piramides (6 1/8 x 52). Each size comes packaged in boxes of 10 and will rung between $11 and $17.50 a stick. I purchased mine over from our good friends at Fox Cigar Bar.
Size: 5 1/2 x 42
Pairing: Bruery Out of the Lunchbox (Brown Ale 7.3% ABV)
The Illusion One off starts with a beautiful, consistent, orangish brown wrapper. There is almost no color variation in the wrapper from foot to cap. There are very minor veins and webbing located through the cigar’s slender body. The wrapper’s texture is semi-toothy with a large amount of oils. The wrapper feels very thin and delicate, yet the cigar as a whole it packed tightly with no soft spots. The One Off is completed with a round, triple cap and a very different style orange bad with nothing more than a peace sign in the middle.
The Illusione One Off gives off a massive amount of sweet cedar aroma that you can smell before even taking the cigar out of the cellophane. The foot is a bit more natural carrying hints of spice, leather, and natural tobacco aromas. The cap cut clean and easily using my Xikar XO Double bladed cutter. The cold draw was much like the nose notes leading with sweet cedar, vanilla, spice, and natural tobacco.
The Illusione One Off starts with an unexpected cayenne pepper zing that left my lips and tongue tingling for a bit. After the first few puffs the pepper wore off and I was left with some very heavy sweet cedar, cashew, nutmeg, musk, leather, and toffee. I also wasn’t expecting this cigar to start off just as bold as it did. The draw is awesome, releasing just the right amount of thick, white smoke with each puff with quickly dissipates in the air above me as the cigar releases only trace amounts of stationary smoke as it rests in my ashtray. The burn line is a bit thick, but pretty consistent for the most part leaving behind a trail of semi-flaky medium to light-gray ash which held on for an inch before falling into my ashtray.
As I venture into the second third of the Illusione One Off the flavors have become a bit more balanced. Oddly, the pepper is still there but in a very limited capacity, only present enough to tickle the back of my throat. The cedar is still the main dominant flavor backed by caramel, cashew, musk, and spice. I am really enjoying the flavor profile in this cigar. The retrohale really helps bring the spice and cedar to the forefront of the flavor profile. Th burn is still pretty thick, but also pretty even as I close out the second third with only a very minor nicotine kick.
Into the final third of the Illusione One Off and I am really, really loving this cigar. It’s resting pretty comfortably in the full bodied, medium/full strength range which I didn’t expect. The cedar is still leading the charge in the flavor department backed by the spice, vanilla, caramel, and musk with the pepper peaking in and out of the experience.
The Illusione OneOff is a fantastic cigar through and through and I couldn’t think of a better team than Casa Fernandez and Illusione to bring this brand back to life. While I haven’t smoked the original OneOff in years and years I do remember how much I enjoyed it which is similar to just how much I enjoyed this version of the cigar. It’s complex, bold from the start, has a wonderful flavor profile, and burned like a dream. While the price is a bit steep it’s not more than what I would personally pay to make sure I had this cigar ready and available in my regular smoking rotation. The 10 count packaging makes it much more manageable as well and I will go back on record for the thousandth time in saying the more manufacturers should follow that route.
Bruery’s Out of the Lunchbox is a PB&J inspired Brown Ale. Coming in at 7.3% ABV the ale is brewed with Peanut Flour, Lactose, Boysenberries and Salt. The nose of the beer is way more forward than the actual taste exactly resembling a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich. The flavor profile is a sweet-forward brown ale with great notes of boysenberry, caramel, malt, and a touch of salt with a very light mouthfeel before finishing crisp with more boysenberry, malt, and caramel with a great peanut aftertaste which lasts for quite some time. This beer went beautifully with the Illusione One Off. The nut, sweetness and malt married up very well with the existing flavors of the cigar while the cigar itself added an almost barrel aged dimension to the beer.