I’m stoked on this week’s review as it’s both a cigar and beer that I have been itching to get to. This week I take a look at Illusione’s new Allegria paired with The Bruery’s Petit Mardi imperial stout still beer.
The Good Stuff:
Dion Giolito made waves back in 2017 when he announced the purchase and re-release of the One Off brand which was created by Andre Molinari from Milan Italy. Along with the purchase of One Off (read out review here) there was also the purchase of a secondary brand called Allegria. I personally hadn’t heard about Allegria until the release was announced last year as Dion wanted to wait until the cigars were ready to announce the acquisition of the brand. Allegria is essentially a stronger version of the One Off which features higher-priming tobaccos. It utilizes a Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and fillers which includes some Corojo ’99 and Criollo ’98. The Illusione Allegria comes in five sizes: Robusto (5 x 52), Corona (5 1/8 x 42), Gordo (6 x 56), Lonsdale (6 1/4 x 44), and the Churchill (6 3/4 x 48). Each comes packaged in boxes of 20 and run between $11.10 and $13.55 per stick. We purchased ours over from our good friends at Cuenca Cigars who still have them in stock currently in both singles and boxes.
- Size: 6 1/4 x 44
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Body: Medium/Full
- Strength: Medium/Full
- Price: $11.84
- Pairing: The Bruery Petit Mardi (Imperial Stout 15.9% ABV)
The Illusione Allegria starts out with a very dark, rich brown wrapper that features lots of scatted light brown and orange. Right away the Allegria sets itself apart from the One Off visually as the wrapper is much darker. The wrapper’s texture is about average in density with some light tooth and a whole ton of oils coating it. The cigar as a whole is a bit soft and light. There are some larger veins running the course of the cigar’s thin body leading up to it’s round, triple-wrapped cap. The cigar is polished off with a larger band with features the same orange as the one off along with the peace symbol, “Allegria” embossed on the front and “Illusione” across each side.
The wrapper on the Illusione Allegria gives off a really strong must and pecan aroma while the foot of the cigar is more natural with earthiness, tobacco, and spice. The cap cut like butter using my Xikar XO double bladed cutter. The cold draw produces notes of pecan, honey, and lots of earthiness.
The Illusione Allegria starts out with a pretty bold black pepper zing that I wasn’t expecting. After the first few draws the pepper begins to fade and the cigar starts to release bold notes of pecan, honey and musk over lighter notes of cedar, vanilla, citrus, and a great earthiness. The draw is flawless as each little puff kicks out massive clouds of thick, white smoke while the cigar releases a good amount of stationary smoke while the oils burn off the wrapper. The burn line is pretty while and a bit messy but the cigar is smoking fine so no marks taken there as it leaves behind a flaky white and dark gray ash which held on for only a half inch before falling into my ashtray.
Into the second third of the Illusione Allegria and the flavors are pouring out of this thing. Pecan, honey, musk, and oak lead the charge backed by vanilla, citrus, earthiness, and a great little plum or cherry that has been consistent in the second third. The retrohale is one of the best retrohales I have experienced in quite sometime as it pours on the cherry, musk and spice. I find myself retrohaling this cigar very often. The burn line has started to sort itself out and is now burning pretty consistent. I close out the second third with only a very light kick of nicotine.
Into the final third of the Illusione Allegria and I am loving this flavor profile. The pecan, honey, musk and oak are still out in front with vanilla, citrus, earthiness, black cherry and raisin in the back along with this great consistent spice that has really backed the entire flavor profile. It took me about an hour and a half to smoke this down to the nub, and I smoked it until my fingers burned. Despite the wavy burn line at the start, the cigar completely corrected itself and I never once had to reach for my torch to touchup or relight the cigar. I experienced no harshness, no extended heat and I closed out with a decent little nicotine kick.
I smoked a handful of these and each time I liked it more than the previous. The Illusione Allegria delivers a great, complex flavor profile that really keeps you on your toes. I smoked quite a few One Offs and at times I felt the Allegria was a much better version of that cigar and at other times I felt like it wasn’t even in the same realm as the cigar offers a profile that is quite different especially in terms of complexity and body. At this point, I think the Allegria will keep the One Off out of my rotation for at least the time being and this is a cigar that I enjoyed so much that I can see myself coming back to over and over again.
Petit Mardi, French for ‘Small Tuesday,’ is an imperial stout was aged in oak puncheons and carefully crafted with Petite Sirah grapes and Syrah grapes. Consider it a lighter-bodied still-beer Black Tuesday/Wine Hybrid coming in at 15.9% ABV. I’ve been a huge fan of The Bruery’s wine hybrids especially the Black Tuesday-based ones so I’ve been dying to crack these open. Normally, the Bruery’s wine/beer hybrids have been very dry. In the case of the Petit Mardi it’s the opposite as this beer is very sweet and reminds me of a great sweet red blended wine. The beer leads with loads of sweet grape, black cherry, vanilla, light honey, light malt and red apple. The mouthfeel is very sticky yet somehow still light. It finishes with loads of sweetness, grape, black cherry, vanilla and a great little spice. Very similar to a nice, sweet, fruity, Ruby Port and absolutely one of the best beer/hybrid still beers (non-carbonated beer) I have ever had. The vanilla, spice, and fruit matched up great with the flavors in the Illusione Allegria while the cigar itself added another layer to the spice notes within the beer. What a treat!