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Illusione Cigares Prive PCA 2020 Exclusive

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As the weather is finally feeling a little more like autumn here, my Sundays remain the same. This weekend, I took an Illusione Cigares Prive PCA 2020 Exclusive out for a spin with it’s friend, Westbrook Mexican Cake Imperial Stout.

The Good Stuff:

Back before things got all sorts of crazy this year, Illusione had announced that it would be releasing a new cigar that was to be available only to those who purchased the cigars directly from them at the PCA trade show. Well, 2020 happened and the show was eventually cancelled, but Illusione stuck to their word and released the same cigar, only to those who purchased them directly from the company via Zoom meetings. Enter the Cigares Prive. The Cigares Prive comes in a single 5 1/2 x 56 Box-Pressed format composed of Nicaraguan Criollo 98 and Nicaraguan Corjo 99 fillers under a Nicaraguan binder wrapped in an Ecuadorian Habano Claro wrapper. The cigars are sold in bundles of 10 for $9.95 with only 1,000 bundles being released. I purchased mine over from our friends at Neptune Cigars.

  • Size: 5 1/2 x 56
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Claro
  • Binder: Nicaraguan
  • Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo 99 and Criollo 98
  • Body: Medium/Full
  • Strength: Medium
  • Price: $9.95
  • Pairing: Westbrook Mexican Cake (Imperial Stout 10.5% ABV)

Prelight:

The Illusione Cigares Prive PCA 2020 starts out with an absolutely beautiful, consistently dark brown wrapper that shines orange in the sunlight. The wrapper’s texture is semi-toothy with a ton of oils coating it. The wrapper sports quite a few medium-sized veins and lots of natural webbing in the wrapper leaf. The wrapper is laid over itself seamlessly heading up to the round, triple wrapper cap. The soft-box-press is extremely comfortable in my hand. The cigar is polished off with the elegant navy blue and white band we’ve seen on the Cigares Prive band in the past.

The wrapper on the Cigares Prive PCA 2020 gives off a ton of sweet cedar aromas over some nice barnyard and earthiness while the foot of the cigar carries more spice and a really nice black cherry scent. The cap cut clean and easily using my Xikar XO double bladed cutter. The cold draw produces some great cedar flavors over earthiness and pecan.

First Third:

The Illusione Cigares Prive PCA 2020 starts off with an awesome mixture of bold cedar, nutmeg and pecan over light notes of brown sugar, musk, and earthiness. Yes, this does remind me a bit of oatmeal cookies. This flavor profile is absolutely incredible right off the bat. I’m interested to see how it transitions as we progress. The draw is brilliant as each little puff kicks out a ton of thick, white smoke while the cigar itself releases only minor amounts of stationary smoke while it rests in my ashtray. The burnline is razor thin and dead even leaving behind a trail of tightly compacted, dark gray ash which held on for almost and inch before falling into my ashtray.

Second Third:

Into the second third of the Illusione Cigares Prive PCA 2020 and the flavors haven’t changed up too much. The musk, cedar, and pecan now lead the charge backed by nutmeg, cinnamon, and earthiness. The retrohale brings out a ton of the cedar as it ads quite a bit of sharp spice to the mix. I close out the second third with only a very minor nicotine kick while the cigar has burned flawlessly without the help from my torch.

Finish:

Into the final third of the Illusione Cigares Prive PCA 2020 and a really awesome, bold pine flavor has entered the arena. Strong musk, cedar, and pecan lead the pack backed by cinnamon and earthiness. This is an incredible flavor profile from start to finish. It took me an hour and a half to smoke this cigar down to the nub and I did not want to put it down. I experienced no harshness nor any extended heat. I never once had to touchup or relight the cigar. I close out the cigar with only a touch of nicotine.

Overview:

This Cigares Prive is a pretty big departure from the Illusione cigars I have smoked lately, yet somehow still feels similar. The flavor profile is very complex, and extremely impressive as it suits my personal palate extremely well. The cigar burned like a dream from start to finish, and the price is something I would pay time and time again for this cigar resulting in a perfect mixture. My only gripe is the availability. This just means I’ll need to buy quite a few more as a Christmas present for myself before these are gone.

Pairing:

Westbrook’s Mexican cakes is an Imperial Stout aged it on cocoa nibs, vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and fresh habanero pepper. Coming in at 10.5% ABV this beer leads with a ton of sweet vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, cinnamon and dark chocolate with a very heady mouthfeel before finishing with tons of dark chocolate, cinnamon, and a very nice, subtle pepper kick. This beer is a whole lot more balanced than I expected it to be. The brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla paired beautifully with the existing flavors in the Illusione Cigares Prive.

Tony Casas is a 32 year old Creative Managing/Webdesigning/Craft Beer Drinking Cigar smoker from El Paso, Texas. When he isn't loving his wife he is either sleepy, hungry, or suffering from a headache.

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