Cigar Reviews

Illusione ~mk~ The Teaching Machine

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Illusione ~mk~

Illusione is the creation of Dion Giolito and is a true small batch production line. Dion has put a lot of thought into the name of the line and the name of each vitola. All have a significance behind them and each has a meaning to Dion himself. The Illusione goal is to “re-create a specific taste profile from years past” before Nicaragua was taken over by Sandinistas in 1979. The idea behind keeping the blend small batch is to ensure quality and consistency remains top notch at all times, and judging by the Illusione’s I’ve enjoyed thus far he has definitely achieved that goal. The back story to how Dion got into the cigar industry is also an interesting read. Head on over to and click on “The Illusione Story” and then the link at the bottom “Behind the Numbers”. A great read about Dion’s life and the stories behind each cigar name.

The particular cigar up for review today is the Illusione ~mk~ The Teaching Machine. This particular cigar has a very interesting back story. Here’s a little excerpt from the Illusion site:

Project MKULTRA was a government experiment in creating “zombie soldiers” if you will, through experimentation with LSD and subconscious suggestion when under the influence. MKULTRA was also referred to as the “teaching machine.” The classic corona size is the teaching machine vitola. It is the perfect vehicle for delivery of flavor, if the blend is right.

Needless to say, this cigar did not disappoint. Let me point out to skeptics now, do not underestimate this cigars flavor and complexity based on its smaller vitola. As Dion’s description perfectly says, “It is the perfect vehicle for delivery of flavor”.

Illusione ~mk~

Cigar: Illusione ~mk~ The Teaching Machine
Drink: Diet Dr. Pepper / Water
Vitola: Petit Corona (5.125 x 42)
Wrapper: Nicaragua Café Colorado
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Price: Gifted from Tony – Thanks! (Sells for about $6.50)
Burn Time: About 1 hour

• Medium brown in color
• One medium sized vein, shouldn’t cause problems
• Even and symmetrical throughout with a good spring to it
• Very clean triple cap
• Foot looks well packed

• Very easy and even toasting
• Staying lit easily, no extra attention required
• Razor sharp and even burn throughout the cigar, no issues
• No complaints at all in this department

Illusione ~mk~

Smoke & Ash:
• Lots of smoke from this little cigar, very full
• Moderate amount of resting smoke
• Resting smoke has a great aroma to it
• Ash is light grey and holds on for just under an inch
• Very little flaking or crookedness on the ash

Illusione ~mk~

Tasting Notes:
• Wrapper doesn’t have much of an aroma on it
• Foot has a wonderful cedar and spice aroma to it
• Pre-light draw has some cedar and that same spice, almost like a nutmeg
• Initial draws have pronounced cedar and the mentioned spice
• Retrohale has some pepper nuances and a hint of floral but not a strong bite, very smooth
• A little bit dry on the palate but lots of flavors
• Getting some toasted wood flavors now, just an inch in
• All the flavors seem well balanced and each are taking their turn being the predominant one from draw to draw
• Bite on the retrohale increased slightly towards the middle
• Around the halfway point I’m getting hints of roasted nuts
• Body has been mostly mild and increasing to a medium near the end
• Also picking up a slight sweetness here and there
• Throughout the cigar, I was always picking up a smooth creaminess that just followed the flavors after each draw, it was an excellent finish to all the flavors

Illusione ~mk~

Final Thoughts:
Some people may dismiss cigars that come in smaller vitolas as being simple and straightforward. This is definitely not the case with the Illusione ~mk~ The Teach Machine. I was continually impressed from the first draw to the last. This cigar definitely deserves your full attention and the complexity for this short and small vitola is something that was unexpected. The flavor profile was definitely multi-dimensional and I enjoyed all of it. The balance between the flavors was also something that was fantastic, the way each flavor sort of took a turn being the dominant one made for a great experience. I would definitely consider these a must try and a box worthy purchase. The price is fair, the cigar is great and I never had any burn issues what so ever.

The complexity of this cigar deserves a good pairing that doesn’t over power the delicate balance of flavors here. I’d probably recommend something as simple as water for this cigar. I started off with Diet Dr. Pepper and switched to my backup bottle of water that I always keep handy. I found the cigar had more than enough flavors that the soda was taking away from the cigar, water made my enjoyment go way up. Definitely seek out a very mild pairing with this cigar. I think most alcoholic beverages will drown out the flavors too much to enjoy, but you could try a mild red wine.

Illusione ~mk~

Daniel T. (a.k.a. Dalamscius) is an IT Professional from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He enjoys cigars, scuba diving, hockey, fishing, nature and anything that challenges his mind. If he's not sitting on his big comfy couch or at work you can usually find him in a boat on top of the water or 100ft under the water enjoying a dive. He is engaged to a wonderful Fiance and looking forward to his wedding. Feel free to contact Daniel anytime via email (dalamscius[at]gmail[dot]com). And make sure to follow him on twitter


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