Cigar Reviews

Illusione of Excalibur #1

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It seems the past few weeks have been the weeks of exciting cigars. Another one that I have really been looking forward to lighting up is Illusione’s most recent release a collaboration with Hoyo de Monterrey called “The Illusione of Excalibur #1”. I paired this beast with a bottle of The Bruery’s 2econd.

The Good Stuff:

While Dion Giolito of Illusione cigars is no stranger to doing collaborations, the cigar community was caught off guard and quite surprised when word hit of a new collaboration with Hoyo de Monterrey hitting the market. Dion and Scandinavian Tobacco Group’s business development manager Justin Andrews spent over a year working together on the new blend and here is what they had to say about it:

“Dion Giolito and Illusione’s success in the premium cigar category has been driven by his rigorous standards for tobacco and his ability to create cigars that wow the market. So when it came to developing a blend for Excalibur, Dion was our hands-down first choice. I’m very proud of how this project came together. My only regret is that we couldn’t make this a full-time launch.”

Justin Andrews

“When GCC asked me to do a collaboration and offered up Excalibur, I immediately jumped at the opportunity. In college, the Excalibur #1 Maduro was my go-to when I could afford them on a college budget. My buddy George and I would enjoy them after class or band practice. They were a real treat back then, and they still are to this day. For my part, I wanted to make a cigar in the spirit of Excalibur with a bold character and packaging that pays homage to the brand’s origins. I believe this blend really hits the mark.”

Dion Giolito

Produced at Aganorsa’s Agricola Ganadera Nortena S.A. (Previously TABSA), the all Nicaraguan blend starts out with a Corojo ’99 wrapper and Corojo 2012 binder both from the Jalapa region over Corojo and Criollo fillers from Esteli. The cigar is offered in a single Double Corona 7 1/4 x 54 format which comes packaged in boxes of 10 with only 4,960 boxes being reduced. The Illusione of Excalibur runs $19.99 a stick and is available now. I picked mine up from our friends at Cuenca cigars who are now offering cigars in singles for shipping. Think of it as shopping in a brick and mortar store only online where you can mix and match your own bundles.

  • Size: 7 1/4 x 54
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Jalapa Corojo ’99
  • Binder: Nicaraguan Jalapa Corojo 2012
  • Filler: Nicaraguan Esteli Corojo and Criollo
  • Body: Medium/Full
  • Strength: Medium
  • Price: $19.99
  • Pairing: Bruery 2econd (Imperial Stout 17.6% ABV)


First lets just get this out of the way. The Illusione of Excalibur is a very big, beefy cigar. The wrapper is a very consistent dark brown with a bit of a reddish tint to it. The wrapper’s texture is a bit toothy and gritty with a ton of thick oils coating it. The wrapper feels decently thick while the cigar as a whole is very hard and heavy. I think I could using this to hammer a few nails in the wall without taking any damage. The wrapper is laid seamlessly over itself while the cigar showcases a few larger veins leading up to it’s round, triple-wrapped cap. The band design leans more towards the Hoyo de Monterrey brand than Illusione’s. The classic Hoyo de Monterrey crest is laid in royal blue, white, and gold across the front of the band with a secondary band underneath that says “The Illusione of Excalibur” and the Illusione logos across the sides. There is an additional foot band that is identical to the secondary band described above.

The wrapper on the Illusion of Excalibur gives off mostly caramel and earthy scents while the foot of the cigar carries a great fruit-forward mixture of aromas over natural tobacco and earthiness. the cap cut clean and easily using my Xikar XO double bladed cutter. The cold draw produces notes of oat and grain over vanilla, honey, and natural tobacco.

First Third:

The Illusione of Excalibur starts out pretty mild with a quick black pepper hit which only lasted a few puffs before quickly fading away allowing the cigar to release notes of vanilla, honey, and cinnamon over lighter notes of coconut, light coffee, and dirt/earthiness. The draw is flawless. Each little puff kicks out huge clouds of thick white smoke while the cigar releases only a slight trail of stationary smoke while it rests in my ashtray. The ash left behind id decently compacted and dark gray in color which held on for about an inch before falling into my ashtray.

Second Third:

Into the second third of the Illusione of Excalibur and the vanilla and honey are still going strong while the cinnamon has morphed into a lighter all-spice type flavor mixed with coconut and light coffee. There is a great deep, floral/cologne flavor that comes out on the aftertaste. When I retrohale the cigar the all-spice and floral/cologne flavor become much more prominent. The cigar is still burning like a dream and I close out the second third (after over an hour) with only a very slight nicotine kick.


Into the final third of the Illusione of Excalibur and the all-spice flavor has really ramped up and is now up there with the vanilla and honey backed by coffee and coconut. This was a great flavor profile. It took me about two hours to take this cigar down to the nub and I experienced no harshness, no sap, and no extended heat. I never once had to reach for my torch to touchup or relight the cigar. Despite the lower strength of the cigar I still felt a pretty good nicotine kick towards the end which was likely due to the massive amount of tobacco in this cigar.


I was a bit worried going into the Illusione of Excalibur thinking that it would burn way too long and I’d get bored with it halfway through, but I quite enjoyed the cigar, the overall experience and what the Illusione of Excalibur had to offer. And yes, it was a long burn. A lot longer than I am used to, however the flavor profile was both enjoyable and engaging enough that I never really got tired of it which was my biggest fear going in. The price point is up there, but you also get a lot of bang for your buck. While I enjoyed this cigar I don’t think it would find it’s way into my everyday rotation. It would be more of a treat yo’ self type experience when you have a few hours to just sit back and relax.


The Bruery’s 2econd is the second collaboration with Three Chiefs brewing. This 17.6% Imperial stout is double barrel aged in both coconut rum and spiced rum barrels as well as treated with toasted coconut, cacao, Tahitian Vanilla beans and bananas. I am such a fiend for banana barrel aged stouts. The beer leads with sweet coconut over molasses, caramel, rich vanilla, milk chocolate, some light fig and light banana with a very heavy and sticky mouthfeel before finishing with more fig, caramel, cinnamon, chocolate, and the banana is much more pronounced on the finish and aftertaste. Many of the flavors in the beer were also found in the Hoyo de Monterrey / Illusione collaboration “Illusione of Excalibur” while the sweetness and rich flavors in the beer added even more complexity to the experience creating a great pairing.

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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