Illusione TAA 2021
Trying to make the most of my green backyard before it all turns yellow I decided to head out back with one of the cigar’s I’ve looked forward to the most this year: Illusione’s TAA Exclusive 2021 paired with a bottle of the Bruery’s Sundae Sunday Imperial stout beer.
The Good Stuff:
This year Illusione made headlines when it was announced that they’d be releasing their first ever “Tobacconists’ Association of America LTD”, or TAA exclusive cigar after becoming a TAA supplier last year. The result is an all Nicaraguan cigar utilizing a rarer Aganorsa leaf tobacco that isn’t grown at their farm all the time.
The cigar comes in a single 6 3/4 x 54 toro format, packaged in boxes of 10 running $15 a stick. Only 3,500 boxes are being produced and will only be available to purchase at TAA retailers. I purchased a box over from Anthony’s Cigar Emporium who got them over to me in record time.
- Size: 6 3/4 x 54
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Body: Full
- Strength: Medium/Full
- Price: $15
- Pairing: The Bruery’s Sundae Sunday (Imperial Stout 17.7% ABV)
The Illusione TAA 2021 starts with a rustic looking orangish brown wrapper that has a few splotchy areas of darker brown scattered throughout. The wrapper’s texture is mostly smooth with some soft tooth as its covered in thick oils. The wrapper feels very thin and a bit delicate as the cigar as a whole is decently hard with some softer areas around the foot. The soft-boxpressed body showcases some light veining in the wrapper as it leads up to the cigar’s round, triple-wrapper cap. The cigar is then polished off with the standard blue “one off” Cigares Prive band we expect on these limited one only with the addition of a much larger black band showcasing the Tobacconists’ Association of America LTD crest on the front.
The wrapper on the Illusione TAA 2021 gives off lots of honey and cedar while the foot of the cigar carries more spice, cashew, and musk. The cap cut clean and easily using my Xikar XO double bladed cutter. The cold draw produces mostly spice and earthiness over deep musk and a hint of berry.
The Illusione TAA 2021 starts out with a very powerful, very unexpected amount of cayenne pepper that left my tongue and lips screaming for a few seconds. After the first few draws the pepper completely lets up and the cigar is allowed to release tons of cashew and honey over spice, vanilla, cedar, musk, and interesting dark berry notes. The draw is just perfect. Each tiny puff kicks out a massive cloud of thick, white smoke which hangs around under my patio for quite some time before dissipating while the cigar releases only trace amounts of stationary smoke while it rests in my ashtray. The burnline is a bit wavy, but nothing concerning as it leaves behind a semi-compacted trail of dark gray ash which fell into my astray about 3/4 of an inch in.
Again the Illusione TAA 2021 has this deep, dark berry flavor thats been a pretty consistent contender since the start of the cigar backed by pecan, spice, and musk with light notes of honey and cedar. The retrohale brings out a bit of the pepper that was so dominant when I first lit up the cigar. The burnline is still a little wavy, but I haven’t had to touch it up or relight the cigar so no marks taken there while I close out the second third with a little nicotine kick that normally doesn’t develop this early in most Illusione cigars.
Into the final third of the Illusione TAA 2021 and the flavors are still pretty similar to the second third. The dark berry is still strong backed by bold pecan and musk followed up by lighter vanilla, honey, and cedar. There is also a dry cocoa that comes and goes but I only really picked it up in the final third. The cigar burned pretty slow and took me almost 2 hours to take down to the nub. I never once had to touchup or relight the cigar. I experienced no harshness, no extended heat, and no sap but it did leave me with a decent little nicotine kick.
In my opinion, most of Illusione’s offerings fall into the sweet spot of medium/full body and medium strength. The TAA Exclusive 2021 was one of the more full-bodied cigar’s I’ve smoked from them. That being said, Dion was still able to create a blend that still had that Illusione touch, those mixture of flavors that keep drawing me back to his cigars while delivering a different experience and I loved it. I tend to gravitate more towards full-bodied cigars which can sometimes leave some to be desired in the complexity department, but the TAA 2021 delivered. I’m really glad I picked up a box of these since they are so limited and after smoking a handful I am tempted to scoop up another just to keep these in my regular rotation.
The Bruery’s Sundae Sunday is a 17.7% Imperial Stout aged in wine and bourbon barrels with boysenberries and vanilla utilizing the brewery’s “Black Tuesday” as the base beer. The beer leads with a ton of berry, raisin, spice, caramel and malt with a soft tanginess and a very heavy mouthfeel before finishing with stronger vanilla over berry, raisin, and booze. This is one of the more straightforward iterations of the Black Tuesday family I’ve had as the taste actually matches up very well with the ingredients used but still has that Black Tuesday character deep down. The pairing was a natural one as I picked up so much berry in the Illusione TAA 2021 and the two went together beautifully.