Three years ago, Illusione oversaw its production of the Ultra line at the Raices Cubana factory in Honduras. Recently the brand moved its production to Nicaragua and the TABSA factory. According to published reports this was done for logistical reasons, but one has to wonder if it had to do with quality control issues that plagued the original factory.
According to the Illusione website, “llusione ULTRA is a true connoisseur’s blend. Decadent and rich, this cigar is rolled and then “pressed” overnight to achieve its tactile rectangular shape. Bold in looks, taste profile and approach, illusione ULTRA delivers a thick, rich smoke with notes of caramelized sugar, black licorice and Amaro. This is achieved with a good amount of spicy ligero leaves from the Jalapa and Esteli regions. Illusione ULTRA is the truest example of a modern day Nicaraguan Puro.”
Cigar Review: Illusione Ultra
Size: 5.5 x 56 (Toro/Op. No. 9)
The Look: While my memory isn’t the greatest I do remember the original release looking much darker. The Ultra has a medium chocolate-brown wrapper with some thin veins and is rolled to perfection. The box press is perfectly executed and the black and white band almost makes this cigar dressed for a night out. Oily and firm to the touch, the Illusione Ultra has a nice weight to it.
The Notes: Sometimes people ask me why I do a report on the cold draw, and I personally feel that taking in the cigar in its unlit form helps open up the senses to the experience at hand. The aroma off the foot of the Ultra is earthy and spicy, with elements of cinnamon. Once the cap is clipped the cold draw reminds me of soy sauce and licorice a combination that surprisingly works for me.
After the cigar is lit there are subtle notes of spice and wood, with some significant mocha that is the dominant taste as the cigar begins. As the first third progresses some well-defined notes of licorice develop that take over as the first third comes to a close. The retrohale provides some added leather and spice to the cigar and the finish moderate in length.
As we enter the second third of the smoke the licorice remains dominant with some faint notes of mocha. At the half way point the cigar develops some strong coffee notes. On the aroma some nuttiness intertwines with pepper. The leather finish becomes long as the cigar transitions to the last third.
The last third of the cigar become predominantly coffee notes with some chocolate in the background and on the aroma. Through the nose the pepper ramps it up bit with a long finish that is both bitter and sweet.
The Burn: A very slow burning cigar, the box pressed Illusione Ultra has a thin combustion line that is relatively straight and true. The medium color ash has no flake but it did drop on frequent occasions. The cigar had an exquisite draw and remained lit from start to finish.
The Finish: While I have long been a fan of the Original Document line from Illusione I often don’t look at this cigar because of my enjoyment of that line. However, every time I pick up the Ultra I am surprised by its strength and complexity. The result is a cigar that leaves you feeling full similar to after a huge meal prepared by a top chef. The Ultra is definitely worthy of being in your regular rotation if you like them full which as you know, I do.
Price: $11.39 / $209.99