We’ve got another guest review lined up for you, this time it’s Ben Lee, a.k.a. Bulldogrifleman. Chris and I have known Ben for awhile now from all 3 of us being long time members of the Cigar Weekly Forums.
Cruzado is a new line by Dion Giolito, maker of Illusione cigars, which was introduced this year in Las Vegas at IPCPR. The cigar has a wrapper of Nicaraguan criollo with a Nicaraguan and Honduran filler blend. This cigar comes in six sizes:
- Dominecos (corona gorda, 5 5/8″ x 46)
- Elites (corona, 6″ x 44)
- Dantes (robust, 5″ x 48)
- Avalitos (petit corona, 4″ x 46)
- Marios (Churchill, 7″ x 47)
- Marelas (figurado, 5 5/8″ x 46)
The cigar has a really nice looking pig tail cap. The pig tail harkens back to some of the older Cuban cigars. The wrapper doesn’t have any major veins, but has a toothy appearance with a dark cinnamon color. The cigar is spongy to the touch but still firm enough to not cause burn problems. No overly soft spots in the cigar.
Pre-light Aroma and Draw
The foot of the cigar gives off a nice natural tobacco, leather and earthy aroma. After cutting, the pre-light draw has a heavy leather taste to it. Leather bomb. Earthiness is also there under the leather.
The cigar has a nice draw which is what I expected with the nice soft packing of the filler. Also as expected, I get strong leather notes with hints of toasted nuts and spices. Pepper is on the finish which is typical of Nicaraguan cigars and it’s not overbearing either. Just enough to tickle the back of the throat. The ash is actually quite weird looking with a good size gap in the ash about a half an inch into the ash. No effect to the cigar though, which is good.
The ash fell off pretty quick, but I expect that after seeing that weird gap. Nevertheless, the flavor is truly getting even better. The leather and earthiness are still there, but it’s starting to get creamy notes. Toasted nuts are getting stronger, taste of cashews. The mix of the creaminess and the toasted nuts is a really nice combination. The burn line is getting razor sharp also. I don’t really pay much attention to burn lines unless they get out of hand because too many factors weigh in on the shape of the burn line (wind, lighter, hand movement while lighting, humidity, etc.), but this cigar fixed itself after my lighting. It’s a little windy outside so my initial light gave the cigar a crooked burn line.
The flavors have remained relatively the same….which is fine by me! The creaminess, leather and toasted nuts flavors have meshed together very nicely. The spices and earthiness that was in the cigar earlier have gone for the most part. The toastiness is becoming the most dominate flavor now with creamy undertones. It’s very nice. I had to remove the band to finish. I’m not one that nubs cigars because by the time they get to that point, they are too hot and the flavors aren’t worth it as the nasty stuff in the tobacco gets concentrated, but this cigar is nubilicious. This is really interesting….as I nub the cigar, the black pepper makes a comeback! Still, it’s not overbearing, but it came on quick.
This is a high quality cigar. The leather, toasty nuts, creaminess and spices mingle really well and complement each other. Construction is top notch and the burn was perfect. No touch ups necessary. Lots of smoke came from the cigar and gave off a nice room note as well. I can see the Cuban profile that Dion was going after and I think he accomplished it. It reminds me of a mix between the Cuban Partagas and Bolivar cigars. Definitely medium to full in flavor. These are box worth for me. The price point is about $9.00 per stick or about $180.00 per box which is still under my $10 per cigar comfort level. If you see these in your cigar shop, definitely pick a couple of them and try them out. I really doubt you will be disappointed.