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Cigar Review: Illusione Cigars OneOff +53 Super Robusto

Illusione Cigars OneOff +53 Super Robusto

 

 

 

The once popular and practically forgotten OneOff brand is now in new hands. Dion Giolito, owner of Illusione Cigars, has purchased the OneOff trademark and revitalizing the small boutique line of smokes. 

Under the supervision of Giolito, who has a keen eye on spotting the best tobaccos and then blending them into superb smokes that really connect with cigar smokers who are looking for both balance and complexity in a cigar.

The OneOff brand was created by Andrea Molinari in 2001, who ran a La Casa del Habano in Milan, Italy and wanted a cigar brand of his own. Molinari was also the CEO of Italian airline Lauda Air S.P.A.

When he couldn’t get a cigar brand made in Cuba, he sought the expertise of the Plasencia family in Nicaragua.

The Plasencias made OneOff cigars under contract for Molinari at their Segovia Cigars S.A. factory in Nicaragua, but initial production was very limited and the first run of cigars were only shipped to a few accounts, mostly in Asia and Europe.

This was in keeping with the idea behind the name OneOff, cigars being made in such limited quantities that they were almost unique enough to be considered one offs.

The OneOff +53 Super Robusto, named after Cuba’s country code, is rolled in one size and is currently the only vitola in the series that comes with a secondary grey band.

The original blend made by the Plasencias consisted of a Honduran wrapper, and Nicaraguan tobacco from the country’s various growing regions, some of which was grown from first-generation Cuban seeds.  

 

OneOff at the Illusione Booth 2018 IPCPR Las Vegas NV

 

 

OneOff Available Sizes:

  • +53 Super Robusto: 5 3/4 x 48
  • Robusto: 4 7/8 x 52
  • Canonazo: 6 1/8 x 52
  • Cartuchos: 3 7/8 x 52
  • Corona: 5 1/2 x 42
  • Corona Gorda: 5 3/8 x 46
  • Julieta: 7 x 47
  • Piramides: 6 1/8 x 52

 

 

  • APPEARANCE

 

The wrapper on the OneOff +53 is graham cracker in color with vein, minimal tooth and barely visible seam. Rolled in the Super Robusto format at 5 3/4 x 48 the vitola has a partially unfinished foot with a rounded cap.

Two bands sit on the cigar, the primary band has a white peace symbol on a solid burnt orange background. I completely remember seeing the former brand on Cigar Aficionado’s review list in earlier issues, the peace symbol always stood out and even some were colored in tie dye. 

 

 

 

 

The secondary band is solid grey in color with a gold strip on top. On the top of the gold strip reads “ONE OFF” in embossed grey font, below reads “+53” embossed In gold font on a solid grey background.

Pre light aroma was loaded with notes of heavy milk chocolate, cedar and natural tobacco. The cold draw produced flavors of leather spice, floral and strong black tea.

 

 

 

  • FIRST LIGHT

 

An aroma of warm cedar and chocolate off the toasted foot. After ignition flavors of sweet cedar, creamy leather and cinnamon.

Impressive is the absence of char off first light, the OneOff +53 dives right into its core flavors without the usual lag time. Background flavors of plain buttered toast, nutmeg and mild molasses are notable while smoking leaving a pleasant finish in between draws.

The spicey element is in the form of MED PLUS black pepper tapering off into a distinct ginger bite. The retro is producing a complex balance of MED white pepper evolving into a flavor of raw cinnamon.

 

  • CRUISE CONTROL BURN

 

Heading into the half way point, the background flavors have moved up front with nutmeg, creamy leather, cinnamon and natural tobacco.

Most of the aforementioned flavors are dominating anything in the background, although identifiable flavors of cedar and mild maple appear on the long and balanced finish.

The black pepper identified at first light has been reduced to straight MED with a definite ginger snap component. White pepper has increased on the retro evolving into sweet flavors of a burnt caramel.

 

 

  • FINAL THIRD

 

Heading into the final third, the OneOff +53 has been balanced with a smooth transition and balance of core flavors throughout the first two smoking stages,  with the exception of nutmeg that’s lost a bit of sweetness and morphed into more of a creamy leather component.

Flavors of cinnamon, cedar and maple are continuing to provide a subtle sweetness to the cigar. The spicy element of black pepper has tapered off significantly to MILD/MED, however still the cigar is still producing a ginger bite that’s balanced in perfectly. 

The retro has amped up a notch producing FULL white pepper sting evolving into flavors of caramel and raw cinnamon.

 

  • CONSTRUCTION/STRENGTH

 

• CONSTRUCTION: Very good despite the dry air and heavy wind warnings around Lake Tahoe. No palpable soft spots, cracks or blemishes.

 

• BURN: Uneven, straight, jagged, the dry air and wind played a huge factor on the burn. No faults noted on construction.

 

• ASH: Ash was in the darker side of grey and almost black at times looking like a stack of dimes. Holding about an inch falling off on its own.

 

• CUT: V CUT with a XIKAR VX metal v cutter.

 

• DRAW: Minimal milkshake type resistance on the draw.

 

• RE LIGHTS: The OneOff required some re lights with the aforementioned dry air and wind playing a factor. Not a factor in on the overall score.

 

 

• FIRE: JetLine Grenade triple torch lighter. Using anything else would have been an act in futility. I’m looking forward to lighting with cedar matches in the future.

 

 

• STRENGTH: Straight MEDIUM bodied wheelhouse.

 

 

  • CONCLUSION

 

I have to say If this was handed to me sans band my first thought would be Cuban. The cigar has many distinctive flavors and characteristics of Cuban tobacco.

I’m only reporting what I took out of the experience having consistent results on all three examples. I tried reaching out to Dion Giolito for a comment on the project with no response. So as to the differentiating element of the rest of the core line, and why the OneOff +53 has a higher price point is anyone’s guess?

I absolutely enjoyed the OneOff + 53 and will definitely smoke the cigar again despite the higher price tag. Notable was the construction of the cigar, I’m in Lake Tahoe and conditions outside are not adequate for reviewing a cigar, however the scenic setting was more than relaxing enough to handle what ever mother nature threw at me.

The air was seasonally dry with high wind warnings around the lake daily, it posed no effect on the construction creating only minor issues with the burn line. The cigar was full of flavor, balanced with upper level complexity from first light to final third.

 

 



Cigar reviewed: Illusione OneOff +53 Super Robusto

Cigars for review: Purchased

Cigars smoked for review: 3

Cigar Smoke Rate: 96

Size: 5 3/4 x 48

Wrapper: Unknown

Binder: Unknown

Filler: Unknown

Factory: TABSA Esteli, Nicaragua

Production: Unknown, offered in boxes containing 10 cigars

News source: Cigar Aficionado

 

 

 

Toar Campbell

Love of all things cigars, craft beer, Stouts, IPA's (any beer). Follow me on Untappd @Toar Campbell. Writer, reviewer, founder cigarsmoke.net
Toar Campbell

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