Illusione mj12 | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Nicaraguan (Grade One Café Colorado)
Binder: Nicaraguan (Criollo and Corojo)
Filler: Nicaraguan (Corojo)
Size: 6 x 54 “Toro Gordo”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $10.72 MSRP ($8.00 at CI and other online stores)





Today we look at the Illusione mj12.
This was a gift. And as usual, I can’t remember who sent it to me. My apologies.
I have a few new cigars to review but I thought it would be fun to get into the Way Back Machine, Mr. Peabody.

Factory: Raices Cubanas
I believe this cigar has been around since 2009 so I’m just a bit late to the party.

From the Cigar Federation web site:
“The Illusione mj12 is another one of Illusione’s core blends. The 6×56 vitola is available in a Natural Habano or a San Andres Maduro, wrapped around Nicaraguan tobaccos. As with many of Illusiones names, the mj12 has a conspiracy background. It refers to the Majestic 12, which was the name given to the scientists and people put in charge of the situation at Area 51.”

No need to bore you with more background as there is plenty of info running amok all over the interwebs.
And I am also surprised that there are a lot less reviews of the natural and a whole bunch of the maduro version of this blend. I hope this isn’t a red flag. That’s OK. Even if I don’t like it I will pretend I do; just like the reviewers tied tightly to the hip of the big manufacturers do. I have no class at all.

The cigar comes completely wrapped in an aluminum foil outside. Looks like a suppository for a big man. Don’t ask. Don’t tell.
I somehow dinged the foot of the cigar. My bad.
Nice looking stick. Solid with a little give. Invisible seams. Lots of veins. An invisible triple cap. The wrapper is an oily, russet brown color. And very smooth to the touch.

From the shaft, I can smell light notes of sweetness, spice, floral notes, and cedar.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell barnyard, spice, and cedar.
The cold draw presents flavors of spice, sweet cedar, coffee, and cocoa.

For such a big packed solid cigar, the draw is very good.
Then wham bam thank you ma’am…A big wallop of red pepper. There is a really nice sweetness going on that tastes like candy. Big time sugar. Then immediately after that comes some nice creaminess and coffee and cocoa.
The Illusione mj12 wastes no time in impressing.

Other flavors, like malts fall in line: Biscuit Malt, Cara Munich, Caramel Wheat, Chocolate Malt, Coffee Malt, and Crystal/Caramel Malt. (See Malt Chart).
The Illusione mj12 is chock full of malt variations.


Also on board: pear, raisins, nuts, nougat, and butter.
I haven’t had an Illusione mj12 in ages. I forgot what a great cigar it is. And it can be had for around $8 just about everywhere that chooses not to screw their customer base.
This was the standard that all expensive cigars measured up to.
The char line is perfect. The construction is top notch.
Strength is a tad under medium/full.

I can’t begin to count the number of high falutin’ expensive boutique blends that don’t come anywhere near the complexity and sheer brilliance of the Illusione mj12’ blend.

I don’t know about you..but I went through a period where I always kept Illusiones in the humidor…when I was flush of course…but then I sort of burned out on them and gave it a break. I’m so glad that 3 were gifted to me. I think by Darryl Martin. I am terrible at keeping track. Darryl has been one of those angels sitting on my good shoulder. One day I will dedicate a post to just naming all the wonderful people who have come to my aid.


Since I stopped chomping ages ago, holding this behemoth between my lips is dangerous stuff.
This is a chocolate malt milk shake. This is a cappuccino. This is a fruit cup. This is a candy bar. This is a can of mixed nuts. And I wish I were on drugs.

Damn. This is a slow roll.

Getting these stand up photos is a pain in the rear. I have to get in some sort of Kama Sutra position to snap the picture.
Strength is a potent medium/full.
The Illusione mj12 is super complex, balanced, has a long finish, smooth, and full of character.

Smoke time is 35 minutes.
Transitions are a constant. A whirling dervish of a blend. Dion Giolito is a master. But he has the strangest web site I’ve ever seen. Freaks me out.


The creaminess and the malts make for a fine pairing. The milk chocolate tops it off like a cherry. The nuts are defined: Cashew, almonds, and hazelnut. I wonder why it is usually those three nuts that show up?
The char line is like a sea of swarming simbas. Perfection. No touch ups required.

New flavors arrive: A hot oatmeal cereal with brown sugar and cinnamon, leather (Don’t you just hate that overused flavor element?), a rich tobacco component, crusty French bread with butter, and pepperoni. You are thinking I’m out of my mind right about now.

The last couple days were bad days. Today is a good day for me. Big smile.

Strength reaches full body.
The sweetness factors can be boiled down to these: Caramel, sweet butter, brown sugar, melon, clotted cream, and sweet raw cashews.

A magnificent blend. I have some older cigars that readers have sent me. I should bypass some of the newer blends and focus on the ones that have been around for a while. They are great substitutes for the crazily priced boutique brands flooding the market.

Although, I tried something new last night: La Hoja Edicion Clasica 1962 No. 1 Robusto. Only had it for a couple weeks and it was delicious. A blend that is in the $10-$12 price range. An anonymous reader sent me a 5 pack.
A gorgeous cigar with a beautiful box press. Medium/full. Ecuadorian Corojo wrapper around a Dominican binder and Dominican Piloto Cubano and Nicaraguan long-fillers.
But Halfwheel only gave it an 81 rating. Ouch. Meanwhile other reviewers are giving it a 90 rating. Go figure. Now I have to review it.
None of the usual suspect online stores that cater to boutique brands carry this cigar. But Cbid does and I see a 5 pack being sold for $22-$28. Much better than MSRP.


Thanks to Joey at Summit Cigars, I have a new brand to review: Santiago. I have both the Maduro and Habano. There is also a Connie and all are sold in Robusto sizes at $7.00 a pop. MSRP is $7.50 each. Nicely box pressed. I tried one of the Habanos and it was deelish.


Back to the Illusione mj12.
The blend is on cruise control. Perfect balance and a nice long finish.
The flavor profile hasn’t changed in its contents but there are plenty of transitions. Sweet to savory and back again.

Smoke time is 50 minutes.
The blend is on cruise control. Perfect balance and a nice long finish.

The flavor profile hasn’t changed in its contents but there are plenty of transitions. Sweet to savory and back again. soothes the savage breast…”Oye Como Va” by Santana is rocking the walls.
The Illusione mj12 is the perfect blend for my palate. I find no criticisms. Just perfect.

An unrelenting flavor bomb. Massive quantities of complexity. “Your positive perception of me is vital to my existence. Besides, it is not every day a father can give the world to his child.” Guess the movie. Think of me. In fact, back in the early 70’s, when SNL first showed this sketch, I immediately got the nickname of Kohnhead. Stuck with me to this day from my old friends.


Back in the 70’s, I went down to the beach every weekend and played volley ball with the same group of people. More fun than a barrel of monkeys fucking.
Did that for years. Made some great friends. And I got pretty good at playing volleyball the correct way. And what a tan I got. I’m surprised I don’t have skin cancer.

The Illusione mj12 is dishing out flavors like Nurse Ratched doles out Thorazine.

Do you know what one of the most brilliant foods ever conceived is?
String Cheese.
You laugh. But whoever invented this stuff tapped into something brilliant. The art of playing with one’s food. No one buys this stuff, peels back the wrapper and just stuffs the thing into their mouths. No. We peel it slowly taking on sliver at a time…until it’s gone with the ramifications of wanting another one. Just my dementia talking.

Smoke time is one hour 20 minutes.
Bliss. Sheer bliss.

Cbid has a couple for auction. One bidder is at $10.00. Ridiculous as CI sells them for $7.95. Some assholes really fuck things up for the serious smoker.

This is probably one of the smoothest full body blends I’ve smoked. And so far, no nicotine. There. I’ve jinxed it.
I love this cigar. I was sent three but I’ve lost one. I don’t know how I do that? But that still leaves me with one.
With 2” to go, the flavor profile explodes. Flavor Bomb 2.0.


I don’t know what to say. Dion really impresses the hell out of me. It’s a shame he hasn’t been that active lately.
I’m fading fast so I will end with this…A superb blend that is affordable and a true cigar experience that the journeyman cigar smoker will dig the hell out of.

The Illusione mj12 ends smoothly without a hint of harshness or heat.
Final smoke time is a bit over 2 hours.


The Illusione mj12 is worth every nickel of the MSRP. But when you can buy them for $8, that’s what I’m talking about. Best Cigar Prices sells them for $7.35. And Atlantic Cigar sells them for $6.80. So don’t pay full price if you can avoid it.

The price? Can’t think of a better deal if you shop around.
Flavors so abundant that your palate is working in over time.
Very complex. Lots of transitions.
Just an incredible, masterful blend.


I just want to apologize to the kind people who have sent me cigars and I forget to name them. I promised not to discuss my dementia but there is no other excuse. Imagine being at the bottom of a massive waterfall with torrential water pummeling you. You can’t breathe. You can’t think. You don’t know how to get out of the way of the water. That gives you some idea of what this horror is like.
I’ve noticed that my dementia is affecting my writing. As I tire, I run out of thoughts and words. I don’t like that.
I’m going to try to shorten my reviews so they are more to the point. And I don’t embarrass myself as I begin to wander in my head not being able to put into writing the style of prose I once was able to produce.
I contacted my oldest and dearest friends and told them about what is happening to me. Not a single one has gotten in touch with me since. People are afraid of dementia, I guess.

And now for something completely different:
I haven’t posted this story since 2012 and as my 66th birthday is coming up, I thought I’d re-post this story:

It was my 25th birthday in February. I was in London. Curved Air’s start of their English and European tour was to begin the following night.
To celebrate, my band mates and the members of the band, Renaissance, took me to the famous Marquee Club. It is sort of the English version of the Whisky A Go Go. And it was right off of Piccadilly Circus. Piccadilly Circus is like Times Square in NYC. One of the great Who albums was recorded there. A dingy little dump that had no seats. You went into the room where the band played and stood the entire time.

I have no idea who was playing that night. As soon as we got there, Stewart, our drummer, handed over some writing paper. It was a letter to him from his friend at University of Berkeley. It was written on real blotter paper. And the friend dosed the entire letter in LSD.

Stew ripped off a small piece, the size of a dime, and handed it to me. I took it and placed it on my tongue. Stew and Sonja insisted I down a giant beer right afterwards.

We went into the room where the bands played and within 15 minutes, I was flying on a magic carpet ride. I looked over at Sonja and tried to speak but couldn’t.
She smiled the smile of the Cheshire Cat. She put her arm in mine and walked me out into the lobby where we found a bench to sit on.

Time no longer had meaning. We sat on that bench for hours. It seemed like minutes, but the evening had come to an end. People were filing out and leaving. There must have been 25 people with me, including the two bands. They heard what Stew had done to me and were laughing hard and doing shtick with their faces and hands to freak me out. They had not had their dose yet.

A big circle of friends surrounded me as Stew handed out the medication. Everyone took a piece. I told them they had no idea what was about to happen to them and they laughed at me.

We ambled outside with Sonja guiding me. Piccadilly Circus was crowded with night crawlers at 1am. Trying to get a few taxis to take us back to my flat was impossible. So I let out a guttural yell, “TAXI!!!!” and several taxis heard me and came to our location. We all piled into 3 taxis.

Sonja and I were the only ones medicated in our taxi. There were 4 others still trying to fuck with me and laughing…I kept pleading with them to stop…but even in my delirium, I knew that I would have the last laugh.

It took about 15 minutes and we were home. We all went through the door while I heard voices asking, “What’s going on? Where am I?”
I laughed. I was already 4 hours into my journey and theirs was just beginning.
It was past 2am.

I sat alone in the living room staring at a freaky poster on the wall. I watched as the poster melted and took on odd shapes. I laughed hard. It was a big 3 bedroom basement flat and people were wandering.
A chick with us walked into the living room where I sat alone. She had tears in her eyes. She asked me if it was always like this?
I replied, “No. It’s not usually this good.”
She ran screaming down the hall.

This huge group of people were dazed and confused and all having a good time…except for this chick who bragged she had done plenty of acid, but in truth, had never done it….so she began to bring down a small group who became her caretakers.
And then I got stomach cramps. I didn’t know if they were real. And then a moment of clarity hit me and I ran for the bathroom. My flat was in a several hundred year old building. No heat. And it was winter. We used space heaters.

The bathroom was tiny and I could see my breath as I sat on the toilet.
This is something you never want to do….take a dump while high on acid. All my senses were concentrated on my asshole. Disgusting.

But I made it through and ended up feeling much better and returned to the group.
Turns out, the chick had left the flat to get some air in the cold night. She was out there for a bit and began to freak out but she had locked herself out and no one could hear her knock.

She stood out there for an hour and when someone finally went looking for her, they discovered a heap of a person on the front door mat. She was brought in where she proceeded to vomit and cry and sob.

She was bumming everyone out. I walked away.

The inside of that flat was like a circus with everyone doing something different to entertain themselves. Sonja found a lemon in the kitchen and spent several hours “walking her lemon.” My good buddy, Skip, accompanied her to keep her, and the lemon, safe.

We were up all night. People began to file out around day break, heading to their homes. And hopefully, some sleep.
I managed to crawl into bed and slept….but with some amazing dreams.

Both Curved Air and Renaissance were to open in London that night. CA was made up of hardened Hippies. What’s a little acid? No biggie.

Meanwhile, the Renaissance boys couldn’t take it and had to cancel their gig.
Holy Shit! I got blamed for everything. Not Stew. Me.
Annie Haslam, their lead singer did not do drugs and was not at the birthday party.
She held me personally responsible and from that day forward, never spoke to me again. As we had the same manager, there were times I saw her in the halls. I would say hi and she would turn her head and ignore me.

That was the last time I did acid. February, 10, 1975. It was a great time and seemed like a good idea to go out on a good note. The end of playing with hallucinogens.
We played beautifully that night with 3 encores.
The boys of Renaissance spent that night in bed, whimpering. Protection Status


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