Illusione Classic Cruzado Domenicos Extra | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 Rosado
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan (Corojo and Criollo)
Size: 6 x 56
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $12.50

Thanks to Peter W. for the dough for the purchase of these cigars. He is on the Newsletter list. I am preparing one now for those that are special…in an ortho gym sort of way.

I reviewed this cigar June 1, 2013. I didn’t care for it. I made a point of not reading the body of the review, so it is a fair comparison and that I am not influenced by a cigar I smoked over 8 years ago.

But the other reason for re-reviewing this cigar is to see how my palate has changed and grown over the years. I have smoked cigars for over half a century. To be honest, until I started reviewing in 2010, I never dissected the flavors of a cigar. Either I liked it, or I didn’t. But if you write about cigars with a critical eye towards breaking it down for a decade, your palate does in fact grow and expand into getting you closer to being a true connoisseur. My palate has grown exponentially in the last 8 years since I reviewed the Cruzado. I’m anxious to see if my opinion in 2021 has changed.
In 2013, the price point was only $8.00.

Originally released in 2008, this version of the Cruzado was a big hit. It has been released incrementally over the years but with slightly different leaf stats.
Per Halfwheel:
The Cruzado shares components with the regular Illusione line, but it uses more criollo tobacco compared to the Original Documents’ use of Corojo.

This ain’t a purty cigar. The photo below was the 2008 review, and it looks pretty much the same. The wrapper is kind of ugly. Lots of big veins. The cigar is a little bent out of shape. The Rosado leaf has that typical reddish hue…covering a brown paper bag. It is not an oily cigar.

The cigar feels heavy in the hand. This will be a long review. For the most part, no hard or soft spots…except, right at cigar band level where a plug usually occurs. I am very happy that I have my trusty PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool with me. I don my miners cap and have at it. I smoked two prior to this review and both had plug issues.

I try not to make fun of other reviews because I am the last guy who should be pointing the finger…but I read a few old reviews of this cigar and some guys would write an entire paragraph on what the band looks like. Do you give a shit what the band looks like? I don’t. Unless it is festooned with skulls. Mikey doesn’t like that.
Lastly, the triple cap has a tiny pigtail atop it. Barely noticeable which makes me wonder…why bother?
2008 photo:

A series of very aromatic moments. Floral is the task master. Sweet flowery notes. And then the expected aromas of chocolate, malt, espresso, creaminess, black pepper, caramel, cherry toffee, cedar, barnyard, raisins, black cherry, and licorice.

Always smell a cigar before you light up. Take in everything the cigar has to offer. It frustrates the hell out of me when I find a delightful aromatic cigar and I rush to my bride of Frankenstein’s side and tell her, “Smell this. Smell the flowers and the dark chocolate.” Every single time, she responds with, “Smells like horseshit.”

The cold draw presents flavors of black pepper, chocolate, honeysuckle, espresso, licorice, assorted nuts, black cherries, caramel, creaminess, malt, and cedar.
I was right. The cigar had a plug at the cigar band level, but I use Dr. Rod’s baby to fix it.

A nice hearty character splats over my palate immediately. The complexity has begun. There are dotted notes of the aromas I have mentioned. Nothing stands out more than another…except for the heavy black pepper influence. A little too spicy…thereby, masking the subtle flavors that don’t stand a chance until the spiciness relents.

There are definitive sweet factors: Black cherries, raisins, salted caramel, and Worcestershire sauce…in fact the last flavor is the strongest I’ve experienced in which I mention this flavor point.

Moments later, a savory element is born…charred meat, sourdough bread, a good malty lager, and french fries.

Strength started at medium but is quickly moving to medium/full with only 1-1/2” burned.

Charlotte’s 71st birthday was yesterday so I got her royal highness’s permission to have 71 seconds of sex. I had a good 30 seconds to spare so who’s laughing now?

The cigar is nicely constructed which is shown by a stout ash that does not want to dismount and impress the judges. I am no hero. I knock it off with a ball peen hammer to save my shrinking naughty bits from being injured. I wonder if I could claim a workman’s comp case if that happened.

By this time, I expected that the Cruzado would be reaching for the heavens. But it lacks ambition. The impact of the burn is not allowing the character profile to play hopscotch. It is simply in a cruising mode. Maybe the cigar needs over 6 months of aging. I will get back to you in 2022.

I taste some great potential in the blend. This is not a fool’s errand of blending. It is a solid representation of good cigar design. But nothing jumps out at me.

The spiciness has relented but when it did, I thought the more subtle nuances would shine through. They do not.

Maybe the sweet spot in the second half will be life affirming.
I get the sense that the cigar is struggling to strut its stuff. Unfortunately, the flavor profile may be trapped in a train station locker.

For $12, the cigar should be a bit more exciting by this point in the burn.
There are vestiges of potential with every puff but the little train that could needs to try harder.

As trick or treaters came by last night, I was over generous to a fault. I wore my Ron Jeremy costume. To keep some mothers’ from calling the police, I let them hold the appendage. Worked every time. In some cases, the women looked at Dad and snarled.

The first third did not leave a mark.

I do not know if it is wishful thinking or reality at this point, but the character seems to be on a trek to improve its impression as I hit the second third.

The spiciness is now how I like it. Mostly background singer material…the kick is there but does not overwhelm.
Yet, nothing stands out. All those delicious aromas and cold draw notes were merely a prick tease.

Could be the sum is greater than its parts and should become more evident at any time.

Speaking of taking a dump…When I was in high school, my dad took me to the local Baskin Robbins to bring back sundaes for the family. A few people were in line, and it was around 7pm and already dark. I had a sudden urge from my bowels that wanted full release. They had no bathroom…I asked. At least not for customers.

The cramps got severe, and I ran out telling my dad I’d be right back.
Next to the Baskin Robbins was a closed for the day full-service car wash. I saw a door that said men’s room. It was mostly hidden by two vanity panels that went from the ground to maybe 7 feet.

The door was locked. I panicked. It was coming whether I was ready or not.
I let my Levi’s and underpants drop to the ground. I exploded like a goose. I had nothing to wipe my ass with. But home was only 7 minutes away.

I pull my pants up only to discover that I had not taken on the perfect position for the outdoor bowel movement. As pants meet ass, I feel an entire load of shit up against my ass. I literally took the entire dump into my jeans.

There was nothing I could do.
My dad called out my name.

We drove home and only a minute or two into the drive, my dad asked if I smelled something funny? I told him no.
He mentioned it a couple more times and I just kept playing dumb.

We got home and I spent the next 20 minutes in the shower.
By the time I was cleaned up I ventured into the den only to see my banana split completely melted.
Never told my family what happened.

The Cruzado…
Much better. Flavors speak up. Notes of chocolate, espresso, various sweetness factors, and a nicely well-rounded complexity that was mostly missing in the first third.

The medium/full strength doesn’t push the envelope. The stick is so smooth now that it seems to have found its place in the universe.

With only two months of humi time, the cigar seems to bitch slap me tirelessly that the blend really needs another 3-4 months of humi time.

No longer on a linear path, there are improvements with every puff. Sips of water accentuate the new character.

Complexity grabs me by the gonads and won’t let go. I kind of like it. The last person to cup my boys was a homeless guy I gave $10 to…about 8 months ago. We still keep in touch.

The cigar is a very slow roll. But now that I am in blender’s intent space, I am enjoying a relaxing cigar.

It took approximately an hour to get to the halfway point.

I’ve hit the sweet spot. Stellar blend now. With more humi time, I’m sure the blend will not wait til the second half to shine.

Graham crackers, cinnamon, almonds, dark chocolate, lots of malt, charred steak galore, caramel, creaminess, espresso, licorice, and black cherries. Now we’re talking.

The nuances are pungent. I swear I can taste carne asada tacos. Must be on the verge of a brain aneurysm.
The sweet v. savory battle is calling it a draw. My kind of cigar.

If I didn’t have to write down all of my impressions, I am not sure I would notice half of what I’ve described.

The cigar anchors the sum of its parts scenario. Huge parameters now. A wide spread of flavors, nuances, subtleties, and impact.

If blood ever spurts out of your schlong during sex, it means you are having your first ever attack of prostatitis. Running around the bedroom screaming like a parakeet was good exercise for me but watching your dick become a fire hose is unsettling. Know how a doc determines what kind of prostate infection you have? The doc makes you bend over and hands you a small plastic cup. You are instructed to pump the living shit out of your schmekel while the doctor shoves his entire arm up your ass to pump your prostate like a Nike pump sneaker. Your responsibility is to get semen into the cup for the lab to analyze. I only remember this because I’ve never screamed at 4 octaves above my normal voice before. The doc and I did have a drink afterwards.

The Cruzado is friggin delicious now. Like a 3-course meal with cheesecake for dessert.
This is the first time I notice any significant balance. Spot on.

Oh my. I was so wrong about this cigar in 2008.
The depth of field is intense, and I swear I can hear it mumbling in what sounds like Pepé Le Pew singing an ABBA song.

The first time I met Hall of Fame drummer, Hal Blaine, I constantly gushed adjectives that he was my hero. Hal liked that.

Finalizing his set in the recording studio, he called me over and pulled some old sheet music from his stick bag. He called me over. He handed the papers to me. Then he said this was the drum chart that Paul Simon wrote for him for “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
I was in shock to have that chart in my hands.
I never asked why he carried that with him everywhere.

The Cruzado is showing that the $12.50 price tag is worth it, plus some.
OK. So, I reviewed it too soon.
I find myself smacking my lips like a prison inmate about to be electrocuted.

Life is good.
The sweet spot should have klieg lights exploding into the night sky like a movie premiere.

Graham cracker, chocolate nougat like a Three Musketeers bar, sweet black cherries, oozes creaminess, malt, café au lait, marzipan, charred steak, and hints of licorice.
What a huge difference from the non-descript first third.

The more you smoke, the better your palate becomes. Even though I’ve smoked cigars forever, it has been the last decade that trained my palate to appreciate the hard to describe flavor profiles. The only downside to training your palate is that you become a snob. The best way to become a snob is to write down what you experience with a cigar. There is a learning curve but there are no shortcuts.

Oddly, the strength does not cause hallucinations as it ventures into full tilt. There is some nicotine at play, but it is not distracting, and my vision is AOK.

Moments after writing the above sentence, the nicotine goes into full swing and I’m now 90% blind.

Still, the smoothness remains as the baseline of the blend.

I grab a roach clip…I mean my PerfecDraw to enable nubbing this cigar.

Cream is playing. I never tire of their music.

I discarded my beard. I remembered, to my dismay, what a pain it is to shave.

Construction has been flawless. No burn issues. No loose seams.
I was completely wrong about this blend in 2008.

Don’t forget that using Katman as a promo code, you can get 10% off all purchases from Small Batch Cigar. Use my promo code instead of the others so I can impress Andrew that my readers are smarter than the average bear.

I highly recommend snagging these cigars. But wait 3-4 months before lighting up.
Happy gentile Sunday.


And now for something completely different:
My second favorite story…

This has nothing to do with music…just a strange story; that’s all…

I took time off from being a project manager in commercial construction. I was burned out and it was killing me. I was 40. And the pressure to keep on schedule and on budget; plus being burdened with too many projects…got to me. I found out I had high blood pressure during a blood drive at my daughter’s school. I was told I could not donate my blood. Go see a doctor.
40 is too young to die so I had some choices to make.

I went to work, for an old friend, as a structural draftsman…I basically went back to my roots…in construction; anyone on a drafting board is called a “Detailer.” This was also before CAD.

I learned how to detail as a young teen. Before I was old enough to drive, my father brought me down to his structural fab shop and put me on a board. And while I was going to CSULB, the company sent me to L.A. Trade Tech at night to get my two-year certificate as a structural detailer. It turned out to stead me well later in life. I always took contract jobs on the side and made good money for my work.

Back then, we used formulas to figure out the geometry and trig problems. Advanced calculators did not show up until the late 1970’s. And ones that would do the geometry and trig didn’t show up til the late 80’s. We also had no computers to help us. We had a pencil.

I worked in Fullerton, CA for an old friend. Small outfit with only 9 detailers.

On a hot day, with the A/C busted, we opened the front and back doors. It was a small place with three rooms and ensconced in a strip mall. Each room housed three detailers. I was in the middle room.

One day, lo and behold…a ferret walked in the back door. It didn’t seem to be afraid of us. As it walked towards me, I bent over and extended my arm. In a flash, the fucking ferret grabbed on to my forearm, with all 4 legs, using a death grip and began punching away at my arm with its teeth.

I ran around the office waving my arm trying to get the damn thing off. It wouldn’t let go. I screamed like a little girl, and no one could get me to hold still. I was cursing like a longshoreman the whole time. The little bugger was eating me like a prime rib dinner while I ran around like an idiot.

It finally flew off my arm and blood gushed from my arm. I started to go into shock. Did my boss or co-workers call 911? Of course not. It was just a little ferret attack. But possibly a wild ferret as we were right on the edge of open hills and forest.

I collapsed on the floor because I thought I was going to faint… and screamed out at everyone “Close the fucking doors! Do not let that piece of shit weasel get out or I will be forced to receive those rabies shots!”

My doctor was around the block. When he saw me, he got on the phone with my boss and SCREAMED at him not to let that fucking animal loose. I had never heard my mild-mannered doctor curse.

He bandaged my entire arm and warned me that if that ferret got loose…well, he made the motion of a needle going into my stomach…shaking his head the whole time.
I gulped the gulp of a pussy.

When I got back, Animal Control was there. A giant black man was trying to catch the elusive ferret with a pet capture noose.

He finally caught it and the little critter let out a screeching noise that made us cover our ears.

Now here is the interesting part…. The boss had this stupid, good looking blonde working for him in his blueprint store, next to the drafting company. She didn’t have a single synapse in her brain that worked. But she was a looker.

She came over to our side of the building, like everyone else, watching this man try to catch the fucking ferret.
When it started screeching, this stupid woman screamed, “You fucking N****r! Let it go. You are hurting it!! You fucking N****r!”
Everyone was in shock.

The animal control guy dropped the stick with the ferret’s head still in the noose…the ferret tried to make a get away with a 6’ stick attached to it….no go. It hid behind some curtains.
He asked, “What did you call me?”

And the stupid bitch repeated it!!!! She fucking repeated it!

Oh my God. What a racist bitch. My fate had been put, unwillingly, in her hands.

By now, I’m thinking the damn ferret is going to get away and I will have 6 weeks of shots to my belly because of a race war inside the drafting company.

I begged the man to please capture and secure the animal and don’t listen to the idiot woman. He calmed down and did just that.

I walked out alone with him and apologized profusely for the act of stupidity that just occurred. He was very magnanimous and gracious, and left.

I walked back into the drafting room, walked quickly up to the bitch and slapped her with an open hand.
I screamed at her, “Do you realize what you almost did? You fucking piece of shit, bitch, cocksucker. If he didn’t capture it, I would have to go through some very painful inoculations!”

She apologized as her hand rubbed her cheek where I smacked her. She didn’t have a green card, so I didn’t care.

My wife worked part time doing their books.
The evil bitch was from Germany and even though my wife is a German national as well, she had nothing to do with this imbecile.

Then then I waited. And waited. And waited. For 10 days I was a nervous wreck holding my breath on the determination of the animal’s possible rabies infection.

And then it came. A little post card from Animal Control saying that the animal did not have rabies. One of the longest 10 days in my life.
I still have that post card framed and hanging in our bathroom.
As a result, any time I see a ferret, I piss my pants.


2 replies

  1. So does this memory mean: you’ve (also) seen a ferret recently or encountered one?
    “ an encounter with this mammal encourages you to persevere through difficult times.
    Furthermore, to see a Ferret in your house is a message for you to get out of your comfort zone.”

  2. Ever since, I’ve raised ferrets for blood sausage that I export to Hungary.

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