My first assignment here at Cigar Brief is to review the Illusione MK Ultra. That name started a bell clanging in my skull so I typed MKULTRA into my handy dandy search engine and was instantly rewarded. Ah yes, now I remember! MKULTRA was a covert, illegal project of the CIA from the early 1950’s until the late 1960’s which involved the use of sexual and verbal abuse, sensory deprivation, various forms of torture, hypnosis, and isolation, as well as the surreptitious use of drugs and chemicals to alter brain function and manipulate mental states. My only question is, “Where do I sign up?!”
I have long been a fan of Dion Giolito’s blending so I was anxious to fire this bad boy up! I smoked one of these at the 2011 IPCPR trade show and enjoyed it but didn’t have the opportunity to analyze it until this weekend. Throw in the possibility of psychotropic drugs and torture, I’m all in!
This is an attractive corona with a Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper, slightly veiny, ever so slightly toothy with a rich, dark chestnut hue and an appealing, supple, leathery, matte feel. The triple-cap was a little rough yet held up well to the guillotine. The cigar showed great symmetry and evenness of color and felt firm and well rolled. The pre-light draw was a little freer than I prefer but not troublesome and spoke of leather and mushrooms.
The nose of the foot had some sweet, dark chocolate, a bit of barnyard and dried dark cherry while the wrapper had solid notes of dark tobacco, leather and rose petal. Would that my feet smelled this good.
Toasting the foot filled the room with a bouquet of floral aromas, cedar and classic Nicaraguan tobacco. Upon first light there was a dry woodiness of weathered cedar, a light spice of cayenne pepper, fennel and old leather and the body was a solid medium . During the first third, the draw closed a little (an improvement) and the cayenne yielded to more wood, dark tobacco and fennel. The ash was dark grey and blossomed quite a bit but did not drop off and at this point, the cigar showed a reluctance to burn.
To start the second third, a relight and touch-up were required, not from lack of attention. The leather and wood flavors continued to build while the cayenne all but disappeared and the fennel gave way to dry licorice and not surprisingly, more dark tobacco (love that Corojo). The body increased to medium-full the same way many young women do after their first year in college (Wow! That came out of left field!).
The last third was expectedly heavier in dark tobacco, leather and wood with the spice reasserting itself and the mushroom creeping it’s way in and remaining to the end. Some might say it was full bodied at this point but by no means over the top.
My overall impression of the Illusione MK Ultra was quite good. The finish was not particularly long, but pleasant and satisfying. My mouth was left clean with no heavy aftertaste. After the relight, the cigar burned like a champ through the end. The ash did continue to blossom, but wasn’t messy and had to be knocked off. The smoke started off cool and did get progressively warmer, but never hot.