BRAND : Illusione
SERIES : MK Ultra
SIZE : 5 1/8″ x 42 Corona
ORIGIN : Wrapper – Nicaraguan Corojo
Binder – Nicaraguan
Filler – Nicaraguan
For anyone who knows me, and for those of you who don’t, I must start this review with a disclaimer that I am always drawn towards a good ole’ story. Make it a story about U.S. Government mind control experiments in the 60s’ to create a super soldier in which they called “Project MK Ultra” and I’m hooked.
Not much imagination is needed to draw the comparison between the two names, although Government officials will “deny knowledge and make counter accusations”.
CONSTRUCTION: On close examination this Corona size cigar was built impeccably well. The wrapper was tight and of a uniformed dark colour & texture. There were absolutely no soft spots detected and the triple cap was even and uniform. I found the cigar had a solid feel to it and I was surprised by the actual weight, expecting a far lighter cigar.
I chose to use my punch to open the cigar and examined the pre light draw which I found to be a perfect medium. Pre light flavours took on that of cocoa powder and a quick smell of the unlit foot confirmed the unsweetened cocoa powder aroma.
FIRST THIRD: After lighting up this cigar I have to admit that I was in for an experience. It took no time getting down to business with a strong peppery, spicy profile. This lasted for a short while when the distinct notes of black licorice and ouzo candy interplayed off of one another to round out what I describe as one of the strongest, full bodied cigars I have had this year.
SECOND THIRD: Entering into the second third I realized the ash was of a poor quality. It was very flaky and dark gray to black in colour. I had a hard time with it so I kept the ash knocked off on a regular basis. I had the entire afternoon off so as a result I took my time while smoking and actually had to relight my MK Ultra about 4 or 5 times ( It also seemed to go out unnaturally easy ). When the stick was burning it crept along, burning nice and straight. Don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining of the fact I had to relight a few times to keep the ash off of it, I’m simply saying this is a long burning cigar that will require a good one hour thirty minutes to enjoy it as it should be. Again, I’m really stressing to you DON”T RUSH THIS CIGAR or the pure strength of it will likely land you on your ass if you try to get up too quick. Which leads me into my next point: The MK Ultra is ULTRA-BALANCED. For a cigar of this caliber I found it incredibly easy to smoke despite the obvious strength, however I would not recommend it to a beginner or recreational cigar smoker. Well into the second third, I also found the cigar to be introducing some of the dry cocoa powder flavour into the mix.
FINAL THIRD: Into the final third was where the MK Ultra mixed it up. All of a sudden I began getting an unsweetened molasses undertone off of the cigar. This intermixed nicely with a meaty, smooth, coffee and cocoa mix that had a long finish to it. The last bit of this cigar was a real treat to have such a dynamic flavour shift, introducing so much to the palate.
OVERALL: This cigar is an absolute monster in a sheep’s clothing. I didn’t find it was overpowering for myself but I did realize it was uniquely full bodied, flavorful and reminded me very much of my oh-so-loved Liga Privada #9 blend from Drew Estate. The great construction, perfect draw and balance also added to the good experience.
Would I recommend this cigar ? Yes, but only to my friends who know their way around a serious cigar. I would not consider giving one to a buddy who may only smoke one or two a year as it may turn them off of cigars.
Would I smoke another? Yes absolutely, when I have an afternoon to dedicate or out in a boat fishing or camping, but not everyday.