Illusione Brand Adds Two New Sizes

Honduran boutique brand Illusione, recently named the No. 7 cigar in Cigar Aficionado's Top 25 Cigars of 2007, has added two sizes to its already extensive line: the mk and the Holy Lance. The mk (the lowercase is intentional) is a corona measuring 5 1/8 inches long by 42 ring, while the Holy Lance measures 7 1/2 inches by 40 ring.

Brand owner Dion Giolito originally created the mk size to be a limited-production cigar solely for promotional functions. The band, whose gold highlights differentiate it slightly from the rest of the black-and-white banded line, is a testament to this.

"At first, I didn't intend for the mk to be part of the regular brand," said Giolito. "I just wanted to pass them out at special events, but I didn't have a traditional corona size in the lineup."

So far, 150 boxes of 25 have been produced, but 300 more are scheduled for shipping by the end of the month. The mk, according to Giolito, stands for "mind kontrol," and retails for $6.10 per cigar.

The Holy Lance, which will retail for $8.50 each and come in boxes of 25, joins the growing list of lanceroshaped smokes introduced in recent years.

"It's the exact size as the [Cuban] Trinidad Fundadores," said Giolito, who created the lancero as a response to customer and retailer demand. "A lot of people were asking me to create a giant 6 by 60 and a lot of people were asking me to make a lance as well. It was one or the other, so I opted for the lancero."

Giolito will be starting with a 500-box production run and will see how well the lancero, which also sports the gold trim band, is received before increasing production. The Holy Lance's debuted on March 22 at a retail shop in San Antonio, but the official push is slated for this year's International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association trade show (formerly the RTDA).

These two additions will bring the Illusione size portfolio to 12 vitolas. Despite the different band design, the blend for the new cigars has not changed. It comprises a Nicaraguan Corojo '99 wrapper from the Jalapa valley, a Criollo '98 binder and Criollo/Corojo blend in the filler, all of which is from Nicaragua.

From the March 18 issue of Cigar Insider.