Illusione’s latest offering—OneOff—arrived in 2018 with a peculiar look, one that was quick to pique the interest of loyalists to the Illusione brand. This is because the cigar is not quite an Illusione original, but rather an inspiration for the brand itself.

Earlier this year, Cigar Dojo wrote concerning the OneOff concept:

OneOff was first released in 2001, made by the Plasencia family as contracted by Andrea Molinari. Being the the CEO of an Italian airline, Molinari designed the cigars with the same “peace sign” logo seen on some of his airplanes. The cigars were originally only available in markets outside of the U.S., but eventually became available in extremely small batches by 2002. With the unusual appearance, combined with a refined smoking profile that helped to support the cigar’s startlingly high price points (especially for the era), the OneOff brand was quick to become a sought-after cigar in cult circles. In fact, Giolito lists OneOff as the inspiration for Illusione and the brand’s small-batch craftsmanship for which it has become known.

After years of changing hands, Dion aimed to return the OneOff name to its former glory, moving production to the Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. factory (where the majority of Illusione’s cigars are made) and bringing back the original look and feel of the brand.

OneOff Robustos Breakdown

  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Factory: TABSA (Nicaragua)
  • Production: Small Batch / Regular
  • Vitola: 4⅞” x 50 (Robusto)
  • Price: $14.95 (MSRP)

As with the original OneOff, the modernized version has been crafted in a wider range of sizes than is customary upon a brand’s debut. Likewise, each vitola features formats geared towards the connoisseur (the largest ring gauge in the portfolio of eight sizes is 52). The line is priced higher than most Illusione brands ($11.95–$30.00), with the mysterious “+53 Super Robusto” priced well beyond the other seven vitolas.

Appearance

OneOff is packaged in simplistic, slide-lid boxes of 10 cigars, brightly displaying the “peace sign” logo in a manner that invokes “hazard symbol” warning signs. This is likely the intent, with Illusione being steeped in conspiracy culture and based not far from Nevada’s infamous Area 51. The cigar’s bands differ from Illusione’s usual thin, straight labels; instead, the band is round and features the peace design in cream with a pastel-like salmon base color.

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The cigar is rolled in a traditional robusto format, which is slightly shorter than the five-inch length commonly used toady. First examining the robusto, it has a slight fuzziness across the wrapper. There are visible, well-placed seams that lead to a loosely applied triple cap (being somewhat flat at its peak, continuing the cigar’s Cubanesque feel). A web of fine veins can be seen with a closer look, being so intricate that it could almost be compared to analogue television noise/snow (somewhat mesmerizing). Overall, OneOff seems to have a medium-firm bunch and feels fairly solid.

The cigar smells of cedar and musk on the wrapper, being more complex on the foot aroma, with notes of greenery, banana, and cedar dust. With a straight cut, the robusto shows a nearly perfect draw (slight resistance) and an enjoyable mixture of browned butter, vanilla, cedar, and white pepper.

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Smoking Experience

OneOff lights up with loads of peppery spices; there is a dry, raw peppercorn on the tongue, as well as white pepper spice through the retrohale. This is not the expected profile (in my opinion), but it’s understandable, as cigar blenders have been known to intentionally front-load a cigar’s bunch for an attention-grabbing start. The peppery profile lasts roughly five minutes before the experience tones down, showing the expected graham cracker-like characteristics of Aganorsa tobacco. With a bright sensation of the smoke rolling over the tongue, OneOff begins delivering toasted bread qualities and nougat sweetness on each finish.

Illusione OneOff Robustos cigar smoking

Being primarily balanced, the smoke seems to hit the palate on the front sides (salt), back sides (mouthwatering acidity), and back center (bitter) receptors. As mentioned, the draw is virtually perfect, pulling in a medium amount of smoke on each puff. The burn is slightly wavy but steady, and the overall profile can be summed up as medium on all fronts.

The profile is slightly darker than the average Aganorsa puro; flavors are of salted butter, toasted bread, and a lingering peppercorn on the tongue. As the cigar progresses, the strength increases slightly, becoming a bit stronger than anticipated, topping off at medium-plus. The cigar’s driving force is the toasted bread factor, with most of its complexities being revealed on a sweeter finish—a rotating door of custard, cream cheese, nougat, and vanilla. There are flashes of freshly roasted coffee, buttered nuts, and light oak, but the majority of the experience relies on balance—never taking serious risks but delivering a familiar, dependable profile throughout.

Illusione OneOff Robustos review

Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?

I sure would. Yes, it’s expensive, but the virtually perfect draw and construction, joined by the cigar’s balanced and relaxing profile, could easily find its way into my monthly rotation.

Additional Info
  • Illusione OneOff was ranked as Cigar Dojo’s No. 10 Cigar of the Year 2018.
  • OneOff has a wide selection of sizes with plenty of room for exploration. Some of the most appealing (in my opinion) being the Corona (5½” x 42), Corona Gorda (5⅜” x 46), +53 Super Robusto (5¾” x 48), and Cartuchos (3⅞” x 52).

Profile
  • Flavor: Medium
  • Strength: Medium
  • Body: Medium
Core Flavors
  • Toasted bread
  • Peppercorn
  • Browned butter
  • Nougat
Tips
  • Smoke Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
  • Pairing Recommendation: Medium-roast pour-over coffee | Chocolate chip cookies | Topo Chico mineral water
  • Purchase Recommendation: 3-pack

Illusione OneOff Robustos cigar nub finished

Illusione OneOff Robustos
Being one of the first cult-style cigar blends in a time where boutique offerings didn't carry the level of respect that we see today, OneOff seems to be the perfect match to Illusione's "Not Industry Standard" approach. While the experience is without plot twists and (unfortunately) any sign of a signature "it factor" element, OneOff manages to balance zesty pepper and salted browned butter magnificently. This makes for an enjoyable experience that teeters the edge between refinement and stalwart balance.
Appearance90%
Burn/Construction93%
Draw95%
Flavor91%
Complexity86%
Price/Value85%
Pros
  • Great balance
  • Nearly perfect draw
  • Dependable construction
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Lack of "it factor"
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