Going Green With An Illusione HL Candela & Green Chartreuse
Once the preferred smoke of Americans (so much it was even known as American Market Selection), the Candela wrapper is something we don’t see a lot of right now. You certainly can’t miss it on the shelf with its green color. Yes- it is green. Not because of dyes but because of the process the leaf goes through while being cured that maintains the chlorophyll and thus the green color.
Normally when I think of a candela I think of a mild blend being involved. The hl from Illusione is certainly not a mild blend which excited me when I saw that there was now an hl with a candela wrapper. I have been very excited to see how the candela plays into the complexity of the hl.
Because this is a green cigar, I thought I would have a little fun and make it into a pairing with one of my favorite green liqueurs: Green Chartreuse. Chartreuse is a French liqueur and is composed of distilled alcohol aged with 130 herbal extracts. It was made by the Carthusian Monks at their Grande Chartreuse monastery in the Chartreuse Mountains- where it gets its name. Green Chartreuse gets its flavor from the extracts of 132 plants which is where the chlorophyll comes in giving it a green color. It is also 110 proof- so be warned a drink can go a long way.
I noticed a beautiful silky smoothness in the smoke of the cigar right away from lighting it- not to mention an incredible aroma. I had some spice notes hit me up front, then again at the end with a softness between each note. A very lovely smoke! I can see myself enjoying this cigar on its own quite often, but this being the only one I have on hand I had to take the opportunity for a pairing. Sometimes, certain spirits make me think of certain leaves, and in this case I think they make a nice combination.
The cocktail I had this evening is the Bijou:
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain:
3/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3/4 oz Gin
3/4 oz Sweet Vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
I would recommend trying other Chartreuse drinks and having fun with your pairings. Introducing a new libation to an everyday smoke can bring a new life into your cigar and into your evening.
Thank you, Dion, for this incredible smoke! I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to taste this limited release, I hope to see this become a part of your regular line.
In case you missed it- be sure to watch my interview with Dion from IPCPR 2010: Interview With Dion Giolitto of Illusione Cigars