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New Member
Mar 3, 2006
The concept behind illusione cigars is relative to Faith in God and our constant struggle between good and evil.

My life was forever changed when I decided after of two years of college in Oklahoma to come back to Reno in 1988 to be closer to home (Las Vegas) to finish school. I was a theory and composition major back in OK – I wanted to be a film score composer. UNR didn’t have that degree, instead they gave me the same scholarship provided I enroll in the College of Education. Sure, fine I thought. It was shortly after working various part-time jobs that my friend Ansar hooked me up with a gig at the Tinder Box. It allowed me flexible hours for school and allowed me to tour with the band I was in the summertime - I always had a position to come back to no matter what.
I started student-teaching and, hated it. I dropped out of school with around 17 credits left to go. Soon after that, The Tinder Box became a full-time gig. I floundered there for years, tried moving back to Vegas – just didn’t work out so, back to Reno, I came to my old job. In 2004 after almost 12 years of working at the Box, I decided to go out on my own. I got a SBA loan, did it on a shoe-string budget and opened my own store. It was the following year that I decided to bring in a cigar that Pete Johnson had bought from Tabacalera Tropical to liquidate and make a couple of bucks on. I bought practically everything he had. When supplies dwindled, I asked him if he could get me more. 50 boxes were the minimum purchase. “F* me!” I thought.” Oh well, I’ll do it.” I had the cliché on the box changed to 88 – the year I decided to come to Reno. I was a BIG fan at the time of the AVO ~22~ packaging. I designed my private label 88 to resemble that type of cliché, even though my packaging was different.
After about 6 months or so of positive comments about this cigar from local customers, I decided to drive to LA and meet Pete to extend the line and possibly convert it into a national brand. Pete and I had a lot in common. We both got into the cigar business about the same time, we both played in Rock bands (mine was more Punk-Rock) – we even found out that we used the same entertainment lawyer! Pete decided to just introduce me to Paul Palmer while we were on a trip to Miami – the creator of these great cigars. I loved those trips – hanging with Pete, Pepin, Janny and Jaime, Smoking Miami Tatuajes and drinking Zacapa in Pepin’s back yard – good times.

The Clichés
At first when coming up with names for my cigars, I wanted to steer as far away as possible from the normal clichés, “Robusto” “Corona,” etc. Since opening my own shop, I didn’t have much time to devote to playing music anymore and really just faded out of it when more responsibility came from running a business. I focused all of that energy and attention to my line of cigars “illusione.” Growing up in a Gaming state my entire life, I’ve always been surrounded by numbers – the Craps table, Roulette, Keno. I began to see particular numbers that would show up every time I played a Keno 6-spot like 9 and 23. For Craps it was the number 4. One night at the Silver Legacy Casino in downtown Reno, I rolled Hard-4 four times in a row! Yes, I had the bet down on hard four, didn’t press it though! Freakin’ Crazy. The Croupier told me “you got the Call!..” meaning, the call from the man “upstairs”. It stuck with me. Below are the clichés that “shroud” the illusione brand.

~68~ - Bombone.
This was the year I was born hence, the smallest cigar in my line. It was also an homage to Paul Garmirian – BIG influence in my career as a Tobacconist along with Zino Davidoff. 68 is also a “happy” number.

~88~ - Robust.
No secret here. It harkens back to 1988 when I made that fateful decision to leave Oklahoma to come to Reno for College. “Robust” was just something different than Robusto. It speaks more for the body of the cigar than the nature of its size.

~F9~ - Finesse
F stands for “finesse” which I wanted this cigar’s taste profile to be. I told Romai and Arsenio at the Factory that if
can perfect the blend for this vitola, it will rule the world. They laughed. 9 also stands for the 9th planet Pluto, well not really a planet since it was demoted to orbiting rock a few years ago by some brainiac in the Astronomy field. What does he know!?

~4/2g~ - Church
This was the cigar that got me thinking about brand identity and packaging. “4” stood for 2004, the year I opened my own store, “2g” referred to the style of cigar I wanted it to be. I always liked how RAG’s had “2 gears” in the smoking journey, mild/medium in the first 2/3’s of the cigar then – BAM rich, full and spicy in the last 1/3. Even though it isn’t a Churchill per-se, more a double corona, I decided to put “Church” on the side of the box. It mostly reminded that I am a bad Catholic and that I need to get my ass to Church more often.

~888~ - Necessary and Sufficient
Here’s where I delve into my faith a bit more. The name Jesus (IhsouV) adds up to 888 The name Jesus (IhsouV) adds up to 888 in Hebrew numerology called Gematria. Each letter is assigned the corresponding number. “Necessary and Sufficient” both describes the balance and profile of this cigar. It also represents to not go wanting, He is all I need, He is necessary and sufficient.

~M7~ - Magdala.
Woman from Magdal. This may appeal to you Holy Blood, Holy Grail/Davinci Code Types out there. The M7 is a Salomone – shapely and perfect – woman. She is also Pregnant.

Cg:4 – The White Horse
I wanted to associate it with the wine country – French wine country. I called Pete when he just happened to be in Miami celebrating Pepins’ birthday. He handed me off to Pepin and I wished him happy birthday. When Pete got back on the phone, I asked him what the cliché should be on the side of my box. I told him it was Cg:4 Corona Gorda….. He said Cheval Blanc “The white Horse” PERFECT I thought – Corona Gorda, the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse, The White horse which is the Conquer, the false prophet – Revelation 6:2.

~2~ - And Crowned of Thorns.
No explanation here is really needed. 2 is the son of God doing battle against evil, the enlightened one, the soul-saver, all forgiving.

~1~ - The Dark Prince
Again, no explanation needed. Administered Original sin. Also took lead from The Cuban “Black Prince” Punch as well.

~2/3~ - Tre in Uno
My Culebra. Here’s the goof. Originally the cliché was to be 3/1. After a long night in front of the computer hacking out the box design, I put 2/3 instead. It kinda worked out okay with me because 23 is always a number I bet on along with 9. 23 is the The "23 Enigma," the Discordian belief that all events are connected to the number 23.

~MK ~ - The Teaching Machine
As with my 88, I sampled a few to you in the forums for review when I was re-working on the blend in ’06. I did the same with the mk. There were two versions, the ~MK~ and the MKULTRA. MKULTRA was much stronger than I wanted it to be. I called Paul Palmer which in turn relayed my information to the factory to correct the issue. They have a gold band along with the ~hl~ because they’re more of an artisan blend better represented in those particular sizes. They’re 20% different than regular illusione black and white bands. As some of you know, I let out my stock of MKULTRAS because I just wasn’t pleased with the blend. You guys ate them up! Thanks. Project MKULTRA was a government experiment in creating “zombie soldiers” if you will, through experimentation with LSD and subconscious suggestion when under the influence. MKULTRA was also referred to as the “teaching machine.” The classic corona size is the teaching machine vitola. It is the perfect vehicle for delivery of flavor, if the blend is right.

~hl~ - The Holy Lance
My Lancero , the lance. Get it? Constantine was the first Christian Emperor to lead Rome. It was fabled that he had possession of the very spear that punctured the side of Jesus while on the cross. He was said to carry this relic into battle and, it was said that it helped him win his many battles. It is an artisan blend and, the mildest of all my cigars.

Well, there you have it Mulder. The real scoop from Me. illusione has been an experiment in Conspiracy from the very beginning. I’ve always found truth in that old saying, How does it go? “People fear what they don’t understand.” Conspiracy soon follows and Conspiracy certainly has worked its way into illusione. Thanks for all of your support and kind words over the years.

Dion Giolito - Brand owner/ Creator

illusione cigars
Great read, thanks for putting all of that out there Dion. Sucks that it even got to that point but you carried youself well. Keep on making some great smokes and I hope you can stay away from more of this BS.
While I have never smoked an Illusion cigars I think it is awesome what you are doing putting a bit of yourself into your cigars your fait your life your love. I can tell you have a passion for your product and for that I know you will be blessed. Rp
Thanks for the read Dion. I have been a supporter of yours for awhile now, and I will continue. Some of your logic is too hard for me to follow, but damn you have a badass looking brand!! (the taste outweighs the packaging tho :laugh: so sorry ;))

Edit to add: Dion, have you decided if you are going to pull the 1? and if so, when!? I need to get my hands on some.
Thanks for the explanation. It pays to be a straight shooter. Times change, new influences, all of it adds to the mystique of this passion we all enjoy! ;)
edited to add - You have one helluva good cigar there. :D

of course you're gonna have to explain to Pete's buddy about wearing tin hats.....


just bustin' your baseballs buddy! :p ;)
Really good read Dion. I torched a Padron (sorry, smoked all my Illusione's already!), sat back and enjoyed what you wrote. It's evident that you've put a lot of thought, a lot of yourself, into your brand. And it shows because your cigars are fantastic. For those who haven't tried Illusione yet I highly recommend it, there is no other cigar quite like it, very unique.

This stuff reminds me of the b.s. that the fanaticals used to say about bands like Led Zeppelin (my favorite band of all time), and the "hidden" meanings in their "demonic" songs. It's all total B.S.! They spent so much time trying to play songs backwards and digging up Bible verses to construe these weird meanings from the lyrics when the lyrics themselves CLEARLY were nothing but positive and personal in most instances. The real meanings were right in front of their eyes and they chose to be skeptical.

Anyway, this reminds me of that. This guy came up with Hitler references, Nazi references... what is that about? It's a shame that it even got to the point where you feel the need to defend yourself, but I'm glad you posted this because it's very interesting to me to find out where the creators of these cigars get their ideas.

Keep on doing what you're doing, Illusiones are great smokes. Reading all this crap makes me want to order a box of Cg:4's!
One word: WOW!

What an informative piece of information and history behind your line Dion! I love your cigars, and will continue to support you. I liked the concept behind the cg:4, by far my favorite Illusione and one I am having a hard time aging!! :D

Keep up the good work, and I will continue to religiously buy your cigars!
I think that it's sad that people like Gary Artz live their life like Joesph MacCarthy and have to force their mental illness on good people to the point that they need to explain what they do and why.

Gary is a turd, and for some reason he's set his attention on Dion Giolito. I feel a lot of empathy for Dion's situation. People here at CP has busted his balls for quite sometime and play right into the same role that Gary Artz has. What is ironic is the same people that were busting his balls about tin hats are the same people saying "Sorry that happened bro", but it's you guys that are in the same boat throwing stones at Dion along with the E-tarded Gary Artz.
Thanks for the facts and for sharing Dion. Keep making great cigars like you have been so I can smoke them all! I'm seriously a little dissapointed each time an Illusione cigar comes to it's end as a nub and that doesn't happen with many smokes.

Thanks for taking the time to share a bit of your companies history with us, as well as sharing a bit of yourself. I have enjoyed your cigars from the first #2 and M7 I got my hands on, and will continue to always have a fair share of Illusione cigars on hand (as a matter of fact I have been pushing my local B&M to carry your line.)

Keep doing what you are doing Dion, and enjoy the life you have made for yourself.

Thanks for a good read about the history, and the inspiration, behind a great cigar.
I wish you continued success with this and following endeavors.

Thank you for sharing your story and for clearing the air. I truly appreciate your confidence in CP as a place where you can set the record straight. Wonderful and meaningful symbolism!


Too bad every business owner doesn't put that much thought and sole in to their marketing.
Way to clear things up Dion. Keep making those tasty cigars.
~F9~ - Finesse
F stands for “finesse” which I wanted this cigar’s taste profile to be. I told Romai and Arsenio at the Factory that if we can perfect the blend for this vitola, it will rule the world. They laughed. 9 also stands for the 9th planet Pluto, well not really a planet since it was demoted to orbiting rock a few years ago by some brainiac in the Astronomy field. What does he know!?

Aww Man, did any of you catch that, Pluto is no longer a planet, When did this happen??? :laugh:

But on a more serious note, Wow everyone here basically covered my feeling towards the explanation. I can only hope this becomes more clearer in the future for those who still believe in that one journalist (note I already forgot his name, funny how easily we can forget a Journalist name but remember those who are affected by what a journalist writes). That guy goes to show how people can become so jealous over another mans hard work and success. One thing we know for sure though there is only one Dion Giolito, his success is a direct correlation to the hard work and drive in a man with a mission. Well done... Now I got to pick up some Illusione :thumbs:

Thanks for posting this Dion. After reading some of the background that prompted this, I appreciate you clearing the air. Keep making top notch cigars and good luck to you in the future.
Dion, thanks for taking the time out to reply.
It was very cool of you to let us all in on some of your thoughts behind the creation of your brand. I really love your smokes and look forward to trying your new blends/brands as they come out.
Out of curiosity, isn't the 888 and Jesus connection because he is the 888th person removed from David? Or something like that? I seem to recall reading that somewhere but it has been awhile. Sorry for the threadjack. :blush:
Awesome piece of work Dion...

My fave of your is easily the ~68~ with the ~cg:4~ very close. I have two ~eccj~ standing by patiently awaiting their demise so I'll get to you on those. Keep making good cigars and the people will follow....
Thanks for the explanation of your cigar line. Hopefully it will put to rest all the BS out there.

Congratulations on producing some very good cigars and continued good luck with your business!