Cigar of the Moment: Illusione MKUltra Petit Corona

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.” -Dion Giolito, Illusione Cigars Founder



Sometimes a boutique cigar hits all the right notes in such a fashion that it is difficult to decide whether you should call someone up on the phone just to tell them how damn good it is. All the way up until you recall that the lines are likely tapped and that preaching about anything other than mainstream cigar legacy brands is frowned upon by various tobacco overlords.

Occasionally there is a stogie so riddled with riddles that one must stop to examine whether they are indeed experiencing a sensational cigar smoking experience, or if the tropical foliage they are combusting is tasting them in return.

These and many other esoteric alternative forms of deep contemplation are there for the taking when you torch the foot of an MKUltra by Illusione. And that’s without a field-medicated dosage of psilocybin and seventeen bottles of tequila. 

Unlit Impressions


As with all Illusione’s cigars, the band of the MKUltra is but a fleeting forethought of marketing medley. A bare-bones, black-and-white band with the word “ultra” in all lowercase sprawled between its paper borders.

Standing at just 5.125-inches long, and looking quite dashing in its riotous red cigar wrapper overcoat, the Corona size of the MKUltra comes in at a travel-sized 42 in the ring gauge department.  

It’s a nice size for the stout little smoke, and it looks right at home in hand. A jaunty little 45-60 minute foray into the fermented unknown, with Colorado wrapper that leans more toward maduro territory than claro. Sweet and unapologetically spicy across the nose when unlit, the MKUltra provides even sweeter pre-lit dry pulls, with a pleasant leather and pepper punch following shortly behind. 

Initial Smoke

Torched and glowing with the fire of a thousand bloodthirsty marauders, Illusione’s MKUltra slams you straight into second gear straight off the line. Forget easing into first and feeling out the bite point. Setting the damn thing on fire is considered first gear around here, so buckle up and hold on.

Following that first initial pull of pure, nicotine-rich delight, comes waves of spices from the Orient, and a boozy eggnog note. The latter of which reminds you of that one aloof uncle who chews his cigars instead of smoking them and prefers to wear neckties with pictures of pinup models crocheted across their insides. 

There’s definitely a set strength to come to terms with this stout little bastard too. He’s all vinegar and won’t want to give up his front-row seat at the olfactory factory tour this weekend, even though your name is clearly stamped across that particular chair. Best to just let Old Man Nicotine settle in and prepare for what’s about to happen next.  

The Second Half

Summing up the cigar flavor profile found within the tightly bound long-filler rolls of Nicaraguan tobacco tucked inside an MKUltra is like trying to describe an entire meta-universe in one sitting. You’re just going to have to wing it and trust what your taste buds and tongue-tied nostrils detect.

Sinking ever deeper into the tobacco abyss, the mountainous regions of Esteli, Nicaragua race up to meet you. Awash in waves of dark bitter chocolate and decadent fig flavors, your palate and brain simultaneously begin to contemplate whether smoking is indeed bad, or if it’s all just a money-making scheme dreamed up by the health care demigods.

Whatever the reason, all of that sweet, spicy, intense cocoa, and cloying nicotine make for a definitive reason to keep puffing. Screw it. We’ll worry about the consequences of our actions tomorrow…

Tobacco Nerd Note: Produced in Nicaragua in the Estelí TABSA factory, many of the cigars bearing an Illusione band sport either a darker Colorado Claro-style cigar wrapper or hop right into Maduro territory. Owned by tobacco grower Eduardo Fernandez of Aganorsa, the partnership between the TABSA operation and Giolito has allowed a number of sensational premium cigar blends to emerge over the years.

Parting Puffs


Following its debut in 2006, Illusione Cigars has made a name for itself as one of the more prominent (and bizarre) boutique cigar brands on the planet. Founded by cigar retailer and conspiracy theorist, Dion Giolito, Illusione premium cigar blends are full-flavored, and in most cases, quite potent. 

Over the years, Giolito has curated one premium cigar blend after another out of Nicaraguan and Honduran tobacco, with the MKUltra standing as an outstanding, ultra-oily example. 

Although Illusione’s MKUltra Petit Corona may be slight in stature, it houses much more than meets the eye. Despite its smaller size, the slow burn rate and fairly snug construction cause this slender cigar type from Illusione to burn surprisingly slow, if but a tad hot at times. 

Still, that does not detract from the fact that this is one of the better cigar flavor profile options out there if slender and spicy are your cup of kombucha. Definitely, one of the more complex medium-full strength premium cigar blend options you will encounter within the Klaro Cigars portfolio.

Stogie Specs

Shape: Petit Corona

Wrapper: Nicaragua

Wrapper Shade: Corojo

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua

Origin: Nicaragua

Strength: Medium-Full

Length: 5.125-inches

Ring Gauge: 42

Smoke Time: 60-minutes

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