Indulging into an illusive game of smoke and mirrors: A very special interview with Dion Giolito

Απάντηση
Άβαταρ μέλους
Τάκης
Moderator
Δημοσιεύσεις: 2758
Εγγραφή: Σάβ Φεβ 03, 2018 10:43 am

Indulging into an illusive game of smoke and mirrors: A very special interview with Dion Giolito

Δημοσίευση από Τάκης » Δευ Μάιος 06, 2019 7:25 am

Εικόνα

Dear friends,

Following our exclusive interview with Robert Caldwell, cigarsforum.gr is once again very happy to present with its second interview of international reach, this time with a very well-known cigar producer, the founder and owner of Illusione, Mr Dion Giolito.

A truly remarkable person with a successful path in the cigar business, who apart from creating exceptional cigars, the combination of his personality together with the names he chooses to appoint to his creations and the semantics behind them, give birth to a haze full of mystic and intrigue.

What you are about to read up next is an interesting “conversation” rather than an interview, where the Rockabilly and Punk philosopher Dion, is talking with his unique way about everything:

His past and present in the cigar planet, life, art, his daily routine, music, books, his source of inspiration, other master blenders, his beloved Cuban brand and … Ouzo as an alternative pairing.

Dear Mr Giolito, dear friend Dion, thank you so very much for granting us with this honour.

Εικόνα

1. CF: Could you please tell us about your first steps in the cigar planet?

DG: I was very young. Too young to mention. Let’s just say I enjoyed my first cigar cack when things were less restrictive. From there, I enjoyed cigars all through College.

2. CF: When and how did the Illusione project start?

DG: Illusione conceptually started in 2004 and was brought to the market in 2006. As a Retailer, I’d been doing business with a company called Tabacalera Tropical when it was owned by Pedro Martin. Pete Johnson of Tatuaje introduced me to the new owner when Don Martin sold to a man by the name of Eduardo Fernandez a couple of years prior. We struck up a relationship from there. Eduardo had very interesting and unique tobaccos that, in my opinion were underappreciated in the market place. I told him that if we put the tobaccos together in a specific way, that there would be an opportunity for success in the US market. We all sat down together, me, Eduardo and his employees Paul, Arsenio and Jacinto, and started smoking our way through all of his different tobacco types and farms. From there, I found specific tobaccos that I started to gravitate towards, and from those tobaccos came illusione original documents ‘corojo.’ It was very well received in the US market, culminating with a #7 placement in Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 cigars of the year in 2006. The great thing is that we all had an open mind from the outset, and now have a symbiotic relationship at the Factory.

Εικόνα

3. CF: You are considered as a true pioneer amongst all boutique brands in the cigar industry, with several people following in your footsteps. If you could recall into your past, what would you characterise as being key for recognition and success?

DG: I grew up in the Punk Rock scene in Las Vegas. I guess the biggest thing I took away from my early years was just not to give a shit about certain things. Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers said that the definition of Punk Rock is stepping on an old woman’s foot and not saying you are sorry. I’ve always liked that quote. Being true to myself and avoiding all the external noise is, I guess, what I feel is my strength is. Not really being a part of the pack. Being aware of my surroundings, but ultimately, listening to my gut instinct. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes, I fail, but at least I don’t have to blame it on anyone else but myself. That’s the way it should be really. A life without excuses and finger pointing. It’s much easier that way. I’m also thankful that I had many supportive people and family around me to put up with my bullshit.

4. CF: What is your current annual cigar production?

DG: We don’t give out those numbers.

5. CF: To date, we have seen that the cigars of your brand have limited availability through Europe. Are there any plans for the Illusione brand to penetrate the European market?

DG: Yes, definitely. We are rapidly expanding in all markets outside of the US. In addition to our in-house serviced international accounts, we’ve gone into a distribution agreement with Oettinger-Davidoff to service the EU. Eventually they will service all of South America and the Pacific Rim, but we are going slow and being methodical about it. No need to rush because we want to do it right, and Oettinger Davidoff will facilitate this growth.

Εικόνα

6. CF: We see you as a cigar manufacturer with a quite unique approach into the whole advent of cigar making. This is evident via your choices with regard to the names of the cigars, their boxes, your very own aesthetics and philosophy, thus having a great impact on the lend of the tobacco. We would really like to know, where do you harness this inspiration from and what drives/motivates you.

DG: The tobacco is my single motivation for inspiration and drive. I rarely, if at all come up with a brand name, concept etc., before putting my hands the on tobacco. For me, the tobacco lends to that process. I’m constantly smoking and validating individual components and putting tobaccos together. Tobacco has a language, and once you learn that language, it speaks to you, and this is where I derive my inspiration for market brands. You must listen to the tobacco. It will let you know where to go.

7. CF: Would you mind sharing with us, how is a typical day for you? What are the things you normally do?

DG: Well, at the factory, the morning starts around 7am. I have a quick Cafecito in the office, then on to the Galera floor to review product that’s coming off the tables. The morning is a critical time, because this is where you can catch mistakes either in construction or materials. It’s here where we can revise a bunching technique, switch out material if need be, and make sure that every cigar that comes of the table from then on is consistent and tastes the way it should. I’ll break for lunch around noon, then come back to the factory for more off-the-table review. It’s at this point when I either start working on new projects, or head over to the Pre-industrial facility where the tobacco is held and review raw materials for future production. After that, I’ll usually head back to the factory for a final review of production for the day, and if there are no issues, it’s off to dinner for a bite, then back to the hotel to review and answer emails of the day, then in bed to start all over again. When I’m home, I split my time between the Retail Shop, and the Warehouse. When I’m done, my free time usually involves Golf, and spending time with my Wife.

Εικόνα

8. CF: If you could pick three cigars from your brand that are special to you, which would these three be? And why?

DG: That’s extremely hard. They’re all my children, so picking a favourite is hard. I also bounce around from brand to brand, liga to liga, just to make sure that they are all performing well, and they are hitting specific points I look for in the aging process. Size-wise, I gravitate to a traditional corona, or a 6 ¾ x 48 Churchill size. To me, these are the perfect sizes.

9. CF: What would you reckon is different between the early years and today’s Dion Giolito?

DG: Of course, I’m a little older, and hopefully a little more patient. In this business, if you rush, you fail. I purposely make myself slow down to gather every bit of information presented through the process top to bottom. Once I gather all the necessary information, the solutions usually present themselves, should there be any issues, and there’s always issues with hand made products dictated by mother nature.

Εικόνα

10. CF: Could you share with us, if there are any other non-cuban brands that you like to smoke? Who you think is/are the most “inspired” tobacco blenders in the cigar industry today outside of Cuba?

DG: I really look up to Ernesto Perez Carrillo. Every time I have the chance to get together with him, we always talk tobacco. He’s a Savant of tobacco in our industry, and I have tremendous respect for him. Henrik Kellner is another I look up to, although I’ve never gotten to sit down with him intimately and talk tobacco. I hope to do so one day. Outside of the blending process, I love spending time with Jonathan Drew. He was visionary in creating a market where there was none with his infused cigars. It’s not the type of cigar that I personally gravitate to, but Jonathans tireless energy and creativity has been an inspiration for me for years. He’s a very good friend.

11. CF: What type of music you like listening to and what kind of books you prefer to read in your spare -if any- time?

DG: I used to be a voracious reader earlier in my life and now, not so much. I enjoyed books by Raymond Carver, Charles Bukowski, post Beat generation writers. I mostly listen to music. I have to have music going every waking moment. I’m a huge Classical fan. I went to school to for Theory and Composition. I wanted to write film scores, but that was a previous life. Of course Punk Rock, Old Ska and Jazz are packed in my iPod.

Εικόνα

12. CF: What is that you usually pair your cigar with? Any special or favourite drink maybe?

DG: I like Scotch, particularly from the Isle of Islay in Scotland. Some drinks you have to avoid though, like anything heavy with citrus juices. Citrus really conflicts with cigars on the palate. I also like coffee and tea with cigars. Absinthe and Ouzo is very good with cigars because the black licorice and fennel characteristics really pair well. You can pull those same notes out of higher priming tobaccos that we use.

13. CF: We assume that you also like Cuban cigars, therefore could you share with us which are your favourite brands/vitolas that you really enjoy smoking?

DG: I used to experiment a lot with Cuban cigars early on. Not so much anymore. Late 80’s to mid-90’s Punch cigars tended to be my favorite form that era. I was also a big fan of Vegas Robaina before the old man passed away.

Εικόνα

14. CF: What would be your plans and your dreams for the future?

DG: To travel a bit more for fun, and not work. Also, to play more golf.

15. CF: We would love to see your cigars been distributed and sold in our country. Are there any plans to do so? Any piece of information on the matter you could kindly share with us?

DG: With the partnership with illusione and Oettinger-Davidoff, we do plan on being in your country. Please be patient though, we will get there!

Εικόνα
These users thanked the author Τάκης for the post (total 6):
TournesolalexandrosΣτάθηςsigarassuleygiannisAssos
papa was a rolling stone
Άβαταρ μέλους
Petran
Moderator
Δημοσιεύσεις: 502
Εγγραφή: Πέμ Φεβ 08, 2018 3:28 pm

Re: Indulging into an illusive game of smoke and mirrors: A very special interview with Dion Giolito

Δημοσίευση από Petran » Δευ Μάιος 06, 2019 9:01 am

Mr Giolito, thank you for this amazing interview!!!

It is a great honour for us 8-)
ψάχνω να βρω την υπογραφή μου...
Άβαταρ μέλους
Τάκης
Moderator
Δημοσιεύσεις: 2758
Εγγραφή: Σάβ Φεβ 03, 2018 10:43 am

Re: Indulging into an illusive game of smoke and mirrors: A very special interview with Dion Giolito

Δημοσίευση από Τάκης » Δευ Μάιος 06, 2019 10:46 am

very special thanks to our very special guest for his extremely interesting interview, "deep in flavour, deep in our mind"

Εικόνα
papa was a rolling stone
Άβαταρ μέλους
Assos
Δημοσιεύσεις: 389
Εγγραφή: Πέμ Μάιος 31, 2018 1:38 pm

Re: Indulging into an illusive game of smoke and mirrors: A very special interview with Dion Giolito

Δημοσίευση από Assos » Δευ Μάιος 06, 2019 11:17 am

Thank you very much Mr. Giolito!!
Once again special thanks to my fellow’s on cigarsforum!
Excellent work! Keep going my friends
You Miss 100% Of The Shots You Don't Take.
You Need To Start Shooting At Your Goals
Άβαταρ μέλους
Svensk
Founding Fathers
Δημοσιεύσεις: 386
Εγγραφή: Κυρ Φεβ 11, 2018 11:35 pm

Re: Indulging into an illusive game of smoke and mirrors: A very special interview with Dion Giolito

Δημοσίευση από Svensk » Δευ Μάιος 06, 2019 2:53 pm

Mr Giolito, thanks for this great interview.
And many thanks to my friends in cigarsforum who made the effort.
Το πούρο είναι η θεραπεία μου
Άβαταρ μέλους
Tournesol
Δημοσιεύσεις: 269
Εγγραφή: Πέμ Μάιος 31, 2018 9:14 am

Re: Indulging into an illusive game of smoke and mirrors: A very special interview with Dion Giolito

Δημοσίευση από Tournesol » Δευ Μάιος 06, 2019 2:57 pm

Thanks for that cracking interview Dion! Cheers ;)
Unyielding force of thought and spirit, shine!

Επιχείρησις: Ο Ταχυδρόμος θα χτυπήσει... 2 φορές!
Άβαταρ μέλους
sigaras
Δημοσιεύσεις: 134
Εγγραφή: Δευ Νοέμ 26, 2018 9:30 am

Re: Indulging into an illusive game of smoke and mirrors: A very special interview with Dion Giolito

Δημοσίευση από sigaras » Δευ Μάιος 06, 2019 5:04 pm

That was an excellent interview!!! Thanks a a lot!
Looking forward tasting your cigars!!!!
" κι έγιναν τα πάθη μας καπνός..."
Άβαταρ μέλους
Fairlight
Moderator
Δημοσιεύσεις: 537
Εγγραφή: Τρί Φεβ 06, 2018 2:08 pm

Re: Indulging into an illusive game of smoke and mirrors: A very special interview with Dion Giolito

Δημοσίευση από Fairlight » Δευ Μάιος 06, 2019 9:53 pm

This is an interview of real substance and it's an honor hosting it on cigarsforum.gr. It is full of interesting and somewhat unexpected things. The ouzo pairing is one example of that I never considered it a good candidate for a cigar. I can hardly drink the stuff but I will definitely give it a go.

Thanks again Dion.
These users thanked the author Fairlight for the post:
nikos doc
Απάντηση

Επιστροφή στο “Interviews”