Illusione Epernay

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Illusione Epernay

Illusione - Epernay - 1

Illusione - Epernay - 2Brand: Illusione Epernay
Blender: Dion Giolito
Vitola: Le Ferm
Ring Gauge: 48
Length: 5.25
Wrapper: Cafe Rosado
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Origin: Honduras
MSRP: Aprox. $8.50
Purchased From: Gift from BigABoyd


The Illusione Epernay is a creation of Dion Giolito. The blend of this cigar originally debut as the limited release ECCJ 15 cigar in 2008. Since production stopped on the ECCJ, the blend found a new home within the Epernay lineup. The blend is made up of Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo tobaccos topped off with a Café Rosado wrapper leaf.

The Epernay line is currently available in five vitolas with talks of a fifth swirling around on the internet. The four current sizes include a Le Petit (44 x 4.50), Le Ferm (48 x 5.25), Le Elegance (40 x 5.75), and a Le Grande (46 x 6.00). Cigars are packaged in dress boxes of fifty and carry an MSRP between $332.50 and $450.00.


Illusione - Epernay - 3

Several months back, I was very generously gifted three of these Illusione Epernay Le Ferm Cigars from Aaron Boyd. Since then, I have smoked two of them while the third waited patiently in my cooler. At some point, the cigar took a little damage and developed a small crack about 3/8 of an inch long. In addition, a small section of one of the wrappings showed signs of lifting.

Damage as a result of being careless aside, this stick looks decent. The color from head to foot showed a little variation and had a muddy appearance. There were a couple of small veins, located towards the head of the cigar, which protruded slightly, easily being felt when the cigar was handled.

When pinched, I found the cigar to be uniformly packed with tobacco and was unable to find any soft or hard sections. After clipping my cigar, I moved the check the cold draw. What I found was a slight bit of resistance, which is perfect for my taste, and a mild taste of a sort of dry and dusty wood.

First Third:

Illusione - Epernay - 4

After roughly thirty-minutes of smoking, I was closing in on finishing the first third of my Illusione Epernay. One of the striking things about this cigar was that the first few puffs seemed to dive right in and produce the flavor and body that would remain for the remainder of the first third.

Often times, the first few puffs of a cigar are a sort of hodge-podge of different flavors that require a little warming up to develop. After you get into the cigar a little, those mixed up flavors seem to find their place and settle into the flavor profile that was intended when the stick was blended. In the case of the Illusione Epernay, no such warm up time was needed and the cigar got right down to business.

Much like the flavor getting right down to business, the body did just the same. From the start, this cigar produced a medium bodied profile that does a decent job of coating the palate. Aside from the medium mouth feel, this cigar produces a light and creamy finish that seems just a little out of place when compared to the flavor profile.

The flavors of the Epernay were what struck me as the most interesting part of this cigar. On the surface, a dry and dusty wood flavor is easily detected. As the smoke is expelled through the mouth and sinus, I get a very interesting tea flavor on the palate with a clean and crisp spiciness through the sinus.

Second Third:

Illusione - Epernay - 5

After a little more than an hour, I was finishing up the second third of my Illusione Epernay. Throughout the first and second third, I noticed a very slow, but stead, increase in body. The cigar seemed to take gradual steps towards the medium to full range, but remained a little ways from reaching that point. The finished remained mildly creamy and did not seem to build like the body.

In the flavor department, the dry and dusty flavor that seemed to stand in front of the others flavors, stepped back slowly throughout the second third. Rather than the tea and spice flavors taking the lead, a new flavor of rich Corojo stepped up and began overshadowing the woody flavor.

I had no complaints in regards to the burning characteristics of my cigar. The small crack that I worried about earlier was burned through without issue. The draw remained free with just a touch of resistance and produced loads of dense smoke. While the ash appeared crumbly, it did an excellent job of holding steady for more than an inch before needing to be knocked from the foot of the cigar.

Final Third:

Illusione - Epernay - 6

After a little more than an hour and a half, I was closing in on the nub of my Illusione Epernay. Just like in the previous third, I saw a continuation of the progression towards medium to full body. The finish remained the same and provided a slight creamy sensation across the walls of the mouth.

As for the flavors, there was no distinct change in tastes from the second third to the final third. The main flavor remained that of rich Corojo while the dry dusty wood flavor continued to fade into the background. The remaining flavors of tea and the clean spice through the sinus grew more and more complex as the cigar burned along.

Even as the cigar burned down to the nub, the temperature of the cigar remained fairly cool to the touch. It wasn’t until it was finally time to spear it with a toothpick that the heat of the smoke began to irritate the mouth. While the burn line wasn’t perfect, it never required a touch up and kept itself in line.

Final Thoughts:

Illusione - Epernay - 7

After a few reviews of Illusione Product (~hl~, ~f9~, Nosotros, and Chuchillos Cubanos), you know that I don’t smoke them frequently due to lack of availability locally. If they were available locally, the Epernay is one I could certainly see myself picking up frequently from the local shop. I think it is a fantastic cigar that delivers rich and complex flavor every time I light one up.

With these being sold in boxes of fifty cigars, it takes a big commitment to drop the cash to acquire a box. Even though that price is tremendously higher than I normally pay for a box of cigars, I could certainly see myself picking up a box to celebrate the birth of my upcoming child.

enjoying cigars since 2005

17 thoughts on “Illusione Epernay

  1. Nice review, Walt. That’s pretty much spot on from what I remember the epernay being. I don’t know that I’d say it had a ‘tea-like’ flavor, but I see where you got that from (to me, it was more of a subtle fruity flavor than anything else).

    1. That is exactly how I felt. I was really pleased with the vaguely fruity flavor, especially because it was purely in the background, leaving that nice woody and earthy tone (depending on how far through the cigar you are) to dominate. I thuroughly enjoyed the creamy aftertaste as well and found it paired well with a remarkable number of drinks as a result. My favorite part though was, as stated in this review, that it burned magnificently down to the nub. I have never gotten so much out of one cigar before.

  2. I’ve not smoked an Epernay yet. Sounds like a nice cigar. If it’s worthy of being the first born son cigar, then it’s a must smoke cigar for sure!!!!

  3. Like you Walt I really like this cigar—you are spot on and with your review & stating this being a “Fantastic” cigar I have to agree 100%. A BOTL tossed me several of these because they are not easily obtained at my local B & M. For a sticker price from $6.50-$9.50 I would look to grab some without hesitation.

  4. I cant get enough of this cigar, this cigar has been my favorite for about 3 months now. The only problem with this cigar is now that it is so popular it is very hard to find………i hate when this happens!!!!

  5. Great review Walt. I have had this cigar a couple times now and I do like it! I have the same problem as you, availability. Taking an hour drive each way to get to a cigar shop that carries them only happens a few times a year and then I try and buy a bunch of different stuff to try 😉 Box of 50, WOW, never realised they came in such large quantities. Might have to do a box split someday 🙂


  6. Thanks for the review Walt. Sounds like decent cigar. I don’t recall seeing these in my local B&M so I may have to hunt for a couple of sticks.

    1. Ryan,
      When doing research I saw it spelled “Le Ferm” and “Le Ferme”, so I went with the spelling on the Illusione Website. I thought I had the best chance of it being correct if I used the same spelling as found on the manufacturers copy

  7. Only now got a chance to take in the review (typically load them onto my iPod; this one would not transfer from the iTunes podcast though, and it took a while before I sat down in front of the computer).

    One of my top ten cigars as well.

    If I’m think that a crack or pinhole is going to mess up the smoking I patch with a small piece of tobacco leaf (for example Kristoffs are packaged in boxes with bench cuttings) and glue (pectin).
    If you’re concerned that the tobacco may change the flavor (I doubt it to be enough though) you can always use the tobacco after you’ve cut the cap.

  8. Hey Walt, congrats on the baby, bro! That’s sweet. We have a little girl on the way too–due end of March! We already have a 2-year-old boy so it’s gonna be a fun house … or fun-house, lol?

    Great review too. I’ve had tons of “original document” Illusione which has become one of my favorite cigars, and only a couple Eperany, but the Eperany is right up there with the best of them for sure. I too would love to get a box, but I’ll settle for one here and there when I can get it. Both of the ones I had were the 40-ring, so I’ll try to find one of these corona gordas.

  9. Had this for my walk today and it was still a great cigar. I got my box in 2011 and they have aged nicely.

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