Brand: Illusione Epernay
Blender: Dion Giolito
Vitola: Le Ferm
Ring Gauge: 48
Wrapper: Cafe Rosado
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.