Published on December 31st, 2012 | by Siz3
This Illusione Epernay is one hell of a cigar. Incredible draw, complex flavors, and damn near perfect in every way. I'm so mad that it took me so long to pick up this cigar and smoke. I'm thankful that I did and I suggest you go out and try to find some immediately!
- Made By:Illusione
- Wrapper:Café’ Rosado
- Average Price:$9
- Ring Gauge:46
I know I may be a little late to the party on finding this cigar, but the Illusione Epernay is absolutely incredible cigar. There’s a reason it was voted #3 cigar last year by Cigar Aficionado. So what took me so long to try it? Well, I’m not sure, but I can tell you why I tried it.
A couple of months ago I was talking with Jon Huber of Crowned Heads. Whenever I talk to cigar manufacturers I always like to ask them what they’re smoking other than their own cigars. On more than one occasion Jon told me he had been smoking Dion’s Epernay. So I did some digging and found out that the Epernay is part of the Illusione line, and Dion is Dion Giolito who is the owner. So there, my detective work was done. I didn’t really set out and look for this cigar immediately. I had way too many other cigars to review. However, it was stuck in the back of my mind.
So one night I go out to have a cigar with a couple of friends and I’m walking through the humidor and I come across the Illusione Epernay. Of course I have to pick it up and try it! I just wanted to try something new and this seemed like the perfect time to try it. Honestly it blew my socks off! I knew I was going to have to get a couple of more for review’s sake.
This all happened at the end of November, then low and behold I was humbled by being named Aficionado of the Month on Reddit Cigars (r/cigars). With that honor you’re supposed to pick a Cigar of the Month. I sat and thought for awhile and decided. Illusione doesn’t get much love in this forum so I named the Illusione Epernay the Cigar of the Month. So in a very short story long, that’s why I’m reviewing this cigar today! Enough back story how about we get into the good stuff eh?
Some would say the Illusione Epernay isn’t much to look at. I would have to disagree. It appears that Dion has taken a similar approach that Pete Johnson has. A very understated band and a cigar that does all the talking for itself. The band is elegant in it’s minimalism. A soft white background with embossed gold writing that dances in the light from my $12 clip on desk lamp from Wal Mart.
The wrapper is a beautiful light brown with a reddish hue. There are minimal veins running down the length of the wrapper. I can’t even see the seam on the barrel of where the wrapper was placed. This cigar has absolutely flawless construction. The head of the cigar is a beautifully placed triple cap. The seams blend so well with the barrel that it’s difficult to even notice they are there. This is a great looking cigar that doesn’t stand out on the shelf, in fact, I had to ask the store assistant where the Illusione’s were in the humidor (I didn’t get these from my usual B&M). As the old adage goes, don’t judge a book by it’s cover!
While I was standing the humidor deciding between the 6 different vitolas available I finally decided on the Corona Gorda. I picked up two of these rolling them between my fingers performing the live pinch test before purchase. Which is something I suggest all of you do! Unless of course you buy online then it’s hard to perform the pinch test, so that’s why you should buy at a local B&M :)!
These cigars are rolled flawlessly. Not a single soft spot in either of the barrels. Nice and firm all throughout the barrel. It’s time to nip the cap off of this Illusione Epernay. I use the ole trusty capped back cutter to get a nice even cut on the head. As I was testing the dry draw I initially thought it might have been a little stiff, but after a couple of puffs it began to open up.
Everything was in tip top shape with this cigar. I’m incredibly eager to get this thing lit and see if it’s as good as I remember. So let’s toast the foot and see what happens!
Wow, it’s always a pleasure to have a cigar the smokes so effortlessly. Recently, I’ve had some cigars that were a struggle to smoke and it just takes all the pleasure out of smoking if you’re having to work to get to the end. I can say this Illusione Epernay doesn’t have one ounce of work in it. As soon as I put the flame to the foot this cigar started puffing away with a beautiful thick white smoke. The draw opened up and the floodgates were overflowing with smoke. Mmm, just effortless to smoke.
The first third burned like a champion. The burn line wasn’t razor straight, it had a little waviness to it, but never got too crazy. I don’t know if I can say enough about the draw of this cigar. It was just so nice and easy. Like a cigar should be. I didn’t want to put it down because it was so easy to smoke.
The second and final thirds burned the exact same as the first. Just easy to smoke, nice even burn, the ash topped out at about 1 inch. It of course landed right in my lap as I was positioning to take a picture. I swear, I don’t know why I have an ashtray because the majority of the time the ash lands in my lap instead of the tray. I have whet your palate enough? Do you want to know how it tastes yet?
Complex, creamy, and smooth. I honestly just want to leave those as the only three words to describe this cigar. I have a feeling most of you would be pissed off by that though. You all love my literary prose and want to hear me ramble about the flavors of this cigar. So I’ll appease you for a little while, but that’s it! You’ll have to experience this cigar for yourself.
On the pre light I nosed the barrel and the foot of this Illusione Epernay I was able to pick up a nice sweet leathery tobacco smell with just a hint of spice… I told you it was complex! After I cut the cap and took a couple of dry draws the spice was more prominent and it tingled my lips a little.
Once I lit up the spice had dissipated on the palate and was filled with a nice creaminess. There were hints of coffee on the backend with a little tinge of spice. The retrohale was a completely different story, I found where the spice was hiding. This spice damn near brought me to tears on the retrohale I wasn’t ready for it at all. Once I finally cleaned myself up I was able to notice some very nice floral notes on the olfactory senses. Not quite as strong as the Draig K, but still there.
The second third seemed to tone everything down a bit. Imma have to talk to Dion and see why he wanted to kick me in the face so hard with that first third! It’s ok I enjoy pain, sometimes… Ok, not really. The second third of the Illusione Epernay still brought the creaminess, but it eased in some smoothness to take the spice from the retrohale away. The flavors are still there from the first third, the coffee has intensified some on the palate. On the retrohale the spice has gone away a bit and been replaced with more of a floral / coffee notes.
Mmm, to the final third. I’m a fan of complex cigars that can keep that complexity consistent throughout the cigar. I know that doesn’t make sense does it? Well what I’m talking about is, I love being able to consistently pick up little flavors all the way through the cigar. In the final third I began picking up on some honey to go along with the coffee flavors. The retrohale brought in more of a woodsy / nutty notes. The spice picked back up with some intensity. I love the fact this cigar is consistently complex and changing. It makes it a delight to smoke. Overall I would say a Mild-Medium cigar in strength, but Full in flavor. Again, I understand why it was the #3 cigar of 2011.
Would I Buy It Again?
Without even thinking about it! Such an incredible cigar.
Is It an Every Day Smoke?
Absolutely. It’s mild enough to where you could smoke this everyday.
Would I Buy a Box?
In an instant. I’m actually plotting now if I could afford a box because I want these around all the time as my go to smoke. I want to be able to hand them out to people who have never tried them and watch their faces light up with delight.
An absolute hit, a 10 out of 10, this Illusione Epernay is a fantastic cigar. I thought it would be hard to describe how good it is, but I spent about 1500 words doing it. So yeah, it’s that damn good. If you’ve been passing this over because you didn’t know anything about it, do yourself a favor and go pick one up. Because I have a feeling you’ll be going back to pick up about 10 more!