It’s contest time! (contest closed) Leave a comment at the end of the review to win a 5 pack of Illusione Epernay smokes. This is a quick contest. The winner will be announced on Sunday July 19th. According to the Illusione website the Epernay debuted through the ECCJ 15th limited release. From that blend the cigar was made into 4 sizes. The Le Petit, La Fern, La Elegance and the Le Grande. Named for an area in France known for it’s Champagne this cigar is definitely complimented by a glass.
Cigar: Illusione Epernay
Size: 5.75 x 40 (Le Elegance)
Wrapper: Cafe Rosado
Appearance and Construction (20/20): It looks like a Cuban. That is the first impression of this cigar from Dion over at Illuisone. The cigar features the gold and white band that was found on the ECCJ. As for the stick itself. Flawless. The flat triple cap is exquisitely placed. The roll is nice and seamless. The wrapper has some minimal veins, but it also has a very slight tooth to it and some oils visible. Cigar manufactures should make note of how this cigar looks. The boutique blends are far superior then those cigars that are mass produced.
Flavor & Notes (28/30): Prior to lighting up this stick one picks up some sweet honey notes on the draw. Once lit the cigar has a little but of spice, but it quickly fades and the notes of apples emerge with some wood as well. As we approach the second third the homage to champagne is evident. The cigar remains with notes of apple, but there is also a floral note along side. The cigar has a gorgeous flavor profile to it, and I implore you to smoke one with a glass of bubbly. Just prior the the final third some coffee notes are introduced as the cigar takes on a slightly more fuller body. The final third of the cigar has a nice creamy finish.
Burn/Ash/Draw (24/25): The cigar burns like a dream, with a smooth crisp edge. It is perfect all the way through. The ash is salt and pepper in color, with more pepper then salt. Despite the thin ring gauge it holds on very strong. The draw is perfect as well with just the right amount of resistance to make this a relaxing cigar.
Overall (24/25): As the year progresses I realize the crop of cigars coming out this year are going to make it difficult to crown cigar of the year. The Illusione Epernay is a candidate right now, and at worst it is #3. At best, it is #1. This Sunday I will list my top 5 cigars of the year to date. Until then I will have many sleepless nights, because the field is strong.