Illusione Epernay ‘Le Grande’ Review

Nov

11

by at 3:06 pm No Comments Cigar Reviews


Brand: Illusione Cigars

Series: Epernay

Size: ‘Le Grande’  6″ x 46

Origin: Nicaragua – Criollo and Corojo tobaccos

Price Paid:  Approx $12 USD

Paired With:  Tripel Karmeleit – Belgian Golden Ale

Cigars smoked for this review: 1

Epernay 1

So I recently  decided to review a cigar that I’ve long feared reviewing:  The ‘Epernay’ from Illusione Cigars.  Feared?  Yes.  Because over the years I’ve smoked a number of ‘Epernay’ in different vitolas, usually reserved for special occasions or those evenings where you can focus exclusively on a well aged or particularly complex cigar.  The ‘Epernay’ has never failed to deliver, but I’ve always worried that the moment I fired one up for the sake of a Cigaropolis review, I’d get stung with an anomaly, a cigar that didn’t live up to expectations, or for some freakish reason, just didn’t smoke well.  Well I finally worked up the nerve to put one of my favourites under the microscope of a review, and here’s how it went:

Construction:

My ‘Le Grande’ was consistently firm from end to end, and under close scrutiny, the cap was absolutely perfect.  The tan, or tawny coloured wrapper had a silky feel and no obvious flaws.  There were no distinct flavours or aromas on the cold draw.

Epernay 2

First Third:

This Epernay opened with a big mouthfeel and offered boatloads of smoke with a medium draw.  A mild leather note was backed by subtle pine or cedar flavour, and the complete absence of spice or peppery flavours.  The word which stands out from my first third notes is ‘restraint’,  as this cigar is one of the rare beasts out there that opens smooth and restrained rather that hitting hard before settling down.  The burn required a few minor touch ups, and the strength was medium.

Epernay 3

Second Third:

The second third of my Epernay was almost identical to the first third.  Incredibly smooth, with cedar notes and a nice toasty character supported by a mild leather backbone.  An ever so faint hint of spice showed up near the end of the second third, reminding me of a really mild nutmeg or white pepper.  The draw remained medium, and the cigar continued to belt out smoke with little effort. The burn required a minor touch up, and the strength stayed medium.

Epernay 4

Final Third:

The final third impressed me more than the first two thirds, not because it changed dramatically, but because it stayed remarkably consistent.  The only notable change from the first two thirds was that the burn evened out, and the leathery character took on a little more depth, tasting more like leather and fig than just leather.  The draw and strength stayed at a comfortable medium.

Overall:

Smoking and reviewing many cigars has taught me that it’s both difficult and rare to blend a cigar that stays balanced and consistent from end to end, while maintaining defined, delicate flavours.  The Epernay ‘Le Grande’ managed to do this with ease, and, like the others I’ve smoked, is stunning in how subtle it is.  This is not a cigar you’d want to pair with a massive, peaty scotch, or a big red wine, but rather a lighter bodied drink which will compliment the smoke and keep your palate clean.   Would I recommend this cigar? Absolutely, with the caveat that if you’re a fan of beastly strong pepper bombs, the refinement of the Epernay will be lost on you.  Would I smoke another?  Absolutely.  The ‘Epernay’ is one of my few ‘Box Worthy’ cigars, and I’m confident there will be many more in my future.

Rock out,

 

Matt


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