Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Illusione - Epernay

Thanks to Toasted Foot for the picture
Illusione Epernay - Illusione is one of these new brands taking the cigar world.  A bad ass style, affordable pricepoint and a quality made product are all features of Illusione.  The Epernay is Illusione's medium bodied offering.  The original Illusione series is a full bodied line, so the Epernay was produced to introduce Illusione to smokers that may not be attracted to a stronger cigar.
As a fan of the fuller numbered series, I had to try the Epernay.  Also, it didn't hurt that the Epernay earned a spot on Cigar Aficianado's top 25 list for 2009.  Knowing the quality of the brand's products I didn't hesitate when I saw these available at my local shop.  The Le Petit - the smallest vitola of the series - weighing in at 4.5" x 44 ring gauge.  The wrapper is a sun-grown corojo, with the binder and filler of Nicaraguan origin. 

Initial Thoughts
The cigar is very well-made.  I've smoked a lot of Illusiones and had almost no burn issues or poor cigars.  The wrapper has a dry look and is the color of milk chocolate.  There are some small veins along the wrapper and there is a little aroma coming off the cigar.  The cigar feels fresh and full of tobacco throughout.

Smoking it
Easy light, nice burn with no touch ups.  Slight resistance on the draw; adequate clouds of smoke with effortless pulls.  The flavor profile is creamy, light coffee and a bit of spice on the back of the tongue.  The first third fo the cigar is rather mild.  The cigar has a nice mixture of flavors and I would say that it has complexity to it. 
I find the final 2/3 of the cigar to be the highlight of the smoke.  The flavors thicken and have presence without having a bite.
The cigar burns for about 35 minutes or so.  I had a small coffee while I smoked this cigar and the two complimented each other nicely.  I've smoked many Epernays so some aspects of this review is loosely based on a compilation of my perceptions and experiences with the line. 

Overall -
If you're a mild to medium smoker - do yourself and grab yourself an Epernay.  I prefer fuller bodied smokes, but when I want something a little smoother - or a few bucks in my pocket, I go for the Epernay.  I really like these for long drives by myself.  The ash doesn't flake everywhere, there is little resting smoke and the smoke doesn't stink me or the car up as much as a stronger cigars.
The cigar is well-made and at about $6 - there is some value.  The flavor profile is good and there is something in there that is unique to Illusione.  Its not just a simple flavor or aroma, I think its the mixture of flavors that screams Illusione. 
Whatever it is, this unique aspect of the Epernay is present in the original Illusione series.  Its something smooth and lasting in the finish.  Check them out for yourself, you won't be disappointed. Very good and enjoyable.

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