Brand: Illusione Country: Nicaragua
Size: Le Taureau 5 1/2 x 56 Wrapper: Nicaraguan Café Rosado
Price: $11.00 (Buy)
The Label Factor:
Hold on a second. Have you been to the Illusione website? Weird, eh? I consider the label on the Epernay to be among my top 10 favorites. Given the classy look and somehow medieval-looking gold text, I did not expect that website design. It’s like when you meet someone in a professional setting only to learn that in their free time, they’re the frontman for a heavy metal band. Or something.
What We Liked:
I throw the words “pepper” and “spice” around a lot. I think they’re good words to capture the harder, rougher flavors found in cigars. I don’t mean hard or rough in a bad way, I just tend to think of the peppery flavors on the opposite end of the flavor spectrum from the smoother, sweeter, creamier flavors. This cigar might have the most peppery start to any cigar I have ever smoked. I acknowledge that is a bold statement. The pepper flavor was a good thing in my book. The aggressive flavor eliminates any doubt as to whether you are smoking a cigar.
In addition to the pepper that comes on strong then fades away, expect a slight nuttiness that builds up over time. The finish to this cigar brought some pronounced coffee flavors with a hint of chocolate. The chocolate is subtle. Take a puff, then think about dark chocolate. Then you’ll get it.
I’m pretty easy to please when it comes to smoking. Give me a cigar that produces tons of billowing smoke, and I’ll be happy. The Epernay delivered in that regard, so I was a happy camper.
What We Didn’t Like:
This cigar came very highly recommended from a reputable source. Because I was guaranteed to like it, I picked up a few in a couple different sizes. After smoking both the Le Taureau (pictured) and the Le Grande (6×46), I found the latter to be a bit better. The pleasant coffee flavor was a little more pronounced in the Le Grande. Being a glutton for all box-pressed cigars, this shook my beliefs to the core.
Having tried two different vitolas, I can’t say that this cigar lived up to the hype for me. I enjoyed these smokes, but with so much build up, I ended up holding the Epernay to an unrealistically high standard. It wasn’t the best cigar I’ve ever smoked, and for that reason, I was let down. Not really fair.
From a purely aesthetic point of view, this cigar produced some of the ugliest ash I’ve ever seen. I don’t think that should really matter to anyone, but look at those pictures!
Should You Try/Buy It:
Yes. Try to avoid hearing any hype about this cigar and then maybe you won’t experience the letdown that I did. Go into this endeavor expecting a pretty complex smoke with pronounced pepper, followed by nuts and coffee, and you won’t be disappointed. Unless you have no other choice, be sure to pick up a smaller vitola than Le Taureau. You can thank me later.
Interested in trying the Illusione Epernay? You can buy it here.