This week's cigar is one that I enjoy smoking no matter the time of day, season of the year, or what I’m doing. It checks all the right boxes and I always come away from it feeling like I want another.
We’re talking about the Illusione Epernay, a cigar that always outperforms it’s $9-10 MSRP. It’s easy to appreciate cigars that are well priced, but a shame not to recognize cigars that punch way above their weight class.
After lighting my Epernay Le Grande, the first few impressions are of sandalwood, graham cracker, dark chocolate, and lingering spice. There’s a grittiness to the opening gambits of Epernay, as if the cigar itself is making sure I’m paying attention.
Several minutes later, a creamy texture settles in as the flavors shift and harmonize. Dulce de leche, cedar, and peppercorn take the lead with a nutty finish. Through the nose, I’m picking up an earthy sensation, berries, and vanilla. It’s such a wonderful refrain to switch gears back and forth.
Even as I shelter from the severe winds raging around me today between two shipping containers, the mechanics of this cigar are unbelievable. The burn line is straight as an edge, the char line is crisp, and the draw is absolutely perfect. And, the aroma from this cigar has received a couple comments from non-smokers.
It’s just a beautiful experience!
Into the second third, I’m experiencing something like Affogato. There’s a wonderful balance playing out between dark chocolate, espresso, and vanilla. Further still, honey grahams and a ginger-like spice combine with nutmeg for the wow factor.
This cigar is a case study in complexity. A master class in the quintessential cigar experience. And this isn’t an outlying opinion, it’s the same opinion I have of Epernay every time I draw one from the humidor.
It’s about that time where I take my leave to finish the cigar with quiet thoughts. Cheers to a wonderful week ahead!
Tell us – what are YOUR thoughts on Illusione’s Epernay?
If you haven’t sampled Illusione yet, I’d highly recommend it! Everything Illusione does is world class, and there’s a reason that they sell like hotcakes without overhyped, in-your-face branding. I’m linking a sampler below that includes today’s Epernay as well as some other Illusione homeruns. Or you can visit the Epernay category here.
As fair as the size goes, I always reach for the skinnier Epernays and don’t really have experience with the thicker ring gauges. If you’ve compared the different sizes, please drop a comment below for anyone considering which to pick up.
I paired the Epernay Le Grande with Café Bustelo after I stopped writing earlier, and it sure didn’t disappoint! Dark, black coffee really accentuated the experience and made the flavors pop. If I had access to spirits, I’d probably reach for something like The Dalmore’s Cigar Malt for a higher-octane pairing.