January 10, 2010

Review: Illusione Epernay

For my first cigar of the new year, I thought, "What better smoke to have than one named after a region in France known for it's champagne?" The Epernay, from Dion Giolito of Illusione Cigars fame, was first released as a limited release named ECCJ in 2008. Since production of the ECCJ was discontinued, Dion has said that the Epernay blend was to take its place. To learn more about the Epernay, please visit the official Illuisione website.

Specifics (taken from stogiereview.com)
Vitola: Le Ferm
Length: 5.25
Ring Gauge: 48
Wrapper: Cafe Rosado
Filler: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Origin: Honduras
MSRP: Aprox. $8.50
Smoking Location: House of Cigar, Columbus, Ohio
Beverage: water


The wrapper on my Epernay is a milk chocolate brown color with a few areas of a lighter brown here and there. The cigar has a few vains running up from the foot that are very minimal. When pinched the cigar, it is very firm...almost too firm. That gave me ideas that the draw could be very tight. The aroma coming off of the cigar was that of typical tobacco and not extremely strong. To my happy surprise, the pre-light draw was perfect and free. I did not get much flavor out of the pre-light draw, other than slightly sweet tobacco.

First Third

As soon as I lit up the Epernay, I was hit right in the face with a blast of spice. The cigar produced tons of thick smoke in which I picked up a woody flavor along with a hint of roasted nuts. The draw and the burn were perfect. The ash was solid and a dark gray color. The body of the smoke was a solid medium.

Second Third

The second third of my Epernay saw the woody flavors pick up and the subtle nuttiness fade away, which was to my liking as I enjoy that flavor profile greatly. The cigar did need one touch up with the torch, but that could have been due to me talking to the others at the shop and not smoking the cigar as fast as I normally do. The body of the cigar increased quite a bit but was not even close to overwhelming. The smoke added an almost creamy coating to my tongue, which helped catch those developing flavors.

Final Third and Final Thoughts

The final third of my Epernay continued in flavor to match the second third with strong woodiness. The finish on the smoke was still very creamy, smooth and left my palette feeling very clean. The body increased even more to a solid medium-full status.

My final thought on this smoke is "Wow... what a great cigar."  It's no secret that I am a big fan of the cigars that Dion produces. Although I wouldn't put the Epernay as my favorite of his lines, I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a new cigar that is not overpowering in body, but very strong in flavor.

Would I buy it again? 100% for sure
Would I buy a box? I wish, but Illusione cigars are out of my price range for box purchases.

Side note:  I'm very excited to get my first review done on my new blog. If you have a second, please leave a comment and tell me what you thought. If you'd like to share what you liked, disliked or what you think I could do differently, I am all ears.  Til next time...Dan


  1. Great job Dan! Great pictures, descriptions, and conclusion. Welcome to the world of cigar reviews!

  2. Glad to see your first review go up man! Great work and keep it up! I can't get enough epernay action :)

  3. Great review Dan. Looking forward to smokeing with you are House of Cigar. Keep up the good work.

  4. Nice review Dan. Makes me want to go pick up one of these Epernay's. It was nice meeting you at HoC, and I look forward to burning a few sticks with you in the future.