Comprehensive Cigar Reviews
Review By: Matt
Look & Feel
Wrapper quality, smell from the wrapper, smell from the foot, box presentation, and color of wrapper.
Burn quality, draw quality, heat on the draw, quality of the wrapper, and cap construction.
Flavor & Balance
Overall flavor of the cigar, balance of flavors, strength to body balance, and complexity.
Value taking the quality vs. the market vs. the market price
Taking all aspects into consideration we rate based on the quality of the cigar and the quality of the experience.
Illusione is a younger boutique cigar maker who focuses on quality and has a fairly limited line. Ranging from medium to very full, the Illusione brand offers a nice variety without producing past their limits. They have build their company on creating full flavored cigars that may be medium in strength. This is truly an art-form to create such a balance in a cigar and they do it very well.
Illussione Epernay Le Grande - 6.0 X 46
I have only had an Epernay a few times (And one other Illusione cigar) so I am fairly new to this line and boutique manufacturer but have enjoyed the few I have had. Some are really full sticks while some a medium and smooth. This cigar is a Nicaraguan puro but does not have legiro tobacco in the binder or filler so it should be medium in strength at the very least. This Le Grande is new to me and I’m looking forward to testing this cigar out.
Look and Feel:
The wrapper has very little veins and seams are almost invisible. This is a Nicaraguan puro but does not have legiro tobacco in the binder or filler. A medium brown Rosado Nicaraguan wrapper has a slight oil sheen to it gives off a nice leather aroma. The pre-lit draw offers a nice mild cedar with a hint of dried fruit.
The start provides a nice fresh toasted bread with a slight butter note to it. (Seriously people!!) There is a nice cinnamon and clove note on the finish with the slightest hint of heat. I feel like I’m eating breakfast… The retrohale has a white pepper with chocolate notes. Pretty rare to get chocolate on the retrohale… The binding flavors are leather with a little cream providing a nice canvas for the other blended flavors. The flavor body is medium full (strength is medium), great draw, and the finish is fairly long. At the end of the long finish you get black pepper to complete the finish. All of these notes makes for a very complex cigar which is not what I expected out of the gate with this Epernay.
The second third starts off well balanced much like the first third with a little more cream to the leather flavor and the palate is met with the similar nutmeg and white pepper. The cinnamon is mostly gone and the finish is slightly shorter with sweet spices and a slight black pepper late. A slight tang, honey, and citrus notes are added to the cream flavor adding a slight change to the flavor profile yet again. The burn is sharp, smoke is thick and creamy, and the light grey ash holds very well. Late in this third vegetal flavors add into the blend with a tangy cream and rich leather. The retrohale becomes a stronger white pepper with vegetal notes but remains smooth. I have to say I’m surprised how good this cigar is at this point…
This third started off similar to the second third with the vegetal notes (including bell peppers & herbs) becoming stronger and the tangy cream and honey pulls back. The finish pulls back in the spice and turns into a mild sweet spice mix. Earthy flavors sneak in late in the cigar with a return of the toast notes. The cream notes pop in now and then and the retrohale becomes even stronger with white pepper pushing the limits for my nose. The last third pulled back in sweetness and added deeper earthy and vegetal flavors and the spices pull back except on the retrohale. The draw got a little hot at the end but I have to say that is being picky.
As I said, I have had some from this line before but this cigar destroyed those performers of the past. I am shocked how well this cigar performed and can say that even though this is not my exact preferred profile, this cigar is fantastic! Balanced, smooth, complex, always transitioning, amazing construction, medium full in flavor and slightly lower than medium in strength… The cigar is a great one and at 9-12 dollars per cigar at your local store, you have to try one!
Look & Feel:
Flavor & Balance:
70-80 Points - Poor to Fair 81-90 Points - Fair to Good 91-96 - Excellent 97-100 - Epic
Review By: Matt