Team Cigar Review: Illusione Epernay 10th Anniversary d’Aosta

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Cigar Details: Illusione Epernay 10th Anniversary d’Aosta

  • Vitola: Toro
  • Length: 6″
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Raíces Cubanas
  • Blender: Dion Giolito
  • Price: $12.00
  • Release Date: October 2019
  • Source: Developing Palates

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The wrapper on the Illusione Epernay 10th Anniversary d’Aosta is light brown and has a network of slightly raised veins that carry an even lighter color to them. The seams are smooth but slightly visible due to the veins and color variation while the head is finished off with a well applied triple cap. The band is the traditional design for the line of gold on white with no indication that this is an anniversary cigar. The aroma from the wrapper is slightly sweet cereal and wood while the foot brings stone fruit sweetness and baking spice. The pre-light draw has an interesting mix of light green grape sweetness and hay along with a mild baking spice and mild spiciness on my lips.

Pre-light Experience

The Illusione Epernay 10th Anniversary d’Aosta has that classic Epernay appearance and sports a lovely light Colorado wrapper. It is firm throughout and has noticeable veins that are medium in size. The veins are present throughout the wrapper and the cigar is finished with a lovely triple cap. I am picking up aromas of sweet spices, musty wood, tobacco, manure and raisins, and it is quite lovely.

Pre-light Experience

The Illusione Epernay 10th Anniversary d’Aosta has a silky brown wrapper. The band is thin and has gold lettering with accents on a white background. Nosing the cigar, I picked up aromas of sweet bread, cocoa and baking spices. In the foot, a faint sweet raisin.

Pre-light Experience

The Illusione Epernay 10th Anniversary d’Aosta has a darker caramel to the overall Colorado Claro wrapper shade. Wrapper also provides a nice smooth and oily texture. Construction looks and feels good as veins are well pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll uniform and head finished off with a well wrapped cap. Nosing the wrapper gives baking spices, barnyard and cedar. Aromas from the foot tell rich nuttiness and subtle candied creamed cherries. Cold draw gives cedar and hay.

First Third

The cigar begins with toasted oak, a pretty full baking spice and light mustiness. At a half inch in, some light hay joins the profile. At three quarters of an inch in, the toasted oak and baking spice are even as the mustiness is slightly behind and the hay is in the background. The retrohale just focuses on the mustiness and baking spice. At an inch and a quarter, a light nuttiness becomes present. At an inch and a half, the baking spice has mellowed a fair amount as the nuttiness has left the profile. The strength in this third was slightly below medium.

First Third

The first third opens up with some noticeable sweet spices and I am getting that baking spice profile. There are some sweet tobacco notes present as well and it is paired with the musty wood and soft earth qualities. There is a slight bit of citrus and minerals present and the finish is balanced. I would classify the cigar as being medium, and that goes for body, strength and flavors.

First Third

The first third opens with powdered cocoa, bread and sweet cedar to finish the draw. Baking spices, bread and trailing cedar fill up the post draw and retrohale profile. There is lingering powdered cocoa and cedar as the first third settles in. By the midway point, faint citrus is coming through at the end of the draw. Post draw cedar moves into the middle of the profile, stepping up to medium minus strength.

First Third

The first third has a medium body and strength profile. Flavors consists of toast, baking spices, cinnamon and a snappy black pepper spice. Retrohaling gives a greater black pepper influence and a nice showing of rich roasted nuts. The finish is fairly earth driven with cedar and tapered black pepper.

Second Third

As the second third begins, the toasted oak and mustiness are paired together with the baking spice slightly behind and a faint hay remaining in the background. The retrohale now shows the toasted oak and mustiness. At a half inch in, the hay has picked up to be just behind the toasted oak and mustiness as the baking spice has left the profile. At an inch in, a faint baking spice returns to the profile. The retrohale now adds the hay to go along with the toasted oak and mustiness. At an inch and a half, the baking spice leaves and a burning paper note joins the profile. As the third comes to a close, the burning paper notes leaves as the oak transitions to a general wood note but maintains the toasted profile and is still paired with the mustiness. The strength in this third bumped up to medium.

Second Third

When I get into the second third of the cigar, I find some transitioning and additional flavors making an appearance. I am picking up those cream notes from before and it is paired with some buttery popcorn and light pastry flavors. The tobacco and sweet spice notes are present as well and the finish is of musty wood. Again, the cigar is medium in body, strength and flavors.

Second Third

Bread and baking spices define the profile with light dry cedar finishing each draw. Dry cedar moves into the middle of the profile at light plus as the cigar establishes itself. Mild citrus joins the middle of the profile as it progresses. Mild cocoa finishes the draw, but is being run over by the cedar finish. By the end of the third, some earthiness is coming through at the end of each draw, and takes over the post draw.

Second Third

The second third shows a shift in flavors such that the profile is more geared towards being earth driven in cedar and sharper minerals. The delicate/softer note of toast takes a back seat. Further, to my surprise (since this is an Epernay), the strength is creeping towards medium-full (body maintains medium).

Final Third

As the final third begins, the mustiness has a slight lead over the toasted wood. At a half inch in, a light vegetal note joins the profile. At three quarters of an inch in, some dry earth joins the profile. The retrohale carries the musty and toasted wood and dry earth. At an inch in, the vegetal note is even with the musty and toasted wood as the dry earth has left. The cigar wraps up with the even mix of musty and toasted wood and the vegetal note. The strength in this third remained at medium.

Final Third

The final third shows a combination of the first and second third and I am getting those sweet spice and tobacco notes while being paired with some rich earth and musty wood. There is a faint creaminess to the cigar along with some citrus qualities and pastry notes. It smokes cool to the end and remains balanced throughout. Like before, medium in strength, body and flavors.

Final Third

Cedar and earth make up the flavor profile in the last third. Mid palate and post draw cedar rapidly add to the mix. Earth settles into the middle of the profile, with citrus buried underneath. The earth fades as the last third settles, replaced with toasted cedar.

Final Third

The last third’s strength ramps to a solid medium plus (body finishing medium). In terms of flavors, the profile becomes sharper in cedar and minerals. Further, the toast/bread note becomes an after thought.

Burn

The burn was straight the whole way with the only issue being the cigar going out once in the second third and requiring a re-light. The ash held on in one inch increments.

Burn

The burn was decent throughout the cigar and while it did not present any problems, it was wavy and took away from a glamorous or elite burn line.

Burn

I rated the burn as amazing, as the cigar burned straight with a bright white ash from start to finish.

Burn

I’m a bit disappointed by the burn performance. A couple touch-ups and two complete re-lights were the ultimate pitfalls of the burn performance. Pluses for a cool burning temperature and relatively solid ash marks.

Draw

The draw was perfect, with just the right amount of resistance that I prefer.

Overall

The cigar began with toasted oak, baking spice and light mustiness which was the core of the profile through the first half. The baking spice left as the oak transitioned to a general wood note. The final third saw a vegetal note join in. Construction was very good and strength was around medium the whole way. Being a big fan of the Epernay line, I was very interested in trying this cigar. The profile of the Illusione Epernay 10th Anniversary d’Aosta kept with my experience of a smooth and flavorful profile for the line. While I wish the profile from the first half had lasted longer, it still provided a good overall experience. I would have no problem mixing this vitola in with smoking the other vitolas in the line. If you’re a fan of Illusione, this is a definite must try.

Draw

Draw was good, a little loose for my liking, but solid throughout.

Overall

Overall, the Illusione Epernay 10th Anniversary d’Aosta was a really nice cigar with some great flavors. There was transitioning taking place and the cigar had depth and was definitely complex. I liked that it was a smooth smoke, solid medium from start to finish and it was all about balance and flavors being delivered. The second third really showed the strength of the blend and was the best part of the cigar. In terms of an Epernay release, while this may honor the brand’s tenth anniversary, I don’t find it to be the best Epernay I have smoked. I think the line excels in Le Taureau and La Matin, it is not dependent on the ring gauge to succeed, but rather being pressed. I think the Epernay line does well when pressed, but at the same time smokes well in a smaller and larger ring gauge offering. I think this cigar will benefit from aging, and that is what I appreciate about Epernay. You can smoke them now or age them and get a great smoking experience.

Draw

The draw is 1-1/2 to 2 notches into the resistant spectrum. It doesn’t seem to impact smoke production or flavor.

Overall

The Illusione Epernay 10th Anniversary d’Aosta was a nuanced and enjoyable cigar. The flavor range included powdered cocoa, bread, cedar, baking spices, citrus, earth and some toastiness. Overall, cigar strength and flavor intensity seemed to hit a peak of medium minus. I would happily smoke this cigar again. Total smoking time was great at 2 hours and 18 minutes.

Draw

The draw on the other hand was perfect, providing the ideal air flow.

Overall

When I think about any cigar that denotes something special, such as calling it “limited” or in this case “anniversary,” one question I have is if it’s better than the non-special named variant. In the case of the Illusione Epernay 10th Anniversary d’Aosta, I don’t think it is better than the regular production/non-anniversary Epernay. I do think that it is a good cigar right now with potential to be great. This opinion mainly stems from having a good first third with a sharper trailing last two thirds. Once the sharper edges gets smoothed out, I’m hoping to review a second take. As is now, I’d still recommend it but wouldn’t put it past the non-anniversary versions by any means.

Aaron
Seth
John
Jiunn
Very GoodPre
Light
GoodPre
Light
GoodPre
Light
Good
GoodFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
GoodFirst
Third
Good
GoodSecond
Third
GoodSecond
Third
GoodSecond
Third
Good
AverageFinal
Third
GoodFinal
Third
AverageFinal
Third
Average
Very GoodBurnGoodBurnAmazingBurnAverage
AmazingDrawGoodDrawVery GoodDrawAmazing
GoodOverallGoodOverallGoodOverallGood

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

6.72

Cost/Point

$1.79

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

6.67

Cost/Point

$1.80

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

6.67

Cost/Point

$1.80

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

6.52

Cost/Point

$1.84

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Illusione Epernay 10th Anniversary d’Aosta
Aaron LoomisTeam Cigar Review: Illusione Epernay 10th Anniversary d’Aosta

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