Illusione Epernay Cigar Review: A “New Classic”

Le Petit/Petit Corona: 4 1/2 x 44

Café Rosado Wrapper with Nicaraguan Binder and Filler, consisting of Criollo and Corojo tobaccos.

This has easily become a “new classic” for me. I find myself smoking various vitolas of the same blend, but most often the “Le Ferme” and “Le Petit” sizes ( Robusto and Petit Corona). The Epernay from Illusione is a medium bodied cigar that is mild to medium in strength and medium to full in flavor. The first few draws have notes of cedar, oak, and honey which gradually build to a more earthy, complex smoke. Also quite notable is a lovely floral note, making this cigar quite unique.




This is a cigar where you can very clearly notice the difference between strength and flavor. If you’ve struggled to find the difference in previous smokes, this cigar may bring in a nice perspective.  In most cases I look for flavor to overpower the strength, keeping the role of the strength to compliment the overall smoking experience. Here the delineation of strength and flavor are very prominent and are done so in favor of the cigar’s complete profile.

A Note on Strength

Just because something is mild in strength doesn’t mean it must be the same in flavor. And just because something is full in strength doesn’t necessarily mean it is full in flavor. This can be seen in our beers and whiskies, too. Often we can be surprised by the ABV hidden behind a flavorful beverage and other times we may have to hunt through the strength to understand all the hidden subtleties. The strength of a cigar or beverage isn’t a good or bad thing, just something to consider, especially when it comes to  your mood and the experience you are looking to achieve. I love strong and flavorful coffee, for example, but in small amounts and not all the time. There is a time and place for everything. The more we understand these qualities the better decisions we can make in selecting our cigars and spirits.

The “New Classic” Cigars

The selection of cigars I consider myself calling “New Classics” is constantly growing. This is a category I would define as a relatively new cigar that is regularly available. That is to say it isn’t a limited release or limited edition; it is a cigar that is generally accessible to anyone at anytime. Though new, you want a cigar that has been around for at least a year or so, showing that it has been established and is here to stay on the market.

With so many new cigars available, it is a golden age for cigar smokers (oh, and craft beer drinkers and vintage cocktail imbibers). Options are everywhere and more and more people are looking to have their focus be on quality, history, and the overall experience.

That being said, which cigars do you think qualify as a “New Classic” cigar? Quality and taste are high on the list, but are there certain tastes you are looking for, or certain styles? Is price an issue and where does it weigh on order of importance? Do we have a stronger relationship with the people making our cigars or the country of origin of the tobaccos? I’d love to hear your thoughts and see where we all meet.


  1. Tee
    May 03, 2013 @ 22:30:00

    Once again, you have gracefully articulated the difference between flavor and nicotine strength. I like a cigar that is complex – that is evolving in its flavors. This makes smoking an experience. I’m willing to pay more for construction and consistency. And I love trying your pairing suggestions.
    As for “new classics”: Illusione holy lance; padron 85th anniversary; and Partagas (cuban) Series D, No 5. Of course, everyone has a unique pallet. Thanks again for your great website.

  2. Tyree
    Jul 08, 2013 @ 14:28:45

    I love all the Epernay sizes!! The best way I can describe them as Creamy and Dreamy!! The flavors are so well balanced it is incredible.. Dion has it!!!! He knows what it takes to blend and produce a great cigar!!

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