The Illusione Epernay Le Grande

The Illusione Epernay Le Grande

In today’s cigar culture, the next new blend is the next hot thing. It’s all the rage in the streets. Sometimes though it is important to nod the cap to a blend that has been kicking ass for over 15 years- and has been consistently a solid performer. My first Epernay was a Le Grande gifted to me by a friend (Shout out to Scott Saladino!). I was so impressed with it, I picked it off the shelves a few other times during trips to local B&Ms. I knew a box was in my future, so I decided on the Le Grande as my vitola of choice. Yes, I am a whore for a Carona Gorda.

The Le Grande is a Carona Gorda (*boner*), standing at an appealing 6 inches x 46 RG. Appearance has been flawless in all samples I have come across. Construction and draw are perfect as well. More recent production Epernay are rolled at Fabrica Tabsa in Esteli, Nicaragua. Aged Nicaraguan Criollo and Corojo fillers are wrapped with a Rosado Corojo wrapper from Nicaragua.

The Epernay blend is medium-light in body, which is in my wheelhouse- so I may be partial. The profile is typically what I look for in a cigar (especially the first one of the day or morning smoke)- it is balanced, smooth, complex, and evolves beautifully. Light leather, honey, a pretzel type greasiness, coffee, floral notes, and cream make appearances throughout this cigar. Yeah, that is a lot to take in, but these notes never overwhelmed me. Instead they evolved beautifully throughout. In the last third a white pepper came in that was nice. Most Nicaraguan cigars come in hot in the first third for me, then mellow towards the tail end of the cigar. The Epernay worked in reverse, and built in body as it went.

I would recommend the Epernay line to a smoker who is looking to change pace from a fuller bodied Nicaraguan cigar. If you like fuller bodied smokes primarily, it may not be in your wheelhouse. For me it is an excellent morning selection that bodes well with a cup of coffee, or something I will pick up when smoking alone and can dedicate my full attention to it’s complexity.
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