While one of Illusione’s cigars recently scored very well on Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 (Fume d”Amour ranked #3), in my typical go against the grain-est-ness I decided to try one of their other selections for eval. The Epernay La Ferme. Consisting of:
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Cafe Rosado
Vitola: La Ferme – 48 x 5 1/4
The Epernay is an aesthetically pleasing cigar with very modest packaging. Honestly, on a typical walk through a humidor I wouldn’t necessary notice this brand or this cigar as nothing really jumps out at you passing by…which honestly makes it even more appealing. I love finding one of those diamond in the rough sticks that I haven’t heard anyone else talk about. Trying to get the specs for this cigar posed a bit of a problem as the Illusione website is really freaky and hard to navigate. So if you want more info, you’re better off bookmarking this site. 🙂
Upon inspection, I noted that there was not a lot of oils on the wrapper and it was really rustic. There were several visible veins, yet it was still very smooth to the feel. I noticed that on each of the cigars I smoked for this eval that I could see every roll line along the cigar, which worried me as I thought that it would start to unravel on me as I smoked through. Moving toward the cap, I was a little more impressed as it was firm to the touch and offered an attractive, traditional triple cap. One thing to note is that the company states that the wrapper is a “Rosado” but the Epernay didn’t have that typical “reddish” look that one would expect from a rosado wrapper. This of course didn’t pose an issue, but I just felt like sharing that.
On the dry draw, there was a taste and smell of sweet cream and syrup. The Epernay lit very easily and more importantly very evenly. The draw was just right and it produced a lot of smoke…almost more than I tend to like while smoking. As it carried me through the first third, I couldn’t help but to notice how sharp the burn was, which lasted from beginning to end. The burn was actually perfect throughout. I didn’t even think of reaching for my lighter while enjoying this stick. So what did it taste like?
1st Third: Slight fruitiness, almost raisiny with a touch a syrup and honey notes. There was no spice to speak of and began very smooth and balanced.
2nd Third: Black pepper starts to pick up, loosing none of its sweetness.
Final Third: Ends on a buttery, woody note. When holding the smoke in my mouth, I could taste and feel all of its nuances coming together nicely. The Epernay was very balanced, as the flavor and the body do not take away from one another.
Typically when I purchase sticks for a review, I go Noah’s Ark with them and buy them two by two from the same Brick & Mortar. I was curious to see if I got the same flavors and performance if I picked up some from multiple shops. Knowing that the two shops I got them from maintain their humidors a little differently, I just KNEW that I’d be able to catch the Epernay in some kind of inconsistency. Well, Illusione got me. I was pleased that the Epernay lost no consistency between shops. I’ll be honest that usual after I smoke a few and take my notes, I move on to the next cigar for evaluation, but I’ve found myself smoking about 6 of these over the last 2 weeks. I guess that means I sorta liked it.
In conclusion, the Eperanay wasn’t as strong as I expected (because you know I think that most Nicaraguan puros are stronger) but it still gave me the right amount of pop. The medium body worked well with the flavors and the body of the cigar. Around my forth Epernay, I decided that I had enjoyed enough of them that I could pair it with some bourbon instead of water…and they complimented one another well. For the price, I definitely think that this one is worth grabbing if you haven’t already. Look for it at your local Brick and Mortar, as they’ve probably had it for a while and you never even noticed it.