It was in 2009 that Illusione Cigars first debuted the famed Epernay blend, being a milder spinoff of a 2008 limited-edition cigar known as ~eccj~. Ten years following, the brand is perhaps the most beloved selection in Illusione’s highly respected portfolio. Not one to let a proper milestone go unnoticed, company owner, Dion Giolito, offered up a new variation of the blend for the 2019 season.
Illusione Epernay 10th Anniversary d’Aosta is named for the Valle d’Aosta region that borders both France, Italy, and Switzerland, where members of Giolito’s family have lived for some time. The region is roughly 400 miles south of Épernay, France, as the original Epernay cigar was blended to pair well with the town’s bright and effervescent Champagne. Likewise, d’Aosta has been blended to pair with the wines made from Northern Italy’s Fumin and Cornalin grapes. To accomplish this, Giolito has made only minor tweaks to the original blend, featuring an altered binder component. On paper the blend remains untouched, touting all-Nicaraguan selections and being topped with a highly specific AAA-Grade Corojo ’99 Cafe Rosado wrapper. Differing from the conventional Nicaraguan recipe, Epernay includes no usage of ligero-priming leaves—the strongest, most intense leaf on most tobacco plants. This allows for delicate and nuanced complexities—those that may be overshadowed by the heavier character of ligero—to be brought into the limelight.
Epernay 10th Anniversary d’Aosta has been rolled in a singular toro format, with a limited, undisclosed number of cigars being produced for the 10th anniversary occasion. It’s a thoroughly refined experience through and through, opening up with white pepper and aromatic cabinet spices, eventually being overtaken by sweeter, bright and bubbly characteristics of orange zest, nougat, malt, light-roast coffee, and buttery almonds.
Epernay 10th Anniversary d’Aosta Breakdown
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 Cafe Rosado
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L. (Honduras)
- Production: Limited Edition
- Vitola: 6″ × 50 (Toro)
- Price: $12.00 (MSRP)