Illusione Epernay Le Matin
Made By: Fabrica de Tabacos Raices Cubanas S. de R.L.
Factory Location: Honduras
Dimensions: 6 1/2" by 46 ring gauge
Dion Giolito is a new breed of cigarmaker, a passionate cigar retailer from Reno, Nevada, who decided to make his own cigar brand. Inspired by the pre-Sandinista Joya de Nicaraguas that he had smoked, he struck out to recapture that classic Nicaraguan taste. Giolito is proud to call himself picky, claiming to test-smoke each batch of tobacco before it's made into his cigars, and rejecting any that don't meet his expectations. We were enamored with his Illusiones right from the start. In August 2007, we conducted a brand tasting of the original nine sizes in Cigar Insider—all but one scored 90 points or more, and the cg:4 was named our No. 7 cigar of 2007. Illusiones have done well in our ratings ever since, and this is the second year in a row that one of Giolito's Illusione Epernay cigars has appeared in the Top 25. Epernay is named for a town in France that is built upon chalk rock in the heart of the Champagne region, and the line is meant to be lighter and sweeter than the original Illusiones. (It has no ligero in the blend.) The Le Matin is the newest size in this line, released in 2010, and we found it balanced, creamy and medium bodied. When Illusione first appeared in our Top 25 in 2007, we wrote: "Consistency is the tough trick to the cigar business, so the real test is ahead for Giolito—maintaining the impeccable quality of these cigars so they live up to the early ratings." He certainly has.