Illusione Epernay Le Taureau
Made By: Fabrica de Tabacos Raices Cubanas S. de R.L.
Factory Location: Honduras
Dimensions: 5 1/2" by 56 ring gauge
Some people believe it takes massive amounts of power for a cigar to impress in a Cigar Aficionado tasting, but our No. 3 cigar of the year belies their theory. The Illusione Epernay Le Taureau is made without ligero tobacco, the strongest variety of tobacco leaf, and it's blended for balance and elegance rather than strength. The cigar, designed to be lighter and sweeter than the original Illusiones, gets its name from the town of Epernay in the heart of France's Champagne region. The Illusione cigar brand is the brainchild of Dion Giolito, a cigar retailer from Nevada who makes very few cigars, but they all seem to be superb. His smokes, made under contract, have impressed us from the very beginning. We first tasted Illusiones in August 2007, when a vertical brand tasting delivered eight scores of 90 points or higher. We love Illusiones, but we really love the Illusione Epernay. This is the third year in a row that one has appeared in the Top 25. The Le Taureau is one of a trio of new box-pressed sizes that were added to the line last August. It has a chocolate sweetness, plenty of rich nutty flavors and a complex, leathery aftertaste. Illusione cigars are the prototypical boutique smoke, and this is the best showing ever for the brand.