Cigar Review: Illusione Epernay Le Taureau

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Epernay Le Taureau

The Epernay line has always been a personal favorite of mine, and I know I have always given the cigar high praises, but it has been deservedly so. The line always shows a great amount of complexity through flavors while remaining fairly medium in body. This line is a line that shows true skills in blending, and promotes a challenge for so many in saying “can you make a great cigar and not have it be full bodied in strength.” I know he has, and for a long time the industry was not able to answer that call. More often than not if you wanted a cigar that was very flavorful you had to find a cigar that had a good amount of strength to it. Smokers have often looked at milder cigars as being less complex and therefore less flavorful as well. In my opinion this was just, and we found cigars that were light and simply boring in terms of flavors as well. This all changed in my opinion with the Epernay line.

Launched by Dion Giolito in 2008 the Epernay line was a nice change of pace from his original Illusione line. The line was still a Nicaraguan puro like its predecessor, but the main difference to the cigar is that it features no ligero tobacco inside. This was a big change, because a majority, if not all lines encompassed some ligero tobacco in the blend because of what it offered. Ligero tobacco is known to be the strongest of tobacco leaves, but it also brings a good amount of pronounced flavors with that. The Epernay line originally consisted of four sizes, but since then there have been sizes added, and there now nine vitolas to choose from. Released at the 2011 IPCPR were three new vitolas, and one of them was Le Taureau, or The Bull.

The cigar, like all the new releases, is box-pressed, and measures 5 ½” with a 56 ring gauge. I would say it between a double robusto and a toro in vitola, and a great looking cigar. It is a Nicaraguan puro, and consists of tobacco that is Criollo and Corojo. The wrapper is defined as being Café Rosado, and it has a light Colorado wrapper slightly between Natural and Colorado in my opinion. The coloring is almost light reddish sand in coloring, and the wrapper is very smooth to touch. There are very few veins present in the cigar, and it is very firm. The aroma of the cigar is that of nuts, wood, slight spices, hay and stone fruit, and I am eagerly awaiting to light up this cigar.  

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Cafe Rosado Wrapper

There are nice flavors present in the first third of pleasant spices, apricots, peaches, hay, almonds, wood, and even a finish of coconut. It is very complex and flavorful yet very light at the same time. The burn line is a little wavy in this third, but it has a nice light gray coloring to the ash. It produces a thin amount of smoke that is very aromatic on each draw, and it is very enjoyable. The cigar is a solid medium in body, but it is definitely a cigar that could be enjoyed by all. It is an incredible cigar, and I can see why this cigar received the praise that it did from Cigar Aficionado, and if it goes down this road, it will receive great praise from me as well.

When I get into the second third of the cigar the burn line has gotten much better, and the flavors are still incredible. There is a nice bit of cream notes present in this third, and I am also getting some wheat notes along with sweet almonds. There are still some sweet spice notes to the cigar, and some caramel notes as well. I am still getting some light stone fruit notes, but the finish of coconut has vanished. The ash for the cigar is still that light gray in coloring, and the smoke being produced is still thin and aromatic. There has been a nice addition to flavors in this third, and even though it lost some flavors from the first third it is still phenomenal with the new flavors added. Like the firs third the cigar has remained medium in body throughout, and if I were to recommend one cigar to anyone who walked in a humidor I would point out this cigar.

I am in the final third now, and this cigar is still rocking. Throughout this whole smoke I have been blown away with the flavors, and even though I thought it couldn’t get better than the Le Matin vitola I have been proven wrong. The burn line has still been perfect in this final third, and the light gray colored ash remains on the cigar perfectly. I am still getting tons of flavors in the final third that are very similar to the first and second third, but it is really a culmination of the two. There has been a great amount of cinnamon and clove notes in this final third, and there are really some lovely cedar, almond and wheat notes as well. There are still nice peach notes in the cigar, and paired with the caramel it is almost like a dessert. I would say the strength of the cigar is still a solid medium in this final third, and when I smoke it down to the nub there are still a great amount of flavors and a cool draw.  

This was a stellar cigar from beginning to end, and I can’t even begin to describe once more how great the flavors were. The cigar started out a little wavy in terms of the burn, but when I got into the second and final third the cigar really showed its greatness. If you are looking for a better cigar than this you will have trouble in finding any. Personally I think this has been one of the best cigars Dion has produced, and I think getting ranked Number 3 by Cigar Aficionado for Top 25 Cigars of 2011 is fitting at least.  I would smoke this cigar any day of the week at any time, and it is a great addition to a fabulous line. I think CA’s rating was solid, but I would give this cigar two points more than it was given, and give it a 96. Truly this was a terrific cigar that should not be overlooked and is a box worthy cigar indeed.  

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Le Taureau – The Bull
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