This week's review is of one of the three new sizes in the Epernay line from Illusione, the L'Alpiniste. All three of the new releases are box pressed (like last year's Epernay Le Matin) and are 56 ring gauge. The L'Alpiniste is a torpedo measuring in at 6 3/4 x 56 and has a Cafe Rosado wrapper and is composed of Nicaraguan Corojo and Criollo tobaccos. Dan over at New Havana cigars got a few boxes of these in (which is where I got this one) as sort of a sneak preview of these new sizes, which should start showing up at other stores within the next month or so.
This is a massive cigar! The light brown wrapper is silky smooth and looks very tasty. The construction looks top knotch. The box press and torpedo head make smoking a larger ring gauge like this much more managable. The aroma at the foot is of well aged tobacco and some light floral sweetness. The prelight draw shows just the right amount of resistance with flavors of light barnyard. Right after lighting this I am loving it! It is starting out with plenty of barnyard flavors, subtle leather and some honeycomb sweetness. The ash fell at just under an inch (all over the floor because I wasn't paying attention) and the burn has been a little wavy but seems to self correct. The flavor profile is really complex and is light and crisp on the palate. There are some floral notes that you notice even more when retrohaling.
As I reach the halfway point I am still really enjoying this L'Alpiniste. There is something like a citrus zest flavor around the leather and honey. This is a medium strength cigar at this point with a ton of flavor and an overall medium body character to it. I am also getting some cedar flavor as I close in on the final third. This is one of those cigars that really evolves as you smoke it, flavors come and go and never get boring. Towards the final third I am getting something close to graham cracker or a sweet bisquit flavor. The whole flavor profile is darkening up in the last 2 inches with some deeper leather flavors and some coffee as well. In the last inch this cigar has gotten really soft and the wrapper is starting to unwravel a bit, but that might be my fault from cutting just a little too much off.
The Epernay L'Alpiniste is another great cigar from Illusione! It is medium throughout with a ton of complexity and even more flavor! I also smoked the Le Taureau size that measures in at 5 1/2 x 56. I didnt smoke the third size but out of the two I smoked, the Le Taureau was probably my favorite. I will definitely smoke more of these L'Alpiniste's again though when they are more readily available. I think these will retail for around $12, so it isn't a cheap cigar but I am looking forward to getting more of them!