In June of 2008, Illusione released the ~eccj~ 15th in boxes of fifteen to commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of European Cigar Cult Journal. It is a 5 5/8 x 46 corona gorda, with a “special blend” of filler and binder, and a corojo rosado wrapper. Only 300 boxes were released and they sold out pretty quick. At the time they were released, they were sold exclusively through New Havana Cigars.Illusione ~eccj~ 15th 1.png

  • Cigar Reviewed:Illusione ~eccj~ 15th
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L. (Raíces Cubanas)
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo Rosado
  • Binder: Nicaraguan
  • Filler: Nicaraguan
  • Size: 5 5/8 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 46
  • Vitola: Corona Gorda
  • Est. Price: $8.00 (Boxes of 15, $120.00)
  • Number of Cigars Released: 300 Boxes of 15 Cigars (4,500 Total Cigars)
  • Date Released: 2008
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

The cigar itself is almost perfectly made with a medium brown wrapper and no oil as far as I can see and a great looking band. It is very firm when squeezed, almost seems a bit overfilled and the wrapper has a spicy tobacco scent to it. The cigar cuts easily and the cold draw is full of sweet tobacco with a bit of spice and cedar. The first few puffs have a great spicy, nutty flavor that is actually fairly mild, but very enjoyable. There is also a bit of a floral note as well, but not enough to really make much of a difference in the overall scheme of things at this point, but obviously enough to mention. Illusione ~eccj~ 15th 2.png At about a third through, and there is definitely a nutty flavor profile with a sweet undertone that is quite nice. The pepper has disappeared almost totally at this point as well. The draw is perfect, but the burn is fairly erratic, not horrible, but it is all over the place. In addition, there is a huge amount of smoke coming from this cigar, it actually surprised me. Illusione ~eccj~ 15th 3.png The spice has come back a bit at this point, I can feel it on the back of my tongue. The flavors are still quite sweet and nutty, but I am now getting a bit of wood note as well. The floral flavor from earlier has disappeared and it does seem to be picking up in body as well. Illusione ~eccj~ 15th 4.png The spice is back with a vengeance, and this has gone from a medium to a full cigar in about 30 minutes. The wood flavors have overwhelmed the nutty notes, and while the sweetness is still there, it has been relegated to background status for the moment. The draw is still excellent, and the burn seems to have evened up a bit, I am not having to correct it as much. Illusione ~eccj~ 15th 5.png I am at the end of the cigar, and the main flavors are still the same. Woody and spicy, with a nice leathery undertone that replaced the sweetness from the first half. It never got hot and I nubbed it, as you can see, and the spice never overwhelmed the flavors, even at the end. Illusione ~eccj~ 15th 6.png

92 Overall Score

The Illusione ~eccj~ was a fairly complex smoke from start to finish, with the flavors changing quite a bit. Medium and sweeter in the beginning, and spicy and woody at the end with a bit of leather at the very end for good measure. The draw was excellent for the whole stick and there was copious amounts of smoke, which I always love. This is a prime example of a great cigar, one that should age extremely well, and while it had the obvious presence of classic Illusione profile, it had that little bit extra that pushed it over the top for me. I think that after smoking two of them, I do prefer the ~eccj~ to the Epernay line, but not by a huge amount. Unfortunately, the only problem I had with the cigar was the burn, but even that was more annoying than horrible. A great example of an excellent cigar that everyone should try at least once, if they can.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.