Nearly a week ago, retailers across the country began taking delivery of the latest cigar from Illusione, the ~eccj~ 20.
It’s a follow-up to the Illusione ~eccj~, which was made to honor European Cigar Cult Journal’s 15th anniversary. Illusione was one of a handful of manufacturers that made special cigars in 2008 for the anniversary and its release was without question the most popular. So popular that Illusione would go on to introduce a whole line—Epernay—based on the blend.
Things have changed over the last half decade: the magazine is now known as Cigar Journal, Epernay is now a family of vitolas diverse enough that Giolito has announced he will no longer be adding any additional regular production sizes and most of the new cigars from the company are being made at TABSA in Nicaragua as opposed to Raíces Cubanas in Honduras.
While the magazine’s anniversary was technically last year, the Illusione ~eccj~ 20s were essentially not seen nationally until last week, except for an appearance at the 2014 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show. It was there that Giolito explained to us that the 6 1/4 x 48 cigar would use a Nicaraguan corojo 99 wrapper and Nicaraguan criollo 98 and corojo 99 fillers. Production was said to be around 75,000 cigars with the cigars sold in 15-count boxes and pricing appears to be in the $12-13 range.
Of note, Cigar World/Tabac Benden, a large German retailer, lists the ~eccj~ 20 for sale, indicating Illusione is now offered—at least in some capacity—in Germany.
Giolito did not respond to multiple requests for comment.