Cigar review: Here is a cigar brand that you probably never heard of but might be one of the best cigars of 2019 , soon to be 2020. In fact, I debated whether I should wait till the Times Square ball drops signalling the new decade to sample it.
Isabela Cigars are not a flashy household name that throws thousands of dollars into marketing or makes a stand in the numerous cigar events throughout the country. They have relied on cigar bloggers, word of mouth and great product.
They also by design I think, very closed mouth about what goes in their products. This leads to a certain amount of intrique and mystery and control when they release their next blend.
Here is what they say from their own mouths.
This year’s version measures 6 1/2 x 42 and uses 15 different types of tobacco. It starts with a barberpole wrapper: one leaf Ecuadorian Connecticut desflorado wrapper and the other Nicaraguan Prieto habano. Underneath the two wrappers are 13 different types of Nicaraguan fillers.
John Piette of Isabela commented, “that the filler includes medio tiempo leaves and “sliver of ligero.” Medio tiempo is the highest priming on a tobacco blend, above the ligero primings, that is only found on a fraction of plants.
“Every time we produce a run of the Time-Traveler, we are trying to get the intent of the blend, obviously sourcing the tobaccos that are available, which fluctuates every season of production,” said Piette. “We never really know when the blend is ready from batch to batch, so we project a two-year minimum, and then do the ‘fire one up’ every couple months after that, until the blend tells us it’s ready.”
The goal is to create a profile reminiscent of Cuban cigars of the 1990s. Time-Traveler is produced at a small, unnamed factory in Condega, Nicaragua.
For the 2019 release, the cigar was aged a total of two years and eight months. Time-Traveler has only been released once before, in 2017.
Production is limited to 100 boxes of 12, which will be numbered and signed, as well as 50 bundles of 25 cigars.
Pricing is set at $9.95 per cigar.
As always, how and where I receive the cigar does not impact my subjective judgment and suggest you try the smoke itself and make your own take.
Brand/Name of Cigar: Isabela/ Time Traveler 2019
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Size: 6.5 x 42
Wrapper: Ecadorian Desflorada, Aged Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan Aged Media Tiempo
Filler: Nicaraguan Aged Media Tiempo, Nicaraguan unripe Ligero, Nicaraguan Corojo
Price: $9.95 MSRP, received gratis for review
Where and When Smoked: Los Angeles, 12/22/19
Appearance/Construction: The look is classic barber pole, a striking contrast of light and dark hues with a continuity without flaw. Semi oily feel, solid, firm construction. I just want to get on with it and smoke.
Flavor/Taste and Aroma: First Third: Sweetness and pepper is the first draw, a contrast that two almost contrasting tastes are made for each other. It melds perfectly with a full sensory awareness that is striking. The background tastes of molasses, nuts, cherries and cinnamon increase the beauty of each puff.
Second Third: Now we encounted an additional grouping of cream, caramel, and almonds. The bar is set even higher with these flavors. Where the blend is now heading , I have no idea.
Final Third: We get a dominant shot of spice/ black pepper. I suggest take off your shoes, sit back and enjoy the ride. I want it all. Savor all the flavors this cigar produces.
Smoking Characteristics: There is a slight deviation of burn in the second third but that corrects itself as we smoke and no negative impact in the construction. Dark, grey ash and the cigar stayed true throughout.
Conclusion/Overall impression: A Cuban taste as the earthy , strong smoke gives you a truly outstanding experience. It lasted slightly over an hour. You get a full bodied cigar with no compromise in it’s design.
Final Thoughts and the Numbers: Isabela Cigars/Time Traveler 2019 is a cigar for an experienced cigar maven, making the upper echelon of the cigar world. It is a must smoke and hopefully you do not get shut out trying to purchase it. This is the third cigar I have smoked through the last several years from Isabela Cigars. They are one of the elite cigar companies in the market.
Appearance/Construction: 4.8 out of 5
Flavor/Taste and Aroma: 5 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics: 4.5 out of 5
Conclusion/Overall Impression: 4.7 out of 5