Isabela Cigar Company is the brainchild of Johnny Piette who got his introduction to cigars through legendary Cuban Master Vicente Ortiz. They met in Miami’s Little Havana in 1997 at Vincente’s Flagler Street “fabrica”.
Johnny describes that meeting on the Isabella website:
The rich sweet smells of fresh tobaccos and chatter of ex-pat Cubans in and around his small, gated pink “fabrica” on Flagler street was the perfect setting for Vicente to tell me the history of his cigars. He also mixed in more than a few stories about his life as a young man in Cuba, and our conversations transported me back to a very special time when pride and devotion to craftsmanship truly meant something.
That was the day when Johnny embarked on a an extended journey to learn about the art and craft to blending and rolling premium cigars. The journey resulted in the creation of Isabela Cigars, a collaboration between Johnny and Vicente Ortiz. For a several years they were a local sensation but in 2015, Johnny decided to bring Isabella to the larger American Cigar market.
Today I have the pleasure of reviewing the Isabela Cigars, Limited Edition Serpentine Belicoso cigar. A new release for 2016, the Limited Edition Serpentine Belicoso was a limited production cigar of 2,500 planned for a handful of select retailers but Johnny decided to increase the production in May to serve more shops across the country.
As far as the blend, the Limited Edition Serpentine Belicoso is a slightly modified blend built off the original 2015 release.
Johnny Piete describes the blend as:
- Wrapper – Sourced Ecuadorian DesFlorada Connecticut and 2 year aged Ecuadorian Habano Maduro
- Binder – Nicaraguan Tiempo
- Filler – Nicaraguan sourced with one small splash of 1 year Aged Nicaraguan Ligero
The Isabela Cigars, Limited Edition Serpentine, is available in one vitola, a 6 x 54 Belicoso wrapped in a Serpentine fashion, otherwise known as a “barber pole” because of the look it has with the different leaf colors used in wrapping the cigar. MSRP is $9.95/cigar.
Today’s review is based on sampling two of these Isabela Limited Edition Serpentine Belicosos
Cigar Review Notes
- Well constructed barber pole – shiny wrapper leaf and tight seams
- Fresh sweet hay aroma off the foot
- Curing barn aroma along the barrel
- Before slicing the cap I just rolled it about my lips and picked up a decent amount of sweetness on the tip
- Once fired up, the palate is graced with a burst of pepper
- The pepper lasts for a few puffs then gives way to a sweet cedar
- Sweetness lingers on the lips and tongue between puffs
- Very well-behaved ash, medium grey in color
- Nicely centered burn cone is revealed once the ash falls
- Ginger joins the cedar and then slowly evolves into a citrus rind
- Dark espresso bean enters which blends well with the citrus
- Smoke is medium to full body
- This is a slow burner
- Spice picks up on the nasal as a mineral note finds its way into the profile
- Smoke smooths out at nicely at half way point
- Touch of tarragon enters giving just a hint of licorice in the background
- Cocoa completes the profile entering the final third
- Medium Strength
- Total smoking time was 1 hour and 20 minutes
Overall, the Limited Edition Serpentine 2016 by, Isabela Cigars, was a well constructed, flavorful cigar, with some interesting flavor transitions. The burn was spot on throughout and the ash held strong for a good third of the burn at a time. I would certainly pair this with a nice dram of aged rum. You can purchase this cigar and other Isabela offerings directly from the company’s website.