2/28/16

Isabela True Cuban-sized Corona - Cigar Review

PROLOGUE
The Academy Awards are tonight! Feel free, gentlepersons, to watch along with my picks and to too smoke along with my pairings. The glitz! The glamour! The wow!

THE CIGAR(!)
Isabela Cigar Company
True Cuban-sized Corona
5 1/2 x 42 Corona
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut DesFlorada
Binder: Nicaragua Tiempo
Filler: Nicaraguan

I also featured this cigar on a Sabbath Smoker installment.
Sample courtesy of Johnny Piette, Brand Owner.
PRE-LIGHT
Complexion is even throughout and straight up CT. Seams are shy of tight, yet even. Veins are scarce but noticeable -- still, I see no potentiality for burn issues. There's a stem/stick running with the length of the shaft in most of the 2/3, which I'll keep my eye on. It bulges a bit menacingly. Bit of a runner threat, mayhap. Some greenish-hue under-tone peaks and peeks up to the top and over-top it all is a nice bit of light and lively oils. Triple cap is well done without a tick outta place. Foot tobacco shows a couple close shades of auburn coloring and an even packing to a medium+ density. While looking closely, I notice the top-leaf doesn't quite stretch to cover the binder at the foot. Hair's whisper of a breath, and not all around.

I mentioned the cap in my Sabbath Smoker I linked above, but too shall mention it here. It is not infused or flavored, per se. It is assembled via one of several traditional Cuban methods -- the one which employs a sugar glue. This is not any more akin to a Swisher Sweet than I am to Oprah Winfrey.

Hand-feel is perfectly balanced and should be, given its format. There is a bit of suede feel to it. The oils as mentioned previously, transfer only very thinly to the hand. Charmin squeeze test results are a medium+ firmness and evenly so throughout. The stem-thing in the 2/3 is an impediment. Schnoz notes are a sweetened nuttiness along the shaft with a sunny hay undertone. At the foot, some light but warm spices are added and some fresh peppers.

As if my biting off of caps weren't sacrilege 'nuff, I for whatever reason opt to pinch this one off with my thumbnail. Draw resistance on the cold pull is medium+ and right in my wheelhouse. I get hard caramel notes braced against spiciness. I wouldn't say "exotic," but it ain't 'white bread,' neither. Lots of nutty notes around the middling. Big middle on the cold draw. The nuts get everywhere. This fella is wearing boxers, not briefs. They're in the sweet and the spicy -- and quite different in each. Hard to find a backing note, but my money is on a tobacco with inherent sweetness, as that's what was the story of my first Isabela of this format.

LIGHT
1:40pm
I not long ago realized that there's a school of thought which deems toasting the foot unnecessary. However, there also exists the Flat Earth Society. Notes upon toasting the foot include nuts sweetened via hard caramel and a lively pepper that almost acts as a liquid on my nose. First hot pull is produce department green grocer style peppers that trail off into the finish in their own juices. Jalapeno, habanero, something that makes me see yellow -- but not Belle. All this is balanced by a healthy dose of pale flesh'd nuts, delivered sweetly on the caramel. The nuttiness, too, goes into the peppers and tastes a bit Far East, but cooked by a round-eye. All this is on a quite creamy mouth-feel. Medium body at least, and fresh out the gate. Still, there is an effervescence which keeps it lively if not light. Dayum.

Second hottie is retro-haled to plenty of peppery juices that drop sweetly to the pre-cushioned palate. Very crisp. Finish builds to a medium+ length and is supremely balanced of sweet & spicy. A candied tingle fills my smoke-hole and dances there.

Ash is 70/30 salt/pepper on a loosely assembled sheath. burn is dead-even on a thin+ line. Packaging softens a half inch ahead of burn. Draw has loosened but remains in the medium+ range. Foot-smoke is medium. Draw offers much of the stuff, and out-put is heavy white clouds, but a medium amount of them. Profile is a low-end medium+ and I'm guessing at an up-tick shortly. Strength is a light+ for now.
ACT I
Flavors dance, but not the Jitterbug. Nothing frenetic, a joyous smooth twirling, perhaps. The middling is a tobacco core and a big 'un. There are some suede if not leather characteristics there. Sweetness via caramel and cream. Peppers... actually, it's all there. There is no backing. It's all a pulsating swirling of sweet and spicy from that tobacco center. Interesting. It's delivers its notes in the same fashion of a Nat Sherman 1930, but Nat is a conservative gentleman. This Isabela fella is a nut! A lampshade on his head kinda guy. Hawaiian shirts... the whole megillah.

In the Nat Sherman go, I divied up into red and green notes. I can't divide here -- transitions are to quick and beyond that, layered. Let me explain as the second act loometh nigh. Firstly: no new notes have come, and none have gone. OK. There are small transitions every couple/few pulls when a swirling off of spice leaps higher than sweet, and vice-versa. Also, and less often, it's first happening now -- the direction of the swirling dance twirls in the opposite way entirely.

I feel as though this is either the best, or worst, cigar review ever. 

In no particular order, because there ain't none, there are notes of fresh green, red, and yellow peppers and their juices, hard caramel, pale nuts, and a suede to leather note. A short menu, yes -- but infinitely blended with one another on a tobacco canvas (that is a 3D spinning orb).

Packaging has re-firmed a tick and is almost wearing its original face. Draw holds. Burn holds. Very, very well constructed. 

ACT II
I roll off the entire opening act's ash. I usually don't grow ash, but was distracted. The ash is less dense than I anticipated and breaks readily into a fine dry talc. Strength is up to a medium-. Profile is a medium+. A deeper tingle sets in warmly and keeps the creamy mouth from being heavy. Flavors are tremendously hard to keep up with, but you get the gist. No change there -- just constantly changing there. Sometimes I get a vanilla extract hint. Sometimes a citrus rind. Vibes o' that, mainly.

Ash is 95/5 salt/pepper with a firmer sheath than prior. Now at mid-point, the twirling motion seems to slow. A slight sweet grassy note is underneath the pepper juices on a retro-hale. I purge and sit the Isabela in my $0.99 Walmart black plastic tray. Re-address the schmatta in my lap. Foot-smoke is greater now by a tick or two. Sharp, lively, light tobacco with a sweet lilt on the room-note. It's simplicity belies the draw's cuckoo complexity. Two minutes, I wait. The thing died down not a quarter of a darn tick. It's all ready to fill my smoke-hole. The tobacco core still spins, but slowly. Bits of blended flavor notes still spin off it at random, but stay closer to home. Its become a somewhat contemplative but not solemn smoke. Burn slows.

All notes to flavor and construction hold true.

ACT III
Gentlepersons, we have dimensions.
At least in a more familiar than previous manner.

The core of tobacco nuttiness eats up the middling. Leather drops to backing. Peppers lead caramel by a length in the primary. Citrus weaves through each layer as a lemon zest. Vanilla extract adheres to cream in ebbs and flows. Where is the cream? Sorta everywhere and nowhere. Kinda looming to the side and on the mouth-feel. Perfect moisture level there. Finish shortens its legs to a crisp medium of citrus infused fresh peppers and roasted pale nuts -- think Richie Cunningham in thermal underwear.

Draw gets a bit damp, but a purging corrects it. Smoke hastens its pace and smoke out-put ramps upward. As the band approaches, we go back to a tobacco core middling which sucks all back into it. It rotates, but no flavors spike from it. Its all there, inherent and sorta aglow. For all it's dazzling array, I feel it is quite the classic cigar, this Isabela offering. Dandies and showmen are as old as time, ya know.

Final third was medium+ in terms of body, flavor, and strength. But lively and kindly so. Sour notes of citrus rind and zetz of zest infused the peppers to the point of sour. Refreshingly so. Sweetness ebbed. Ending was clean and effervescent. Cool to the nub and toothpick.
NOTES
I swears it never fails. I edit together one a these, and the next offering is another.
This was heck to write, this review. I hope I did justice to the experience.

PAIRINGS
Don't. Just don't, gentlepersons. You won't wanna, anyways.

FINAL GRADE
****A-****

LESS SCHTICK MORE STICK
Letter grades are graded on a scale of K A P L O W I T Z.
K being the least, Z the greatest
Appearance I
Construction I
Combustion T
Flavors/Body I
Strength W

EPILOGUE
3pm
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a Radio Herf to plan and do, and a very particular Three Stooges short to watch. 1934's Men in Black -- their only Academy Award nominated turn. You should go watch it too. They're all up on the YouTube.

As always and ever, gentlepersons, thanks for your attention and time.