La Flor De La Isabela 1881

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La Flor De La Isabela 1881

Regardless of what faith you do or don’t practice its that time of year where we find ourselves spending time (sometimes too much time) with our families. For me, this past year has been one of the best years I can remember and that mainly has to do with my first trip home to the Philippines. In the Philippines I met a side of the family I’ve only heard about and now I’m thinking of them and hoping they have a Merry Christmas.

To help cope I turn to one of the many Filipino cigars that I brought back with me. Awhile ago I reviewed (with video) the Don Juan Urquijo which in my opinion is the best Filipino cigar on the market. This time I turned to the La Flor De La Isabela 1881 cigar.

Named in honor of the centennial celebration of the La Flor De La Isabela Company, the 1881 features an Indonesian Sumatra wrapper, Philippines binder and a mixed blend of Philippines and Brazilian filler. While it’s the best selling cigar in the Philippines I don’t think its as good as the Don Juan Urquijo. In several blind PIF (pay it forward) most think of the 1881 as a no named Dominican cigar and that pretty much sums it up. Solid construction, light flavor profile of sweetness from the Sumatra wrapper and a little spice from the part Brazilian filler but overall nothing to make you want to hop on a plane to the Philippines to pick up a box. But if you’re going to pick up a box of Don Juan Urquijo then you might as well pick up a box of the 1881’s as well.

I tried to honor many requests and keep the video under five minutes but the video runs 6:30…I’m trying to babble less. Enjoy!





11 thoughts on “La Flor De La Isabela 1881

  1. Jerry,

    I enjoyed your review. Always nice to read about a cigar that’s outside the mainstream.

    Is there any way to order these in the U.S., or do you pretty much need to be in the Philippines to get your hands on one?

  2. Any time I see Philippine cigars talking about I think of the quote by Jose Padron…

    “When I arrived in Miami the only tobacco here was the so-called Philippine kind. It cost six or seven cents. You cannot imagine what I went through to smoke a good cigar.”

    Apparently, Philippine tobacco is quite flavorless and currently is mostly used for blending… Does a Philippine puro exist?

  3. Patrick A – Loved the redesigned site you guys are pimp’n these days. Patrick S did a great job. You can order Filipino cigars and other Filipino products (anyone need a magic mic for a karoake party) at:

    http://www.kabayancentral.com/index.html

    I’ve never ordered from them before so I don’t know quality of service or time frame but there is a way.

  4. cigar family guy – I think Filipino cigars get a hard knock these days when quality has definitely improven from back in the days when the US Navy was stationed at Subic Bay or the US Air Force at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. I think they’ve come a long way but just can’t shake history.

    A Filipino puro does not exsist. For whatever reason we can’t seem to grow a decent wrapper and mainly use wrappers from Indonesia except for the Don Juan Urquijo which uses a Connecticut Shade wrapper. The nearest thing to a puro we have is the Alhambra line from La Flor De La Isabela which features an Indonesian wrapper but a binder and 100% filler from the Philippines.

    But I agree, most (outside the Don Juan) are flavorless or have a small appearence of a light woodsy flavor. Unfortunately because of the bad history of cigars produced in the past it makes it harder to export a cigar like the Don Juan which I think is an awesome cigar.

  5. I agree. Filipino cigars have definitely come a long way — my favorites are Tabacalera’s Don Juan Urquijo and Antonio Gimenez from a company called Tabaqueria de Filipinas. Both brands can easily be bought at the Kultura section of SM.

  6. 4+ years later…. Wow! A blast from the past! One of the first real cigars I ever had was a La Flor de Isabella back in the early 70’s. As I recall, it was a nice mild and smooth smoke, but who knows what kind of tricks my memory has played on me since?
    So, will you be going back to the Philippines? I want some lechon! Never had it, but I want it!

  7. Hi Jerry
    I have been enjoying your reviews – particularly this Filipino cigar review.
    I am a novice at cigars and have got into them by accident from recently purchasing some from the Philippines to celebrate the birth of my son AND because they were cheap. I was pleasantly surprised how much i enjoyed them-last visit i got some other small ones-treading water lightly you see!! I am now ready to take the plunge and get some “serious” (Filipino though – budget constraints!lol!). Would you be kind enough to point me in the direction of what to buy when i am there next week?
    Cheers and beers
    Richard
    PS I also enjoyed your Humidor video – something i shall also purchase next week.

  8. The 1881 is a mild cigar and is a good cigar for beginners. But, like everything good, prices have gone up and the 1881 is beyond the price range of most Filipinos. 1881 Torpedos now cost about US$8.00 a piece. After 8 years of regularly smoking cigars, I now prefer the strong cigars like the Antonio Gimenez. But even these are no longer cheap. I smoke Tabacalera coronas regularly but these are not as smooth and are milder than the Antonio Gimenez. Tabaqueria de Filipinas manufactures the 1898 Independencia which are also as mild as the 1881s and slightly cheaper. As a a son of a former planter of virginia tobacco and former owner of a tobacco-curing oven the size of a modest 2-storey house (it burned down decades ago when the oven tender fell asleep), I am used to locally hand-rolled (rough and primitive) cigars. I am ordering maduro cigars through a friend because discount cigars in the U.S., even with shipping costs are cheaper than local cigars. It will also broaden my exposure to imported cigars.

  9. Hello,
    I puchased an old box of 25 fancy tales 19 of them still there of – flor de isabella cigars at an auction. They came in the original tall flip top (walnut?) wood box with a small drawer on the bottom with sponge for himidification. There is an export tag on the box with the serial number 4487224. On the bottom of the box it states “the ordinary retail priceof the cigars herein contained is intended by the importer to be more than 20 cents each”. I am guessing that these are from the 1960’s or 70’s, is there any way to verify the exact age? I put them in my humidor, I will try one in a month or so. Let me know your thoughts. thanks.

  10. I picked up a package of these 1881 robustos today (they were 1290 pesos, about US$6.04 at today’s exchange rates); and they’re a good middle of the road cigar; if I were to cut down to one stick a day (rather than 3-5) these would probably be my daily smokers.

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