Wrapper: Ecuadorian Des Florada, Aged Nicaraguan Habano (Double aged Nicaraguan Habano picked “Prieto”…”Extra Dark and Powerful and aged down”)
Binder: Nicaraguan Aged Media Tiempo
Filler: Nicaraguan Aged Media Tiempo, Nicaraguan triple aged Ligero
Size: 5 x 50 Robusto
Today we take a look at the 2017 Mash-Up by Isabela Cigar Co.
Thanks to Johnny Piette.
From Isabela Cigar Company:
“Mash-Up has the same tobaccos as used in the time-Traveler, in different amounts and combinations.
Cigars were produced in late July, 2016.
“The Mash-Up is a 5 x 50 robusto that we created and produced in August 2016 from the same blending sessions that yielded the Time-Traveler; as well as the as yet to be released corona: Isabela StarDust. All 3 vitolas share similar tobaccos in different variations, formatted and blended to the size.
“The Mash-Up literally reveals the same transitions as the Time-Traveler, compressed and “mashed-up” into a powerhouse 5 x 50 Robusto format, which causes the transitions to come on much, much faster and more powerful!
“I feel the success of these blends is revealed by, most importantly, the unique quality of the flavor profile…as well as its ability to transcend and transition simultaneously throughout its consumption!!
“We are going to soft drop the Mash-Up the release to a few retailers in the next 2 weeks…and have a pre-Father’s Day promo of:
1) 2017 Isabela Ltd. Edition Mash-Up Robusto 6-PACK is $50.00 and includes Free Shipping
2) 2017 Father’s Day Luxury 10 Cigar Sampler Box ($89.00 + Free Shipping) includes:
2 – Sparkle Robustos
2 – True Cuban-Sized Coronas
2 – Belicoso X
2 – Ltd. Edition Mash-Up Robustos
2 – Ltd. Edition Serpentines
Go to the Isabela Cigar Co. web site.
The serpentine dos capas is a bitch to roll. The Mash-Up is consistently on point with this process being done by very experienced rollers. Every stick I received is an example of excellent quality control and pride in one’s work.
The stick is firm without soft or hard spots. Only a few veins appear here and there. The triple cap on each stick is cigar art at its best.
The wrapper is toothy with a fine sandpaper grit feel.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW POINTS:
From the shaft, I can smell dark chocolate, spice, cedar, caramel, sweet cream, and baking spices.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell potent red pepper, chocolate, cedar, caramel, baking spices, banana, macadamia nuts, pistachios, strong espresso, malts, and mint with menthol overtones.
The cold draw presents flavors of sweet cream, red pepper, baking spices, sourdough, chocolate, espresso, exotic nuts, cedar, malts, and café latte.
I find a tiny plug near the cap. Out of the 3 I’ve smoked, this is the first time it has happened. I grab Dr. Rod’s PerfecDraw cigar poker and within two insertions of the tool, the draw is spot on.
Isabela follows the age old Cuban method of lightly sweetening the tip of the cap. It is very mild and palatable. It doesn’t linger. This is not something I usually care for but in this case the sugary taste dissipates in just a moment or two. Sweetened caps get a bad rap…Too often, cheap bundle cigars are dunked in sugar vats to hide the offending taste of the crap tobacco.
First flavors to debut from the tobacco wiener are elements of very spicy red pepper, intense creaminess, chocolate, malt, cedar, berries, buttery toast, and salted roasted nuts.
This is how a stick should taste. Not ¼” in or ½” in…Immediately.
The char line is nearly dead nuts perfect.
The spiciness bounces back and forth between black and red pepper causing involuntary colonic explosions on my part. I scare the cat.
Strength is a solid medium.
At this early point, transitions kick in as flavors begin to cycle.
More good stuff…a load of creamy banana. Something that showed up in the Time Traveler blend but not nearly as potent as it does in the Mash-Up. Tell me how the fuck you make cigar tobacco taste like banana crème?
The Isabela Time Traveler is unique in that it was designed to have 8 separate sections of flavors along the 6.25″ length. John Piette, owner of Isabela, told me that there is a similar pattern of distinct flavor transitions throughout the length of the Mash-Up. I pulled the Time Traveler apart ¾” at a time in my review but it caused a number of ticks and involuntary twitching all day long upon completion of that review. I had to write and edit for 3 days to get it right. Since I’m old and lazy, I shall be content to do summaries for the Mash-Up as they occur.
Chocolate intensifies and deepens. Remember tin roof sundaes? My father’s favorite sundae so of course it is what I got every time we went to Baskin Robbins back in the early 1900’s. It is a delicious combo of vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, and magical tiny Spanish peanuts.
I have a tin roof sundae on my hands.
Man this will be tough. The Time Traveler was an uber killer. I’m not talking about a guy who picks you up in a car with a ski mask. I’m talking about how this blend has lifted my spirits and my greedy palate from the first moments of this experience. I gave the Time Traveler an unreal rating of 98. Will the Mash-Up compete?
So far….it seems to be heading that way.
Screw those $13-$25 boutique and catalog brands. This killer klown is only $9. Damn straight and I have no idea how a small company like Isabela can do this. Johnny is a mad tobacco scientist with Tesla coils inundating his abode.
This is Johnny:
The MU is complex heavy now. The transitions of flavors are moving at 299,792,458 m/s. Yeah, I Googled it. And I watch “Cosmos.”
The first third went by like a flash. No it didn’t burn quickly…rather; time has been altered to accommodate the depth, charisma, and zenith of this celestial monolith so its verisimilitude would mimic a newly acquired sentient being. (Wish I was smart enough to use onomatopoeia adjectives. But alas, my I.Q. of 68 prevents this.)
Smoke time is 30 minutes.
Flavors of chocolate, malt, creaminess, peanuts, banana, espresso, black pepper, vanilla, and salted licorice are running amok without supervision; while holding a pair of scissors.
More flavors kick in: honey, cinnamon, and lime citrus.
This is fucking ridiculous. The Mash-Up is like watching the last scene from “2001: A Space Odyssey” in a theater’s first row while on peyote. Back in 1968, the movie only played at the Hollywood Cinedome. The precursor to IMAX for its day. Stoned Hippies lined up for blocks to see this flick. I was one of them. You always knew which ones took acid as they were the first to scream like little girls during that final scene. Remember, this was also the year that Elvis starred in the movie, “Speedway.” No Hippies lined up for that flick. And the year that The Beatles’ “White Album” was released.
Once again, Isabela Cigar Co. has created an extraordinarily unique and sophisticated blend.
The M-U finds its strength in the medium/full mode.
The burn has been completely reliable and without Covfefe (Covfefe is the once secret name of an ancient tentacle monster that white supremacists fornicate with.) Hey. I didn’t tweet this.
New Breed and Old School. Terms I use to describe the different approach in blending cigars. Old School mode is made up of standard catalog brands that have been around since the dinosaurs and need several months of humi time. New Breed guys are the challengers of the norm who blend with extreme passion and find a way to make the blender’s intent available within weeks.
The Mash-Up was good to go in only 2-3 weeks.
Flavors are doing the Hokey Pokey on my palate while I figure out how to close the gap between right foot in…then left foot out and shake it all about. I’m Hokey Pokey challenged.
Transitions occur so quickly, I find my brain trying to keep up with the changes. Not a single item I’ve described has disappeared. But identifying them must be done with alacrity and speed of thought.
The halfway point brings on pure rapture as this blend sends me to an isle of total tranquility and naked women who want me despite how I look in a Speedo.
Smoke time is 45 minutes.
There are a lot of fancy rating systems out there but we all know that no matter how complex they seem, they still require you to choose. Therefore, it is still subjective as the palate is a magical mystery tour that is different for each cigar smoker. I use my gut and over 50 years of cigar smoking experience. I don’t need a PowerPoint/Excel spread sheet to rate a cigar.
Honey roasted peanuts appear in tandem. (I must be flying somewhere…think I will go to Russia and become an Oligarch and bank in Cypress).
The finish. About 15 klicks long. I gotta run to catch up.
I have been blessed to review some amazing cigars lately. The Isabela Mash-Up is one of them.
While tobacco ingredients are nearly the same as the Isabela Time Traveler, the M-U has its own identity. And every bit as good.
Johnny creates some great blends but the 2016 Serpentine and the Time Traveler have been formulated by aliens seeking world peace just before they destroy Bozeman, Montana on sheer principle.
I’m pretty sure the aliens’ plans are to put the human race into submission by creating docile personalities using Isabela blends. Creating an opportunity to strike…and then eat your face.
Godamm the Pusherman…sonovabitch! What sort of madness is this blend?
There is a surge of providence erupting like Krakatoa. The transitions are no longer hard to discern. Everything is in the open now and easily described. The complexity has the same impact of Rodan on steroids. Mothra doesn’t stand a chance.
I’m not going to list them all again because those that don’t taste all things subtle and nuanced will say I’m fucking nuts.
This is the perfect blend for newbies. While the strength is medium/full, it is so smooth that everyone can enjoy it.
I know you will love this cigar. Period.
Smoke time is one hour 10 minutes.
The ash hangs tough. My naughty bits are exposed so look away. I place a tin pie plate over them.
I attempt to marvel you with a cool photo of the 3 foot long ash and as I go to the window, I drop the cigar. No more ash. Sonovabitch! I throw the tin pie plate to the floor.
The complexity is making my head spin. The wondrous flavors cause a juxtaposition of blender’s intent and final outcome.
The last portion of the stick reaches full strength. Amazingly, the nicotine level is not too bad. I still have motor functions. And no dead relatives whispering in my ear that it’s time.
I have a dilemma. I gave the Isabela Time Traveler a 98. What do I do here? Certainly, the Mash-Up is right there alongside. I shall use the secret Katman rating system.
Isabela is one of those rare commodities in the cigar industry that sells consistently good blends. Not a lot of these out there. Johnny concentrates on quality, not quantity. That’s the ticket.
As the cigar’s end nears, I find no letup in quality. No heat. No harshness. No bitterness. I really love this blend. Trust your Uncle Katman on this. Have I ever let you down? (Don’t answer that).
If you don’t experience the Isabela Mash-Up, which can be bought as singles, I will come to your house unannounced and stay for a week. I will eat your food. I will have my way with your pets. And I will leave the toilet seat up.
The purchase of hundreds of Isabela Cigar Company Mash-Ups must be on your agenda. After all, it is a limited production cigar. If I was rich like Dr. Rod or Pete Leviten, I would take Johnny hostage using ex-Mossad contractors and steal his entire inventory.
As a side note, I just read Leviten’s tweet: “Logging back on after Shavuot (Jewish Sabbath), wishing everyone a joyful Pride2017. This month we celebrate and honor the LGBTQ community.” Leviten isn’t gay but he is happy…not that there is anything wrong with that.
I gave Dr. Rod a chance to respond to my claim that he is mega rich. This is his reply: “I’m far from rich. Keeping mooches like you in business is keeping me from opening an account in the Caymans. Pardon me, I need to head down to the homeless section of Laguna Beach and fix their teeth while they sleep. I love teeth!”
Wait. Did he call me a mooch? Which of 23 cigar forums did he read this?
Starting today, go to Isabela Cigars and use promo code Katman Free Katpack and Johnny will provide you with some extras along with your order. Remember to place the promo code in the memo section during checkout. No need to thank me. Thank Johnny.
One final word…it doesn’t matter how much I like a manufacturer. If his blends stink, I say so. I burn a bridge and move on. But when the product is outrageously good, it deserves my praise. Johnny scares the shit out of me.
Final smoke time is 90 minutes.
And now for something completely different:
1983 The Eddie Munster Chronicles continues…
I finally posted my Butch (Eddie Munster) Patrick music video “Whatever Happened to Eddie?” to YouTube a week or so ago. I held it under wraps for decades to ensure I got paid whenever it was shown on TV. I own a federal copyright to the project and that ensured its safety from sneak thieves all these years. You can watch the video here. You can read the dirt about the project in the Flor de Nino by Marrero Cigars review. In fact, if you enter Butch Patrick or Eddie Munster in my Search Window, a bevy of reviews will pop up with lots and lots of horrifying stories of this episode in my life.
So, on with the horror show…
We traveled to NYC to do the “Today Show.” Along with my client, scheduled to be on the same segment, was Billy Mumy of “Lost In Space” fame. Both were scheduled to sit and talk to Bryant Gumbel. We were promoting the release of the single, “Whatever Happened to Eddie.” We took the theme from the Munsters and put our own lyrics to it.
Getting a license to use the Munster’s theme was a real bitch. They call the big building in Hollywood that houses Universal the BLACK TOWER. And for good reasons. That place has been known to eat artists alive.
At the last moment, we were told that Jane Pauley would do the interview but they seemed to be in the middle of a cluster fuck as the show’s director kept changing his mind during the commercial break just before the interview…and both Pauley and Gumbel kept getting up and down until Gumbel slammed his fist on the table and said, “Goddam good thing we don’t make dynamite here!”
I met both Gumbel and Pauley. Gumbel was an arrogant prick but Pauley was gracious and generous. I stood and talked to her for 5 minutes about nothing. Very down to earth lady. I was somewhat startled at how petite she was. I don’t care what her publicity says; this woman is no taller than 5’-2…with heels.
I stood in the tiny studio, next to a camera man, and watched the interview. Within a couple minutes, I started wishing that I was managing Mumy, not Butch.
I was amazed at how small the studio was. Two small sets. One was the anchor desk and the other had some sort of cheesy backdrop with two comfy chairs.
After the interview, we all headed out together to the streets of Manhattan and hit a bar at 9am. Everyone had breakfast except Butch. He drank his. Butch was the first person I ever knew that did not like to eat food. He just didn’t like it. I had to force him when I was on the road with him. And it wasn’t the coke. He just didn’t like to put food in his mouth.
It was fun talking to Mumy especially about his days on his TV show, “Lost in Space.” The evil lunatic, Dr. Zachary Smith, stranded with them was really, really gay and used to put the moves on Mumy. No one did anything about it. Most think Hollywood is really left wing liberal but in reality, it has one of the worst records for embracing change and humanity.
I slipped Mumy my business card and asked that he call me. Naturally, he did no such thing.
We met some cute girls at the bar and they invited us to a party on Long Island that night. Butch agreed without asking me. We had a big radio interview the next morning and I told Butch we were to be picked up at 8am at our Manhattan hotel…and I didn’t think a trip to Long Island would be in our best interest.
So of course, we went to the party anyway. The only way to control Butch was to leave a Hansel & Gretel trail of booze and coke and I was fresh out.
Butch closed the bar at 4am. I had gone back to our hotel long before. I was awakened by him and about 8 drunken people whom he dragged back to the hotel. They continued to drink until they passed out on the floor.
At 6am, I got up and saw Butch lying on the floor next to his bed, snoring.
I shook him and he was as drunk as a skunk. I couldn’t get him to wake up so I threw 3 glasses of water in his face which elicited a lot of thrashing and cursing.
He then begged me to call the radio station and ask them to postpone the interview until the next morning.
I was livid. This was the NBC affiliate that was syndicated all across America. I think it was the Don Imus show.
He was in no shape to be interviewed; let alone stand up by himself, so I called the radio station and told them Butch was sick. They were enraged. But they gave in, reluctantly, and allowed us to postpone the interview until the next day…and while I was thanking them, they hung up on me mid-sentence.
The moment I hung up, Butch said to me in a slurred voice, “OK. I’m good. Let’s go do the interview.”
I leaped on him while he was still on his back on the floor. I put my hands around his neck and choked him like a chicken. His face turned beet red. He was flailing his arms but he was weak from being so drunk.
He couldn’t talk but I could see in his eyes that he was pleading for me to stop…so I did.
Rikers Island is just not my scene.
I got up, grabbed my bags, took out a $20 bill, threw it on his chest, along with his plane ticket home…and told him he better be at that interview tomorrow. And then I left and grabbed a plane home.
Two days later, I got a call from my publicist who went on a tear and ripped me a new asshole for leaving Butch alone.
All I said was, “Fuck you, you motherfucker!!” And hung up.
Butch did the interview the next morning…drunk.
More on Butch (Eddie Munster) Patrick….
Our press agent had finagled us into an anniversary party for Alan Hale, Jr’s restaurant row on La Cienega Blvd in L.A. The Skipper (Gilligan’s Island) had a very successful restaurant called: The Lobster Barrel. (The restaurant was sold after Hale’s death and the name changed to The Shark Bar)
Did you know that The Skipper’s name was really Jonas Gumby? Yep.
Butch and I arrived at the packed Lobster Barrel and it was crawling with strange celebs.
Star of screen in the 1930’s and 1940’s, Rudy Vallee was there.
Max Baer from The Beverly Hillbillies was there. He was doing his best Elvis impression. No kidding. He had an expensive suit with a cape, shirt unbuttoned to his navel, loads of yellow gold necklaces, lots of gold bracelets, and his hair was dyed jet black with Elvis side burns. He also had three good looking chicks hanging all over him.
We hung out and ate and drank on the Skipper. We also met some up and coming bands, who I can’t remember. Lots of photos were taken by newspaper and magazine reporters. Butch was in all of them.
Now here is where it went south on me….
We meandered towards the exit of the restaurant saying our good byes to everyone.
Hale stood at the exit saying good bye to everyone and thanking them for coming. Now I thought this was his birthday party and as I shook his hand, I said, “Happy Birthday, Mr. Hale.”
Hale didn’t flinch or blink when I said that. He thanked me profusely for coming, gave me a gentle slap on the back, and we were back on La Cienega. Then Butch turned to me and said, “You schmuck. It isn’t his birthday; it’s the anniversary of the restaurant.”
What a nice man Mr. Hale was not to correct me and embarrass me. I met a lot of celebrities while doing the Eddie Munster project back in the early 1980’s. And no one was as down to earth as The Skipper.
Next….the green room at the Mike Douglas Show.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS