Isabela Cigar Co. 2021 Ltd. Ed. PepperHead Gordo | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadorian DesFlorada Connecticut / Nicaraguan Habano Prieto
Binder: Nicaraguan DK5(Nicaraguan hybrid ~ higher priming than seco: aged 5 months before blending, seasoned 6 months pre-production (Capote combo)
Filler: Nicaraguan Prieto 3 DK5, slivers of unripe ligero alto, slivers of unripe media tiempo, slivers of ligero corona
Size: 6 x 60 Gordo
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $12.00

OK. I’m a fanboy of Isabela cigars. I’m going to let you in on a secret…all Isabela blends are seriously aged before they get to you. Years.
Know why? Because Johnny Piette doesn’t have the time to be patient. He is a captain of industry here in Milwaukee running his empire of cigar lounges. And he likes to grab one of his many blends and smoke it…no futzing with humidor time. In order for him to enjoy his own sticks, he figured the easiest and most efficient way to please his palate is to do the work. Let his cigars age for thousands of years. I haven’t had an Isabela that couldn’t be smoked upon receipt.

Of course, I’m still an advocate of not doing that; if you are like me, you like your cigars to be placed into a hypnotic sleep for a few months. It can only get better. No downside.

Besides overseeing his kingdom, he has a harem of women that take up the 82-year-old Johnny’s time that won’t be ignored.
OK. This cigar better be good.

Isabela Cigar Press Release:
Isabela Cigar Company is releasing our latest creation from our IMAGINE studio.
The 2021 Isabela PepperHead Gordo.

For this release, we take you on a magical journey to faraway lands, and their myriad of different exotic peppercorns and spices…This is a true “tour de force” of twisting, turning, ever-changing transitions of flavor and intensity.

To affect the horde of multiple reveals in this blend, we utilized multiple different strains of high-priming tobaccos, each of which was aged for different lengths of time before blending. Plus, there was an additional 4+ years of post-production aging to meld the tobaccos into a harmonious blend of many different flavor reveals…a true ebb and flow experience!

This Vitola was blended and produced at the same sessions that yielded the highly rated 2019 PepperHead Corona. We projected this unveiling to be made shortly after the 2019 PepperHead Corona release. But we quickly realized, that due to the large amount of high-priming tobaccos we used for this large Vitola, it necessitated more aging than originally anticipated.

A total of 2500 cigars produced
Available at Official Isabela Retailers
And at Check website for more info and to purchase this cigar.
MSRP: $12.00

A big honker of impressive proportions. A beautifully constructed cigar. Heavy in the hand like a bag of baby seals. Nice bit of squeeze when squished between your claws. The barber pole is immaculate. The oil drips from the cigar the way it drips from your 1958 Nash Rambler. The triple cap is on display and passes muster. We’ve all owned barber pole cigars and a large number of them are a bit on the sloppy side…not this baby. Every line is crisp and artful.

I expect a lot of similarities to the 2019 Corona version…but I expect some real surprises as this cigar has been super-sized. The differences will expose themselves due to the aging of the blend. Real honest to God aging affects a cigar from all angles that makes it unique from the first batch…it’s an organic thing.

We start with lovely floral notes, followed by caramel, milk chocolate, malt, vanilla icing, creamy coffee, nuttiness, cedar, tidbits of black licorice, dried apricot, that signature banana aroma, and a tad minty. I notice that as I slide my schnoz up and down the shaft, I get various aromas from each part of the cigar.

The cold draw presents flavors of milk chocolate, banana, vanilla ice cream, peppermint, espresso, licorice, nuts, cedar, and caramel.

The tip is slightly sweetened, but I know a lot of you do not like a sweet tip. (There is an inappropriate joke in there somewhere). But it enhances the cigar for me. One, because it disappears shortly after lighting up and, two, it’s a nice mild prize in the Cracker Jack box. Trust me my dears…if the sweetness was dominant or over the top, I’d be the first to call Johnny out on this.

I use my secret punch from Dr. Rod Kurthy of PerfecDraw to pierce the cap. This big meaty cigar is so beautifully constructed that the air resistance is on the money. I put my PerfecDraw away. I’ve become very picky about the draw on my chosen cigars sent from Canaan. The PerfecDraw allows me to tender the exact resistance I like. No longer have to put up with cigars that have a decent draw; but could be better.

Like a bolt of lightning, the first puff brings an avalanche of goodies to my palate…The simple and faint sweet tip augments a whisp of black pepper, creaminess, chocolate, malt, a hint of berries, cinnamon, and rich espresso. And a smack to my uvula of some very decent complexity. We are off and running…

The cigar begins at a strong medium.

The char line is dead nuts perfect. I’d take a photo but I’m not getting up.

The cinnamon drives the black pepper into submission. The creaminess is a lovely counterpoint to the red hots.

The cigar tastes like a great cigar that has been allowed 6 months of naked humidor time. I’ve had my samples for less than a month.

The spicy cinnamon is now a candied apple. I feel the juices running down my leg. A lemon will do the same thing.

And then, because I’m circumcised, I detect some lime citrus. The cigar has a bit of a Mexican food slant. I swear I can taste carne asada. Didn’t happen with the Corona. But flavors come and go making the transitions interesting from the get-go.

So many boutique brands would normally charge you $13-$16 for this kind of quality…but of course, they usually fail. Take the money and run. Isabela price points have always been wallet friendly. Johnny doesn’t need the money…he runs illegal ferrets from the Maldives to the U.S. and is making a fortune. People are just fascinated by those little demons. Supply and demand.

“Mercy Mercy Me” by Marvin Gaye. Catches my mood by the short hairs.

A little more than an inch in, berries take the spotlight. Running from the law along with the creamy milk chocolate. Transitions are happening so quickly that my puny brain barely has time to register what’s going on (Another great Marvin song).

At this point, the flavor transitions are like pointing at a restaurant menu’s varied items. I’ve ordered the left side of that menu. Flavor points are whizzing by like a Borax mule team on Red Bulls.

The spiciness is right where I like it. It’s there but does not interfere with the very subtle notes flying by. Graham cracker joins the pack and I have a Freudian need to drink from a tiny carton of milk with a straw…and then go lay down on the communal carpet to take a nap.

I am highly anticipating what the second half will serve on a platter to my pulsating palate.

I taste maple syrup just like I did in the Corona. The only difference is that the flavors are bigger and broader due to the cigar’s size…the elements expand like a 3lb ball of plutonium. I keep one in the closet for security purposes. No need to alert the authorities. An NSA car sits outside my home 24/7 to keep an eye on me.

The first third flew by. The big ol’ fatty boy is a joy to smoke where time has no meaning. Actually, that’s not true. I look at photos of myself in my 30’s and look at myself now and realize that statement does not apply to me.

The char line is a beast. I can shave myself with that sharp line.

The complexity level leaps like a katman on a hot tin roof. The cigar just became a fugitive of the law and is living with relatives in North Dakota.
First sip of water…and my palate gets stomped by a herd of wild horses that escaped from a dude ranch. My ears can taste the enormous flavor profile.

Several stages of morphing occur. One moment, flavors are out there on a ledge threatening to jump…and the next moment, they are walking in unison holding each other’s hands as the teacher instructed them to do.

The blend becomes smooth as ice. Another level of complexity is reached as flavor points that were once nuanced, live large.

The PepperHead is a friggin’ flavor bomb. The 67 different tobaccos in this blend cause whiplash. My head is spinning. Green guac is flying from my mouth as I utter the words: “Your mother sells socks in hell!” And then I fly off the bed and hurt my coccyx. That’s schmekel for those that don’t speak Latin or Greek.

Strength is medium/full. I have a body buzz. My vision is gone. I ask Charlotte to come in and tell me what to write…”You never take me anywhere but you have money to spend on cigars?” Wait. She’s on a different page. I pry my eyelids open with bobby pins and carry on.

I smoked one nearly a month ago and I knew I was going to make an ass of myself fawning over this blend. It seems I can foretell the future.

I’m proud because I haven’t said fuck once in this review.

This is nuts. Every half inch, the cigar switches from righty to lefty…and back again. My precious bodily fluids order me to seek out strange love.

This is probably the best cigar I’ve smoked in 2021. Not kidding. Yeah, Johnny pays me $17K per month for advertising fees and sexual favors, but that factor has no influence on my thoughts about this cigar blend.

As I approach the second half, I realize this will be a two hour plus smoke. A clockwork orange has got nuttin’ on this baby.

While we are still in medium/full territory, I’m surprised I’m not being sand blasted with nicotine. I can’t feel my left side, but the naughty bits are in play.

I honestly could compile a huge list of the nearly overwhelming number of flavor points but everyone reading this review will point and say Bullshit!

The Smithsonian has asked that after I die, they would like to take possession of my palate and display it in the science wing. The only caveat is I must pay an upfront fee by getting Nigerian Prince I Got You Now donate to the RNC coffers.

Nearly 5 years of aging and only 2500 sticks available. Oh lord, this means I will need to, once again, do strange and methodical things for Johnny’s pleasure. I’ve had to do it before and it ain’t no picnic.

The sheer creaminess coats the other elements and provides a groovy kind of love.

The finish is Bozo crazy. I smack my lips like a thirsty dog lapping up your stream while you stand at the toilet. I can remember 60 years ago and my mother yelling at me when she saw I let our dog do this. I was only 27 at the time so I listened.

I’m enraptured. I am fawning. I am a sycophant. I am woman, hear me roar. Is Generalissimo Franco still dead?

This blend is perfect for my palate. Not a single criticism. Expensive boutique cigars should genuflect in the PepperHead’s presence. 14 Hail Mary’s and call me in the morning. Leave your penis at the door.

It’s taken an hour and 15 minutes to barely get past the halfway point.

I give in…creaminess, chocolate, caramel, carne asada, lime citrus, maple syrup, blackberries, cinnamon, black pepper, graham cracker, banana, licorice, cedar, and a touch of fresh mint. The blend’s nature is so intense that I can’t articulate the tidbits wafting by in a slow-motion moon walk.

I find myself craving my sips of water to see what explodes all over my face. Lon Chaney would be proud.

Did I mention there are no skulls in the cigar band’s artwork?

The strength is heading towards full tilt, but I man up and double up on my Depends.

Every time I review an Isabela blend, I say it’s the best Johnny has created. And here it is again…this is the best Isabela I’ve smoked.
I’m going to ask Johnny for a raise.
Actually, the cigar is a complete dog turd. I said that because John has a weak heart.

Remember your first wet dream? That experience totally encapsulates this cigar’s demeanor.

Stevie Nicks and Don Henley…”Leather and Lace.” Oy gevalt. I feel like I’m in Kenny G hell.

There is absolutely no letup. The cigar begins with a punch to the nads and continues to zap me with an existential lineup of dancing hippos and Micky Mouse outing himself. Walt Disney’s head is spinning in its cryogenic chamber.

At this time, there is no point in calling out flavors. I’d sound like an auctioneer on meth.

The overall experience is just stunning. And you loyal readers know that I’d throw Johnny under the bus if this cigar wasn’t everything I’m reporting. I don’t need his advertising dough. Charlotte quit her job and is now doing tricks at all the senior centers in Milwaukee. We’re rolling in it. Although, when she comes home, she does smell of chocolate pudding and ginger ale.

Construction has been immaculate throughout. The char line is a thing of beauty…like me standing naked on our second-floor balcony…and listening to children below ask their mommies, “Why is that Halloween skeleton out in May?”

The cigar may be full strength now, but the smoothness keeps it in check. The blend is a matrix of concentric circles. Never touching…but spinning in random directions.

I should add a filthy rock n roll anecdote after the review to balance out my fawning but I don’t wanna. Charlotte just left for work wearing spandex pants and a see-through halter top. She should do well today.

“Misty Blue” by Etta James. Perfect way to approach the end of this spectacular journey.

I dare anyone to say that they don’t love this cigar.

The PepperHead is figuring out an exit strategy. I hear arguing. (Last time I drop acid while reviewing a cigar).

Now, I’m going to match the rating of the 2019 PepperHead Corona. I’m not saying it’s the best cigar in the world. I rate cigars based upon being in the moment. If it’s a stellar experience, it should be rated as such.

This was a fun review. I am sated. I must get dressed now for work. My 5.11 gear is perfect as seals are messy.



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10 replies

  1. Oh well, guess I gotta do this.

  2. OK, Bryant…if you gotta.
    It is my honor to fuck up everyone’s day.
    (You spent what on cigars?)

  3. LoL. I ordered two fivers. Given my current stock, the last thing ai need to do is order more cigars, but the last thing I want to do is miss out.

  4. The 2017 Mash Ups are back in stock as well.

  5. Good on ya, Jeff…
    I just snagged a fiver…didn’t pay attention because I’m old and decrepit.
    Here is the link to the Mash Ups which I reviewed in 2017. It rated a lowly 98.
    Thanks for coming to the rescue…

  6. Since I was late on the draw I will at least get the 2017. Thanks for the heads up! Fiver ordered.

  7. Thanks Shawn…
    To put it more clearly, my dear friend Det. Joe Friday said it best:

    Joe Friday:
    After losing the two previous vehicles we had been issued, the only car the department was willing to release to us at this point was an unmarked 1987 Yugo, a Yugoslavian import donated to the department as a test vehicle by the government of that country and reflecting the cutting edge of Serbo-Croatian technology.

    All the best,

  8. Well, shit…
    They are sold out. That didn’t take long.
    Glad you got your fiver, Shawn.

  9. This is precisely why I didn’t mess around, Phil. I’m going to buy pretty much anything you rate above 95%. With this being a 100% score on a Limited Addition, I ordered 10. Then after you mentioned the Mash Ups, I ordered 5. I’m going to put these away for a few weeks before I try one. Thanks for doing what you do!

  10. Hi Bryant,
    Thank you brother…
    I’m glad you got in on the run on those PepperHeads. They disappeared in a flash…all 2500.
    For readers checking this out…I had that 7 day cold twice recently. Plus my new gig has me working like the dog I am.
    I expect to hit it again on Sunday May 30.

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