Sit down, strap in, and let me take you on a journey, a journey of pepper, sweetness, and spice. A journey that is the result of over 13 different strains of high-priming tobaccos, each of which was aged at different lengths, with an additional 3 years of post production aging, to meld the tobaccos into a harmonious blend of many different flavor reveals!
The blend of the Isabela Pepper-Head is a secret and will not be disclosed by the company, other than they sourced the tobacco used in the blend from 13 different farms throughout Nicaragua.
Available in single 5.5 x 42 corona vitola the Pepper-Head is limited to 100, hand numbered and signed, 25-count boxes. The MSRP is set at $8.95/cigar and $189.00 for the Hand Numbered and signed Box of 25. You can also get a 5-pack for $45.00.
As is the case of all Isabela cigars I have reviewed, the presentation of the Pepper-Head is beautiful, with its dark brown Nicaraguan Habano wrapper over what looks like an Ecuadorian Connecticut leaf underneath. The foot is finished with the lighter leaf as the well applied triple cap. There are practically no veins in the wrapper, which also has a decent oily sheen. The cigar is solid to the touch and obviously well packed.
Like all Isabela cigars, there is a single band that adorns the Pepper-Head, which is the standard Isabela logo.
Running the Pepper-Head along the nose, I picked up a slightly musty note along the barrel and a pepper note off the foot.
I sliced the cap with my double blade cutter and gave it some cold draw puffs that offered the signature Isabela sweet tip. Don’t be turned off by the sweet tip, it is the result of the sweet glue that is used to apply the cap in old school Cuban style. A few more cold puffs and you start to experience growing pepper on the lips. Did I mention this is called the pepper head? I did note the draw is a tad tight.
With the preliminary exam out of the way and mostly to my liking, it was time to fire up the Pepper-Head and burn it to ash. Instead of using a torch on this, I went with the soft flame of a cedar spill to warm the foot and get things going. The foot took nicely to the flame while the initial puffs offered a delicate balance of pepper and sweetness.
For this review I sampled 3 Pepper-Heads.
Cigar Review Notes
- First draw offers pepper and sweetness
- Cocoa and coffee notes quickly follow
- Draw is fine – medium volume of smoke
- White ash develops on a medium char line
- Mild wave appears after inch of burn
- Ash fell revealing a well formed burn cone
- Touch of dryness enters
- Solid Medium in strength in the early burn
- Still has a hint of sweetness
- Cedar notes round out the early profile
- Pepper lays gently in the background
- Maple syrup aroma fills my nostrils
- Draw opens up and the smoke volume increases moving into the second third
- Coffee notes increase
- Pepper starts to pick up with some cinnamon – especially on the aroma
- Burning beautifully now, though if you don’t puff consistently, it does go out and needs to be re-lit
- Woody, pepper, and light sweetness fill in the profile
- Licorice notes dance in the background
- Berry flavors enter along with a floral aroma near the end of the second third
- Spice increases
- Syrupy aroma in final third
- Strength moves to full
- Total Smoking Time was just over 1 hour down to the nub
Overall, the Isabela Pepper-Head was a magnificent corona that delivered a cornucopia of flavors and aromas throughout the one hour journey. The core of this cigar was pepper, spice, and sweetness but the nuances are what really keeps your interest, with notes of berry, cocoa, coffee, maple syrup, wood, cedar, and even licorice. From a construction perspective it did start with a tighter draw that eventually opened up and the early phase had a mild wave in the burn. This is a cigar you have to puff often or it will need to be re-lit through the journey. This is box worthy. You can order these still on the Isabela website. I rate this a solid 94.
Point Deductions: (-1) Wavy Burn at Times; (-1) Need to Re-light; (-1) Medium Volume of smoke in first third
Bonus Points: (+1) Buy a Box