Announced in May of this year, the 2021 Isabela Cigar Company PepperHead Gordo was the latest creation to come out of the Isabela Cigars IMAGINE studio.
In the press release, Isabela Cigars stated:
“For this release, we take you on a magical journey to far away lands, and their myriad of different exotic peppercorns and spices , a true “tour de force” of twisting turning everchanging transitions of flavors.
To effect the myriad of multiple reveals in this blend, we utilized multiple different strains of high-priming tobaccos, each of which was aged at different lengths before blending, with an additional 4+ years of post production aging,
To meld the tobaccos into a harmonious blend of many 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, and though we projected this release to be made available shortly after the 2019 PepperHead corona release, we quickly realized that , Due to the large amount of high-priming tobaccos we used for this large Vitola, it necessitated more aging than anticipated!”
When I received samples of the Isabela PepperHead Gordo I was a little nervous about this big smoke, as I am not normally a gordo smoker, but it looked amazingly constructed which is something I have come to appreciate from Isabela Cigars.
The company describes the blend as:
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan (Habano Prieto)/Ecuadorian (Connecticut Desflorada)
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
The new gordo rings in as a mammoth (6 x 60) vitola and comes packaged in 10-count boxes and carries an MSRP of $10.95/cigar. The company notes that only 250 boxes have been produced for a total of 2,500 cigars in the market.
For this review, I sampled three of the 2021 Isabela PepperHead Gordos that I received from the company for the purpose of reviewing on Stogie Press.
To start this review, let me say that the 2021 Isabela PepperHead Gordo is a beautifully and artistically constructed cigar, which is what I have come to appreciate from the company over the years. Though not a normal barber pole where the wrapper leaf is the same widths, the PepperHead gordo uses more of the darker habano than the lighter Ecuadorian, The cap is all Ecuadorian though and can be described as a expertly applied quad cap. The foot is also all Ecuadorian leaf. The cigar is silky smooth to the touch and the habano has a fine oily sheen. Veins are at the absolute minimum and the the packing is solid with no discernable soft spots from head to foot.
A single band adorns the cigar. It is the same as all Isabela Cigars that proudly displays the company’s logo using a tropical motif.
As I ran the PepperHead Gordo along the nose, I was quite pleased with the array of notes I was treated to, including pungent fermented leaf, sweetness and fruit along the barrel barrel that just got better with enticing baking spice and fresh baked bread off the foot.
I sued my double blade cutter to slice the cap straight across the shoulder of the cigar and proceeded to give it some cold draw puffs that I found to offer a sugary sweetness and and growing pepper all delivered though a perfect draw. I will not pull any punches here, the cap is sweet tipped, but not so much that it is putting me off.
Using my triple flame torch, I slowly warmed the foot to bring it to an even orange glow and I drew in the first puffs of pepper and sweetness. Follow along as I burn the 2021 Isabela PepperHead Gordo to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Initial puffs delivered a sweet and peppery sensation
- Light grey ash forms on top of a thin char line
- Pepper pulls back after a half inch but the sugary sweetness maintains
- Full volume of thick creamy smoke
- Nut and dry fruit notes add the the early profile
- Oily burn line
- Cream notes wrap the fruit
- Ash drops in a decent chunk revealing a well formed burn cone
- Coffee notes mixes well with the cream
- Dark chocolate adds into the profile
- The early nut find its way into the aroma
- Natural tobacco sweetness sooths the palate
- Slight off burn develops midway
- Coffee and chocolate continues through the second third
- Moving into the final notes of spice and sweetness takes it to the end
- Medium strength
- Total Smoking Time was 2 hours and 10 minutes
I am always a little nervous about smoking fat gordo cigars as I am tuned more to robustos and toros, but the 2021 Isabela PepperHead Gordo performed beautifully with just a slight off burn midway that did not require any touch-ups to get it straightened back. The cigar offered a complex array of flavors that were pleasing, balanced and transitioned well from foot to nub. With a medium strength, this is a cigar that would be pleasurable to any cigar enthusiast and with over 2 hours of burn time this is most definitely box worthy. I rate this a solid 95.
Point Deductions: (-1) Mild Wave; (-1) Minor off burn midway
Bonus Points: (+1) Box Worthy; (+1) Fine Oiling Above the Burn Line; (+1) Extremely Complex