I try to keep and open mind when reviewing cigars that do not fit my profile, and every now and then I find what I consider to be a gem with Cro-Magnon. And I will be the first to preface this review by stating the cigar does not fit my profile. But I like to think that I review a cigar fairly based upon the construction, notes, characteristics and more. I do not hate Andre Farkas the brand owner of Viaje and to be honest I only met him for 10 seconds at IPCPR in 2010. With that said and done, I find more of the Viaje cigars to be a miss instead of a hit. I know I am in the minority, as Viaje has a cult following. However, I wonder if the cult following is because of the cigars, or the rarity of them.
Will the Skull & Bones Weapons of Mass Destruction blow me away, or will it be a dud?
Cigar: Viaje Skull & Bones
Size: 3.75 x 54
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun-Grown Criollo
Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Appearance and Construction: The cigar looks like a Nub due to the size of the cigar. Coming in a 3.75 inches with a 54 ring gauge, the Skull & Bones WMD sports an oily wrapper with some significant veins. The roll is slightly porous and by this I mean, there is a slight “gap” where the wrapper seams are in the roll. The stick has a perfectly placed cap and in the hand there is some significant weight. A dual band is utilized one with a red skull & cross-bones the other stating “skull and bones”. Both bands have white accents.
Flavor & Notes: I smoked three samples of this cigar, the first was with a Xikar Scissor cut, and the next two I used bullet (punch/hole) cut. The foot of the cigar serves up some wonderful cedar notes that are definitely intriguing, while the draw has some similarities of rye and a touch of cedar. Once the cigar was lit and I smoked the first third there were notes of dark chocolate, wood and leather. The retro-hale has some serious spice to it and my nasal passage are pretty much done for the day. As we enter the second third of the WMD notes of rye develop with a slight sweetness hanging in the background. The nicotine levels of the cigar are slowly creeping up and I feel some jitters developing from the cigar. The cigar sadly takes a downward trend from near the half way point as the cigar becomes one-dimensional with no flavors other than letter and massive amounts of nicotine causing the jitters.
Smoking Characteristics: I half expected this to be a quick smoke but it lasted me 1 hour and 15 minutes which considering the size was a nice bonus. The cigar burned incredibly. The ash was a tad weak and dark with some marble like effects to it, which combined with the rye note had me thinking of the Seinfeld episode involving a marble rye. The draw offered some resistance especially with the hole punch, as there was some tar build up with that time of cut. The smoke production was on the light side, and the aroma was average at best.
Conclusion: Around the half way point the cigar turned south for me on my review stick, which was an improvement of the first two which revealed no notes other than leather. Cigars like this are an example of what is wrong with the cigar industry today. Too many cigars are coming out that are all about the strength and not about the taste. If the cigar remained rich and robust like the first half of this review stick, my opinion would be different, but the inconsistencies of the cigars make for a pass. Perhaps next year, Andre Farkas can come out with the ICB in March with a candela wrapper. ICB = Irish Car Bomb. I can’t take credit for that pun though, as I played on the words of someone I consider a friend.
Price: 12.50 in NYC (75% Tobacco Tax)