Viaje is a boutique cigar company specializing in the small batch approach to cigar making. Created by Andre Farkas Viaje represents boutique in every sense of the word. Viaje presents quality over quantity. Behind every release there is a vision for Andre about what his cigars should look and taste like. Then he shares them with the boutique cigar lovers.
Viaje Full Moon, a first-time release that comes packaged in an eye-catching circular box depicting a sinister jack-o-lantern on a solid black background. Inside the round box are 24 Corojo-wrapped, 5 inch by 58 ring cigars, all of which are made of Nicaraguan tobacco. The inner lacquered box is protected by a decorative outer cardboard shell. “This cigar was a couple of years in the making,” said Farkas. “The boxes are by far the most elaborate packages I have ever put together.” Only 400 boxes of Full Moon were produced. Both the Skull & Bones and Full Moon are made at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras.
First look is a oily Nicaraguan Corojo wrapper with a fair amount of tooth. The band was pretty cool sporting half a pumpkin, when placing two bands together you complete a wicked looking gourd worthy of a Tim Burton movie. Pre light draw was wide open with aromas of barnyard and earth. First light gave a subtle blast of pepper felt right in the back of the throat with flavors of leather, cocoa and woody notes. After cruise control burn the pepper notes tone down to a nice background spice with flavors of dry toast, charred cedar, coffee and deep rich earth. Final third the spicy notes have turned down a notch with flavors of sweet cedar, leather, earth, subtle chocolate notes with a nice nicotine blast that started at cruise control and lasted the duration, Three Full Moons were enjoyed for this review and all of them were extremely consistent. Construction was solid! The ash held tight with a razor sharp burn line. I liked the complexity of the Viaje Full Moon as all flavors blended in perfect concert to make this a solid high medium to full bodied cigar.
6 pack purchased from J Shepherd Cigars
Cigars smoked for review 3
Size: 5 x 58
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
Drew Estate’s newest creation is Nica Rustica, a one-size line measuring 6 x 52 with a pigtail cap and closed foot. The cigars meant to be rustic and medium to full in bodied are crafted by hand from a blend of Nicaraguan filler tobaccos (a combination of Estelí and Jalapa), a Mexican binder from San Andrés and a wrapper leaf of Connecticut broadleaf grown in the open sunlight of the Connecticut River Valley. The big maduros come in boxes that resemble crates, with 50 cigars per box, divided into two paper-wrapped pyramids containing 25 cigars each. The cigars carry the name and image of “El Brujito,” an ancient term meaning shaman or witch doctor to the people of Estelí, Nicaragua, where the cigars are made. The colorful box features a detachable lid with a notch, meant to be hung in a cigar store or your own cigar oasis.
First look is a rustic looking Connecticut broad leaf wrapper that’s rough to the touch with generous tooth and a pig tailed cap. Pre light draw had slight resistance due to the closed foot with flavors of dried fruit, earth and slight spice on the lips. First light the draw opens up with with flavors of earth, bitter leather and a nice pepper nuance. The Nica Rustica has a chewy feel to it while the wrapper smolders with thick creamy white smoke that’s become the signature of Drew Estate cigars. After cruise control burn flavors of cocoa and charred wood with the leather notes kicking up a notch blending perfectly with nuances of white pepper and rich earth. Final third the strength gears down from high to a consistent medium body with flavors of leather, muted cocoa, earth and slight spice but nothing like the pepper notes at cruise control that turned to more of a background spice. Construction was beautiful and rustic looking. The aforementioned wrapper smoldered with thick white smoke from start to finish, the ash held past the inch point but never broke pre maturely. The Nica Rustica has found its place of honor in the Drew Estate line up, it’s appropriately priced and certainly lives up to the title of the every day cigar created by the innovative artisans at Drew Estate.
Size: 6 x 52
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: San Andrés Negro
From Tony Bellatto and Craig Rossi comes a line blended for the connoisseur’s palate. With Tony’s training as a certified Sommelier and his experience as a tobacconist that marks the third generation of his family’s business, blending a cigar that was meant to be paired with wine and spirits seems to be a natural progression. Teaming with good friends Craig and Hunter Vogel (from Treasure Hunter Wines), they set out to blend a line that would entice a trained palate and be approachable to all. Traveling to the Aladino factory in Honduras, they arrived at a non-hybrid Corojo wrapper and binder with a blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran filler that culminates in a medium-plus bodied cigar, complex in flavors that accent those found in your favorite libations.
From Labarbacigars.com: “We founded La Barba Boutique Cigars in 2010 after many different ideas, cigars and a few too many bourbons. We wanted to present a product to the marketplace that was not only fun but also focused on the craft of blending and making of something that we are both very passionate about… cigars.
After tossing around a lot of ideas, we decided to name the brand La Barba, which is Spanish for “the beard”. We agreed that we needed something that expressed us, as well as everyone around us. Individuality and the concept of expressing yourself is something that we strongly believe in. And we hope you see that in our cigars.
La Barba embodies the idea of the individual, focusing on the idea that everyone is different, their palates included. We will offer a dynamic array of small batch, limited edition products as well as a core group of static products. Focusing solely on quality and small production.
La Barba keeps the nostalgic, vintage feel and utilizes social media and viral advertising as well as personal interaction as marketing tools.
We believe in the artisanship of the craft of premium cigars and the culture and brotherhood it represents. Our passion is what drives us to succeed and we will operate this company on the basis of slow, steady profitable growth. We want to present a unique and unprecedented product as a lifestyle brand. We will focus on being approachable, comfortable, and fun. Family, friends, food, wine, beer and cigars are what we love. It is what we know and what we do best; this company is founded on our love and passion for those interests.”
First look is a smooth looking light brown Honduran Corojo wrapper. Pre light draw had slight resistance with flavors of earth, deep rich cedar and subtle sweet floral notes. Upon first light you are treated to a blast of sweet spice with notes of deep rich cedar and subtle pepper. After cruise control burn flavors of sweet cedar kick in and a rich woody core that is very prominent perfectly compliments flavors of bitter chocolate, slight sour leather, subtle spice and roasted almonds. The burn line started crooked but evened out at cruise control. Final third the dominant flavor of wood mellows out and flavors of earth, leather sweet cedar and slight spice balance out into a medium bodied cigar with a very nice enjoyable finish. Construction was a sturdy box press that started with slight resistance but quickly opened up. The burn line started crooked but evened out with no relights required, the ash was sturdy, non flaky and held past an inch point several times. The cigar was extremely enjoyable and I will be smoking it again.
Five pack purchased from New Havana Cigars
Size: 6 x 52 Box Pressed Toro
Wrapper: Honduran Corojo
Binder: Honduran Corojo
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
CroMagnon has taken a new shape and unlike the Mode 5 that’s in full production the box pressed Blockhead is an exclusive release to a select amount of cigar shops. The CroMagnon Blockhead contains a long-filler that’s a full-bodied blend of some of the world’s most sought after tobaccos. It features a beautiful US Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper, a unique Cameroon binder and an amazing marriage of three Nicaraguan varietals in the filler. The filler leaf for this blend was acquired from three separate growing regions in Nicaragua; Esteli, Condega and a small farm north of Esteli on the Honduran border. The third leaf, a ligero, brings a strong smoky savory flavor to the blend. When combined with the mildly-sweet characteristics of the broadleaf maduro wrapper the exotic bite of the Cameroon binder and the clean finish of its viso and seco companions, the blend delivers the precise deep rich tobacco flavor that Skip wanted to present in the CroMagnon line. “CroMagnon transcends lifestyle. CroMagnon is our culture”
It’s no secret I love the CroMagnon line and the Blockhead moves right up into my top 2! Unfortunately, limited release means just that. I wasted no time getting on a mailing list from Tower Cigars and quickly purchased a box when I was emailed they had arrived. First look is the box pressed shape and a beautiful oily Connecticut Broadleaf maduro wrapper with a slight seam and minimal tooth. This is the first Cro-Mag I’ve had sporting a cigar band, the design was perfect. Two labels, one black and one white . The primary white label is embossed with the familiar Cro-Mag skull while the black label sports CROMAGNON with the RomaCraft logo. Pre light draw had the perfect resistance with notes of earth and rich cedar. Upon first light you are treated to a subtle blast of pepper, coffee, deep rich earth and slight leather. After cruise control burn flavors of charred cedar, leather with the subtle notes of spice and sweet tea. Final third gained flavors of smokey cedar with leather, deep rich earth, coffee, subtle sweet notes and muted pepper balancing out into a medium to full bodied cigar. Construction and draw were perfect only requiring one re-light, so far I have smoked 4 Blockheads and every one has been consistent and an absolute enjoyment to smoke.
Blockheads smoked for review: 4
Size: 6 x 54 Box Pressed
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro
Kurt Kendall has found a cure for Arachnophobia and the bite of this spider is sure to put a smile on any cigar smokers face. Kendall’s headquarters are located in Manchester, New Hampshire, which is known for resurrecting a turn-of-the century brand called 7-20-4, a clear Havana produced by Roger G. Sullivan in Manchester from 1874 until the Cuban Embargo started in 1963. Kendall registered the dead 7-20-4 trademark and debuted the modern 7-20-4 line in April 2009, with Alec Bradley producing it in Honduras at Fabrica de Tabacos Raices Cubanas S. de R.L. The Spider originated in the 1930s in Somersworth, New Hampshire, Kurt’s home state. To test the markets acceptance, it was released to a limited number of New England smoke shops in 2011. The Spider features a Honduran binder and filler tobaccos from the Jamastran Valley and Nicaraguan Jalapa, as well as Columbia. Spider, which Kendall says is medium to full in body, will be offered in 20-count boxes that feature a glass lid with an etched Spider logo, single vitolas will retail for about $11 and will come in one size only 6 X 52.
First look is a dark slightly rusty colored oily Nicaraguan wrapper with slight tooth. Pre-Light draw was wide open with woody notes and a strong smell of barnyard. Upon first light flavors of dark bitter chocolate and expresso with nuances of black pepper in the back of the throat. After cruise control burn the bite of the spider kicks up a notch and the dominant flavors are coffee and dark chocolate with hints of pepper. Final third the Arachnoid still delivering flavors of coffee, leather with the bitter dark chocolate notes mellowing into nuances of cocoa with a rich complex woody core balancing all flavors into a High-Medium to Full-Bodied cigar with a perfect finish. Construction was flawless with zero relights required and the burn was razor sharp.
5 pack purchased from: Smokeinn
Cigars smoked for review: 2
Size: 6 x 52
Filler: Honduran Jamastran, Nicaragua Jalapa, Columbian