Review: Viaje Skull and Bones Red WMD (2012)
A few weeks ago, Andre Farkas showed off a new round of Viajes set to hit retailers in mid-March. Included were a total of five different cigars, including three different Skull and Bones. One of which was the newest rendition of the Viaje Skull and Bones WMD.
WMD first debuted in March of 2011, alongside MOAB (Mother of All Bombs) as the first Viaje Skull and Bones Red vitolas. The original WMD was a 3 3/4 X 54 Parejo limited to 250 boxes of 25. This year, WMD is a 3 3/4 x 52 Parejo released in 300 Boxes of 25 Cigars (7.500 Total Cigars).
These three releases brings the total number of Skull and Bones releases to 11.
In order of appearance and release date:
- Viaje Skull and Bones Daisy Cutter (4 x 54) — May 2010 — 150 Boxes of 25 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones “?” (5 x 54) — October 2010 — 150 Boxes of 25 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones MOAB (4 1/4 x 54) — March 2011 — 100 Boxes of 50 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones WMD (3 3/4 x 54) — March 2011 — 250 Boxes of 25 Cigars (6,250 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones Fat Man (4 1/4 x 56) — August 2011 — 125 Boxes of 25 Cigars (3,125 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones Little Boy (4 1/4 x 52) — August 2011 — 125 Boxes of 25 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones “?” Box-Pressed — October 2011 — 125 Boxes of 25 Cigars (3,125 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones “?” — October 2011 — 250 Boxes of 25 Cigars (6,250 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones WMD (3 3/4 x 54) — March 2012 —300 Boxes of 25 Cigars (7.500 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones MOAB (4 1/2 x 52) — March 2012— 300 Boxes of 25 Cigars (7.500 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones FOAB (4 1/2 x 56) — March 2012— 300 Boxes of 25 Cigars (7.500 Total Cigars)
And the particulars.
- Name: Viaje Skull and Bones Red WMD (2012)
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L. (Raíces Cubanas)
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Size: 3 3/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Petit Robusto
- MSRP: $8.96 (Boxes of 25, $224.00)
- Release Date: March 12, 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: 300 Boxes of 25 Cigars (7,500 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
It’s a bit smaller than the original, and by smaller, I mean two ring gauge differences. The WMD’s wrapper is very oily with veins prominent throughout the Nicaraguan wrapper, which displays quite a bit of reds. Aroma-wise, there’s faint leather and sour earth, medium plus at best even straight out of the cellophane, which is a bit light as far as the Viajes go. From the foot, there’s a lot of sweetness from cocoa and earth with red pepper towards the end. The cold draw is rather open with leather up front and hickory underneath the familiar earth and pepper.
The first third of the Viaje Skull and Bones WMD begins with earth and pepper, although it’s a bit muted. There’s some leather and woods that quickly join the fray with a bit of red pepper on the finish. The draw is once agin open with an average smoke production. While there is a blast of strength at the beginning, you can tell it’s trying to settle down. It eventually becomes a core of sweet earth, coffee, touches of cedar and an herbal note. The red pepper remains at the back of the throat, although by the end of the first third it is more of a pepper mixture than the defined note it began as.
Into the second third and the inconsistent smoke production and burn are becoming more of a problem, although more annoying than actually causing construction malfunctions. Pretty quickly in and cocoa and toastiness become the dominant flavors over the cedar and red and black pepper mixture. While I’d still describe it as full, it is not the in your face profile the name and band would lead you to believe. That being said, I still find the flavors harsh, although not gritty at all. Strength is beginning to decline leaving the 2012 rendition of the WMD somewhere in the medium-full range.
The final third sees the draw close slightly, still unfortunately wide open. Flavor-wise, the harshness begins to settle while the earth mixes with the cocoa and coffee to create a more linear profile for the closing minutes. One thing that is clear despite the intertwined nature is the developed flavor. One thing that has remained consistent is the pepper, which still dominates the finish.
- Quite frankly, the Skull and Bones release is one of the most confusing lines in the cigar world. There are two different lines, red and black, various sizes and a multitude of inspirations. While 2012 only marks the third year of what is likely Viaje’s most popular line, there does seem to be some consistency in releases: this is the second year in a row we’ve seen a March release and the October “?” has appeared two years in a row. The real question is the post-IPCPR/August release and the April release.
- I’ve smoked a few of the different Viajes from this week’s release and overall, they seem to be a lot better than the release from a few weeks ago.
- WMD stands for Weapon of Mass Destruction.
- There’s some discussion of nuclear and non-nuclear releases, I personally think red and black is easier.
- The WMD boxes, which are seen in the picture above, say “BE WARNED.”
- Even fresh, the strength is nowhere near what I expected, medium-full is what I’d describe it, particularly after the first five or so puffs.
- Final smoking time was one hour and five minutes.
- If you are interested in purchasing the Viaje WMD or any of the other four recent Viaje releases, site sponsors: Atlantic Cigar, Casa de Montecristo (708.352.6668) and Tobacco Grove are all authorized Viaje dealers.
The Bottom Line: I can’t imagine that the two ring gauges shed by the 2012 version made all of the difference, but the reality is, the 2012 was far more enjoyable than the original. I enjoyed the WMD and wouldn’t mind smoking it again, however, this was neither that complex of a cigar, nor that entertaining of a cigar. The profile changed more than many would think from a cigar that isn’t four inches long, but this wasn’t anything but average in that department. Head-scratching begins at the price where the cigars are nearly $10.00 a piece, which is a problem more for the profile than the size in my book. Still, for those that have been disappointed by many of Viaje’s recent releases, the Skull and Bones will likely be a pleasant experience.
Final Score: 87