Review: Viaje TNT
For those of you that don’t know.
About 2 months ago, I started hearing that Viaje was going to be releasing 3 new (and fairly limited) cigars in the coming months. The Summerfest (part of the “Seasonal Series”, like the Holiday Blend), the Double Edged Sword (or DES, which should be released any day now) and the subject of this review, the TNT, which was released just in time for July 4th.
Viaje have become quite the marketers (and a popular brand) in the last 6 months or so, and the TNT is no exception. Other then the obvious similarities of the cigar with a stick of dynamite (the inch long pigtail “Fuse” is a nice touch), the cigars are shipped in an extremely interesting crate which looks just like an actual box TNT, (my first thought was voiced by another BOTL on one of the boards, “I sure hope they don’t have trouble getting those boxes through customs!”). There were only 50 crates released, and each crate holds 75 cigars (so 3,750 cigars total), and looks like this (Photo Courtsy Viaje Facebook Page):
Now, you may be thinking to yourself (as I did when I first saw one of the TNTs) “That cigar (and idea for that cigar) sure does look familiar…” Well, you would be correct. You see, a few years ago, Don José “Pepin” Garcia released a cigar called the “Firecracker” (which I reviewed here) for a specific store, Two Guys Smoke Shop in New Hampshire. Other then the obvious difference in size, and the fact that one is supposed to resemble a firecracker and the other a stick of TNT, they have quite a few similarities to one another. Here is a photo comparing the two side by side (Editor’s Note: I am NOT saying that Viaje copied any ideas from anyone, and don’t think I would care if they did, I am ONLY pointing out similarities for informational purposes):
And both have wrapped foots as well, (Firecracker on the left, TNT on the right):
But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje TNT (2010)
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L. (Raíces Cubanas)
- Wrapper: Sun Grown Corojo Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 6 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Double Robustoish
- MSRP: $9.50
- Release Date: Late June 2010 (Annual Release)
- Number of Cigars Released: 50 Crates of 75 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
The cigar itself is quite large in your hands, very dense, with a one inch tail (or “fuse” if you prefer) protruding from the cap. I have to say, the cigar does look quite a bit like a stick of TNT (albeit smaller, obviously). The wrapper is a smooth, reddish brown color with a nice amount of oil present, and very few veins are noticeable. It is extremely firm when squeezed (not quite Hard as a Rock), and the wrapper smells of chocolate, cinnamon and pepper. It also has a Wrapped Foot and comes unbanded (no label).
The First Third starts out surprisingly mild, with flavors of oak and leather, but almost no spice or pepper. This changes about 20 puffs in, as the spice kicks in (and when it shows up, it is quite prominent, but not overwhelming in any way). There is also an underlying sweetness that I can’t put my finger on, but I hope that it stays on.
Right after the first third was finished, I noticed that the ash was “Flowering”. This does not happen that often with cigars in my experience, but I find it interesting that the last time I saw it was with a Davidoff Puro d’Oro (Click to see). Not sure what causes it (perhaps a specific rolling technique?) and it did not effect the smoke in any way that I noticed, but interesting nevertheless).
The Second Third changed a bit from the first, with the spice continuing to be a factor (but not even close to overwhelming), but with more of a slightly creamy coffee flavor interspersed among the spicy wood notes.
The Last Third was just an extension of the first two. While the spice was still present, it died down a bit, and the sweetness that I noticed from the first third increased as well (but the creaminess from the 2nd third disappeared), still notes of coffee, leather and oak. Just a nice, easy ending.
- The Burn was not bad, but had to be touched up a few times…the Draw was great for the entire stick..
- This cigar had a VERY dry finish when I was done…In fact, one of the driest I have had in a while…
- One of the questions I have already been emailed is “Is this better then the “Skull and Bones” or “Holiday Blend”? The answer is No. While the TNT is a great cigar in it’s own right, the Skull and Bones and Holiday Blend are on another (higher) level taste and complexity wise.
- I think this cigar is a prime candidate for aging, as the flavors that are present (as well as the spice and sweetness) will combine well over the long haul.
- This was a very slow burning cigar for the size, and the Final Smoking Time was Right at 2 Hours.
The Bottom Line: Despite the very provocative name of “TNT” that this cigar has been given, anyone expecting an ultra powerful, overwhelmingly spicy and strong smoke (a la Tatuaje T110 or even the Pepin “Firecracker”) are going to be surprised. This is a Medium strength cigar (perhaps Medium+) at best. In fact, while I was slightly disappointed in the lack of strength, the actual flavors that were present more then made up for me preconceptions. This is a prime example of a well made cigar with a well thought out blend that is a joy to smoke. It did not blow me away with it’s complexity, but I will be buying more of them to see how they age. I am just sad they are so limited, as I think just about anyone who enjoys cigars would love this smoke.
Final Score: 83