Review: Viaje White Label Project Candela
In continuing with our “Viaje Week” today we will be taking a look at the Viaje White Label Project Candela. The Candela wrapper once popular in the United States many decades ago has been recently made “cool” again by Dion Giolito of Illusione fame. While the Candela made by Illusione is a full production line this is strictly a Limited Edition made by Viaje and is part of their “White Label Project”. If any of you are unfamiliar with the White Label Project Andre Farkas (Viaje brand owner) has said this publicly about the subject:
WLP is the vehicle by which we will release experimental blends, shapes, mash ups, factory errors, etc. It’s a peek behind the factory curtain.
This is WLP’s purpose. Blends, shapes, etc. that would normally never get released will be available under this label. We will also be listening to your ideas. If we hear something suggested that might make a good cigar you might see it released under WLP.
We recently reviewed the first release under the White Label Project here which was based off of the Summerfest blend. It is unclear at this point what exactly the blend of the Candela consists of, but it is indeed a Nicaraguan blend. The WLP Candela is a 5 x 50 robusto obviously made in small numbers, 100 bundles of 25 to be exact and a vast majority of the Viaje retailers have received them, but with only 100 bundles to go around most shops only got one or two bundles. The WLP Candela was released to celebrate St. Patricks Day.
Although at the time of this review I have heard reports of retailers who still have them so call around to the Viaje shops and you might locate some, including the wonderful Empire Cigars in NC, where we purchased ours
Here is a photo of what the bundles look like (photo courtsy Andre Farkas’ Facebook Page):
One of the issues that popped into my head immediately after hearing about this Viaje Candela release was, “Viaje and Illusione are made in the same factory, right?” Indeed this is true both Viaje and Illusione are manufactured at the Raices Cubanas factory in Honduras. I thought to myself, “Could they be using the same exact Candela leaf?” At this time it is unclear whether the same Candela leaf is used on both cigars but here is a photo of the Illusione Candelas lined up with the new Viaje Candela; what do you think?
The fact is it’s really impossible to tell from just looking at the wrappers because as you can see the Illusione HL Candela is complete shade lighter than the other Illusione Candelas. We all are quite familiar with how much variation there can be between wrappers from the same crop so it’s hard to go on that alone. At this point all we can do is speculate as no one is really saying.
Enough of all that though, let’s get into the review.
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje White Label Project Candela
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L. (Raíces Cubanas)
- Wrapper: Candela
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Size: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $8.25 (Bundles of 25, $206.25)
- Date Released: March 2011
- Number of Cigars Released: 100 Bundles of 25 Cigars (2,500 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
Looking at this cigar I must say it’s a beautiful cigar. It has a nice dark shade Candela/Claro wrapper with just a couple small veins and a nice tight pack, it has a dense spongy feel to it. The cigar is rolled well with a perfect triple cap and a tight wrap. The aroma coming off the wrapper reminds me of sprouts, a crisp clean vegetable type aroma. The look of the green wrapper and the vegetable aroma is really weird to say the least but pleasant. There are also notes of hay and tobacco. The pre-light draw is sweet with tobacco and fruity notes as well as some barnyard characteristics like hay and wet wood.
Starting off in the first third I get a toasty tobacco flavor right away it starts off pretty mild but with a little spice through the nose and some pepper on the tongue. There are some mild woody notes as well as some hay, overall just a mild earthy profile. Interestingly there is almost no finish at all most of the flavor is at the draw and right after. There are no lingering flavors whatsoever, perhaps just a touch of tobacco but that’s it.
Coming into the second third the flavors pretty much stay the same, there are little hints of coffee here and there but otherwise just that same mild earthy profile. Towards the end of the second third the cigar picks up a little more. It gets a little peppery and the vegetable aroma from the pre light makes and appearance on the palate, just a touch though, just enough to notice it. The construction is absolutely spot on perfect, it has an incredible draw and a razor sharp burn. It’s a really easy smoke.
Finishing up in the final third the cigar gets a bit deeper in flavor with more pepper and a more flavorful finish with bits of coffee and a touch of dark chocolate. The profile is still a mellow wood with some hay here and there. As a whole the cigar didn’t change up a whole lot but was still a consistent smoke, mild to medium in body and very little strength. The construction is fabulous!
The Bottom Line: The # 1 question is going to be, “was it better than the Illusione Candelas?” My answer would be “No”. I found this to be less complex and flavorful than the Illusione. It is however a good cigar in it’s own right. There are times when you want a really complex cigar and you want to sit there and really evaluate the flavors and that’s great but this was a perfect cigar for when you just want to enjoy a cigar and not have to think about anything. I was able to just sit there and have a good time. There certainly weren’t any issues of bitterness or anything. My one complaint is the finish; it really lacked a flavorful finish and that’s always important in a good cigar. I would actually buy more of these but in the end I would probably reach for the Illusione first.
Final Score: 83