In May, Las Cumbres Tabaco announced that its second full brand following Señorial would be a blend developed by Emma Viktorsson and Geraldito Perez, the production manager at the Tabacalera Palma factory, where it is produced. It’s Viktorsson’s line, blended without the help of her husband, José Blanco, and with the brand concept inspired by her native Sweden. Freyja is the name of the Viking goddess of beauty and fertility who is also the chief of the Valkyrie.
Blend-wise, the Freyja incorporates a Dominican criollo ’98 wrapper covering a Mexican San Andrés binder along with filler tobaccos consisting of Dominican criollo ’98, Dominican Piloto Cubano and Nicaraguan tobacco grown in Estelí. According to Viktorsson, all of the Dominican tobacco in the blend is sourced from the La Canela farm and has between four and five years of age on it, while the piloto cubano comes from double primings.
Each of the vitola names are based on different aspects of Viking mythology: the Sessrúmnir is named after Freyja’s Heavenly Hall to which she carried fallen Viking warriors, the Valhalla get is name from the place to which the Vikings’ main god, Odin, would take the fallen warriors, Thor’s Toro is named after the iconic god who is associated with storms, strength, the protection of mankind, fertility and healing while the Valkyrie Pyramid is another nod to Freyja as chief of the Valkyries.
As mentioned above, the Freyja line will come in four different vitolas, all of which are sold in boxes of 21:
- Freyja Sessrúmnir Corona Larga (5 3/4 x 42) — $7 (Boxes of 21, $147)
- Freyja Valhalla Robusto (5 1/2 x 50) — $7.85 (Boxes of 21, $164. 85)
- Freyja Thor’s Toro (6 x 54) — $9 (Boxes of 21, $189)
- Freyja Valkyrie Pyramid (6 1/2 x 52) — $10 (Boxes of 21, $210)
- Cigar Reviewed: Freyja Valhalla
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera Palma
- Wrapper: Dominican Criollo ’98
- Binder: Mexican San Andrés
- Filler: Dominican Criollo ’98, Dominican Piloto Cubano & Nicaragua
- Size: 5 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 50
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $7.85 (Boxes of 21, $164.85)
- Release Date: August 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
Covered in a milk chocolate brown wrapper that is smooth to the touch, the Freyja Valhalla exhibits almost no oil at all, and very few overt veins running up and down its length. The band is as busy as it is unique, and the cigar itself is quite spongy when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a strong combination of sweet hay, creamy nuts, coffee, chocolate and oak while the cold draw brings flavors of leather, oak barrels, almonds, tree bark and espresso.
Starting out, the Freyja Valhalla features a nice dominant earthy note interspersed with other flavors of peanuts, hay, anise, espresso and toast. There is an interesting floral note that is present on the retrohale, and it combines quite nicely with some white pepper that is present as well. The finish is creamy and slightly sweet reminding me of maple syrup, and the overall construction is excellent so far, with the razor sharp burn the standout in that regard. Smoke production is about average, while the strength does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, and ends the first third well short of the medium mark.
The maple syrup sweetness increase noticeably in the second third of the Freyja Valhalla, hitting its high point just after the halfway point. The dominant flavor has shifted to more of a mixture of dark chocolate and hay, with other notes of earth, leather, tea leaves, nuts and coffee filling in the gaps. The black pepper on the retrohale has receded noticeably, although it is still strong enough to be a factor in the profile. Construction-wise, the burn remains very even, while the draw continues to give me just the right amount of resistance, and the smoke production remains high. Despite my earlier ideas on the strength, the cigar blasts through the medium mark by the end of the second third, and does seem to be getting stronger going into the final third.
While the maple sweetness does recede a bit during the final third of the Freyja Valhalla, it is still easily strong enough to be a major player in the profile, and continues that way until the end of the cigar. The dominant flavor has shifted again, this time to a creamy peanut note, but the other flavors of leather, bitter espresso, dark cocoa, earth, tea and baker’s spices keep coming fast and furious as well. The black pepper on the retrohale is still present at about the same level as it was in the second third, and closer to the end I even pick up a touch of spice on the finish as well. While the smoke production is down a bit from its high point, both the burn and draw continue to impress, and the strength ends up being just shy of the full mark by the time I put the nub down with about an inch to go.
- The “official release” was described as the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, but it doesn’t appear Freyja has shipped yet. That being said, there are boxes being shipped to customers at the Gothenburg Cigar Festival, which takes place Aug. 14.
- Of the three samples I smoked, two of them had nearly identical profiles to the tasting notes above, while one of them was quite different, featuring noticeably less sweetness and significantly more pepper on the finish. Not necessarily a bad combination, but very different than the other two.
- The artwork on the band is… interesting. While I understand what she is going for and think it will stand out on the shelf, I also think it is a bit busy. Interestingly, despite that business of the overall look, the band still sees almost drab to me, like it is lacking a dominant feature or color.
- Along with the above, the artwork on the band is from an actual oil-painting made specifically for the brand by Jana Jovanova, a friend of the family who lives in Macedonia.
- Emma Viktorsson told halfwheel that neither Jochy Blanco nor José Blanco were involved with the blending process, saying that after more than 10 years in the premium cigar industry she felt confident enough to produce her own blend.
- I can’t say enough about the construction for this cigar. Each of the three samples I smoked had an excellent draw as well as a burn that—while not razor sharp the entire time—never even came close to needing to be touched up more than once. Just a joy to smoke in that regard.
- Having said the above, the ash on this particular vitola is extremely flaky, falling off in little pieces at the slightest provocation.
- Patrick Lagreid visited the Las Cumbres Tabaco booth during the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, and you can see the coverage here.
- The final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 25 minutes.
- The cigars for this review were given to halfwheel by Las Cumbres Tabaco at the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
From the moment I heard that Emma Viktorsson was producing a cigar of her own, I was interested to see what would come from it. I am happy to say that the blend is fairly complex, well-balanced and features excellent construction, a trifecta that is not as easy to accomplish as you would think. The maple syrup sweetness on the retrohale combined with the dominant earth and dark chocolate notes is a great combination, and the black pepper on the retrohale was just obvious enough to make things interesting. Having said that, the strength did get a bit overwhelming towards the end of the stick, and the constantly flaky ash was fairly annoying to deal with. If all three samples had featured the same profile, the final score would be higher, but I have to say, I was quite impressed with the inaugural release from Emma Viktorsson, and it is a cigar I can easily recommend trying for yourself.