Every year, Andre Farkas of Viaje comes to the IPCPR trade show and seems to complain about why he is there. This year—it was worse. Unlike in previous years where Andre Farkas had sold out of all or most of his trade show releases, this year, Viaje actually shipped the cigars before the trade show started. As such, retailers had no real financial incentive to sit down with Farkas, who was noticeably not thrilled by the situation as a whole. He assured us this will not happen again and also talked about plenty of Viaje’s future plans for the year.
Andre Farkas actually thought about shipping backlights to each of his customers for this release. Why? Because under a backlight the bands of Cache come alive. The theme centers around the places used to store tobacco in Estelí, Nicaragua and as such-the 25-count boxes hold two different TABSA-made cigars. Up top, there is 20 round version of the cigar and underneath a false bottom lies five box-pressed and unfinished cigars. If the consumer reaction is strong enough, Farkas says this will return.
This is a cigar made with Casa Fernández. It’s the first of a series, which will include other manufactures, brands and even retailers. Farkas said he hoped to wrap up the next partner at this year’s trade show, although he didn’t elaborate beyond that. The cigar is made at TABSA, a Casa Fernández factory, and distributed by Viaje.
The company has added the 4 1/2 x 48 Arya size, which Farkas said will be a regular addition for the annual line.
Reserva Aficionado & WLP
The next Viaje shipment will include another release in the White Label Project (WLP) series and a new size to the V.O.R. (Viaje Oro Reserva) and Viaje Platino Reserva (V.P.R.), Aficionado. Farkas said it will be the only size offered this year for the two lines. In 2011, Cigar Aficionado awarded the V.O.R. #5, it’s number two rating in its top 25.
Full Moon & M?stery
The Full Moon will return for its second release, as well as a full line-up of Viaje M?stery, something Andre Farkas said he looked forward to returning.
Stuffed Turkey & Farmer Bill Hatchet
The Stuffed Turkey has left the WLP series and will now get its own band and series. It will be a 5 x 58 size offered in both White Meat (natural) and Dark Meat (maduro) wrappers and get accompanied by Farmer Bill Hatchet, a 7 x 52 churchill. This is the first time this has happened, although the option is always there for any of the releases.
Holiday Blend & Candy Cane
As for the December release, the Viaje Holiday Blend will return after a year of absence. In addition, there will be a new Candy Cane.
In addition, there will likely be one single store release, although Andre Farkas was hesitant to discuss details until the retailer was ready. Over the last year or so, the company has been relatively inactive on that front compared to its history, Farkas indicated that could change, although it does not sound like that will be resolved until 2015.
Raíces Cubanas, TABSA & Casa Fernández Miami
There is no question there will be additional Viajes made at factories other than Raíces Cubanas. Whether or not that will be TABSA remains to be seen, but Farkas made it clear to us—much like Illusione—he was not ready to leave completely. He said that over the last year he has really focused on making the tobacco products better, something halfwheel’s scoring would indicate is working.
Viaje has worked at three factories in the past year—something Farkas explicitly mentioned and something that seems unlikely to change.