Earlier this year, Viaje announced that it would be adding a third factory to its current repertoire, Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA), a factory that shares ownership with the same family behind AGANORSA and the Casa Fernández brand.
The company announced a trio cigars, the Viaje Collaboration 2014, which was done as a partnership with the Casa Fernández brand, and Cache, a cigar inspired by the large stocks (caches) of tobacco that can be found in the AGANORSA facilities in Nicaragua.
Cache as a theme went beyond just a name, as Viaje found a way to create a false bottom in the box that hid a cache of box-pressed version of the blend. Hiding things actually did not stop there, the bands can be placed under a backlight to show off different branding than what is visible to the naked eye.
The 25-count box contained 20 rounds 5 x 52 robustos with open feet and five box-pressed versions that featured covered foot. AGANORSA-grown Nicaraguan fillers and binders were used for cache, underneath a Mexican San Andrés wrapper.
- Viaje Cache BP (5 x 52) — 500 Boxes of 5 Cigars (2,500 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Cache (5 x 52) — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
While the cigars were part of Viaje’s IPCPR releases, the cigars actually shipped out to retailers the week before the 2014 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show in July.
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Cache
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A.
- Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $10.56 (Boxes of 25, $264.00)
- Date Released: July 15, 2014
- Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
I found that the round versions of the Viaje Cache tended to have a bit more oil than their box-pressed counterpart. I’m not sure what could have caused it—coincidence would be my initial guess—but there is some difference. As for telling the cigars apart, while the box-press isn’t a full-on candy bar sharp, the round version is very round with the foot reminding me of a coin. There’s also the covered foot, which is only available on the Viaje Cache BP. As for the aroma, it’s awesome: sweet milk cocoa, some barnyard and leather and a touch of spice. The typical AGANORSA flavors are bit more prevalent on the foot, although I would say the mixture of spice and pepper I normally find is not there. I pick up sweet cocoa, barnyard, vegetal flavors and red pepper up front. It’s somewhat tight, but the flavor is spot on.
Unfortunately, all three samples spend their first few puffs tightening up. Smoke production is fine, delivering a toasty woods, some red pepper, generic sweetness and burnt coffee before cedar and potato chips enter the finish. The Cache is quite interesting given it’s sweet, but there’s no chocolate noticeable. Five minutes in the strength and body both drop from full to the higher end of medium-full. Flavor-wise, leather, barnyard and dark chocolate begin to dominate with red pepper on the throat and nose. At times, I pick up cinnamon, but cedar is the star of the finish. The draw loosens up a bit, still somewhat tight, and the smoke is a touch warm, but my lighter never needs use during the first third.
Two of the three samples needed a touch-up in the second third. I leave one cigar alone until there is nearly two-inches of uneven burn, while the other sees me trying to correct the problem before it gets out of hand. Flavor-wise, the barnyard picks up, as does the salivation, with the cedar and red pepper moving from dominating the finish to being part of the core flavors. As for that finish, it now is nutty with hints of espresso and paprika—far more complex than the first third. Smoke production is still good, although I still find the smoke to be a bit warm temperature-wise. The tightness of the draw has been worked out, while the strength and body are still both medium-full.
Things fall apart as the Cache hits the one and a half inch mark. Coffee, earth and vegetal notes are up front, but the pepper is almost entirely reduced while the paprika is gone. More importantly, gone is the salivation that picked up so dramatically in each of the second thirds. On two samples I find some Ritz cracker notes in the finish—the first time I remember ever tasting that in the cigar. The slightly sweet, but dry and salty notes were far and away the most memorable parts of the last third of the Cache. Flavors reduce themselves to medium-full, while the strength is now much closer to medium. Interestingly, the body seems to be back to the full mark.
- Cigars for this review were smoked in the first week of September.
- I have had the Cache BP, I prefer it slightly compared to the round one. They were two very different cigars with the BP being sweeter to my palate. It’s a testament to how a small change can have a big difference.
- Viaje’s Andre Farkas told us that he would no longer be shipping cigars the same week as the trade show. Because he had no new product at the show, many Viaje retailers decided not to stop by his booth, which made the cost of the trade show booth a lot more challenging to justify.
- As for whether Cache may return, he said it would be based off “feedback.” This was somewhat confusing, because in the same conversation Farkas admitted he only does a few events, does not read blogs and is generally known as one of the lesser accessible people in the industry. He does partake on Facebook a bit and there are a few retailers that regularly communicate with him, which I imagine is what that “feedback” will be.
- On a personal note, I’ve always found Farkas, in person, to be more than forthcoming, professional and friendly—the exact opposite of how generally gets described online.
- He also told us that he originally intended to send each retailer a black light so that they could show off the bands. That idea was scrapped due to a number of concerns.
- While the partnership at TABSA is a new one for Viaje, the partnership with AGANORSA/Casa Fernández is not at all. Since Viaje left Joya de Nicaragua, its original manufacturing partner, it has worked with AGANORSA.
- Strength is medium-plus to medium-full, on the somewhat lighter side of most Viajes I’ve smoked.
- In addition to Collaboration, Viaje also shipped Satori in the same shipment. Satori 2014 was produced at Raíces Cubanas.
- Earlier this year, Viaje made Plata at Casa Fernández Miami.
- The samples for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- The cigars took one hour and 40 minutes to smoke on average.
There’s nothing wrong with the Viaje Cache, but it’s little more than an average cigar. I avoided the harshness that Brian Burt found in the box-pressed version of the cigar, but this was not the best cigar I’ve had from Viaje, even in recent memory. While the burn issues were consistent, they were hardly destructive. Overall, it’s a cigar that performs solidly construction-wise, is well-balanced, but could do some improvement on the flavor. Perhaps a bit more rest will see a milder, more complex cigar, but for now, it’s average.