This year, Viaje turned 10.
As with what seems to be the case with any milestone in the cigar industry—major or not—the company opted to celebrate the accomplishment with a special release. Unlike most companies, it opted for three different cigars and even further from normalcy, all three are packaged in jars.
There are a few similarities between the cigars: all are 6 1/4 x 52, all are made at Raíces Cubanas in Honduras and all are limited, albeit in different quantities.
The largest release of the trio is the Viaje 10th Anniversary White. It’s a Nicaraguan puro with a criollo 98 wrapper, though the blend itself is said to be more corojo dominant. Production is limited to 600 jars of 24 cigars, just under 15,000 total cigars.
At $17, a full dollar more than the white, is the Viaje 10th Anniversary Black Edition, or perhaps Matte Black Edition. It’s also a Nicaraguan puro with a criollo 98 wrapper, though it’s more criollo dominant. A total of 400 jars were produced and unlike the white, these jars are numbered. This is the cigar I’m reviewing.
Even more limited than that is the 10th Anniversary Limited Edition. It features a metallic black jar with a gold on black band. It’s a completely different blend from the other two with a Nicaraguan corojo wrapper over a Nicaraguan binder and Nicaraguan fillers. Production is limited to just 200 jars and it’s priced at $17.75.
The jars themselves are nice, perhaps the nicest Viaje has produced. They come heavily protected in a box, including a drawstring bag.
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje 10th Anniversary Black Edition
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Viaje 10th Anniversary Black Edition
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo 98
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 6 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Perfecto
- MSRP: $17 (Jar of 24, $408)
- Release Date: July 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: 400 Jars of 24 Cigars (9,600 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
I like the stealth-looking band against the reddish wrapper. If I’m being selfish, I also appreciate that this isn’t a massive salomones. The wrapper has great color, though there’s some heavy veins on each sample I smoke. There’s not a ton of aroma off the wrapper, though it’s dominated by some acidity and I get some faint hints of gasoline. The foot seems to have lots of flavor, but the relatively narrow opening makes it a bit challenging for me to get as much of them as I’d like. There’s banana nut bread, a semi-sweet cocoa and a really vibrant pepper, though the latter seems to decline the more sniffs I take. Eventually I move onto the cold draw, which reminds me of some older Viajes: a very sweet chocolate cake and a funky floral sensation, almost like the stems of flowers more than the leaves. One cigar has a very distinct cranberry flavor, but I don’t find it on the other two.
It starts almost like sitting around a campfire. There’s a lot of different woody sensations, a saltiness, some burnt graham crackers and roughness on the middle of the throat, though I don’t really get any pepper. The flavor is medium-full, though it’s pretty clear there’s some nicotine. That lack of pepper doesn’t continue for much longer. Eventually, the woodiness combines with a generic earthiness, some sourdough bread, as well as a lot of green pepper on the mouth and tongue. The flavor is extremely compact, it blends together very quick and tight, which makes it challenging for me to pick up complexities. The draw is a bit tight, even after I get around the perfecto nipple, but the burn is good and smoke production is copious. Strength and flavor are both full, while the body is medium-full.
The start of the Viaje 10th Anniversary Limited Black Matte’s second third sees the woody flavors decline. The earthiness and green pepper remain the dominant forces, but there’s now some lemon and creaminess behind it. A greasy potato chip emerges on the retrohale, and then there’s of course more pepper. There’s a cranberry sweetness that emerges every now and then on all three cigars, I really wish there was more of it, but am appreciative of it every time it’s there. Construction remains similar, though a touch-up is needed after the halfway mark. Strength lightens up, which is a bit deceiving because you could be inclined to say that it’s medium-full. The reality is it’s still full, it’s just no longer as extreme as the first third.
A crispy bread crust emerges that complements the earthiness quite well. Flavors remain otherwise similar, though the creaminess is pretty much gone. Sunflower seeds become noticeable with a bit more than an inch to go and I’m sure on an entirely clean palate I’d be able to detect more, but after more than two hours with the Viaje, it’s challenging to find much more. The cranberry continues to show its face every once in a while, but not as much as far as I’m concerned. Strength picks up a bit, somewhere between where it was in the second and first third, while flavor remains full and body dips a bit to medium-full.
- The original Viajes were made at Joya de Nicaragua.
- There was a time where in order to get Viaje releases you had to quickly call a handful of stores to secure a five-pack. Those days are long gone. Viaje is making a lot more cigars than it was seven or eight years ago, not just quantities of specific releases, but also the sheer number of releases. As such, it’s pretty common for me to walk into a larger shop and see Viajes that are over a year old. That being said, it was not easy to find the matte version of the jar.
- On a similar note, it doesn’t appear like the Viaje 10th Anniversary Limited Edition, the one with gold for on black, has actually been released. There’s basically no record of it online beyond the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show. For reference, there are only 200 of those jars.
- I thought this would be another addition to the list of Viajes that are a pain to photograph, but the band wasn’t that bad.
- Viaje has learned its lesson in regards to shipping cigars in jars. In 2013, the company released the Viaje Exclusivo Double Edge Sword II in large jars and without very much protection in the jar and many people reported issues of damaged cigars. Now, there’s plenty of foam within the jar.
- The general rule is the stronger the tobacco, the more challenging it is to burn. I think it’s a plausible explanation for the need for touch-ups, though it’s worth noting the burn line never strayed.
- Strength is full, very full.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was two hours and 20 minutes on average.
It’s been a while since I’ve smoked a cigar this strong—and I feel like that was the intent, or at least I hope so. This is a full cigar, a fuller cigar even in today’s market and it’s not bad, but it sacrifices flavors for the strength. The Viaje 10th Anniversary Matte is a perfectly smokeable cigar now and I’d recommend you do that if you have a jar, but the real test is how this cigar ages. There are signs that it will turn into something far more complex in the future and I certainly look forward to seeing how that plays out in a couple years.