For reasons that I don’t understand, Viaje seems to be releasing less and less information about its products in recent times.
While the company certainly releases a lot of different cigars over the course of the year, only a small fraction are actually entirely new concepts. Ignoring the mass diaspora of cigars moving their production to PDR Cigars, most of the details have typically stayed the same from year to year with any one particular cigar. In fact, many of the company’s releases have the same prices as when they were introduced a handful of years ago.
For Zombie that means there are two versions of the cigar: Green and Red. Each measure the same length, but the wrappers are different. Typically, Zombie has been one of the more limited releases, oftentimes just 100 boxes of 20 cigars per each blend, and sent to only two retailers.
This year seems to have changed.
While there were certainly Viaje retailers that did not receive the 2016 Zombies, there were a lot more than two that did, a situation that a spokesperson for the company declined to answer any questions about. In prior years, the Green version featured a Nicaraguan criollo wrapper while the Zombie Red used a maduro wrapper. Looking at the wrappers alone, there’s nothing to suggest that that has changed.
When the Zombies shipped last month, they were joined by Zombie Antidote and Zombie Super Shot, which were listed at the same prices and sizes as previous years. There were retailers who did not receive Zombie Green and Red, but did receive Zombie Antidote and Zombie Super Shot.
This brings the total amount of Zombies to 10 with four releases of Zombie Super Shot and three Zombie Antidotes.
- Viaje Zombie (4 3/4 x 52) — April 2011 — 100 Boxes of 20 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Zombie (2012) (4 5/8 x 52) — May 2012 — 150 Boxes of 20 Cigars (3,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Zombie Super Shot (3 1/2 x 54) — May 2013 — 400 Boxes of 25 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Zombie Black Box (5 x 52) — May 2013 — 100 Boxes of 20 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Zombie Natural Box (5 x 52) — May 2013 — 100 Boxes of 20 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Zombie Green (5 x 52) — April 2014 — 100 Boxes of 20 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Zombie Red (5 x 52) — April 2014 — 100 Boxes of 20 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Zombie Super Shot (3 1/2 x 54) — April 2014 — 400 Boxes of 25 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Zombie Antidote — 500 Jars of 24 Cigars (12,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Zombie Green (2015) (5 x 52) — April 2015 — n/a
- Viaje Zombie Red (2015) (5 x 52) — April 2015 — n/a
- Viaje Zombie Super Shot (2015) (3 1/2 x 54) — April 2015 — n/a
- Viaje Zombie Antidote (2015) (6 1/4 x 44) — April 2015 — n/a
- Viaje Zombie Green (2016) (5 x 52) — March 2016 — n/a
- Viaje Zombie Red (2016) (5 x 52) — March 2016 — n/a
- Viaje Zombie Super Shot (2016) (3 1/2 x 54) — March 2016 — n/a
- Viaje Zombie Antidote (2016) (6 1/4 x 44) — March 2016 — n/a
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Zombie Red (2016)
- Country of Origin: n/a
- Factory: n/a
- Wrapper: n/a
- Binder: n/a
- Filler: n/a
- Length: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Perfecto
- MSRP: n/a
- Release Date: March 21, 2016
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
I don’t ever recall having issues with the Zombie Red wrapper, but this year’s is particularly pretty, and is incredibly smooth and even to the touch. There are certainly veins and some differences in coloration on spots of the wrapper, but I do like the way the cigar looks and feels. As for the aroma, there’s a nice mixture between fresh mulch and a milk chocolate. The foot, which is partially covered, features a bit more of the chocolate flavor, but is otherwise the same. Cold draws deliver a huge chocolate flavor with some dry earth and orange peel before a sharp pepper hits the back of the throat. It’s rather reminiscent of many Viajes I smoked a handful of years ago.
On all three samples, the draw ends up being significantly tighter than I originally anticipated. I’m not overly concerned given the nipple of the cigar should allow for it to open up a bit. Flavor-wise, there’s bark, charcoal and some grassy flavors. The charcoal flavor is quite distinct and right below it lies some unsalted/unbuttered popcorn flavors: light and fragrant. That charcoal flavor becomes the central point of the first third of the Viaje Zombie Red, followed closely by some bark with a meatiness, apple cider and bits of cocoa behind it. Once the smoke leaves the mouth, there’s some plums, but the finish is dominated by nuttiness, some watercress and other spicier herbs. It’s not perfect, but the flavors work extremely well together to make for a very enjoyable first third flavor-wise. The flavor and body are both full, but the nicotine content is medium-plus, although building. There’s some unevenness in the burn, but it eventually works itself out.
While the draw definitely gets better after the nipple is burnt through, it ends up being the least of my concerns. After burning well for about two inches, two of the Viaje Zombie Reds begin to tunnel. All three see the draw continuing to open well beyond where I would have preferred it stop, but it’s not something I have any control over. The flavors rearrange themselves with a dark, dry chocolate coating the tongue around some musty earth, a sour woody flavor and some white rice. There’s a mild spice mixture on the tongue and a vodka-like potato/alcohol flavor on the finish. The retrohales ramp up with lots of hay surrounded by sharp pepper, vanilla and some white breads. Also changing is the strength, now very much full.
There’s no let up in strength in the final third of the Viaje Zombie Red (2016), but there is a somewhat odd change in flavor. It’s much smoother with creaminess on top of the earthy and now nutty core. The retrohale has a lot of lemon, some dank earth and bread. There’s cocoa and bark on the finish, although I’m honestly not sure if that’s just remnants of earlier parts of the cigar still left on my palate. The draw oddly tightens, which is a good thing.
- The idea behind Zombie is actually tied to another Viaje release, Skull and Bones. That series is based off of bombs, the idea is that after the bomb drops, there are zombies and then you need an antidote. That being said, Viaje does not always release a Zombie after Skull and Bones.
- While I certainly understand there is some appeal to things that are mysterious and I also understand that some manufacturers want to avoid pre-conceived notions about certain cigars, Viaje’s spotty disclosure isn’t something that I see benefitting them. A product like Skull and Bones M?styery or Friends & Family, where the company has always refused to talk details makes sense. I’m not certain what the appeal is for Zombie.
- I smoked the original Zombie Red, which had some significant construction issues. This version was better in just about every way, although the tunneling issues in the second third weren’t my favorite thing.
- Strength was full, although the first third was oddly quite mild.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time was two hours and five minutes on average.
While the exact words are not found on the bottom of every recent Viaje review, my belief about the current state of the company’s cigars seems to be relatively consistent over the last year or so: things are turning around. The Viaje Zombie Red, particularly the first half of the three samples was one of the best Viaje experiences in years. While the latter half didn’t live up to the high bar, the cigar was still quite good, missing the excellent mark by a few construction woes.