There’s not a plethora of innovation when it comes to cigars, particularly rolling cigars. Last month, Viva Republica announced Jailbreak, a product that certainly falls in the minority.
The concept was simple. Jason Holly, Viva Republica’s founder, wondered what would happen if you stuck a lancero inside of a big ring gauge cigar. In the end, the inside cigar is more petite lancero than lancero at 6 x 41, and the overall product is 6 x 58, as opposed to the 8 x 80s that now grace humidors.
That 6 x 41 cigar uses an Ecuadorian habano wrapper. It’s rolled and aged like a normal cigar, but when it comes time to roll the outer part of Jailbreak, it’s placed on the rolling table and surrounded by additional filler, binder and eventually a Dominican corojo wrapper.
Jailbreak was limited to 300 boxes of 20 with a suggested retail price of $12.50 per cigar.
- Cigar Reviewed: Viva Republica Jailbreak
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: E. León Jimenes Tabacalera
- Wrapper: Dominican Corojo
- Binder: n/a
- Filler: Ecuador Habano & n/a
- Size: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 58
- Vitola: Gordo
- MSRP: $12.50 (Boxes of 20, $250)
- Date Released: Feb. 4, 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: 300 Boxes of 20 Cigars (6,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
On some samples, it’s definitely more challenging to identify by looking at the foot where the petit lancero is than others. I couldn’t tell once the cigar was cut, at least visually. The draw is definitely on the tight side and has somewhat of a unique resistance, but it’s still somewhat looser than other cigars I’ve smoked. Flavor-wise, I pick up an oak barrel note, some sweet cocoa, dry hay, leather, spices and underlying cocoa on the cold draw.
The start of the Jailbreak has a mixture of cocoa, sweet vanilla, nuttiness, leather and dry oak on the back. While the combination of flavors is something that I find very positive, there’s a richness that is somewhat missing. An underlying sweetness sticks around for the entirety of the first third, as does the oak and nuttiness. Adding itself to the mix is an oatmeal flavor along with sweet lemongrass and a return of the spice. Smoke production is generally about average, but if you want to push the cigar, the Jailbreak does not struggle to deliver heavy clouds of smoke. The burn on one sample is not even, burning extremely well on one side, and poorly on the other.
While the profile gets much smoother in the second third, I’m really in need of some sweetness. There’s a much bigger nuttiness, a creaminess, some tart notes that remind me of Limoncello and a grainy dry wheat pasta. The finish has some nuttiness, grass and spices, but there’s no real pepper. I find the flavor to be medium-plus at best, a bit edgy, but definitely not with the aggressiveness or strength that Viva Republica normally delivers. Fortunately, the burn has evened up and both cigars burn fine through the midway point.
Things get sweeter in the final third, but the Jailbreak is still producing some unpleasant salivation with the drier wheat, oatmeal and nuttiness remaining. There’s leather and a semisweet earth, but I still could do with more sweetness. Strength amps up from medium-plus to medium-full, but it’s still the lightest Viva Republica I’ve had to date in terms of strength. At under an inch left, things become a bit harsh.
- I took apart a Jailbreak and there’s actually a petite lancero inside, albeit, it looks like a piece of a culebra.
- General Cigar Co. actually made a CAO Gold Jailbreak last year for Civil Cigar Lounge.
- The box we were sent had a bit of a paint smell on the exterior, although nothing made it inside.
- That being said, I really do like the new Viva Republica logo with the warhead in it.
- Strength was medium, peaking at medium-full towards the very end, the lightest Viva Republica I’ve had to date.
- Jason Holly said the cigar was made in honor of his stepfather, Jerome Walsh, who recently retired as the superintendent at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Dallas.
- The now defunct Berger & Argenti has a line of cigars called Entubar that featured a protruding foot that made it look like there was a lancero stuck inside another cigar, but there was not.
- Viva Republica is an advertiser on halfwheel.
- Cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Viva Republica.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 50 minutes.
- Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar Co. has the Viva Republica Jailbreak in stock.
Gimmick? Absolutely. I’m fine with it, pushing boundaries—even when gimmicky—is a good thing. It particularly works as a limited concept in the midst of a much larger and diverse regular production portfolio. Unfortunately, this is my least favorite Viva Republica with a profile that was decent, but simply too dry. I probably could solve this by drinking a cold glass of sweet tea, but that’s not how I review a cigar. The other good news? Viva Republica’s regular production stuff is not only available, but better and cheaper.