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Fewer cigars in Viaje’s portfolio have been the lightning rod that the Zombie was when it was announced in April of 2011. While rumors of the blend being based off the WMD or MOAB had people talking, what really got the cigar into the spotlight was the controversy about its name. In some forums, Andre Farkas was made out to be stealing from Tatuaje’s Monster Series, a claim he responded to via his Facebook page:

Zombie was born out of WMD and was in no way meant to compete with Tatuaje. Pete has created an incredible product that has found tremendous success. It is a shame that comparisons have been made. This was never the intent.

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The 2012 release of the Zombie was limited to just three stores, Tower Pipe & Cigars in Sacramento, Anthony’s Cigar Emporium in Tucson and The Humidor Cigar and Lounge in Wichita. The cigars for the original review and this redux came from Anthony’s, who held a release party with Andre Farkas in attendance. At that event, Farkas was seen handing out a precursor to the recently announced Viaje Exclusivo Super Lance, as well as a Viaje White Label Project cigar called the Potato Masher, a Salomon with a triple-capped foot that has yet to be released.

Here’s what I said in my original review of the 2012 edition of the Viaje Zombie:

If you managed to pick up some of the 2012 Viaje Zombies and want to smoke them now, I highly recommend dry boxing them for at least a day and packing a good amount of patience and some extra lighter fluid. There are some really tasty flavors in the cigar, but with the moisture levels being as high as they are, it takes a lot to patience to get to them. Unfortunately this cigar seems to reinforce the notion that some Viaje cigars just aren’t ready to smoke when they hit store shelves, which is a shame because it sure seems like there’s a tasty, peppery, full bodied cigar under that soggy blanket.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Zombie (2012)
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 4 5/8 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: $13.00 (Boxes of 20, $260.00)
  • Date Released: May 18, 2012
  • Number of Cigars Released: 150 Boxes of 20 Cigars (3,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1

The 2012 Viaje Zombie is still as dark and oily as I recall it being when I originally smoked it last May. The prelight aroma still seems rooted in sweet barnyard with just a touch of bitter chocolate, though the notes seem to have gotten just a touch lighter. The cold draw offers much more in the way of dark chocolate – a delicious note that’s just the slightest bit bitter. There seem to be little bumps sticking up under the wrapper at certain points that go beyond what could be described as toothiness; having just been to a shop in Nicaragua that sells leather boots and belts, it made me think of some of the ostrich skins I saw.

As I did in the original review, I left the capped foot in tact and burned through it, which delivers a peppery start that hits both the palate and nose before adding a slight note of chalk which further stimulates the nostrils. The first third sees the flavor slowly dial itself in to a medium-plus to full body and strength level, before the second third bring a strong earth and dark coffee flavor into the mix that pushes things into the full category. Burn issues have been nil up to this point, though too much rest translates into having to draw just a bit too hard to get the smoke production ramped back up, and depending on when this happens, can send an incredibly peppery bit of smoke into your mouth and nostrils.

Viaje Zombie  2012

The second half starts with an explosion of white pepper before mellowing out substantially, as the coffee has become lighter and the earth note has almost entirely disappeared. The retrohale remains the most peppery part of the cigar, and is only tolerable in very small doses. It’s not long before the pepper returns as the leading note in a slightly thinner bodied smoke with a long finish that lingers on the palate.

89 Overall Score

In my original review, I noted that the moisture levels seemed to be hampering the flavors' ability to stand out, and I'm happy to say that for the most part, that problem seems to have been resolved. While it probably wouldn't have hurt to dry box this for a few hours, nearly a year of being untouched in the humidor has done wonders for this cigar. The flavors are much brighter and cleaner – though bear in mind it is still a very pepper and earth laden cigar and leaves a bit to be desired in terms of complexity. If you have one of these, now's a great time to really enjoy one and establish a new baseline for how this could develop in a few more months.

Original Score (May 2012)
86
Redux Score (May 2013)
89

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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