Last year, Viaje introduced one of its most exclusive offerings to date, an event only cigar named Secret Sauce. The 5 1/4 x 56 box-pressed cigar is available only at events with Andre Farkas and is allegedly based off arguably the next most exclusive Viaje, Friends and Family.

Introduced first at a May event in North Carolina, Secret Sauce has shown up in a few other places as Andre Farkas sporadically attends events. It is sold to consumers in boxes of 15, which are rather similar to the Viaje Zombie.

Viaje Secret Sauce Box 1

Viaje Secret Sauce Box 2

Viaje Secret Sauce Box 3

Viaje Secret Sauce Box 4

Secret Sauce has its own special band which has “event only” accents. 

Viaje Secret Sauce 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Secret Sauce
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L.
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 5 1/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 56
  • Vitola: Robusto Extra
  • Est. Price: $12.16 (Boxes of 15, $182.42)
  • Date Released: May 17, 2012
  • Number of Cigars Released: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 5

The Secret Sauce is dark, slightly darker than I recall any Friends and Family being, but only slightly. The cigars are rolled very well with a nice box-press. There’s a sweet barnyard note from the wrapper. The foot is much more lively with chocolate overtaking the barnyard. From the cold draw I get some sweetness, chocolate, leather, espresso—a simple mixture.

It begins with toasty and sweet notes. it takes a few moments and then a barbecue note and Worcestershire note pair wonderfully together to present a very complex secondary note underneath a somewhat elementary harsh cedar and a generic sweetness. I have little to complain about the draw and smoke production, but the cigar is requiring a few touch-ups in the first two inches.

Viaje Secret Sauce 2

Into the second third and the Secret Sauce is picking up a lot of sweetness. While the complexities in the barbecue note disappear, the harshness also departs—which results in a welcome change. There’s still a lot of cedar, a minor amount of pepper, but its still a pretty full flavor. Strength is medium-full, quite static. The Viaje’s burn issues remain, but the draw and smoke production are still quite good.

Viaje Secret Sauce 3

The final third changes completely. There’s an incredible rich chocolate with some creaminess and a dose of saltiness on the finish of the retrohale. A candied raspberry develops midway through the last inch, which makes for a rich modern dessert feature. For those concerned about ti being too sweet, it’s not, the cedar is still very much present and the dessert notes are playing in different parts of the palate. It’s an incredible change from what was a somewhat mundane second third and a great way to end the Secret Sauce.

Viaje Secret Sauce 4

Final Notes:

  • Previously, the Exclusivo Corona Gorda was Viaje’s event only cigar.
  • I found very little similarities between this and the first two releases of the Friends and Family. I would say Secret Sauce is fuller, a bit more straightforward.
  • Strength-wise, the cigar is medium-full.
  • While I do like the boxes, I imagine they are probably prone to scratches and dings.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel. We paid $182.42 at an Arizona event in December, the cigars have been at the halfwheel office ever since.
  • Final smoking time was one hour and 35 minutes.

Leave a comment to win a three-pack of Viaje Secret Sauce. Contest ends Feb. 15, rules are here.

90 Overall Score

This was a tale of two cigars, and then another two cigars. The first two samples I smoked were less than impressive, but, a little more time in the humidor changed things a lot. I do not completely understand why the cigar got so much better, but the last three I smoked were all very good, except for the second third. This is not the most nuanced Viaje, but it is quite complex. There’s a wonderful pairing of flavors in the first and final thirds, and then, a bit of a let down in the middle of the cigar. There’s also still some issues with the cigar burning flawlessly, a distraction more than a detriment. 

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.