On March 12, we reported that Viaje had shipped a number of new cigars to retailers, including three new entries in the Skull and Bones series: the WMD, the FOAB, and the cigar being reviewed today, the MOAB.

This is the second installment of the MOAB, which stands for Mother of All Bombs, as well as Massive Ordnance Air Blast. The first MOAB, released in March 2011, was part of the Skull and Bones Red series, the “Nuclear” portion of the line. Apparently something has changed, as the MOAB is now part of the Skull and Bones White series, a change that Andre Farkas attributes to “Skull and Bones Red is nuclear and Skull and Bones White is non Nuclear.”

These three releases brings the total number of Skull and Bones releases to 11.

Viaje Skull and Bones

Viaje Skull and Bones Red White MOAB 2012 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Skull and Bones White MOAB (2012)
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L.
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 4 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Petit Robusto
  • MSRP: $8.80 (Boxes of 25, $220.00)
  • Release Date: March 12, 2012
  • Number of Cigars Released: 300 Boxes of 25 Cigars (7,500 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

The pre-light aroma is loaded with notes of wet wood and bark, though any strong pepper content isn’t readily apparent in the first two cigars. A few extended sniffs seem to suggest it’s lingering in the background, but what pepper is in the MOAB doesn’t reach out and grab hold of the senses until the third cigar. Cold draw is easy and fairly unchallenged, with some faint pepper but nothing up-front. Soilis the predominant note here.

The first third of the Viaje MOAB wastes no time getting down to business: dry wood leads the flavor charge, providing a spice-like tingle on the tongue before pronounced notes of pepper come out within the first 10 puffs. There’s a hearty amount of smoke both at rest and in action, giving the nose a full-time sensory experience. The pepper backs off a bit as the transition to the second third begins, giving the MOAB a hearty, robust flavor that has some spice but is driven more by a rich, meaty note with a background of dry wood.

Viaje Skull and Bones Red White MOAB 2012 2

A fairly uneventful second third is salvaged by a bit of pepper coming out as the MOAB moves to the final third, and while it’s relatively mild on the palate it really lights up the nose. The flavors hold steady in this part of the cigar, though the consistency causes a bit of boredom. While the smoke output slowed a bit in this portion, it still puts out a good amount of smoke. Some notes of sour wood appeared in the third cigar, a flavor not picked up in the first two cigars smoked.

Viaje Skull and Bones Red White MOAB 2012 3

The final third begins with a return of pepper and the addition of a dry, chalky note that hasn’t been tasted to this point. When the pepper dies down on the palate, it remains very present in the retrohale, giving the nose the majority of the action. The finish varied significantly in each cigar: one is much more upfront with the pepper while another is fairly subdued. Each finish is fine, though the inconsistency is a bit unsettling.

Viaje Skull and Bones Red White MOAB 2012 4

Final Notes

  • Like many people, I have a hard time keeping all the Skull & Bones lines straight. The picture above helps, a lot.
  • The performance differences between the first and second cigar smoked were staggering. While the first burned darn near perfectly, the second required a bunch of relights and struggled to maintain an even burn line before it refused to stay lit with two inches left and was tossed in the ashtray. The third was right in the middle, great in the first half, so-so in the second half.
  • At points the pepper in the smoke becomes too much for my nose to stand, though my palate never felt overwhelmed by the MOAB.
  • The three 2012 releases – the WMD, FOAB and MOAB – all had 7,500 cigars released, the most made of any of the Skull & Bones releases to date.
  • The actual MOAB bomb is indeed a non-nuclear device, fueled by H-6 or a tritonal and fuel cocktail.
  • The MOAB is no longer part of Skull & Bones Red, because as Andre Farkas said “Skull and Bones Red is nuclear and Skull and Bones White is non Nuclear.” Maybe it’s me, but when conversations like this are being had about cigars, things have gotten a bit silly.
  • MOAB stands for Mother of All Bombs, by the way. I think this is one of the most misleading names for a cigar out there. If you’re going to call a cigar the Mother of All Bombs, it better be loaded with blow-your-head-off levels of spice, which this isn’t.
  • Final smoking time is about one hour, 20 minutes. It’s not a fast burning cigar despite its relatively small size.
  • If you are interested in purchasing the Viaje WMD or any of the other four recent Viaje releases, site sponsorsAtlantic Cigar,Casa de Montecristo (708.352.6668) andTobacco Grove are all authorized Viaje dealers.
86 Overall Score

Consistency is one of my biggest gripes with the 2012 version Viaje Skull and Bones MOAB. The first cigar was downright fantastic and was on track for a score around 90. The burn issues with the second cigar really hampered my enjoyment of it, while the third redeemed things a bit. On one hand I really enjoyed them, on the other hand, they seem to be just a rehash of the same idea making me think that Andre Farkas is the P. Diddy of cigars, putting out remixes of the original track until I don't want to listen to any of them anymore. I will give it credit for having some distinct flavor changes and much more balance than the first edition. But even with that, I don't think I'll be adding it to my humidor anytime soon.

Patrick Lagreid

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.