In September of 2011, Andre Farkas showed off a mysterious and previously unannounced Viaje project, Super Shot. Originally believed to be Shotgun Shells, details of Super Shot slowly emerged throughout winter.
From the start, it was believed that Viaje would release two sizes: Super Shot 10 Gauge & Super Shot 12 Gauge, aptly borrowing the name from different sizes of shotgun calibers.
While it was originally announced as a January release, Viaje would later announce that it was to be released in February alongside the next installment of the White Label Project, the WLP Winter Classic. By the time the details of the WLP shaped up, it was announced that Super Shot 12 Gauge would debut in March, although the previously unannounced Friends and Family was sent to retailers alongside the Winter Classic and Super Shot 10 Gauge.
Farkas explained his reasoning for this line to Cigar Insider:
I recently took up clay shooting and I noticed something… The cigars I brought weren’t short enough to enjoy between rounds. I’d start smoking and before it was finished it was my time to shoot again, so the smoke kept going out… But it isn’t just for a day out shooting clay. It’s designed to be smoked when time is a factor or while doing any sort of work.
The two sizes are:
- Viaje Super Shot 10 Gauge — 3 1/2 x 54 — $6.40 (Boxes of 25, $160.00)
- Viaje Super Shot 12 Gauge — 3 1/4 x 52 — $6.00 (Boxes of 25, $144.00)
The boxes of Viaje Super Shot are made to resemble actual boxes of shotgun shells:
Here’s a picture of some vintage shotgun shell boxes that were sold at auction a few years ago.
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Super Shot 10 Gauge
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L.
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 3 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: NUb
- MSRP: $6.40 (Boxes of 25, $160.00)
- Date Released: February 23, 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: 300 Boxes of 25 Cigars (7,500 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
Super Shot is not the cleanest of rolls. There’s a rough and gritty feel, likely from the dense Nicaraguan wrapper. Veins and discoloring are present, but it doesn’t take away from the Viaje’s appearance. There’s an immense amount of oils on the Super Shot. Aroma from the wrapper is unbelievably strong with a heavy leather and lots of pungent notes, you can tell from the start that Super Shot 10 Gauge is going to be strong. Cold draw is oddly only medium-full, completely overwhelmed by the aroma of the leather, with notes of a sweet fading leather, red wine, a bit of cherry and touches of a piercing pepper.
The first third of the Super Shot 10 Gauge takes a bit longer than I had hoped to get going. I blame the dense closed foot, but pretty quickly a beautiful heavy aroma that features burning cedar and dense tobacco accompanies the initial draw. It starts with a nice up front sweetness that transitions to sweet leather and earth as a nauseating pepper starts its dominance with a slight delay. From the initial draw, you can feel the power. Eventually the flavor of the Super Shot 10 settles to a cedar, earth, a bit of sweetness and a healthy black pepper on the back of the throat. The Viaje’s finish is mainly cedar and pepper.
By the second third, the main feature of the Super Shot 10 Gauge is the rich and depth of the body. Despite a full flavor and a strength that is rarely rivaled, the depth and density of the smoke (literally) and body is really where the complexity seems to be coming. Flavor changes a bit from the first third with it become a bit more of melody. There’s still quite a bit of earth and cedar, but the black pepper has now become more of a red pepper. Smoke production depends on how quickly you are willing to smoke. Keep it around 50 seconds between puffs and there’s plenty, try and wait a minute and a half and it’s consistent, but not bountiful.
For a brief moment at the start of the final third, it seemed like the strength gets lighter. While I do believe it settles down, it’s slight and at no point is the Viaje anything but one of the strongest cigars to come out in the past year, if not the strongest. The flavor profile of the Super Shot welcomes a bit of change with a sugary sweetness and a nuttiness developing into the earthy mixture. Still, the profile is dry, although rather complex. It seems like the stopping point on these is around three quarters of an inch, anything beyond that and the Super Shot seems to get a bit hot.
- This wrapper is not only gorgeous, it’s unbelievably thick. Unfortunately, I think it’s also the main culprit for the inability to burn evenly.
- Strength hits you in the deep stomach. This is strong, not full, from the start. I’m not convinced handling a firearm after a few of these would be good for anyone.
- I love closed feet on cigars. Why people don’t do them more often is beyond me.
- Price-wise, these are some of the most affordable Viajes of all time.
- The flavor profile is complex, but it’s not terribly exciting as the flavors don’t do a whole lot of developing besides the dryness and the sweetness.
- I’m quite curious as to what the ideal humidity will be for these given the wrapper and I think this is going to be a key for these in terms of aging.
- I absolutely love the attention to detail on the boxes. Also, the printing is well above average and makes a cardboard boxes pretty stunning.
- In the same Cigar Insider story, Farkas said, “The sizes are virtually identical to the actual shotgun shells.” While the halfwheel editorial staff is not made up of firearms experts, it would seem an actual 10 gauge shotgun shell would have a 49.92 ring gauge and a 12 gauge shell would be equivalent to a 46.528 ring gauge cigar. In addition, while shotgun shells don’t have a uniform length, they on average a bit shorter than the length of the Viaje cigars. But then again, a 2 1/2 cigar is probably a bad idea.
- This cigar rewards you for smoking quickly in terms of smoke production, but I get the feeling most are going to smoke a bit slower given the aforementioned strength.
- Viaje oftentimes ships stickers with their releases, this time was no different. On the back of one of the stickers it appears Viaje is previewing their IPCPR 2012 offerings, including Honey and Hand Grenades.
- The Super Shot 10 struggled to burn straight. While smoke production and draw were great, the burn line was to the point where it was beyond just being an aesthetic issue, but was requiring touch-ups to prevent actual issues. You can sort of see in the pictures above that I was forced to touch-up the sides.
- Viaje has clustered their releases for a while now and I still don’t get it. It cuts down on a bit of shipping and storage costs? Prior to the release of Winter Classic, Friends and Family and Super Shot 10 Gauge, the last cigar Viaje shipped to retailers nationally was the Holiday Blend 2011, which shipped in mid-December. For fans of Viaje, the only benefit could possibly be that consumers likely aren’t going to drop the over $600 on purchasing a box of each the three releases this week, which means there’s more to go around. That being said, Viaje decided to stager the Super Shot 10 and Super Shot 12 releases; so step in the right direction?
- While I won’t preach this as science, on the second Super Shot 10 I smoked, I never let the ash get beyond a half inch. I also didn’t experience any burn issues. On the first and third example where the ash grew over an inch, burn issues were rampant.
- Final smoking time was a short 50 minutes, although some part of me says 40 minutes might be the ideal time for these.
- If you are looking to purchase the Viaje Super Shot 10 Gauge, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar, Casa de Montecristo (630.993.1234) and Tobacco Grove are all authorized Viaje dealers.
Full? Yes. Flavorful? Yes. Complex? Ehh. The Viaje Super Shot 10 Gauge is one of the better Viajes I've smoked in the past year or so, particularly out of the box, but it fails to compare to some of the more storied Viaje releases. It reminds me a bit of the original Skull and Bones Daisy Cutter, but it just doesn't have the complexity flavor-wise. This is a stark contrast to the body, which is truly one of the more unique full plus creations on the market, not just from Viaje. However, the ultimate problem with Super Shot 10 is that half of the people reading this review will be sick before they finish a Super Shot 10, and to a large degree that is a problem. Still, I enjoyed it, and will probably pick up a dozen or so more to keep around.