In 2011, Viaje introduced the White Label Project, a series of small experimental releases that don’t fall into Andre Farkas’ various series of limited release lines.
While the inaugural release was explained as a test blend, the second release was a holiday release. Launched in March of 2011, the WLP Candela was created for St. Patrick’s day. Earlier this year, Andre Farkas announced that the Candela would return to the WLP line for 2012, but in a slightly larger form.
In addition, this year’s release features a Candela wrapper that seems unlike any other in both texture and color.
Here’s a picture of some of the popular Candela cigars that have been released in recent years:
In order of appearance:
- Viaje WLP St. Patrick’s (2012)
- Viaje WLP St. Patrick’s (2011)
- Illusione ~88~ Candela
- La Flor Dominica Double Claro No. 42
The 2012 version of the WLP Candela is the sixth White Label Project release:
In order of appearance:
- Viaje White Label Project (OR) (5 5/8 x 46) — January 2011 — 50 Bundles of 25 Cigars (1,250 Total Cigars)
- Viaje White Label Project St. Patrick’s (5 x 50) — March 2011 — 100 Bundles of 25 Cigars (2,500 Total Cigars)
- Viaje White Label Project Fifty Fifty Red (6 x 48) — June 2011 — 200 Bundles of 25 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje White Label Project Stuffed Turkey (5 x 60) — November 2011 — 150 Bundles of 25 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
- Viaje White Label Project Winter Classic (4 1/2 x 48) — February 2012 — 250 Bundles of 25 cigars (6,250 Total Cigars)
- Viaje White Label Project St. Patrick’s (2012) (5 x 52) — March 2012 — 150 Bundles of 25 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
The bundles of WLP Candela look like this:
(via Andre Farkas’ Facebook)
And the particulars.
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje White Label Project St. Patrick’s (2012)
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L. (Raíces Cubanas)
- Wrapper: Candela
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Robusto
- MSRP: $8.56 (Bundles of 25, $214.00)
- Date Released: March 12, 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: 150 Bundles of 25 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
The wrapper is green. It’s not just a Candela, but this is a deep and rich green that as shown above, puts other Candelas to shame in terms of the greenness. Furthermore, the wrapper is incredibly smooth and feels like a soft and smooth leather, or wax paper. The aroma is not very Candela with leather and sweet earth being the dominant notes. This continues into the cold draw, which is also not very Candela-like. There’s a very sharp pepper on the back of the throat with earthiness up front and a bit of plum and lemon below and on the finish respectively.
It begins the first third with a big earth note and a lot of pepper underneath. There’s a bit of Candela sweet grass in the opening of the White Label Project St. Patrick’s, but it’s mainly relegated to the finish. What’s shocking is that it is full and even a bit strong. Truly, the green-colored Viaje is in your face with a strong white pepper being the easiest note, even though the smooth earth, fruits and coffee are actually up front.
The second third doesn’t sees an increase in strength getting rather close to full. Up front, the earth core has now fully mixed with the sweet grass and coffee notes. Also coming out of its shell is the white pepper, which is now easily noticeable from start to finish. Smoke production is about average, while the draw is solid.
Into the final third and I’m a bit shocked at what’s occurring. The earthiness remains the centerpiece, although the Candela notes continue to ramp up. Strength doesn’t pick up, but it doesn’t lose very much, if any. Still no complaints on construction, which isn’t always the easiest venture with Candelas. I don’t try to burn my fingers as the cigar begins to get hot into the final inch, but I avoid any harshness.
- The Viaje St. Patrick’s Day shipped alongside four other releases earlier this week including Super Shot 10 Gauge and Skull and Bones Red WMD.
- I’ve professed on a few occasions that Candela is not my favorite wrapper. While this isn’t the typical Candela, I’m not going to start begging for anymore cigars with this leaf.
- Strength is easiest described as full-like. It’s not a deep blow to the stomach and maybe won’t get beyond medium-full in some books, but this is a full Candela, a bit shockingly full.
- This one of two WLP releases dedicated to a holiday with the other being Stuffed Turkey. They both have featured stickers on their newspaper bundles and both are supposed to appear in 2012. There’s also been talk of Candy Cane for December, but it has yet to debut.
- The complexity isn’t record-shattering, but the contrast between the Candela and pepper is quite nice.
- Final smoking time was 1 hour 20 minutes.
- If you are looking to purchase the Viaje WLP St. Patrick’s, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar, Casa de Montecristo (630.993.1234) and Tobacco Grove are all authorized Viaje dealers.
The Bottom Line: I still don’t like Candela. As I said in this portion of the review when providing my thoughts on the La Flor Double Claro, this isn’t a big Candela flavor, although it’s totally there. The obvious change this time around is the strength, which is easily higher than any other Candela I’ve had. I said when reviewing the LFD, “Put the Candelas from Arturo Fuente, Camacho, Illusione, Viaje and the Double Claro on a table and ask me to pick one, I take the latter each and every time.” That’s probably not the case anymore, I’ll take Viaje’s newest offering. Still, amongst the five most recent Viaje releases, this is the one I’ll smoke the least of. However, this is the Candela I’d recommend and the only one I’d think about smoking at anytime other than this holiday.
Final Score: 88