Today we’re looking at what has now become a yearly holiday release for Viaje – the White Label Project St. Patrick’s Day Candela. First released in 2011, Viaje rolled this bright green Candela wrapped cigar calling it a test blend and placing it under the experimental Viaje line, the White Label Project. Though it was a test blend, it was released in March coinciding with the notoriously green holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. Since then, the 2012 and 2013 versions continue to be released under the White Label Project line though they are now annual holiday releases.
The original release was a 5 x 50 Robusto which has grown in the subsequent releases to be a 5 x 52 Robusto. Likewise, the production has increased each year, having started at 100 bundles of 25, with the following two releases growing to 150 and 175 respectively. Here is a picture of all three St. Patrick’s Day releases so far:
To date there have been 10 White Label Project releases:
- 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)
- Viaje White Label Project Stuffed Turkey White Meat (2012) (5 x 60) — December 2012 — 150 Bundles of 25 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
- Viaje White Label Project Stuffed Turkey Dark Meat (2012) (5 x 60) — December 2012 — 150 Bundles of 25 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
- Viaje White Label Project St. Patrick’s (2013) (5 x 52) — March 2013 — 175 Bundles of 25 Cigars (4,375 Total Cigars)
- Viaje White Label Project Super Super Shot 12 Gauge — May 2013 — 300 Bundles of 25 Cigars (7,5000 Total Cigars)
*The number of bundles was misprinted as “200″ in the original release of the Stuffed Turkey.
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje White Label Project St. Patrick’s (2013)
- 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 4, 2013
- Number of Cigars Released: 175 Bundles of 25 Cigars (4,375 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
Obviously the first thing you will notice on this cigar is the wrapper. The bright green wrapper is one of the greener Candela wrappers I’ve seen and is a stark contrast to the brown filler tobacco at the foot. The triple capped wrapper is very soft to the touch and has a few visible veins. A squeeze of the cigar shows it to be a little squishy, perhaps a sign of it being slightly under filled The aroma coming off the wrapper is strong grassy and barnyard notes, almost a mix between fresh cut hay and freshly cut grass, while the foot of the cigar gives off a strong grassy and floral aroma. Cold draw is a creamy, grassy profile with herbal and floral notes in the mix. The draw is a little loose, which supports the earlier theory on it possibly being underfilled.
Lighting the cigar we kick off the first third with a creamy and slightly sweet, freshly cut grass note in the forefront. Other notes include a touch of pepper and dried fruits. The burn quickly starts to get a little squirrely with some very obviously under filled spots. Even with the draw being fairly loose the smoke production is still fine, though when I set it down the cigar almost looks as if it goes out with little to no smoke coming off the foot. The dark gray and white ash has a brownish tint to it and held on strong when I ashed it around one inch, which was a slight surprise considering the other minor construction issues. The overall profile continues to be smooth, creamy, and slightly sweet. Great notes of grass, dried fruits, and some pepper in the background blend together nicely.
The second third continues with the pleasant profile of grass, dried fruits, and a touch more pepper than before, though the cigar still doesn’t have much bite to speak of. A little ways into this third the construction seems to have gotten even worse. Entire areas of the cigar aren’t igniting as the burn line passes them, requiring many touch ups along the way. Normally I don’t count errant burn lines against a cigar, but this time I’m pretty sure it’s detrimental to the flavor. The enjoyable profile from earlier has flat lined somewhat and become slightly harsh. The ash still holds on fairly well, but the edges are flaky and loose – especially in the areas I have to touch up.
The final third continues with the harsh profile with a touch up needed here and there. Not much change throughout most of the final third. Ironically, towards the end the harshness fades a little bit allowing some grass and fruit notes to shine for a little while before the cigar is too hot to continue smoking.
- While the first two release of the candela cigar followed the White Label Project packaging and were wrapped in newspaper, the 2013 bundles were wrapped in green paper.
- Candela wrappers were very popular from the late 1950s to the 1970s, though their popularity died out until the 2000s. The past few years have seen a resurgence with many manufacturers producing at least one Candela wrapped cigar, many of which are limited editions and released in March for St. Patrick’s Day.
- Charlie Minato really liked last year’s version, albeit because it didn’t taste very candela-like.
- It’s interesting to see how different the wrappers have been across the three releases.
- Farkas described WLP, upon its initial release, as follows:
WLP is the vehicle by which we will release experimental blends, shapes, mash ups, factory errors, etc. It’s a peek behind the factory curtain.
This is WLP’s purpose. Blends, shapes, etc. that would normally never get released will be available under this label. We will also be listening to your ideas. If we hear something suggested that might make a good cigar you might see it released under WLP.
While releases like WLP Super Shot show this, the annual holiday releases don’t seem to fit this mold.
- Both cigars I smoked for this review had construction issues. The first was more underfilled around the edge while the second was more underfilled in the center. The second one burned much more even and was less harsh, though the flavor profile still started to fall apart in the second third. Here is how underfilled it was when squeezed
- Final smoking time was right around an hour and a half.
I enjoy an occasional Candela wrapped cigar now and then, and having never tried a Viaje cigar with a Candela wrapper I was excited to get to smoke these. Starting off the cigar had a very promising profile, however the construction issues started causing real problems after barely a third of the cigar was smoked. I wanted to like this cigar, especially with such a great start, but it went downhill so quickly and thoroughly that I won’t be seeking out any more of the 2013 release. There’s always the chance I got two bad cigars in a row, and I genuinely hope that’s the case and the rest out there are awesome. As it stands, I’ll move on and hope that the 2014 release lives up to the potential of what I think this blend really can be.