For those of you that don’t know…
This past year, Viaje has started to release cigars in a new series. Dubbed the White Label Project (WLP for short), these cigars are meant to be basically one-off releases that most likely will never be seen again, unlike most of his other blends, which are released around the same time every year.
As Andre Farkas, owner of Viaje Cigars, explains:
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.
With the newest cigar, there have been four separate “White Label Project” releases to date…They are (left to right in order of release):
- White Label Project —(5 5/8 x 46)
- White Label Project Candela — (5 x 50
- White Label Project Fifty | Fifty Red Red — (6 x 48)
- White Label Project Stuffed Turkey — (5 x 60)
The story behind how this Stuffed Turkey got it’s name is as unlikely as it is amusing. Apparently, while Jerry Cruz and Brian Hewitt (of Stogie Review) was interviewing Farkas for the blog, Cruz joked that since Viaje was big on specific holiday releases (i.e. St. Patrick’s Day, 4th of July, etc) that the company should release a cigar for Thanksgiving called the Stuffed Turkey. Well, apparently Andre took it to heart, as the joke has now become a reality.
Jerry Cruz says it thusly:
In the video we were joking around with Andre about all of the Viaje seasonal releases and I made a comment about how he was just missing a Thanksgiving themed release. That was July. Fast forward to today and I get an e-mail from Andre as well as a mention on his Facebook page confirming Charlie’s post and our inspiration for the Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey.
Like all of the White Label Project releases, these come in newspaper wrapped bundles. There will be 150 bundles of 25 (3,750 total cigars), and each of the Viaje accounts will get at least one bundle with some getting more than one. According to Farkas, this is an entirely new blend, i.e. it is not a tweaked blend.
Here is what the bundles look like:
(Photo courtesy of Andre Farkas’ Facebook Page):
But enough about that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje White Label Project Stuffed Turkey
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L. (Raíces Cubanas)
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 60
- Vitola: Robusto Gordo
- MSRP: $9.50 (Bundles of 25, $237.50)
- Release Date: November 2011
- Number of Cigars Released: 150 Bundles of 25 (3,750 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
The cigar itself is a monstrosity of a smoke, and feels almost too large in your hand when you hold it. However, large as it is, it also seems much too light for its size. The reddish brown wrapper is dry to the touch, but smooth as well, and smells strongly of barnyard, dark bitter chocolate and hay. It has the perfect give when squeezed.
The First Third starts off light, with notes of nuts and leather, along with just a tiny amount of spice on the retrohale. There is a slightly bitter note that comes and goes, but it is not overwhelming at all. The draw is extremely loose and I am hoping that it firms up a bit.
The Second Third is much the same as the First. Still the same nutty and more creamy leather, still the same slight bitterness and the draw is still very loose. There is a very faint floral note that comes and goes, but it is not strong enough to make much of an impact on the profile. The spice from the First Third is almost totally gone. Strength-wise, I would call it a medium minus at this point.
The Final Third was just more of the same. The profile did not seem to change much at all for the entire smoke and it is a big one. Strength picked up a bit, but still on the low side of medium by the end of the smoke. I was able to nub it easily, but it did get somewhat hot at the very end.
- As mentioned above, there have been four separate releases in the White Label Project line. All were released in newspaper wrapped bundles, but the two that were released for specific holidays each have an added sticker on the outside of the bundle A Shamrock for the WLP Candela which was released for St. Patrick’s Day and a Turkey for the WLP Stuffed Turkey, which was released for Thanksgiving.
- Despite the fact that the production numbers printed on each bundle say “200” (bundles), the actual number of bundles released is 150, due to the fact that the “factory labeled the bundles incorrectly.”
- The number of bundles produced in each blend different for each release: The OR WLP only had 50 bundles of 25, the WLP Candela had 100 bundles of 25, and the WLP 50/50 Red had 200 bundles of 25 and the WLP Stuffed Turkey is 150 bundles of 25.
- As mentioned above, the WLP Stuffed Turkey is a totally new blend, and is not based on any other release. This is the first time a WLP has been a new blend or the second time, since as far as I know, no one knows the blend of the WLP Candela. The OR WLP was based on the Summerfest blend and the WLP 50/50 Red was (obviously) based on the 50/50 Red blend.
- Much like the Zombie, I suggest you clip just a tiny amount (or punch) these cigars instead of cutting them. I cut the first one, and the draw was extremely loose for the entire stick. However, the sample I punched was quite a bit better.
- This stick is HUGE, much larger than my normal preference. It feels awkward in my hands and mouth. There is quite a bit of smoke production as well, for the entire smoke.
- The burn was excellent, but the draw on one sample that I cut was way too loose and did not tighten up at all, like I hoped, while the sample I punched was fine.
- The Final Smoking Time for both samples I smoked was just under 2 Hours.
- The Stuffed Turkeys should be hitting retailers this weekend or Monday, and if you would like to purchase some, just call up our sponsors (who will all get some, of course). Call Mark at Tower Cigars at (916) 443-8466, Hal at Empire Cigars at (919) 870-0081 or Jeff at Tobacco Grove at (763) 494-6688, and tell them we sent you, and they will be happy to sell you some or put you on a list.
The Bottom Line: If you read the reviews of the other releases in the White Label Project line, you will see that none of them has received a score over 85. For the most part, these releases have been bland, although I must admit, the WLP Candela and WLP 50/50 Red have gotten marginally better after resting for a while. Unfortunately, the WLP Stuffed Turkey is no different. While not a horrible or unsmokeable cigar by any means, it is just too uninspired, too big, too light (strength-wise) and just plain boring, flavors wise. Honestly, if you want a recent Viaje Limited Release and have some money burning a hole in your pocket, I would go with the Exclusivo Lancero (of which there are still a few left, amazingly) over these all day long…
Final Score: 79