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Happy Fourth of July! Let’s blow some stuff up.

Just kidding, it’s fall and the Fourth is a distant memory of pool parties, grilled meats and fireworks. What doesn’t seem to be a distant memory however, is the return of the Viaje summer time releases, including the C-4, TNT and Summerfest. A yearly staple of Viaje’s limited releases, the trio was oddly missing from last year’s lineup. When it was announced that the three would be returning, some significant changes had been made, most noticeably the wrappers used and the factories they were made at.

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The 2015 C-4 release also saw a big change in shape by having the foot flat cut instead of the rounded capped end of years before. Besides the change in shape, new factory and new blend, the band still looks quite similar and the cigars are boxed in 75-count crates made to look like explosives crates.

Viaje C-4 (2015) 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Viaje C-4 (2015)
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: PDR Cigars
  • Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
  • Binder: n/a
  • Filler: n/a
  • Size: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 56
  • Vitola: Robusto Gordo
  • MSRP: $11.44 (Boxes of 75, $858.00)
  • Date Released: June 2015
  • Number of Cigars Released: n/a
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The look of the C-4 is quite different looking that it was in previous years, with a normal, parejo shape that has a clean cut, flat foot. The wrapper is a dark mottled brown, though it’s looks to be slightly lighter than it’s even-colored predecessor. There is an intense barnyard aroma coming off the wrapper, but lighter with more hay and less earth. Alongside the barnyard aroma is a touch of sweet cocoa. The cold draw has notes of leather, cocoa, a touch of sweet licorice, and some dried fruits.

As I start into the first third I’m greeted with a sweet spice, some cocoa, a healthy dose of black pepper on the nose and a touch of cinnamon in the background. The filler at the foot appeared to be loosely rolled and made for a ragged light, which has continued as a ragged burn in the first inch. Though the draw is slightly more open than I would prefer, it’s still within acceptable ranges with each draw producing tons of thick aromatic smoke. After about an inch the burn has evened itself up and the cocoa note has turned into more of a rich chocolate cookie flavor. Alongside the sweet spice, cinnamon and pepper it makes for a bold but flavorful profile.

Viaje C-4 (2015) 2

Moving into the second third the strength is starting to hit me, which is to be expected with something named after explosives. The profile continues to perform great, with black pepper, cinnamon and sweet spice on the palate while the chocolate cookie flavor envelopes my head with the massive plumes of smoke rolling off the foot of the C-4. Unfortunately, the burn has gone haywire again and a touch up is required to catch up one section lagging behind. The ash is quite flakey, leaving ashy sprinkles all over the place, but the retention is strong enough to consistently hold on to almost the inch mark. As I get towards the end of this third the sweetness has died down slightly, producing instead spices, pepper, leather and some drier cocoa notes instead of the sweet chocolate cookie from before.

Viaje C-4 (2015) 3

The final third sees the C-4 start to get a little muted, though the spice, pepper, leather and cocoa are still there. As before, the smoke that pours off the foot continues to be quite enjoyable as it swirls around, almost more so than the draws I take. The burn hasn’t seemed to ever get completely even again, with small sections just seemingly refusing to ignite and needing help from my lighter. Moving into the final inch there is a touch of harshness that enters in the profile, though not enough to put me off from finishing the cigar.

Viaje C-4 (2015) 4

Final Notes

  • All three samples I smoked had quite open draws, ranging from barely within acceptable limits to open but closer to the middle of the ideal range.
  • Viaje has seemed to be tighter lipped about this year’s release of the C-4 and TNT, not releasing information about the binder, filler or production numbers.
  • The crate is a great compliment to the explosives theme of the C-4, but I can’t see many people buying a 75-count box. I’m sure that was Viaje’s intentions, however it just seems frustrating if you want to buy any more than five of these that you wouldn’t have an easy way to store them.
  • Searching around I found these available at a few various retailers. Not being sold out three months after release leads me to believe the production numbers for this year were higher, or perhaps just the interest in these isn’t as high as you would expect.
  • The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time averaged just under two hours.
83 Overall Score

Viaje’s C-4 release has been hit and miss with me, and this year I would lean more towards this being a hit. There were some definite frustrations, such as inconsistent draws and burn issues across the board, but those are easier to overlook with an enjoyable profile for the majority of the cigar. The sweetness in the first half masked what was building up to be a fairly strong cigar, with the second half losing the sweetness, but keeping a bold and flavorful profile. Only towards the end of the cigar did it wane, though not enough to be bad, just slightly disappointing as the first two thirds were so good. Since these are still around and obtainable, I could easily suggest tracking a couple of these down - maybe to enjoy with some New Years fireworks, since the Fourth of July’s have come and gone.

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Brian Burt
About the author

I have been smoking cigars since 2005 and reviewing them as a hobby since 2010. Initially I started out small with a 50-count humidor and only smoking one or two cigars a month. Not knowing anybody else that smoked cigars, it was only an occasional hobby that I took part in. In March of 2010 I joined Nublive and Cigar Asylum, connecting me with many people who also shared an interest in cigars. Reading what they had to say about brands I had never heard of, I quickly immersed myself in the boutique brands of the industry and it was then that cigars transformed from a hobby into a passion. Besides my cigar hobby and job in the IT industry, my wife and I love traveling, trying new restaurants and relaxing at home with our two dogs.

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