In 2016, Viaje introduced a new cigar line just for Europe—or so that was the plan.
Circa ’45 was shown off at the 2016 Inter-tabac trade show as a European exclusive, but less than a year later it had appeared on a variety of U.S. shelves. Late last year, three vitolas of Circa ’45 Maduro were shipped to at least two retailers: Anthony’s Cigar Emporium and Atlantic Cigar Co.
(Images via Atlantic Cigar Co.)
A Viaje spokesperson declined to comment about the details, so what we know is third-party info from the retailers. It uses a Mexican San Andrés wrapper, Indonesian binder and fillers from the Dominican Republic.
It’s offered in the same three sizes as the original.
- Viaje Circa ’45 Maduro No. 1 (5 x 52) — $12.40 (Boxes of 25, $310)
- Viaje Circa ’45 Maduro No. 3 (5 1/2 x 58) — $14 (Boxes of 25, $350)
- Viaje Circa ’45 Maduro No. 2 (6 x 54) — $13.20 (Boxes of 25, $330)
Somewhat confusingly, the dimensions for the No. 2 and No. 3 have been swapped from the original, though I suppose that could be due to some confusion with the retailers.
Production is being handled by PDR Cigars in the Dominican Republic, the same factory as the original release.
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Circa '45 Maduro No. 2
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: PDR Cigars
- Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
- Binder: Indonesia
- Filler: Dominican Republic
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Toro Extra
- MSRP: $13.20 (Boxes of 25, $330)
- Release Date: December 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The Circa ’45 Maduro is dark, though I did do a double take to see if this was actually the maduro version of the cigar because it’s not very dark. Aroma off the wrapper is also somewhat surprising as it’s very mild, but there’s black licorice, ammonia and some nuttiness. The foot is much stronger, with licorice and some prunes, medium-full and pretty sweet. The cold draw is similar with some black licorice notes, some pretty sharp wasabi-like pepper and a touch of a plastic-like note, right around the medium-plus level.
It begins quite woody with some powdered sugar and creaminess before a big walnut flavor takes over the finish. The flavor of the Circa ’45 Maduro settles to be quite earthy with creaminess, green licorice and nuttiness underneath it. Retrohales are enjoyable with lemon, terroir and Ritz cracker on the medium-plus level. Construction is awesome with a solid inch-plus chunk of even ash, good smoke production and a pleasant draw.
The earthiness remains for the second third, now joined by black pepper, creaminess and Sprite. Once again, the retrohale provides a lot of the complexity, now with Ritz cracker and a more natural version of the lemon and lime flavors. The finish has a lot of spices on the middle of the tongue, changing between cinnamon and paprika as I take each puff. Construction remains great with no issue on any of the three samples. Flavor is medium-plus, body is medium-plus and strength is medium.
I’ll get this out of the way: one sample is just awful in the final third. Harsh and sour. As for the other two cigars, I find myself slowing down to try to fight some harshness. It’s bad, but it’s not the problematic experience that is the first cigar, which simply is not fixable no matter how slow I smoke. Once slowed down, I continue to find the earthiness but now joined by peaches and a more natural lime sensation. Cinnamon is still on the tongue, now a bit more expanded and creeping into the nose, though the paprika is completely gone. One sample needs a touch-up, but one cigar makes it start to finish without any corrections. Flavor and body pick up to medium-full, while strength continues to lag just a bit behind.
- This is not a very dark wrapper for Mexican San Andrés, which is fine. However, it would be really nice if Viaje added some way to tell the difference between the original and the Maduro because without doing a side-by-side comparison, it can be hard to tell which one is which.
- Speaking of the packaging, it’s definitely inspired by the Punch brand with touches from Partagás and Macanudo as well.
- I can’t find any indication that the Circa ’45 Maduro shipped to European retailers. It’s certainly possible, but it only adds another layer to the confusion of the once European-only release.
- Construction was super impressive, particularly until the final third. The ash, in particular, was very good.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- On average, final smoking time was one hour and 45 minutes.
- Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar Co. has the Viaje Circa ’45 Maduro in stock.
The Viaje Circa '45 Maduro is solid. If I wasn't constantly reviewing cigars and if the Circa '45 Maduro was regularly available, this is one of the few Viajes that I would smoke regularly like a typical customer might. It's not the best Viaje that's ever been made, but with the exception of one bad spell in one final third, it was extremely enjoyable. Instead, due to a number of factors, this particular release is likely to just be forgotten about. Viaje makes a lot of cigars and oftentimes it ends up being the flashy cigars and everything else; this is certainly the latter.