It’s been a busy year for Viaje, not necessarily in terms of new releases—although that’s not to say that it’s been slow in that department—but more in terms of the company’s development.
Andre Farkas announced—somewhat expectedly—that Viaje would now be partnering with PDR Cigars for a variety of releases, the first of which will arrive next month. In addition, and not so expected, it announced that it would begin offering a regular production cigar for the first time in a few years. And of all things, the cigar would be the Viaje Exclusivo, a line that was considered the personal blend of Farkas.
Four sizes were announced as regular production items—Robusto (5 x 52), Toro (6 x 50) and Double R (5 1/4 x 54) for the U.S. market and a Torpedo (6 x 52) for Germany. According to a representative from Viaje, the cigars will be available like a normal regular production cigar, available for order at anytime of the year, a massive departure for a company which for the most part ships releases in a quantity of its choosing to its retailers.
While the Robusto vitola has been previously released, this now means that there have been 20 different Viaje Exclusivo releases over the years counting the release of the Viaje WLP Exclusivo Churchill.
- Viaje Exclusivo Robusto (Jar Release) (4 7/8 x 50) — January 2010 — 100 Jars of 35 Cigars (3,500 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Exclusivo Robusto (Bundle Release) (5 x 50) — July 2010 — n/a
- Viaje Exclusivo Chiquito (2009) (4 3/4 x 51) — 2009 — 100 Boxes of 25 Cigars (2,500 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Exclusivo Double Edged Sword (5 3/4 x 52) — July 2010 — 125 Boxes of 25 Cigars (3,125 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Exclusivo Short (4 1/4 x 42) — March 2011 — 100 Boxes of 50 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Exclusivo Chiquito (2011) (4 3/4 x 51) — May 2011 — 100 Boxes of 25 Cigars (2,500 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Exclusivo Tower 45th (5 3/4 x 52) — April 2011 — 100 Boxes of 20 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Exclusivo Corona Gorda (5 5/8 x 46) — 2010 — Event Only.
- Viaje Exclusivo Atlantic Cigar Co. 15th Anniversary Lancero (7 1/2 x 40) — November 2011 — 150 Boxes of 25 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Exclusivo Robusto (2012) (5 x 52) — May 2012 — 250 Boxes of 25 Cigars (6,250 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Exclusivo Tower 45th (2012) (5 x 52) — June 2012 — 100 Boxes of 20 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Exclusivo Chiquito (2013) (4 3/4 x 51) — April 2013 — 100 Boxes of 25 Cigars (2,500 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Exclusivo Super Lance (7 1/2 x 46) — May 2013 — 400 Boxes of 25 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Exclusivo Double Edged Sword II (6 1/2 x 50) –– August 2013 –– 700 Jars of 19 Cigars (13,300 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Exclusivo Leaded (5 x 52) — February 2014 — 500 Boxes of 25 Cigars (12,500 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Exclusivo Robusto (5 x 52) — April 2015 — Regular Production
- Viaje Exclusivo Double R (5 1/2 x 54) — April 2015 — Regular Production
- Viaje Exclusivo Toro (6 x 50) — April 2015 — Regular Production
- Viaje Exclusivo Torpedo (6 x 52) — April 2015 — Regular Production[ref]Not pictured.[/ref]
- Viaje WLP Exclusivo Churchill (7 x 49) — April 2015 — 150 Booxes of 25 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Exclusivo Double R
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L. (Raíces Cubanas)
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Size: 5 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Double Robusto
- MSRP: $9.04 (Boxes of 25, $226)
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Date Released: April 24, 2015
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
The Double Rs that we got were fairly light in the wrapper department, lacking the deeper and redder browns that I normally find on the Exclusivo line. It’s also relatively mild as far as aroma with just some faint barnyard notes coming from the Nicaraguan criollo 98 wrapper. There’s more life in the foot with a varnished wood aroma that’s quite a bit stronger joining the leather, sweet walnut, bark and peanut butter. The cold draw is also better: graham cracker, leather, some spices and earth.
The Double R starts out somewhat sweet with some ramen (alkaline) noodles, woodiness, a fruity flavor that I cannot really place all too well and a lot of woodiness. Fairly early on and this rendition of the Viaje Exclusivo has lost the fruitiness and as such is left rather earthy with sunflower seed, leather, an herbal flavor similar to a mild cilantro and a bit of chalk. The profile is earthy, although there’s no real generic earthy or musty flavors that I often find in cigars. There’s a slight touch of very generic sweetness, but it’s so minor that mentioning it is debatable. Construction is great with an even burn, a solid inch and a half chunk of ash and a slightly open draw. The only real note is that the cigar is burning rather quick.
A bread flavor—like a plain bagel—picks up in the second third along with a touch of saltiness in the back. It doesn’t do much to shift the cigar from the earthy profile I found that dominated it, but it’s a nice transition. There’s some grapefruit through the nose, which pairs well with the aforementioned saltiness. Elsewhere, the Viaje continues with its leather while a walnut is also finding its way onto the finish. Construction remains quite similar to the first third, although I do think the burn rate has slowed.
The walnut flavor that I found in the second third really begins to play a much larger role in the final third, now towards the front of the profile along with a Worcestershire sauce. The complete lack of sweetness since the faint touches in the first third means that Worcestershire sauce actually make things a bit sweeter, even if the flavor itself isn’t all that “sweet.” With an inch left, the Exclusivo Double R added a creaminess, but even that is lacking sweetness. I manage to smoke it past that point, but the flavors don’t really increase. Construction is on point until the last puff, with no touch-ups needed in any of the samples I smoked.
- I’m not really sure when Viaje actually last sold cigars in a regular production manner. They claimed to be doing it in 2011, but would admit that it really wasn’t regular production, they simply offered Oro and Platino once or twice per year.
- For those unfamiliar, the vast majority of Viajes are shipped to retailers without the retailer having any say over what cigars they received and in what quantity. I have heard from retailers more recently that some have been able to have a bit of a say, but I definitely think that represents a minority.
- Davidoff makes a Double R (7 1/2 x 50), which is short for double robusto. The vitola is a made up one, hence the extreme difference in size.
- The Torpedo for Germany is already out.
- On any given puff, it’s easy to dismiss the Exclusivo Double R as simply “medium” in strength, but that’s masked greatly by the balance. I’d peg it at medium-plus in the first third, medium-full in the second and full by the end.
- The cigar burned fairly quick for me, ending at one hour and 30 minutes on average.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Cigar Hustler and Serious Cigar all have the Exclusivo Double R in stock.
For the most part, I find the Exclusivo line to provide ample amounts of cocoa, a fair bit of hot peppers and accompanying notes to make the profile work. A minority of the releases I’ve smoked have been much different and while I can’t recall an example that tasted quite like the Double R, smoking an Exclusivo that was earthy with some sour citrus notes is nothing new—it’s basically what my review of the Super Lance could be summarized as. What made the Double R uniquely different was the complete lack of pepper, something that I find in just about anything that a Viaje band has graced. While the profile is an acquired taste, the Double R performed well. Not my favorite Exclusivo, but not one full of many faults.