Inventive names and backstories for cigar releases have never been a problem for Viaje, and its Thanksgiving releases are no exception. Earlier this year, the company announced that its annual Thanksgiving release, Stuffed Turkey, would be leaving the company’s White Label Projects portfolio and become a standalone series. Along with that change, Farkas told us that a new cigar would be accompanying Stuffed Turkey, Farmer Bill Hatchet Handle.
The story on the newest release from Viaje is that you need a way to get the Stuffed Turkeys to the table, and thus the need for Farmer Bill Hatchet. As for the cigar, it’s is a 7 x 52 box-pressed churchill sold in boxes of 10 for $114. The Nicaraguan puro incorporates a criollo wrapper from AGANORSA over binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua.
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Farmer Bill Hatchet Handle
- Country of Origin: n/a
- Factory: n/a
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 7 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Churchill
- MSRP: $11.40 (Box of 10, $114)
- Date Released: Nov. 17, 2014
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
The Viaje Farmer Bill Hatchet Handle is fairly distinctive with a dark mocha brown wrapper that is silky smooth to the touch and features almost no oil along with a significant box-press. The cigar is hard as a rock when squeezed and there are no veins at visible at all. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of leather, barnyard, manure and tobacco, while the cold draw brings flavors of dark chocolate, sweet fruit, leather and aged oak.
The Farmer Bill Hatchet starts off with overt flavors of creamy leather, bitter cocoa, earth, coffee beans and almonds. There is a slight, but noticeable, metallic note on the finish that is a bit off putting at first, but it does start to recede a bit as the first third burns down. There is an interesting cinnamon note on the retrohale that shows up every once in a while, but not enough to really affect the profile as of this point. Construction-wise, the burn is a bit wavy, but not bad enough to be problematic, while the draw is excellent with just the right amount of resistance. The strength is fairly light so far, and ends the first third below the medium mark.
By the start of the second third, the metallic note on the finish is long gone, replaced by a oaky sweetness that combines nicely with flavors of earth, hay, dark cocoa and creamy nuts. The cinnamon on the retrohale from the first third has gotten stronger and I am also noticing some slight vanilla sweetness as well. By the halfway mark, the burn has evened up and the draw still has just the right amount of resistance. The strength hits the medium mark by the end of the second third, a slight increase.
The oaky sweetness is still the dominant flavor throughout the final third, but the cinnamon on the retrohale has been replaced with a slight black pepper, along with flavors of creamy nuts, grass, dark bitter cocoa, roasted coffee beans and generic citrus. There is noticeably more sweetness on the retrohale and it has shifted to more of a nutmeg note as opposed to vanilla. Both the draw and burn continue to impress, and there is an uptick in the amount of smoke production from the foot. The strength has not increased as much as I expected, but still finishes the cigar just a bit above the medium mark.
- The cigar is formally known as Viaje Farmer Bill Hatchet Handle.
- I am really not liking the bands for this release and the new Stuffed Turkeys. While distinctive and colorful, they are too cartoonish for me, almost like they don’t want to be taken seriously.
- Viaje started shipping the 2014 versions of Holiday Blend and Candy Cane to retailers last week.
- Construction really seems to be getting better overall in the Viajes I have smoked this year. While the cigar I photographed had a burn that wavered a bit, the other two cigars I smoked for review were excellent in that regard.
- The final smoking time for all three samples averaged just under two hours.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Site sponsor Atlantic Cigar Co. carries Viaje, but they are sold out of Farmer Bill Hatchet Handle.
After getting a bit bored with the Stuffed Turkeys in the past few seasons, I was excited to see a new blend for Thanksgiving this year. The Farmer Bill Hatchet is has a fairly complex profile with a nice oaky sweetness combined with cinnamon the dominant notes for much of the cigar. While there was a distinct metallic note noticeable on the finish in the first third on each of the samples, it thankfully did not last long, and was not overly strong in any case. The burn and draw were excellent overall on all three samples and there was plenty of smoke production as well. In the end, the Viaje Farmer Bill Hatchet is more nuanced than quite a few of Viaje's recent releases, making it easy to recommend.