Through the years, Thanksgiving has become been one of Viaje’s bigger release holiday schedules: in fact, the holiday has been the impetus around a number of the company’s series, including Farmhand Andre, Zombie Farmhand Andre, several blends of Stuffed Turkey and Thanksgiving Leftovers.
In 2014 Viaje introduced Farmer Bill Hatchet, a 7 x 52 Nicaraguan puro in a box-pressed Churchill vitola. According to Viaje, the story goes like this: you need a way to get the Stuffed Turkeys to the table, and thus the need for Farmer Bill Hatchet.
A number of variations followed over the years, including Zombie Farmer Bill Hatchet—which debuted in 2016 as a merging of two of Viaje’s other lines, the Zombie and the aforementioned Farmer Bill Hatchet—and Mrs. Hatchet, which was first released in November 2021.
One month later, in December 2021, Viaje shipped yet another new addition to the series named Farmer Bill Holiday Edition, a 6 x 54 toro that features a distinct blend—albeit undisclosed by the company thus far—compared to the original Farmer Bill Hatchet and the Zombie Farmer Bill Hatchet. According to Viaje, this “very festive” version of Farmer Bill Hatchet was sold in four different holiday print 25-count bundles that began shipping to retailers on Dec. 14, 2021. Bundles have an MSRP of $330, while individual cigars are priced at $13.20.
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Farmer Bill Holiday Edition
- Country of Origin: Undisclosed
- Factory: Undisclosed
- Wrapper: Undisclosed
- Binder: Undisclosed
- Filler: Undisclosed
- Length: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Toro Extra
- MSRP: $13.20 (Bundle of 25, $330)
- Release Date: Dec. 14, 2021
- Number of Cigars Released: Undisclosed
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
A milk chocolate brown wrapper covers the Viaje Farmer Bill Holiday Edition, a leaf that is silky smooth to the touch and features a number of overt veins running up and down its length along with a noticeable amount of oil. One sample has a massive soft spot under the main band—see more in the Final Notes below—but the other two look fine and all three samples are just short of rock hard when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper includes notes of sweet leather, sawdust, earth, manure and vanilla sweetness while the foot is full of citrus peel, generic nuts, cinnamon, barnyard and earth. After a v-cut, the cold draw brings flavors of strong wet hay, leather, almonds, white pepper, dark chocolate, baker’s spices and a slight floral note.
Torching the foot takes a bit longer than anticipated, but once lit I notice both metallic notes as well as black pepper. The cigar quickly transitions into what becomes the main flavor combination of hay and leather. Secondary notes include earth, dark chocolate, peanut shells, generic wood and tobacco, while the retrohale features small amounts of both vanilla sweetness and white pepper. Flavor is medium, while the body and strength end the first third just under medium. In terms of construction, the draw on all there samples is excellent from the beginning after a v-cut and the smoke production off of the foot is extremely copious, while the burn needs a minor touch-up on one of the three samples.
There is not much of a change of the Viaje during the second third, with the same leather and hay combination easily taking the top spots in the profile, followed by flavors of coffee beans, slight cinnamon, dark chocolate, tree bark, cedar and a bit of a floral note that flit in and out. Construction-wise, the burn on one cigar—different from the one which had a problem in the first third—gives me enough issues that I am forced to correct it twice, while the draw and smoke production on all three remain excellent. Flavor bumps up slightly to just over medium, while the body and strength increase in tandem to a solid medium by the end of the second third.
It is more of the same in the final third of the Farmer Bill Holiday Edition: strong leather and hay easily continue to be the main flavors, with notes of cinnamon, toasted bread, less bitter dark chocolate, cedar and a touch of floral bringing up the rear at various points. There is slightly more white pepper and vanilla sweetness on the retrohale, along with just a touch of new spice on my lips that is only noticeable for a very short time before disappearing again back into the ether. Both the draw and smoke production continue on their excellent paths, while one sample needs some attention with my lighter about halfway through the final third. Flavor and body both end up at a point just over medium, while the strength finishes fairly in the medium range by the time I put the nub down with less than an inch remaining.
- Although the cigars in this release feature two different colors of foot ribbons—red and silver—Viaje has confirmed that the cigars are the same.
- Hay is not an unusual flavor for me to pick up in cigars, but there have been very few times that I can remember tasting a note of wet/damp hay as strong as I tasted on the cold draw of these cigars.
- As I was doing a visual inspection of my second sample, I noticed a huge soft spot under the main band—more of a crater, really—which was significant enough to cause the wrapper to come off inside of it. For what it is worth, the burn for that cigar did not seem to be aversely affected around that issue
- While the burn was never what I would call razor-sharp and I did touch up each of the cigars smoked for this review at least once each, there were never any major issues with the construction.
- For what it is worth, I noticed a metallic note in my review of the debut release of the Farmer Bill Hatchet as well.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 56 minutes.
While the Viaje Farmer Bill Holiday Edition is smooth and easy to smoke, the profile is also quite linear and just not overly exciting. The main flavors of hay and leather are pretty much the same from the beginning to the end—metallic note right after lighting the foot notwithstanding—and while there is some fairly basic vanilla sweetness to go along with the white pepper on the retrohale, neither flavors are near strong enough to make a major impact on the profile. If you are looking for an easy going, simplistic cigar you have found it, but those wanting even the smallest amount of complexity or excitement in a blend should look elsewhere.