While Viaje has historically had a lot of fun themed releases, the introduction of food themed cigars in 2015 was something they hadn’t tackled before. The three Viaje Señor Andre’s Chicharrones blends and the Jalapeño were supposed to be spicy blends, but apparently the Jalapeño’s kick wasn’t enough. Back in March, Viaje announced a new release with the pepper theme: Ghost Pepper.
While it looks like the sequel to the Jalapeño, it only takes inspiration from it with the same size and theme, but brings a completely new blend to the table. It was announced on social media with the following quote:
NEW PRODUCE – After the success of Viaje Farms Jalepeño we decided to expand our farming operation. We planted GHOST PEPPERS and we are happy to announce they are ripe for picking. Expect a more intense, spicy experience with our latest release.
- Viaje Jalapeño (4 7/8 x 51) — 2015 — $8.56 (Boxes of 25, $214)
- Viaje Ghost Pepper (4 7/8 x 51) — 2017 — $8.56 (Boxes of 25, $214)
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Ghost Pepper
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Cubanas S. de R.L.
- Wrapper: n/a
- Binder: n/a
- Filler: n/a
- Length: 4 7/8 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 51
- Vitola: Petit Perfecto
- MSRP: $8.56 (Boxes of 25, $214)
- Release Date: March 20, 2017
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
I loved the presentation of the Jalapeño and the Ghost Pepper is no different. The colorful foil wrap with the pigtail stem is much easier to manage than an extended cap pigtail that is then usually glued to the side of the cigar. The wrapper is soft and oily, but not necessarily what I would call smooth. When squeezed it’s quite firm with almost zero give, even around the perfecto bulge. The aroma coming off the cigar isn’t exactly what I would have expected, with light cocoa, a touch of earth and some musty wood. Along those same lines, the cold draw is much sweeter than I would have though, with sweet cinnamon, a touch of cream and a little cocoa.
Starting into the first third the sweetness again surprises me. Sweet spice and cinnamon lead the pack, with hints of chocolate, wood, salty earth and only a touch of black pepper. Lighting the small tip of a perfecto doesn’t always translate into an even burn around the perfecto, and the Ghost Pepper certainly isn’t an exception to the rule. I hold off on touching it up however, and after making it past the bulge the burn line is almost perfectly even and razor sharp, with a dense ash holding on tight and firm. The sweetness hasn’t really calmed down even an inch in, though I do notice that on the nose there is a touch more of a peppery kick than there is on my palate.
Moving into the second third the spiciness that I’ve been waiting for has finally started to develop. While it’s certainly more noticeable on the nose, I am starting to feel a bit of a tingly sensation on my tongue along with a bit stronger black pepper note. The cinnamon, spice and chocolate are still strong notes though, and with the new peppery strength gives it an almost mole-like flavor. The burn line has started to create a bit of a “V” on one side, but not quite enough yet to touch up. Sweet spice continues to keep the profile from going overboard on the spicy notes, almost effectively covering them up instead of the two complementing each other. Just before this third ends, the burn line has gone off track enough that I need a touch up to keep it going.
As I shift into the final third the sweet spice continues to lead the pack, along with the previous cinnamon, more of a dry cocoa note, a touch of earth, black pepper and something akin to a green chile pepper. After the single touch up from earlier, the burn has cooperated, staying even after that. With only a little bit left to the cigar, the profile continues the same as before, until the nub becomes too hot to smoke, forcing me to put it down.
- Gurkha has a trademark on GHOST.
- First two samples were decidedly sweet and not very spicy at all. Finally, the third sample I smoked was completely different, with a spicy kick and tingle on my tongue from the very beginning. The third sample was much closer to what I thought I was going to be smoking.
- Ghost peppers originate from India, and are a hybrid of the Capsicum chinense and Capsicum frutescens varieties. Ghost peppers rank over a million on the Scoville scale, i.e. they are very hot, over 200 times hotter than your typical jalapeño pepper.
- I really enjoy the packaging with these. It’s fun and creative without changing the shape or functionality of the cigar to create a cohesive visual effect between the name and the appearance.
- Viaje was tight lipped about the Jalapeño, and the Ghost Pepper was no different. While they stated it was a new blend, they didn’t mention anything about what that blend was.
- Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Final smoking time averaged a little over an hour and a half.
As I stated, visually I was attracted to the Viaje Ghost Pepper from the start. It was a fun idea with the Jalapeño and building on that theme was well done. Interestingly while two of the three samples almost contradicted the idea of what the cigar was going to be, they were still quite enjoyable. The sweet profile actually made for a pleasant experience, along with some very solid construction I was overall pretty impressed, albeit confusing. The third sample certainly was much closer to what I was expecting, with some tingly spiciness on the tongue, though the profile was still quite similar to the other two - just less sweet. This is certainly a release that I can suggest seeking out for yourself, regardless of if you’re a Viaje fan or not - whether you get a spicier version or a sweeter version, they both deliver a good experience.