First released in 2012 as a line extension in the Holiday Blend series, the Viaje Candy Cane is a barberpole-wrapped cigar that comes enclosed in a foil wrapping paper appropriately made to look like a candy cane.
Although the Holiday Blend line was initially made up of one vitola in its inaugural release in 2009, subsequent years’ consisted of two different vitolas sent to retailers in 2010, 2011 and 2012. In 2013 Viaje cited production delays as the reason for not sending out a regular Holiday Blend vitola, and the company chose instead to release the Holiday Blend Christmas Tree, a 4 x 60 short torpedo covered in foil and sold in boxes of 20.
With the addition of the 2014 Candy Cane, the Holiday Blend line now includes 10 different cigars.
- Viaje Holiday Blend 2009 (5 x 54) — December 2009 — 100 Boxes of 30 Cigars (3,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Holiday Blend 2010 Petit Robusto (4 x 54) — December 2010 — 125 Boxes of 30 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Holiday Blend 2010 Torpedo (5 x 54) — December 2010 — 125 Boxes of 30 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Holiday Blend 2011 Petit Robusto (4 1/4 x 54) — December 2011 — 200 Boxes of 30 Cigars (6,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Holiday Blend 2011 Torpedo (5 1/4 x 54) — December 2011 — 200 Boxes of 30 Cigars (6,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Holiday Blend 2012 Petit Robusto (4 3/4 x 54) — December 2012 — 250 Boxes of 30 Cigars (7,500 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Holiday Blend 2012 Candy Cane (6 x 54) — December 2012 — 200 Boxes of 30 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Holiday Blend 2013 Christmas Tree (4 x 60) — December 2013 — 400 Boxes of 20 Cigars (8,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Holiday Blend 2014 (4 1/2 x 56) — December 2014 — n/a
- Viaje Holiday Blend 2014 Candy Cane (6 x 54) — December 2014 — n/a
The first mention of the newest Holiday blend came back in July at the 2014 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show when Viaje Cigars owner Andre Farkas confirmed to halfwheel that it would be released. Photos of the boxes and other info was posted on the company’s Facebook page in late November, and the cigars shipped to retailers a week later.
Like the original release of the Candy Cane, the 2014 incarnation is a 6 x 54 toro that uses Nicaraguan tobacco for both wrappers, the binder and the filler. The price is also the same as the 2012 version, with an MSRP of $11.50, or $230 for each bundle of 20.
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Holiday Blend 2014 Candy Cane
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L.
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Toro
- MSRP: $11.50 (Bundles of 20, $230)
- Date Released: Dec. 3, 2014
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
The Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane is covered in two different wrappers, both of which have some tooth, along with two bands and a covered foot. The cigar has some nice give to it when squeezed and there are some very obvious veins running up and down the length. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of sweet cedar, leather, earth and manure, while the cold draw brings flavors of strong hay, chocolate, barnyard and sweet oak.
The Candy Cane lights up very easily, and immediately I taste flavors of oak, leather, slight citrus, gritty earth and bitter espresso. There is a nice nutmeg sweetness noticeable on the retrohale along with a fairly strong black pepper note is present that seems to be getting stronger as the first third continues. Smoke production is way above average and the construction is decent with a great draw and burn that is a bit wavy but not overly problematic. The strength quickly hits a point just below the medium mark, but seems to stall out there with no indication that it will be increasing anytime soon.
The sweetness on the retrohale morphs into more of a vanilla note early in the second third of the Candy Cane, and I also start to pick up a cinnamon note that was not present in the first third. Other flavors of lemon, wood, dark cocoa, espresso and leather flit in and out, while the smoke production has increased noticeably, and is now billowing off the foot of the cigar. Construction-wise, both the burn and draw continue to impress, and as expected, the strength has gone absolutly nowhere by the end of the second third.
A sweet milk chocolate note easily becomes the dominant flavor in the Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane during the final third, which combines very nicely with the cinnamon that is still present as well as the sweetness on the retrohale that now reminds me more of vanilla bean as opposed to straight up vanilla. There are other flavors that come and go as well, most noticeably leather, oak, hay and a slight tart citrus. The draw is still exhibiting just the right amount of resistance for me, and while the burn is not razor-sharp, it is not even close to problematic. The smoke production continues to be well above average, and the strength finally hits crosses the medium mark by the time I put the nub down.
- The smoke production for this cigar is quite high, especially in the final two thirds of the cigar, and smells of strongly of cedar and sweet nutmeg.
- The secondary band that says “Candy Cane” is eye-catching, no doubt, but seems at odds with the dull green and brown color scheme present on the rest of the cigar.
- Contrary to some pro years, the construction of the Viaje cigars I have smoked in the past six months or so have been quite good.
- There was a slight but noticeable difference in the profile when the burn with the different wrappers, with the lighter wrapper more sweet and the darker wrapper exhibiting a more earthy note.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- The final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 50 minutes.
- If you would like to purchase some Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane cigars, site sponsor Cigar Hustler has them in stock on their website here.
Every time I see a barberpole-wrapped cigar, I find it difficult to think of them as anything other than a marketing gimmick, with the blends seemingly thrown in as an afterthought. In the case of the 2014 Candy Cane, judging the book by its cover is a mistake. The profile was quite enjoyable, if not overly complex, and I did notice a shift in the flavors when the smoking the different wrappers which is not always the case with barberpole-wrapped cigars I have smoked. Construction was quite good, and I did love the constantly morphing sweetness that was present on the retrohale throughout the entire experience. All in all, one of the better Viajes I have smoked in the past six months, and definitely one that I can easily recommend.