Viaje Skull and Bones MOAB

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About a month ago, Viaje’s Facebook page started posting various updates that were all in the same vein.

Terms like “BE WARNED!” and “Widespread destruction is now being reported across the U.S.” Along with the updates was a red skull and crossbones on black, a play on the original Skull and Bones release last year, the logo of which was white and black.

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There have been four cigars in the Skull and Bones series in the last two years.

Viaje Skull & Bones MOAB 1.png

  • Viaje Skull and Bones Daisy Cutter (4 x 54) — May 2010 — 150 Boxes of 25 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
  • Viaje Skull and Bones “?” (5 x 54) — October 2010 — 150 Boxes of 25 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
  • Viaje Skull and Bones WMD (3 3/4 x 54) — March 2011 — 250 Boxes of 25 Cigars (6,250 Total Cigars)
  • Viaje Skull and Bones MOAB (4 1/4 x 54) — March 2011 — 100 Boxes of 50 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)

It turns out that as expected, the newest Viaje release was a variation of the Original Skull and Bones blend. This the third incarnation of the blend and for the first time, there are two different vitolas released at the same time.

As with most of the recent Viaje releases, both sizes are quite limited in numbers, with only 250 boxes of 25 of the WMD, and only 50 Cases of 100 of the MOAB. Most Viaje retailers received between five-10 boxes of the WMD and at least one case of the MOAB.

Thanks to Saddam Hussein, we all know that “WMD” means, but you may not have known that there is a town called “Moab” in Utah and is it is also the historical name for a mountainous strip of land in Jordan running along the eastern shore of the Dead Sea.

And, although most people think that MOAB stands for “mother of all bomb,” the name actually stands for “Massive Ordnance Air Blast.” Interestingly, the bomb this cigar takes its namesake from is over 30 feet long and uses 18,700 lb (8.5 tons) of high explosives. Lastly, the first release of the Viaje Skull and Bones was dubbed the Daisy Cutter, which is actually the nickname for another bomb which was developed and produced before the MOAB)

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And here is what the box of MOAB looks like:

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  • Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Skull and Bones MOAB
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L.
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 4 1/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Petit Pirámides
  • MSRP: $9.36 (Boxes of 100, $936.00)
  • Date Released: March 2011
  • Total Number of Cigars Released: 50 Cases of 100 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

The cigar itself is a very interesting vitola, more like a cross between a NUb and a torpedo than anything else, similar to the NUb 454T. The wrapper is a dark dark brown with quite a bit of oil present, and smells like a combination of espresso, dark chocolate, hay and wood. It is a bit spongy when squeezed, but not overly so. The cold draw includes dark and bitter chocolate, leather, wood and pepper.

The first third has some spice and black pepper to start, but they exist in harmony with flavors of oak, leather, espresso and just a little bit of cinnamon on the retrohale. It is a very woody profile to start, and I quite enjoyed it.

Viaje Skull & Bones MOAB 7.png

The second third has stronger cinnamon notes present than the first third, but the spice and pepper are down. The profile is still wood overall and there is a rich tobacco note as well. I could tell the cigar was getting stronger by this point, but it was still on the medium side.

Viaje Skull & Bones MOAB 8.png

The final third really took off, strength-wise. It flew out of the gate, hitting me right between the eyes. It went from medium to full in about 10 puffs and really took me by surprise. Unfortunately, the strength, while a nice surprise, overwhelmed just about any nuances that the last third may have had, and all I could taste was the same woody profile with some espresso and leather.

Viaje Skull & Bones MOAB 9.png

Final Notes

  • While I understand the need to differentiate the releases with the Red Skull and Bones logo, instead of the original white on black, and you would think that the Red would look pretty kick ass, it honestly just looks a bit tacky to me.
  • I really do not like either vitola and the price for each is almost, but not quite, as outrageous as the Exclusivo Short.
  • I smoked both vitolas for this review, and honestly, I found very little difference between them in terms of flavor, which is not exactly surprising, since they are the same blend, and basically the same size, but interestingly, the MOAB seemed a bit stronger to me.
  • There was quite a bit of smoke in each cigar I reviewed, and it was white and spicy.
  • The draw was just a bit loose on each of the MOABs and WMDs I smoked, and the burn was uneven, but both were not bad enough to be anything more than somewhat annoying.
  • The final smoking time was exactly one hour.
89 Overall Score

I went into smoking these cigars hoping it would be a better experience than the Skull and Bones “?"—which to me was an almost comically awful release—and I must say, I was not disappointed. While not as complex as the the Daisy Cutter, both the MOAB and the WMD both are quite a bit stronger, especially in the last third. The major problem I have with this newest Skull and Bones release is the price, which for me is about four dollars too high for the size. The flavors are good, and I think they will only get better with age, but honestly, I think I will be waiting for the Tower 45th Exclusivo to buy a box.

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Brooks Whittington
About the author

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.

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