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In August, at the IPCPR show in New Orleans, Viaje showed off another one of its limited releases. The Viaje Satori, which is named for a Japanese word that means “sudden spiritual enlightenment,” was released last week and sold out pretty much immediately.

However, unlike some of the llimited releases from Viaje, the Satori should be released every year, in roughly the same numbers, at around the same time, right after the IPCPR show.

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This year, the Viaje Satoriwas released in three different vitolas, with each size only including 150 boxes of 25. The three vitolas are:

  • Viaje Satori Karma (5 x 52)
  • Viaje Satori Nirvana (6 x 50)
  • Viaje Satori Zen (6 3/4 x 52)

Here is what the boxes for the Zen look like:

Viaje Satori

Viaje Satori

Viaje Satori

Viaje Satori

Viaje Satori

Viaje Satori

When opening the box of Zen that I purchased, I found a insert that had the following message on it, which I think does a great job of describing the thought process Andrehad when putting together this release. It says (in part):

Satori is the Japanese word for enlightenment, used to refer to a deep or lasting realization of the nature of existence. Experience has shown there are many paths to enlightenment: some may meditate, while others may practice Yoga. For me, cigars have often been the catalyst for achieving heightened awareness and a greater understanding of our complex and changing world. I have had the good fortune to meet many interesting people with whom I have spent countless hours deep in conversation with a fine cigar in hand. The experiences they shared with me, while we enjoyed our fine cigars, have truly enriched my life. This Cigar is a tribute to the enlightenment one can achieve while indulging in one of life’s great luxuries.

Viaje Satori  

  • Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Satori Zen
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L. (Raíces Cubanas)
  • Wrapper: Nicaraguan Oscuro
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 3/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 52
  • Vitola: Double Torpedo
  • Est. Price: $11.76 (Box of 25, $294.00)
  • Number of Cigars Released: 150 Boxes of 25 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

The first thing you notice about this cigar is the absolutely coal black wrapper. It is almost unnaturally dark, and the color is quite even as well over the entire cigar, more on that in the final notes. In fact, I shot a photo of one of the Satori next to one of the Viaje Exclusivo DES, to give you an idea of the extreme difference in the color of the wrapper.

Viaje Satori

I love the vitola of this cigar, there is just something cool about a box-press double torpedo. The wrapper is totally seamless, and smells of cedar, spice and a bit of chocolate. It is very firm when squeezed, almost hard really. The predraw is slightly muted with flavors of tobacco, spice and a bit of leather.

The first third starts out with a small amount of pepper, leather and a very strong meaty profile. My notes say “kind of like smoking a pepper crusted steak.” It is not a bad profile, but it is slightly overwhelming. At the end of the first third, a charred flavor is also introduced.

Viaje Satori

The second third does not add much. The meaty profile seems just as strong, but also a bit more creamy, however, about halfway through the second third, the flavors start to lose their punch and start to become more muted. Same flavors, just less and less intense as the cigar continued.

Viaje Satori

The final third is just more of the same. The profile pretty much the same charred meaty flavors with a bit of leather include. The cigar got quite a bit stronger as the cigar came to an end and also more and more harsh at the very end. A fairly disappointing end.

Viaje Satori

Final Notes:

  • I have to say that I love the logo (below) of a Buddha in yellow, red and blue colors for this release. It fits the name, and purpose, according to Andre Farkas, of the cigar perfectly, and looks great on a cigar band and box.

Viaje Satori

  • This is a solid medium plus-bodied smoke, never getting stronger then that, even at the end.
  • I have heard that Viaje will be releasing each limited blend at the same time every year: i.e., the Holiday Blend around Christmas time, the Satori around IPCPR, etc.
  • If you are a fan of a very “meaty” profile, you are going to love this stick, since that is basically all it has, flavor-wise, at least in the Zen vitola. The taste is interesting, but not interesting enough or good enough to carry an entire cigar.
  • The process used to put the gold onto the boxes for the Satori is illegal in the U.S., and as a result, the boxes were made elsewhere. Viaje is not alone in this process.
  • I had heard about the “wrapper transfer” before I smoked any of these, and knew it might be an issue. Now, Andre Farkas has stated that he does not dye his cigars. In fact, he had this to say about it:

    In order to produce Maduro or Oscuro leaf the tobacco must undergo long fermentation at high temperatures. This type of fermentation produces rich oils. What you experienced is completely normal for this type of leaf. My factory practices only time honored traditions. Viaje or Raices Cubanas would never do ANYTHING artificial to the leaf. Our cigars are rolled using only natural processes. I might add I chose this special leaf for Satori due to its rich flavors and abundant oils. Satori was held up for some time because I couldn’t find the right wrapper to compliment the blend. When I found this Oscuro I knew I had something special. Needless to say I’ve secured this wrapper for future production.

  • I have talked to quite a few people who have told me that while the Zen is the way I describe it, the Karma vitola is quite a bit better tasting and more complex. I could not get a hold of any of the other vitolas in the line to compare before this review, however please remember that every vitola is different and has different characteristics, and this review is valid for the Zen size only. I will update yall after I get a few of the Karma to compare.
79 Overall Score

I have grown used to being impressed, albeit to varying degrees, with the Viaje limited editions , but quite honestly, the Satori Zen did almost nothing for me. While the flavors it had were interesting, the lack of any real complexity in the blend, the interesting meaty flavor, the muted profile of the last two thirds and yes, the wrapper color transfer did not help me, but I was left me wanting much more then I was getting. While the look of the cigar and the construction were all great, I found myself wishing I was smoking a Skull and Bones, or Double Edge Sword, or even a Exclusivo or Holiday Blend. All in all, an okay cigar, but unlike most of the other Viaje limited editions, just not worth the hype.

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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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