Viaje is saying thank you to a handful of retailers with its latest Friends and Family release, a new 5 1/4 x 54 vitola called Merci.

The company is remaining tight-lipped about the cigar, declining to provide any information about it and continuing a trend of utter secrecy about this annual release. Little is known about the cigar other than its size and price, as the company has not released its blend information, which factory produced it, or how many boxes are in existence.

It’s the fourth calendar year in which Viaje has sent out the Friends & Family release, beginning with its first known public appearance at the 2011 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show. The series started in 2012 with the release of the Viaje Friends and Family La Cadeau, a 7 x 48 Churchill vitola. In 2013, the 5 x 52 Le Joueur vitola was added, and last year the company sent out the Bel Air, a 6 x 50 toro vitola.

Pricing for the line has always been among the highest of Viaje’s offerings, ranging from $14.50 to $15.33, and this year’s release has an MSRP of $15.60.

As has been noted before, not all Viaje retailers receive the Friends and Family releases.

Charlie Minato contributed to this story.

Patrick Lagreid

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.