Last month, Viaje Cigars announced two brand new lines, each of which started shipping to retailers on March 16: Señor Andre’s Chicharrones and the Viaje Jalapeño. The Señor Andre’s Chicharrones release is actually made up of three different blends in the same 4 1/2 x 48 vitola: Original, Bold and Spicy. The Original is uses a Nicaraguan corojo wrapper, while the Bold uses an undisclosed maduro wrapper and the Spicy incorporates a Nicaraguan criollo cover leaf.
- Viaje Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Spicy (4 1/2 x 48)
- Viaje Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Original (4 1/2 x 48)
- Viaje Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Bold (4 1/2 x 48)
- Viaje Jalapeño (4 7/8 x 51)
(Box image via Atlantic Cigar Co., used with permission)
While the Jalapeño is rolled at the Raíces Cubanas factory in Danlí, Honduras, all three Chicharrones blends are produced at Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA) in Nicaragua using AGANORSA tobacco. Each 90-count box contains 30 of each of the three cigars and each of the three blends have the same $7.51 price, with boxes of 90 retailing for $675.90.
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Original
- Country of Origin: Nicaragua
- Factory: Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA)
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 4 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 48
- Vitola: Petit Robusto
- MSRP: $7.51 (Boxes of 90, $675.90)
- Date Released: March 16, 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
The Viaje Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Original is a fairly nondescript cigar visually, with a medium brown wrapper that is silky smooth to the touch. There are a few veins visible running down the length of the cigar and it has just a little give when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of generic tobacco, peanuts, manure and cedar, while the cold draw brings flavors of aged cedar, leather, hay and nuts.
Starting out the first third of the Chicharrones Original, the dominant flavors of creamy peanuts and earth are sprinkled with other notes of hay, leather, cream, espresso and toast. I immediately notice a slight nutmeg sweetness on the retrohale, along with a nice amount of white pepper, but there is no spice to be had at all. Construction-wise, the draw is excellent so far, and the burn is quite good, although I have to touch it up once to keep it from running away. The overall strength is not an issue at this point, and ends the first third well below the medium mark.
The sweetness in the profile increases substantially in the second third of the Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Original, still a very distinct nutmeg note that combines nicely with the white pepper that is still present on the retrohale. Other flavors of leather, grass, cedar, dark chocolate, coffee and creamy milk flit in and out, and I actually pick up a very interesting mint note right after the halfway point. The draw continues to impress and the burn has evened up nicely, not needing a touch-up for the entire second third. Strength-wise, the Chicharrones Original struggles to hit the medium mark, but almost makes it before the start of the final third.
The final third of the Viaje Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Original features the same nutmeg sweetness on the retrohale, albeit less of it, as well as an increasing amount of white pepper. The other flavors in the profile remain pretty close to the second third: leather, hay, wood, dark chocolate, espresso and creamy milk, along with that same mint note from the second third that comes and goes. Both the burn and draw are excellent until the end of the cigar, and the strength does finally reach the medium mark by the time I put the nub down with less than an inch left.
- Chicharrones are a traditional Mexican appetizer that is typically composed of fried pork rinds. With that said, I am not sure why there is a photo of boar/warthog—bull if you are Charlie Minato—on the box lids.
- I really love the look of the packaging for this release, with the different colors that are present from the box lid to the wrapping paper and the bands on the cigars. However, the overall design of the bands themselves leave quite a bit to be desired.
- I am not sure that retailers are going to appreciate the amount of space the extremely large box the Chicharrones come in will take up on their shelves.
- The draw was excellent on each of the three samples I smoked, and while the burn was not razor sharp on any of them, it never needed to be touched up more than once.
- Having said the above, there is way too much glue on the bands, and two of the three samples had a chunk of the wrapper taken off when I removed the bands. Thankfully, it did not negatively affect the cigar smoking in any major way, but it certainly could have.
- This is a very slow smoker, and the final smoking time for all three cigars averaged one hour and 10 minutes.
- The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- If you would like to purchase any of the Viaje cigars, site sponsors Serious Cigar & STOGIES World Class Cigar have them in stock.
I am not going to lie, the first one of the Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Originals I smoked had me thinking that this was going to be just another middle of the road cigar. Thankfully, the last two samples were considerably better, with a pervasive and distinct nutmeg sweetness, a more creamy finish and a slight mint note that came and went throughout the last half of the smoking experience. The profile is quite balanced overall, and while not the most complex, is easily interesting enough to keep my attention. While the forgettable first cigar definitely brings down the final score, I really enjoyed the last two samples I smoked and make this a very easy cigar to recommend.