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Viaje Skull and Bones Bruce Banner 56

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At some point, Viaje will run out of names for its Skull and Bones releases. But not today.

Skull and Bones, which debuted a decade ago with a single release known as Daisy Cutter, has largely been associated with various bombs and munitions. There’s been a subseries, usually released around Halloween, centered around a question mark or the name M?stery.

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But recently, comic books have started to make their way into the Skull and Bones universe. That started in 2017 with two releases under the name The Hulk, which were sold through Anthony’s Cigar Emporium in Tuscon, Ariz.

Late last year there was Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze and Mephisto, three related characters from the Marvel universe. Then the Hulk returned along with a cigar called Bruce Banner, which is the name of the human that morphs into Hulk.

The cigar being reviewed today is Bruce Banner 56, a 5 1/4 x 56 robusto gordo that was described as a different blend from the regular version of The Hulk. Viaje declined to say what the blend is, but it is priced at $13.20 per cigar and sold in bundles of 25.

There have now been 44 different releases in the Skull and Bones Series:

  • Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Skull and Bones Bruce Banner 56
  • Country of Origin: Not Disclosed
  • Factory: Not Disclosed
  • Wrapper: Not Disclosed
  • Binder: Not Disclosed
  • Filler: Not Disclosed
  • Length: 5 1/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 56
  • Vitola: Robusto Gordo
  • MSRP: $13.20 (Bundle of 25, $330)
  • Release Date: Not Disclosed
  • Number of Cigars Released: April 2020
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

This is a good looking cigar that reminds me of plenty of Skull and Bones before it, though it maybe doesn’t have as much grit as most of those wrappers. For whatever reason, I seem to be the one reviewing cigars with obvious veins lately and this is no exception. Aroma from the wrapper has lots of barnyard and some yeast that reminds me of classic southern rolls. The foot is quite similar though the yeast roll flavor dominates nearly everything else which is mainly just a little bit of leather. There’s still a strong yeast flavor on the cold draw but it’s joined by pecan rolls and a slight sourness.

Despite that very distinct aroma and flavor on the cold draw, I really can’t pick up that much of it once the Bruce Banner is lit. Instead, there’s some burnt coffee, Corn Flakes and a bit of minerals. Eventually, the yeast flavor comes in, though sometimes it reminds me of a more generic biscuit flavor. It’s joined by redwood, white wine and black pepper. The retrohales of the Skull and Bones provide biscuits, creaminess, lemon, white pepper and some cranberry. The finish continues the biscuit dominance, now joined by leather. Flavor is full, body is full and strength is medium-plus. Construction is great on two cigars while cigar is struggling to stay lit from the jump and tunnels before the cigar hits the one-inch mark.

The second third sees the biscuit flavor get more pronounced, now joined by a sharper lemon, sunflower seeds, and some raspberry iced tea flavor. Retrohaling the Viaje Skull and Bones Bruce Banner delivers a distinct apple cider, honey mustard and some more white pepper. There’s a sourdough bread, earthiness, grains and something that reminds me of the smell of Parmesan cheese on the finish. Flavor and body both remain full. At some point around the halfway mark of the Bruce Banner I realize that the sides of my head are feeling the effects of nicotine. What’s bizarre, however, is that it doesn’t seem like the cigar is all that strong on a puff by puff basis. Construction is similar to the first part—two cigars are great and one cigar is a problem.

For the first time since taking the cigar out of the cellophane, I’m no longer able to get any of the biscuit flavor from the Skull and Bones Bruce Banner. The grain flavor picks up, the lemon sticks around, and there’s some leather. It’s tough to really separate the flavors—and even after 15 puffs—I really am not able to find a consistent number of distinct flavors as the profile is a lot more compact and really just earthy. Retrohales have grain, some mushroom flavor and a bland beef jerky sensation. One of the more noticeable parts of the retrohale is that it leaves a spoiled fruit-like flavor on the finish. If I don’t retrohale, the finish has a saltine flavor with some grapes and earthiness. Flavor and body are both full and while I can’t detect it on a puff by puff basis, the nicotine punch is decidedly full.

Final Notes

  • While I’ve seen my fair share of movies inspired by them, I’m not a comic book person. I did enjoy Netflix’s version of Daredevil and was also watching Arrow—and the associated shows—for a handful of seasons.
  • Much like questions about whether New York City water is key to pizza, there’s a large debate about whether there’s a geographical reason why biscuits in the south taste different than ones made in other places. I remember reading this article that suggested a specific type of flour was key to making a certain style of biscuit and that it isn’t available in many places of the country. There are others that disagree about the White Lily Flour theory.
  • This is a cigar that doesn’t feel that strong until I realize my head is close to spinning. The nicotine is so well hidden, particularly in the first half, that I was surprised as to what was happening during the first sample. With the second and third samples I was on the lookout for the nicotine punches, but it was still a very interesting experience.
  • One sample struggled to stay lit, tunneled and didn’t deliver as clean of a flavor profile. The other two were excellent.
  • Final smoking time averaged two hours and five minutes on average.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Site sponsors Cigar Hustler and JR Cigar carries the cigar.
88 Overall Score

In the early parts of the Bruce Banner I was reminded of Brooks’ recent review of a Skull and Bones. It seemed like this was very different from the dozens of Skull and Bones that have come before it. It was smooth, detailed and not overpowering. Then my head started showing signs that it might be spinning soon. I can’t think of a cigar that has hidden the nicotine punch quite like this. Unfortunately for both my smoking experience and the final score, one cigar didn’t want to burn. That all being said, I’d gladly smoke another Bruce Banner, it’s one of my favorite Viajes of the last few years, truly something unique. 

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Charlie Minato
About the author

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.

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