Back in 2010, an upstart cigar company helmed by Andre Farkas released the first of what would eventually become the company’s most expansive line. Named Skull and Bones—after the Jolly Roger logo that adorns the band—the line is has grown to include nearly 50 different cigars that run the gamut from the smallest release that measures under four inches long, to the largest that comes in at a massive 6 1/4 x 60.

The naming system has changed through the years as well: although the vast majority of earlier releases in the series were named after various nuclear bombs and other weapons of mass destruction, the latest incarnations have monikers inspired by comic books like The Hulk, Ghost Rider and The Hulk again.

However, it all started 10 years ago with a cigar that has become something of a legend in certain circles: the Skull and Bones Daisy Cutter. It was inspired by the BLU-82, nicknamed daisy cutter, a 15,000-pound bomb that was used in Vietnam to clear a section of jungle so that helicopters could land safely.

The original cigar debuted as a 150-box limited edition 4 x 54 petite robusto covered in a sun grown criollo wrapper with Nicaraguan tobacco used in both the binder and filler.

Fast forward to June of this year, when Viaje announced that the Daisy Cutter would be making a return to mark its 10 year anniversary, alongside the newest versions of Skull and Bones WMD and Summerfest. Unfortunately, not much else is known about this newest incarnation other than the fact that the 4 x  54 vitola is the same, that it is packaged in boxes of 25 and that he band is printed with a holographic ink that has “never (been) used before.”

There have now been 46 different releases in the Skull and Bones Series:

I’ve reviewed the original cigar twice before, once in 2010 and again in 2012. Here is what I said in my original review back in 2010:

This cigar is a perfect example of how great quality tobacco can enhance a smoke. You can taste the quality in every puff, and while the cigar is not the most complex in the world, the flavors that are present are so velvety smooth and refined, it is hard to find fault with it, add the great burn and draw, and this ended up being an incredibly pleasing smoke. This is definitely the best (and strongest) Viaje I have smoked, and while I wish the pepper had stayed on a bit longer, that is a fairly minor quibble in the grand scheme of things. It was a really great cigar.

And here is what I wrote in my first redux review two years later:

There is a reason the Daisy Cutter is one of the original releases that put Viaje on the map. Dark, rich flavors that combine perfectly with the pepper that is present to produce a extremely balanced cigar. While still a very good cigar after two years, the main changes in the two versions are quite noticeable: there is very little sweetness left in the profile and the overall strength has obviously toned down. Having said that, these are still easily the best Skull and Bones to date and they also remain among the very best that Viaje has ever released.

  • Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Skull and Bones Daisy Cutter (2020)
  • Country of Origin: Not Disclosed
  • Factory: Not Disclosed
  • Wrapper: Not Disclosed
  • Binder: Not Disclosed
  • Filler: Not Disclosed
  • Length: 4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Petite Robusto
  • MSRP: $9.20 (Box of 25, $230)
  • Release Date: June 18, 2020
  • Number of Cigars Released: Not Disclosed
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1

My first thought when I saw the newest Viaje Skull and Bones Daisy Cutter was “Man, they nailed the reddish wrapper.” The wrapper is a gorgeous medium brown color with an obvious red tint, smooth to the touch and covered in quite a bit of oil. While I don’t know about the holographic ink having never been used before, I can tell you it is extremely distinctive and looks great wrapped around the small cigar.  The aroma emanating from the wrapper and foot is a combination of strong milk chocolate, cedar, earth, hay, nutmeg, slight citrus and raisins while the cold draw brings flavors of cocoa nibs, vegetal notes, sweet grass, fresh espresso beans, leather tack and sweet raisins.

The Viaje Daisy Cutter starts out almost instantly with a blast of caramel on my palate mixed with distinct notes of both cedar and cocoa nibs. There is plenty of spice on my lips early on, which only helps to accentuate the secondary notes of gritty earth, leather, barnyard, yeast and slight citrus. In addition, a caramel sweetness on the retrohale keeps getting stronger as the first half burns down. Although there is a slight cinnamon note on the finish for the first 15 puffs or so, it fades away by the time the second third begins. As the second third progress, it is obvious that the spice on my lips that was so prevalent in the first third disappears, while the dominant flavors have changed to a combination of dark chocolate and rich espresso bitterness. There is not much change in the secondary flavors, although a creamy cashew note shows up in the final third just long enough for me to identify before fading away for good. The caramel sweetness and black pepper on the retrohale have both increased in both strength and distinctness, until they are both major parts of the profile by the end of the cigar, adding to the complexity that is already present.

Construction-wise, the new Skull and Bones Daisy Cutter features an excellent draw after a simple straight cut, as well as a burn that is about as wonky as it could possibly be for the entire one hour and three minutes of the time I spend smoking it. Thankfully, the burn issues are almost entirely a visual issue, as I only need to touch up the cigar once. The overall strength is a bit higher than what I recall from the original release, ending up at a point well north of medium and on the way to full, although it never really threatened to cross over that line.

91 Overall Score

The original Skull and Bones Daisy Cutter became legendary for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most important was that it was an extremely good cigar. While it has been a long while since I have smoked one of those, the new version is just as good as I remember the first one being; a roller coaster ride that morphs randomly between sweet, bitter, rich and bold, all within its diminutive four inches. The blend is a flavor bomb, with a sweet caramel backbone that shows up early with the first puff and never lets up as well nice chocolate notes that morph from cocoa nibs in the first half to more traditional dark chocolate in the second half. The original release was an integral part of what turned me on to Viaje’s cigars when the brand was first starting out, and while this version is different in a number of ways, it is also a worthy followup to celebrate the anniversary of one of the brand’s best creations.

Original Score (May 2010, 2010 Release)
Redux Score (August 2012, 2010 Release)
Redux Score (August 2020, 2020 Release)

Brooks Whittington

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.