Viaje Cigar Co. has announced a pair of cigars that will be hitting store shelves in the coming weeks.
SUMMER’S ALMOST HERE! With the rising temperatures SUMMERFEST is set to make an appearance after a 3 year hiatus. This year’s version is rolled at AGANORSA (Esteli, Nicaragua) and will feature its signature brushed foot and flawless Corojo99 wrapper. The blend features all Nicaraguan tobaccos from Esteli, Condega and Jalapa.
The Viaje Summerfest, one of the company’s earliest releases, returns in a 6 x 54 toro vitola after being absent for three years. It’s a Nicaraguan puro with a corojo 99 wrapper and a blend that uses tobaccos from the country’s Estelí, Condega and Jalapa regions. It is being produced at Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA), the factory owned by Eduardo Fernández of AGANORSA, and comes in 30-count boxes priced at $300, or $10 per cigar.
The line debuted in 2010 before being dropped in 2014 from the company’s release schedule. Its absence would only last a year though, as in June 2015, Viaje announced the Summerfest was making a return with three major changes: a different blend, a different size and made at a different factory. While the wrapper remained a Nicaraguan Corojo 99, the filler was changed to a combination of Nicaraguan tobaccos from Condega, Estelí and Jalapa. In addition, a 6 x 52 toro vitola was added, with production moving from Raíces Cubanas in Danlí, Honduras to TABSA.
Also returning is the Viaje Birthday Blend, which debuted in 2016 as part of the company’s WLP series, or white label project, a banner under which new releases that weren’t part of other series or weren’t ready to go fully out on their own were launched. At the time of its launch, Farkas said that the plan was to release it with its own distinct packaging, but due to FDA regulations its fastest path to market was under the WLP banner. The second release in 2017 moved it mostly out of WLP, as the cigars were packaged in traditional wood boxes with the wrapping paper added to the presentation. However, the boxes bear a WLP sticker on the front, which returns again this year.
While an earlier Instagram post indicated that the cigar used a Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper, that has been removed and replaced with an updated image showing the wrapper is a criollo 98 leaf. A representative of Viaje indicated that the original photo that was posted was incorrect. Also changing in the image is the number of boxes being produced; while the box in the initial post indicated there were 100 boxes, the new image indicates there are 200 boxes made.
Like the previous edition, it comes in boxes of 25, with this year’s version priced at $224, or $8.96 per cigar. Each bundle of cigars wrapped in birthday-themed wrapping paper, with this year’s version getting a new print, according to the company. It is also being made at TABSA.
The blend is said to be inspired by Old Forrester’s Birthday Bourbon, a limited edition, 12-year-old, vintage dated expression that comes out on Sept. 2, the birthday of company founder George Garvin Brown. Also of note, the original plan for the Birthday Blend was that the number of cigars in each box would correspond to how old Farkas was that year. The debut release has 38 cigars per bundle as that was how old Farkas was at the time, and while he joked that he’d love to see it reach 150, he later went on record to say it would stop at 40. Those plans changed as well, as this year’s release appears to have 25 cigars, similar to the 2017 edition.
Update — shortly after this post was published, Viaje removed the original photo of the Birthday Blend from its Instagram account and replace it with the one that has been included above. That initial image showed that the Birthday Blend used a Mexican San Andrés maduro wrapper and had 100 boxes being produced.