Since debuting in 2010, the Viaje TNT has been one of the company’s staple limited editions, generally showing up in early summer along with a handful of other cigars including the Summerfest and C-4. That is, until last year.
For no specified reason, the company announced that this trio of cigars, along with the Late Harvest, would not be making an appearance in 2014, with a representative telling halfwheel that “you never know what you will get from year to year.” There was speculation that it had to do with the gradual departure of Viaje from the Raíces Cubanas factory in Honduras, though that was never confirmed.
In March of 2015, Viaje announced that it was moving a good amount of its production from the Honduran factory to PDR Cigars in the Dominican Republic, a seemingly foregone conclusion that one could draw after Andre Farkas had been seen several times with Abe Flores of PDR Cigars over several months prior to the announcement. Included in the list of cigars being relocated was the TNT, along with the C-4 and the 2015 installment of the Collaboration Series.
In June, Viaje confirmed that the TNT would be returning this year—with a couple of changes.
- Viaje TNT (6 1/4 x 54) — June 2010 — 50 Boxes of 75 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
- Viaje TNT (2011) (6 1/4 x 54) — June 2011 — 50 Boxes of 75 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
- Viaje TNT (2012) (6 1/4 x 54) — June 2012 — 125 Boxes of 75 Cigars (9,375 Total Cigars)
- Viaje TNT (2013) — June 2013 — 150 Boxes of 75 Cigars (11,250 Total Cigars)
- Viaje TNT (2015) (6 1/4 x 54) — June 2015 — n/a
Besides the new factory, both TNT and C-4 would be getting a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper in place of the Nicaraguan corojo 99 that had been used for the previous editions. The sizes remained the same, as did the packaging and presentation, which for TNT is an unbanded cigar with a long fuse-like cap.
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje TNT (2015)
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: PDR Cigars
- Wrapper: USA (Connecticut Broadleaf)
- Binder: n/a
- Filler: n/a
- Size: 6 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Double Robusto
- MSRP: $11.44 (Boxes of 75, $858)
- Release Date: June 4, 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: n/a
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
While it’s a big and beefy cigar, the Viaje TNT is fairly nondescript as it lacks a band and the fuse on the cap gets overlooked while the cigar is still in the cellophane. Once removed from its protective sleeve, it feels a bit damp, though that might just be the oils playing a bit of a mental trick on me. The dark and slightly oily wrapper shows just a bit of crystallization in spots, with small veins and a bit of tooth to complement the presentation and give it a fine texture in the hand. If anything, a few random bumps from under the wrapper are the only visual distraction; it’s fairly firm from head to toe with just a touch of give and feels substantial in the hand. I don’t get much from the pre-light aroma, the wrapper completely covers the foot and offers a bit of cherry jam, dry wood and generic tobacco smell, none of which jump off the leaf. The cold draw is generally big and heavy with notes of beef jerky, leather and steak sauce, the air moving well with just a slight bit of restriction in two of the three samples while both air flow and flavors are lighter in the third cigar.
Clouds of thick gray smoke start pouring off this year’s TNT as soon as the covered foot it lit, and the first draw only amplifies the amount while delivering a creamy flavor profile that is milder than I was expecting but still offers a mouthful of slightly damp soil and pepper for the palate. The nose gets a complex introduction to the smoke; the pepper is familiar but the earthiness is harder to pin down. There’s almost a grassy, vegetal leaning to it, but then chalk and minerals swing it in a different direction. The strength picks up in the first half an inch, and retrohales soon prove to be equally punchy while the pepper works deeper into the throat, full-bodied but not quite harsh. It’s not an over the top start, but establishes a full-bodied baseline from which to progress. After the first clump of ash breaks off at about an long, the cigar mellows out just a touch with a cocoa powder note coming forward on the palate with some warm almonds in the retrohale, a fantastic combination that is best experienced in close combination. The strength ebbs and flows just a bit through the first third, offering moments of reprieve before quick returns to its fuller levels.
While I’m not one to rush to get through a cigar, the Viaje TNT feels like a particularly slow-burning stick, something I notice as the second third gets underway. The flavor has held steady for the most part; both the nose and palate get served plenty of pepper—the former more so than the latter—yet for my senses it’s not overwhelming. There is a bit more harshness from the pepper than there was in the first third, something that isn’t a bright spot for me as I would love to get something beyond additional pepper from this cigar. By the midpoint the flavor has softened just a bit, remaining earthy but showing some faint traces of thick sweetness primarily via its aroma, while the flavor gets a bit of steel to it, reminiscent of holding a nail or a screw in your mouth. The flavor feels like it is trying to open up and blossom, the first such transition that I’ve picked up on in the cigar, and at points I get a bit of cool meat drippings that further gives hints as to what this cigar might just be capable of offering. The burn line continues to creep along slowly, generally staying even and not requiring a touch-up, but slow enough that I’m glad I haven’t made dinner reservations for after this cigar.
After flirting with some sweetness in the second third, the Viaje TNT has moved on, or more appropriately moved back to the pepper forward flavor it has shown for the bulk of the cigar, with the reintroduction of a bit of harshness that now hits the top of the mouth. While the draw has been on the firm side to this point, it feels even more so in the final two inches as each puff feels a bit more labored while delivering a fluffier smoke that is still very concentrated with earth and pepper. The strength continues to build, riding on the back of increased harshness that takes the cigar into its final inches, a change that makes each puff more of a challenge to want to take as the flavor just isn’t there anymore and leads to an early completion to the cigar.
- While I think the packaging for the Viaje TNT is certainly interesting, it does make it a bit prohibitive for most folks to buy a box, 75 of any cigar is a lot to have on hand.
- The Viaje Facebook page is fairly quiet, though it does seem to be the place where most new products get announced.
- While no production numbers for the TNT have been announced, the company produced 150 crates last year, a number that has grown from 50 in 2010 and 2011 to 75 in 2012.
- The first cigar I smoked developed a small crack in the wrapper which I was able to fix up with a bit of goma; it didn’t seem to affect the burn whatsoever.
- None of the cigars for this review were dry boxed, something that seemingly was a requirement for Viaje releases in past years—and from past factories. This was also the case when I reviewed the Viaje Ten Ton Tess Gold Collector’s Edition.
- Here are the reviews of the Viaje TNT from 2010 and 2012.
- Brooks Whittington covered the Viaje booth at the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, where Ten Ton Tess in both the black/silver and gold editions were featured, along with the new Viaje Collaboration with PDR Cigars and the Viaje Satori 2015.
- The Viaje Exclusivo line has also moved to PDR Cigars; with this as my preferred line in the company’s portfolio, I’m particularly intrigued to see what—if any—effect it has on the cigar.
- Final smoking time was two hours and 45 minutes on average.
- The cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
- Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar, Cigar Hustler, Serious Cigars and STOGIES World Class Cigars carry the Viaje TNT 2015.
I fully understand that a cigar called TNT is designed to be strong; you don’t call a line that and put out something that tastes like rice cakes. But while strength may be the calling card of this cigar, it’s when the pepper isn’t firing on all cylinders that the blend really shines, allowing the flavorful notes of terroir and sweetness to get a turn on the senses. There are some good things going on in the background of the Viaje TNT, and when the blend clears the often overpowering pepper and harshness out of the way, the cigar is at its best. In its current state, it’s a bit much for me—and that doesn’t take into account the cigar’s size and extended smoking time, which only adds on to the heap. Hopefully time mellows the pepper out and eases the harshness while preserving the better aspects of this blend; when they can all play together a little better, this could turn into a really enjoyable full-bodied cigar.