In 2014, Viaje added a different color to its annual Zombie release: red.
The company selected two stores—R. Field Wine Co. and Atlantic Cigar Co.—to split the 100 boxes of 20 it made of each blend. In addition to the color of the band, the cigars featured different wrappers: a criollo leaf on the green-banded cigar and a Nicaraguan maduro wrapper for the red version.
I reviewed the Zombie Red in April 2014 and had some issues with the cigar, albeit, not because of how it tasted:
I’m at a loss as far as the construction goes. One sample was all that you could ask for, yet one was bad enough I probably would have chucked it if I wasn’t reviewing. For the purpose of a rating, it’s dominated by the flavor, which was good, not great. However, when construction becomes as bad as it did, you have to subtract some points. As it stands, these are not something I would feel comfortable recommending without the warning about construction. I’m interested to see if my first two experiences are indicative of the norm, or anomalies.
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Zombie Red (2014)
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L.
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Perfecto
- MSRP: $11 (Boxes of 20, $220)
- Release Date: April 25, 2014
- Number of Cigars Released: 100 Boxes of 20 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Redux: 1
The wrapper is very dark with clear veins littering the bottom of the cigar. There’s a dominant barnyard aroma from the Nicaraguan maduro leaf with a touch of charcoal-like toastiness. There’s some excess wrapper around the nipple of the foot, almost like what you would find on a 1502. I pick up some mild cocoa overshadowed by a Cap’n Crunch sweetness. The cold draw is somewhat tight, but not overly so, and there’s lots of grain, some nuttiness and a bit of a dry floral flavor.
The Zombie Red begins with cedar, dry nuttiness and mild grassy flavors. Things transition with toastiness coming to a core on top of cedar and oak. While the grassy flavors are gone, there’s still quite a bit of wheat and some chalky flavors. In short, it’s earthy. Some bittersweet cocoa adds itself in the middle alongside sunflower seeds and burnt barbecue. There’s essentially no sweetness to be found in the Viaje except for some brief moments of a Lay’s potato chip-like flavor on the finish. It’s not that that flavor is particularly sweet, but compared to what else is going on, it is quite noticeable. When I hit the two-inch mark I get some raisins, which aren’t really sweet, a rye whiskey-like oak flavor and some grassy flavors.
I had a lot of issues when I smoked this cigar nearly two years ago; thankfully, that was not the case here. The draw opened up within the first half inch and from there it was smooth sailing. As far as intensity, the flavor reduced a bit, starting full, reaching medium-full in the middle portions and ending medium-plus. Strength-wise, it’s medium-full throughout with a similar body.
Atlantic Cigar Co. advertises on halfwheel.
The VIaje Zombie Red has aged well. The construction issues that plagued my original review were nowhere to be found. It lacks both the bite and punch that I would normally associate with the line, but the cigar is in a pretty good spot at the moment. I would have appreciated either a sweetness or a pepper to help contrast the earthiness that dominated the cigar start of finish, but regardless, this is now a good cigar.