In July of 2013, Viva Republica was talking about their next release, tentatively named Thrice, which got its name from the fact that it used three different ligero tobaccos in the filler. Unfortunately, the blend never reached production.

“I wasn’t really happy about blend, packaging, a couple of things—it didn’t jive,” said Jason Holly, owner of Viva Republica. “I didn’t want to release it and not have it be reflective of what my original idea was. So I scrapped it, and started from square one.”

Holly decided to expand on the idea of his original creation and is now set to release the new Propaganda, a blend with roots in Thrice. It uses a Brazilian mágico cubano wrapper, a Cuban-seed varietal that literally translates into magic Cuban, an Ecuadorian Sumatra binder and fillers from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Pennsylvania. Sold in boxes of 20, the cigar is made at La Aurora’s E. León Jimenes Tabacalera in the Dominican Republic and is distributed by Miami Cigar & Co., where Holly now heads brand development.

Viva Republica Propaganda 2

According to Holly, the idea behind the Propaganda release is to force people to start paying attention to what is included in the cigar, as well as the quality of the cigar itself. To that end, the band on the cigar and the boxes they are sold in have the names of each of the countries where he sourced the tobacco for the blend.

Viva Republica Propaganda Box 1

Viva Republica Propaganda Box 2 

(Box images via Jason Holly.)

The Propaganda will be released in three different vitolas when it launches in late August.

  • Viva Republica Propaganda Disinformation (4 x 54) — $7.50 (Boxes of 20, $150.00)
  • Viva Republica Propaganda Five and a Half Truth (5 1/2 x 54) — $8.25 (Boxes of 20, $165.00)
  • Viva Republica Propaganda Big Lie (6 x 58) — $9.00 (Boxes of 20, $180.00)

Viva Republica Propaganda 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Viva Republica Propaganda Disinformation
  • Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
  • Factory: E. León Jimenes Tabacalera
  • Wrapper: Brazilian mágico cubano
  • Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
  • Filler: Brazil, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua & Pennsylvania
  • Size: 4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Vitola: Short Robusto
  • MSRP: $7.50 (Boxes of 20, $150.00)
  • Release Date: Late August
  • Number of Cigars to be Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review:

The Viva Republica Propaganda is wrapped in a dark espresso brown wrapper that exhibits a slight reddish tint and is fairly smooth to the touch. There are quite a few veins running up and down its length, as well as a hint of oil noticeable. The cigar is hard as a rock when squeezed with almost no give at all, while the aroma coming from the wrapper is a combination of barnyard, earth, leather oak, hay and some slight pepper.

The first third of the Viva Republica Propaganda starts off with flavors of creamy oak, leather, hay, manure and anise. There is a great combination of a spicy chocolate, almost like Mayan chocolate, that is present underneath and on the finish, but  very little sweetness in the profile so far. A nice black pepper is noticeable on the retrohale, which seems to be getting stronger as the first third progresses, and there is a slight tingle of spice on my tongue that fades almost as soon as I register it. Smoke production is below average and the ash is quite flaky, although not enough to break off a major chunk yet. Construction-wise, while the draw is excellent with just the right amount of resistance, the burn is a bit wavy at times, although not bad enough to touch up. The overall strength ends the first third below the medium mark, but there is no doubt it is getting stronger.

Viva Republica Propaganda 2

The spicy Mayan chocolate note becomes the dominant note in the profile right around the start of the second third of the Viva Republica Propaganda, and continues to get stronger as the burn hits the halfway point. Other flavors of creamy leather, oak,  bitter espresso, earth and almonds flit in and out, and there is just a hint of generic sweetness on the finish. The black pepper on the retrohale has kept fairly steady, but the spice from the first third is long gone by this point. The contraction is a carbon copy of the first third, but the smoke production actually increases noticeably, and as expected, the strength has taken a major upswing, easily hitting the medium mark by the end of the second third. 

Viva Republica Propaganda 3

The final third of the Viva Republica Propaganda sees a decrease in the Mayan chocolate note, although it is still dominant note in the profile by a long shot. The other flavors remain pretty much the same as the middle third, although there is more of an espresso note at certain points along with creamy oak, leather, hay and nuts. The sweetness from the second third has gotten stronger, and now reminds me of licorice at certain points, while the smoke production remains steady until the end. The overall construction continues along the same path as the first two thirds: great draw and decent construction. Strength-wise, the Viva Republica Propaganda tops out significantly higher than medium, but still far short of the full mark.

Viva Republica Propaganda 4

Final Notes

  • I have not tasted that specific Mayan chocolate in a cigar very many times, and it is quite obvious in the blend, almost from the first puff. To me, it tastes like a combination of dark and bitter cocoa, cayenne and cinnamon. 
  • I am a big fan of the above combination, especially in a chocolate bar, like these
  • Viva Republica owner Jason Holly formerly owned Pennsylvania-based shop, El Humidor.
  • Holly wouldn’t disclose if the Propaganda kept the three different ligero concept used in Thrice, but he did indicate there was quite a bit of it contained in the blend.
  • There is no doubt the band on this is extremely busy, but for me it somehow works. The problem for me is not how busy the type on the band is, but how big the physical band is. It takes up almost half of the total cigar, which means that you have to take the band off almost before you get done with the first third. This is obviously not an issue with some of the other vitolas in the line, or at least as much of an issue.
  • This cigar took a surprising amount of time to smoke, with the final smoking time for all three samples averaging one hour and 25 minutes. 
  • The cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Viva Republica.
  • While the Propaganda is not available, site sponsor Atlantic Cigar is a Viva Republica dealer.
90 Overall Score

I have to say, the combination of spicy cocoa and creaminess in the profile of the Viva Republica Propaganda is wonderful, and more importantly, fairly unique as a whole. The rest of the flavors were nothing more than support staff, but still had their part to play in the overall enjoyment of the cigar, especially the licorice sweetness that became evident in the final third of the cigar. Yes, the burn could have been better, but the draw was excellent on all three samples. and the strength was well integrated into the profile. An excellent cigar that I can easily recommend.

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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.