One of the local shops I go to, Embassy Cigars in Brea, has the uncanny ability to have a good selection of limited edition cigars. For example, take the Viaje Satori, which I will review shortly. Viaje Cigars only makes cigars in small batches and, according to Halfwheel, there were only 3,750 cigars made for each of the three Satori vitolas. FYI: I am smoking the un-box pressed perfecto released in 2012, the Zen.
Of course, just because there weren’t many made doesn’t mean you or I will like them but it does usually mean the cigar will be expensive, which this is. Expect to pay more than $10 a stick and potentially a lot more if you can still find them. Well, that is a lot of money for one cigar and even though I’m not a huge fan of Viaje cigars I did like a couple of their cigars, i.e. the Viaje Skull and Bones Red WMD 2012.
The Satori is a cool looking cigar. Halfwheel refers to this vitola as a double torpedo, which is an apt description of how it looks. The foot has a very small opening and, as such, the cigar will take a bit of time to get going. The wrapper is dark brown, almost black and the cigar’s construction looks good. Personally, I’m always impressed when I see a shaped cigar because rolling a normal parejo vitola is difficult enough.
For what it’s worth, Satori is a Japanese Buddhist term that means awakening or enlightenment. Will I become enlightened? (Probably not, but I won’t be able to fault the cigar on that accord. Or will I?)
Length: 6 ¾”
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Maduro
Price: $265.00/Box of 25 | $11.75/Single
Citrus, cedar and meat are the first batch of flavors that I am getting from this cigar and they work pretty well together. The citrus, especially, is an interesting flavor as it provides a nice accent to what could be an overbearing flavor profile that would weigh you down if given half the chance.
Cedar and fruit flavors come through during the second third. It’s not a great flavor profile, in my opinion, and what is there tastes watered down. And then, about halfway through this third, a nascent burnt flavor comes through; not good.
Wood and meat are the main flavors for the final third but, unfortunately, these flavors are accompanied by a very off-putting burnt flavor, which has only gotten more obtrusive. I was hopeful for this cigar but the two that I have smoked have all been borderline bland, nay, bad.
Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; I did not like the Viaje Satori Edición Limitada. Even though it did start out with some promise with the interesting combination of citrus, cedar and meat it just fell apart during the second third. Maybe you would like this cigar but, unless you are a fan of Viaje cigars you can skip this one. Oh, and don’t expect enlightenment either.
Full Disclosure: I received samples to use for this review. All reviews are my own.
My impression of cheap cigars is that most of them are not worth it. When I say “cheap” I mean the kind of private label cigar you can find on many websites being sold as an “everyday” kind of cigar. Basically, that translates into “It’s not a great cigar but if you smoke it while mowing the lawn or picking up dog crap you won’t think the cigar is bad by comparison.”
That was why when I received the Iron Horse from Famous my cigar id put on the brakes. Even though it doesn’t look like a bad cigar, with it’s nice maduro wrapper and few imperfections, I just couldn’t shake that feeling you get when you enter a dark room and you just know that there’s a monster you won’t be able to kill waiting to rip you open and use your intestines to do some knitting.
Oh well, let’s see how this cigar smokes.
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra Maduro
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Price: $50.00/Box of 20 | $19.00/5 Pack
It starts off well sticking mainly in the chocolate and earth flavor-sphere. The earthiness is tinged with a bit of grass and I think the best way to describe this cigar so far is by saying it’s pleasant. Being “pleasant” isn’t a bad thing but that limits the kind of role it can play. If you’re watching an episode of Top Gear then this cigar would work. If you’re outside doing something then it would probably lack enough oomph to make an impression.
During the second third the flavor goes more towards chocolate, which, while not my preferred option, isn’t horrible either. It’s a very dark chocolate flavor too; kind of chalky.
It slags off a little during the final third but, I have to admit, this cigar did perform better than I thought it would. Even though it won’t be a cigar I will ever seek out again I wouldn’t be aghast if I had to smoke another. And for those of you who want a pleasant cigar with earth and chocolate flavors this might be something you find you like.
It was a medium bodied cigar with a good draw but the burn was a little off. You pretty much already know what I think about this cigar but I do have one last piece of advice. Do not go out and buy a box before trying any of these. I have made the mistake of buying a box of cheap cigars off my experience with one or two. Try a five pack before you commit to any larger purchases not because $50 is a big outlay but because if you find you don’t like the cigar after the third or fourth stick you will be stuck with another 16 or 17 you will have to smoke (or throw away).
Evidently, this cigar is no longer being made, which may or may not be a shame for reasons that you will come to understand after reading this review or for reasons you have already formulated after smoking one or more of these yourself.
The most obvious thing is that this is a big, shaped cigar. Nothing along the lines of what a cigar maestro can do here but it does have a certain rustic look to it that I like. A couple of pronounced veins, a torn bit and, perhaps unforgivably, I think this cigar’s wrapper may have been dyed. Let me stop you there.
I have never accused a cigar company, especially one I respect as much as Padilla, of doing this. And I’m not unequivocally doing so now either. All I can tell you is that I first realized something was amiss when I noticed that both the head and the foot regions of the wrapper were a perceptibly lighter shade than the body. The next, and more damning, piece of evidence was that I noticed that my fingertips had these dark smudges on them after handling the cigar.
Thinking – hoping – that these smudges were caused by something else I licked one of my clean fingertips, ran it across the wrapper lightly and came up with a newly smudged fingertip. Uh-oh. And I’m not going to speculate why they would – if they did actually do this – do something like this.
Does this alter my view of this cigar? Yes. Even though I’m not absolutely convinced that the wrapper has been dyed my suspicions do affect how I think of this cigar. Bear that in mind.
Ring Gauge: ~54
Wrapper: Nicaragua? Oscuro
Breaking In Flame!
Since the last verified sighting of these cigars I can find was from February of last year it’s safe to say that this cigar has been aging in one of my humidors for at least a year; probably closer to two years at this point. I smoked a number of these about a year ago and I absolutely loved them.
This one is starting off decently but I can’t get over this salty flavor that pollutes with every puff. I can still pick out the creamy chocolate and strong coffee notes but the salt is a bad ingredient in this stew.
Around the transition point from the first to the second third the salty flavor takes on a meaty quality as well, which is a good thing. Meat, chocolate and coffee work well for me in a cigar. And this is one of the reasons why I’m such a big salomon fan. Due to their size there is a lot more time for evolutions in the flavor profile to take place. Shorter cigars have to be pretty much spot on from the get go if they are to be good. That’s not necessarily the case with bigger cigars.
Then again, having too much time can also be a bad thing. This cigar has been maddening for me since it is intermittently very good and bad. Like a particularly troublesome disease this salty taste just won’t go away. This never happened in any of the others that I tried and it is a perplexing development. Usually, cigars get better with age but that is definitely not the case here.
Even though the first two thirds were maddeningly inconsistent altars to disappointment I have high hopes that the final third will recapture some of that magic I experienced with all the previous examples of this cigar that I have smoked. And this final third does start out well with chocolate, coffee and earth. The salt and meat are still there but they have faded into the background and play a very minor supportive role in the flavor profile, which is a definite plus.
And then, like Michael Myers coming back from certain death to kill Jamie Lee Curtis, the salt comes back and at this point I am done with hoping for this cigar to redeem itself. It’s a damn shame too because, as I have noted before, every other example of this cigar that I have tried was excellent. This one was not and since it appears that this cigar is no longer in production I have no qualms giving it a poor score.
Oh, right, I almost forgot to touch on the all important smoking characteristics of this cigar. While the draw was excellent throughout the burn did necessitate some help along the way. And this was a medium bodied cigar. When everything was going right this cigar reminded me of its greatness. Unfortunately, those times were too few to make me like this cigar again.
Yesterday, I did a review for this cigar with the natural wrapper and the green band that holds the cedar sheath. To cut a long story short, I did not really care for that cigar and I rated it at 87 points. The flavors were all fine but the cigar just lacked life, complexity and most everything else that makes a cigar truly enjoyable. But maybe with a different wrapper this cigar will be better – maybe an Ecuadorian sun grown wrapper will do the trick.
I effortlessly slide off the cedar sheath, with the black band this time, and a well constructed cigar is revealed. It’s definitely darker than the other one, maybe a little bit more oil and packed tighter but not too tight. I can smell something sweet from the foot of this cigar. Let’s see if it’s better than the other one or not.
Length: 4 1/2″
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sun Grown
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
I smelled sweetness from the foot and now I can taste it. There’s also a coffee flavor that has a good helping of cream added in. Unfortunately, there is a pervasive burnt blandness that sticks around as the main aftertaste. Fortunately, that negative flavor is relegated to the bottom half of my olfactory system. The flavors I get through the nose are good.
During the first half an inch or so the flavors I mentioned are the main ones. After that point a dirty earthy flavor comes on stronger and I actually like it. It gives the cigar some interest. Surprisingly, at about this same time that burnt blandness has begun to fade into the background, almost disappearing but not quite gone.
The Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente Sun Grown is a medium bodied cigar with a slightly erratic burn and a good draw. That negative flavor of burnt blandness has come back for the last third of the cigar, which is too bad. I was enjoying this cigar, somewhat. With the negative flavor this cigar falls precipitously in my estimation. Without the problematic flavor this cigar is one or two points better than the natural wrapper (which scored 87 points) version of this cigar but, with the negative flavor, the sun grown wrapper version of this cigar is at least two points worse.
It has its ups and downs. However, its highest highs are not very impressive. Couple that with the lows and this cigar can be avoided. The natural wrapper wins!
From Carlos Toraño’s website:
Lovingly and painstakingly developed by Carlos Toraño, the Reserva Selecta is crafted much like a vintage estate wine,with the most refined tobacco grown in the lush Esteli Valley in Nicaragua and the Valley of Jamastran in Honduras. Packed with soft cool smoke, the Reserva Selecta is mild- to medium bodied with notes of sweet cream and cedar. All cigars are wrapped in cedar and encased in crystal tubes to preserve freshness. Packed in boxes of 20 or 5-count gift boxes, all tobaccos are aged three to five years.
The wrapper is very light and it has a light sheen of oils. It is packed nicely and the construction is above average. The veins that are there are not very pronounced and the discolorations are minor.
Length: 6 1/4″
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Connecticut Shade
Filler: Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua
The first flavor that hits me is, obviously, wood. I don’t think I would describe it as cedar but, rather, spruce or a Christmas tree. That is the flavor I get when I exhale out my nose. When I inhale the flavor is more akin to a forest fire. To be fair, it is not that bad, it’s more like the aftermath of a forest fire, charred wood. It’s not totally un-enjoyable but it isn’t exactly a plus either.
Between the one and two inch mark that charred wood flavor migrates from being a minor annoyance to being a pain. The charred wood gets stronger and does start to take away from the rich wood flavor, which I still get on the exhale. A couple other flavors that are barely perceptible are vanilla and peppermint.
A weak ash, an uneven burn and a good draw sum up the fundamentals of the Carlos Toraño Reserva Selecta Torpedo. Any good thoughts about this cigar I had before I lit it were snuffed out by that harsh, charred wood flavor. It’s a mild bodied cigar that has a lot of promise. It would have been a very good cigar if not for that harshness. Too bad.