This particular Viaje is a perfecto shaped cigar with a bottle nosed shaped tip. That’s a fairly unique shape nowadays and I do like the look of it. As you might guess with Viaje, this is a limited edition cigar (For more info check out Cigar Coop).
But limited edition, or, as is the case here, “Collector’s Edition,” doesn’t mean good. I’ve liked some Viajes (Skull and Bones Red 2012 WMD) and I haven’t cared for some others (TNT 2012); that’s just natural.
This cigar does look nice and, as I mentioned before, is a perfecto. I think due to the difficulty in rolling this kind of cigar the wrapper does have a couple of minor stretch marks around veins. It’s also a little bumpy in some areas with the most obvious misshapen parts being around the bulge near the foot. None of this is off-putting, though.
It’s also a very oily cigar and the Nicaraguan grown wrapper tobacco is medium brown with some darker flecks and lighter splotches (this isn’t a demerit in my book because tobacco is, after all, a natural product). I’ve smoked one before at a herf and now let us see if this thing is worth the price tag.
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ’99
Price: $225.00/Box of 25 | $10.00/Single
Tree of Life Fire!
It’s a fairly spicy cigar with a decent amount of intensity. The spice is a cross between sweet and floral but the main part of it is black pepper. There’s also some cedar and earthy flavors roaming around as well. What I like most about the first third is that the flavors work well together and are very clean.
The spice loses some of its sweetness but keeps its floral and black pepper essence. Cocoa has come on and has a slight bitter tinge to it that gives extra life to the flavor profile. It’s a (good kind of) weird mixture of soft, floral spice and earthy, bitter cocoa. I’m liking it.
During the final third the main flavor is that black pepper with a solid backing of bitter cocoa and earth flavor combination. The flavors are fairly strong during this third as has been the case throughout. Perhaps the flavors were a bit stronger during the first third but not by a large margin.
Medium bodied with a good draw and burn, this cigar was easily able to keep my interest from the beginning to the end. It wasn’t a particularly special cigar but it was good in its own way. The combination of the spice and earth and bitter cocoa was interesting. If you are a fan of Viaje you probably won’t be disappointed by this cigar.
There’s a freaking silhouette on the band! It’s of a woman and, lo and behold, “La Dueña” means owner, which is an homage to Janny Garcia. The cast of characters involved in the creation and production of this cigar includes: Pete Johnson (who blended this cigar), Janny Garcia (who Pete blended this cigar for; she’s “la dueña”) and the whole My Father Cigar Factory team (who make this cigar).
Talking with some people during the #CHAtweetup2012 I found out that the consensus favorite size for this cigar is the petite lancero but, alas, it was sold out at Burns by the time I got around to shopping. But, rejoice, because I found some at an undisclosed location (alright, THIS is the place) and I think they’re probably right. I’ve smoked the robusto and the belicoso and while both of those sizes are excellent I’m leaning towards the petite lancero, which I will be reviewing momentarily.
There are petite versions of both the robusto and the belicoso that I haven’t tried so that’s why I think I’m probably right about the petite lancero being the best in the line. What I am sure about is that this cigar is beautifully made. Dark, chocolate brown Connecticut shade wrapper that looks very rustic (but the cool kind of rustic – not the Deliverance kind of rustic). It’s an oily cigar that is evenly packed with a pig tail cap.
Vitola: petite lancero
Ring Gauge: 42
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf & Nicaraguan
Filler: Connecticut Broadleaf & Nicaraguan
Price: $38.75/5 Pack | $146.00/Box of 21
Janny Interview Flame!
According to Halfwheel, this cigar’s blend is a cross between the La Riqueza and La Casita Criollo cigars and that’s fine with me because I liked both of those cigars. When you take your first few puffs you are greeted with an unadulterated blast of dry spice and hay. But that’s not all, not by a long shot. There’s a deepness to the flavor profile evident here that ranges from fruity flavors (no, really, very tasty and it brings a little sweetness to the mix) to leather and even some chocolate.
This is definitely a complex cigar but it’s not overly strong. It’s not weak either resting comfortably in the medium, medium-full bodied range.
During the second third, chocolate takes on a more prominent role. Spice also gets a big stronger, which is nice and works well with the chocolate flavor. It’s a great mix.
After the chocolate breaks out during the second third the final third sees much of the same in terms of chocolate intensity in the beginning but it eventually goes away. In its place there is a floral sweetness and some spice still lingers.
Medium-full bodied, every La Dueña I have smoked has had an excellent draw and burn. I think most people would like this cigar. True, there is a lot of spice, black pepper really, but there’s just so much else going on and there is a great balance to the flavors that I think almost everyone would enjoy it.
Full Disclosure: I received this as a sample from Cigars Direct. All reviews are my own.
Wrapper: Brazilian Habano Oscuro | Binder: Nicaraguan Habano Ligero | Filler: Nicaragua (Esteli, Condega & Jalapa) Habano | Box of 12: $195.00 | Single: $20.00 | Torpedo | 7″ x 54
0/3: It comes in a coffin. The fact that some cigars come in “coffins” has always been a little disconcerting for me. Who wants to smoke something out of a coffin? But it’s a cool coffin because when you lift the lid there is this little piece of wood attached to top that raises the cigar from its slumber so that you can easily pick it up.
The cigar itself looks really nice. Very dark brown wrapper, almost mahogany. Looks well made and is very oily to the touch. There are some veins but what you will probably notice first about this cigar is its ostentatious band. It’s a mishmash of heraldic symbols from the Crusades. I wonder if this has gone over well with many of the brick and mortar cigar stores that are owned by people of Arab descent?
1/3: Very refined flavors hit my palette immediately. Slight black pepper on the retrohale that sticks around for a while, dry oak and a general warmness of flavors. It’s quite good.
2/3: During the second third a smoky woodiness starts to come through. The black pepper starts to fade into nothingness and there is a mild sweetness bordering on floral lurking in the background like a stalker (a fun one, if there is such a thing).
3/3: There really isn’t much of a change from the second to the final third. It’s still tastes very good.
4/3: Medium bodied with an excellent draw and a fairly even burn; this cigar is very good. Standing in your way is the fact that this is a fairly expensive cigar. The matter of value I leave up to you as I review only the cigar and not my perceived value of the cigar. All I can say is that I absolutely enjoyed it and thought it was a very worthy cigar.
I received samples from Felipe Gregorio; all reviews are my own.
Is this cigar somehow related to the Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite? But the Pedro in that movie wasn’t black so I’m guessing that there’s something else going on here, maybe a comment from someone in the know would help elucidate the etymology of this brand of tasty cigars.
The cigar is a good looking specimen. This particular cigar, named “Gitano” is a 6″ x 54 torpedo, which is part good and bad for me. Personally, I love torpedoes. For whatever reason, probably due to the fact that since torpedoes are more difficult to roll more experienced torcedores roll them, I have had a better smoking history with this vitola. On the other hand, the ring gauge is on the big side for me now. Earlier on in my smoking career (Really? A career?) I liked the bigger ring gauge smokes but now I find myself going for thinner cigars.
Evenly packed with some stretch marks around the veins this dark, dusty brown maduro wrapper gives off a rustic impression as if embodying the hard scrabble lifestyle that many people in the cigar industry come from. It is a bit hard to the touch but there are some oils on the wrapper and the wrapper itself feels a little rough.
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: Sumatra Ecuador
Binder: Dark Nicaragua Habano
Filler: Corojo Dominican & Nicaragua Habana 92
Price: One of each four sizes + 2 others for $27.00
Pulling John Flame!
When I looked at these cigars the first time and saw the ominous name – “Black Pedro” – I thought “uh oh, this is going to be one of those kick you in the teeth kind of cigars.” But that isn’t the case. It actually has some refinement to it, some nuance. Black pepper may be the leading flavor here but the smoke also has a creamy feel to it and there are other moderating flavors to notice like tobacco and coffee with cream. Black pepper really is the leading force in this cigar though and I’m thankful for that. It may be a bracing flavor for some but I like it… a lot.
Entering the second third I thought that there was going to be some flagging of the black pepper flavor but there was no such thing. It’s quite astonishing that something so simple, black pepper, could be so enjoyable but that is where I’m at. Black pepper isn’t the only flavor I have observed. There are also flavors in the nut spectrum and creamy coffee. Very good mix of flavors but without a lot of complexity and, so far, no evolution in flavors.
One of the things that separates the good from the great cigars for me is how the flavors manifest themselves. With great cigars the flavors are strong and clean and those little flavor molecules permeate around every taste bud wrapping them in a tasty cocoon. This is one of those cigars.
Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case when there is one predominant flavor, even when that flavor is a great example of its archetype, it can become too overpowering by drowning out the other flavors. That happened with this cigar a little ways into the final third. My cocooned taste buds have become numb to all the other flavors and has decreased my enjoyment of this cigar a little bit.
Overall, I can safely say that I have enjoyed this medium-full bodied cigar with its good draw and burn, which only required minor course corrections a couple of times. If there had been a little more complexity and evolution to the flavor profile this would have been an amazing cigar. As it stands it is still a great cigar because it is one of the best examples of black pepper that I have had in a long time and there was enough complexity in the early goings of this cigar to make it interesting. If you can find some then do yourself a favor and pick a couple up.
Full disclosure: I received two of these cigars for the purposes of this review from Urbano Cigars.
It’s a gnarly looking wrapper. There are some raised veins, black colorations in both the line and spotted variety and a couple of small holes on the wrapper. As I have said before, I don’t care so much about the look of a cigar as long as it tastes good.
The feel of the cigar is oily, a little spongy to the touch but evenly packed. The band reminds me of a coat of arms with the fleur-de-lis, which I thought was a big no-no nowadays (maybe not). Let’s do this.
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Dominican Republic Corojo
Binder: Dominican Republic
Filler: Dominican Republic
Price: $115.00/Box of 24
The first one I had started out well – this one is starting out really well. It has that spiciness that I like, pretty strong but well balanced, and the texture feels powdery. The spiciness is pretty close to black pepper and it sticks around on your palate, the back of your throat and in your nostrils for a long time.
Black pepper is good but there needs to be more to a cigar than that and, thankfully, there is some evolution during the second third. The spice takes on a softer presence and there is also a floral note that is not very sweet, but good nonetheless.
The final third is much like the second third, which is fine. The spice is soft and has a bit of sweetness to it and the floral presence is still there. This cigar has a good draw and burn and I would put it in the medium-full bodied range. It’s a really tasty cigar that you should consider if you like black pepper and spice in general.