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.
Wrapper: Stalk-cut Habano Connecticut | Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina | Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican & Honduran | Box of 12: $144.90; Single: $16.10 | Perfecto | 4.125″ x 60
0/3: I received this cigar as a Christmas gift from a friend named Danny (Danny was gracious enough to do reviews for the Declaration by Jameson and the Sencillo Short Churchill a while back and those reviews are definitely worth checking out) almost two years ago and I have been anxiously waiting for the perfect time to smoke this cigar. However, the longer I thought about what that perfect time actually was I realized that the “perfect time” for what is by all accounts a great cigar would be a time when I can just sit down and enjoy it.
If you haven’t seen one of these cigars then all you have to do is think of what a cigar would look like if it were a pig. It’s short and stout and the foot terminates in a snout. Also, there’s a pigtail. This cigar has a ton of oil on it, it just glistens in the light. The wrapper does have a somewhat rough texture to it but the overall feel of the cigar is that it is an extremely well made cigar with just a bit of give to it when I pinch it. Now, I’ll warn you, I’ve been looking forward to lighting this cigar up so that might color my review but I’ll try to not let that happen.
Another reason why I am looking forward to smoking this cigar is because I have absolutely loved other T52 vitolas in the past, giving one a score of 94 points and I even made it my third favorite cigar of 2011.
1/3: It’s starting out as an extremely slow burning cigar, which is nice because if it were going fast then I wouldn’t get to savor this cigar. Savoring is something you need to do with this cigar that features chocolate, earth and a whole host of dark flavors that mingle well together. There is a nice helping of spice that serves as a superb accent flavor.
2/3: I didn’t think it was possible but the flavors are improving as they are working even better together now. I like the lively interplay between the spice and the chocolate especially. There’s also some meatiness there and I think I’m catching some mint in the background.
3/3: The final third was pretty close to the second third and that is fine by me because it was absolutely delicious.
4/3: Full bodied with a good draw and a decent burn that required a few touch ups; the Liga Privada T52 Flying Pig is an absolutely amazing cigar. It has all the power and substance of the rest of the T52 but in a concentrated form that never relents. Perhaps this cigar isn’t for most beginners but there’s just so much goodness going on here that I would hate for anyone to miss out on experiencing this cigar because they were trepidatious about the strength of this cigar.
5 out of 5 points – If you find these cigars then you should buy a couple, they may be expensive but they are definitely worth the price
I’m sure there must be an interesting story behind the name “Honey and Hand Grenades” – maybe it’s a play on yin and yang? – but that’s not why you’re here; you are here to read a review about this cigar that’s been out for a while now. About a year actually. That means that this cigar has some age on it since I bought this cigar (and its burnt brother) around the time it came out to the public.
One thing is for sure: it’s a visually striking cigar. It’s a perfecto and I am smoking the smallest vitola with the charming name of “The Shank.” According to Halfwheel, the other vitolas are named “The Shiv” and “The Rapier.” From my extensive knowledge of tv dramas with prison scenes, a shiv and a shank are basically the same thing: slang for an improvised weapon. For example, if you sharpened your toothbrush to the point where you can stab someone then it is a shiv/shank. (There might actually be a distinction between the two but unless you have ever roomed with Michael Milken or Martha Stewart you probably have no need to click that link.)
A rapier, on the other hand is a sharp, pointy sword that was popular during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Europe. More of a thrusting weapon than a slashing weapon it’s also substantially more refined than the shiv or the shank. There might be a scabbard involved.
As for the cigar itself, it’s wrapped up to the band in red foil. Peeling it off, I was disappointed not to find a golden ticket but hopefully the cigar is still good. As I think I said earlier, it’s a perfecto with a slightly darker than medium brown colored wrapper. There are a decent amount of oils on it and some minor veins as well. It looks like there’s an aborted pigtail on the cap and the “foot” is completely closed off and ends in a point. You can either cut some of the foot off to aid in the lighting or do what I’m about to do and attempt lighting it without cutting any of the foot off.
Length: 5 ¼”
Ring Gauge: 52
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
Price: $250.00/Box of 25 | $10.00/Single
It took about fifteen seconds to get this cigar properly lit, which isn’t horrible. With that being said, I probably should have cut some off of the foot before lighting just to make things easier on myself.
The first part of this cigar has some very hot spice going on here, which lingers a while through the nose. Buttered wheat, chalky chocolate and a bit of sweetness as well. What’s weird is that besides the spice there really aren’t any very outstanding flavors but they all work together so well that it’s delicious; in this case, the sum is greater than its parts.
The second third is a bit different. There’s still that hot spice but the buttery wheat is a pretty strong flavor at this point.
It’s still interesting but I think it has lost some of its luster. The spice is pretty much gone but the buttery wheat is still kicking around. Throughout, there’s been this, I don’t know what to really call it other than a “presence,” that is this really basic, pretty much flat thing. It lingers on the tongue throughout and the best I can do is to compare it to that feeling you get after drinking Scotch. I hesitate to call it a flavor because it really isn’t a distinct flavor to me and more of a sensation. It informs the flavors but is separate from the general flavor profile.
Medium bodied with a good draw and burn; the Viaje Honey and Hand Grenades is an interesting cigar with a lot to recommend it. I liked the spicy contribution at the end of the first third and during the second third and that persistent buttered wheat flavor was very pleasant.
Man O’ War is a very solid line of cigars from A.J. Fernandez. In fact, Mr. Fernandez makes quite a few good cigars including the San Lotano Oval Maduro, which I recently reviewed. Man O’ War is an interesting line in that I think it started solely as an online brand (I have seen it at brick and mortars also, so that may be wrong) but it’s also interesting in that there are about half a dozen different variations on the line, including each of the Side Projects.
(Wait, what? A lot of original cigar lines end up branching out into a number of variations? Oh, alright then, discount most of that first paragraph then.)
The Side Projects each feature a purportedly unique blend and that’s probably true. Although, meh, you can decide for yourself – that’s part of the fun, right? The one that I’m smoking for this review is the Man O’ War Side Project Skull Crusher. (When they were coming up with the name for this particular cigar I sincerely believe someone in the room must have been thinking “Are you not entertained?!?!” when this name was agreed upon.)
The Skull Crusher has something to live up to because I liked the Man O’ War Side Project 52-C. The Skull Crusher is a perfecto (both ends are tapered) and there’s absolutely no opening as the foot is completely covered by the wrapper. Nope, not a closed foot with the extra length of the wrapper folded over the foot but with the wrapper just never ending. Look at the picture.
It’s more bulbous near the foot and there are some veins on the wrapper. Very little oil on the wrapper and the wrapper has a bit of roughness to it.
Ring Gauge: 56
Wrapper: Pennsylvania Broadleaf Maduro
Price: $80.00/Box of 12 | $40.00/Five Pack
Cinema Sins Torch!
It’s a bit slow before the burn line traverses the shoulder and then it does pick up a good deal. Bright spice that does have a decent amount of strength to it. What’s great about the flavors early on (at least) is that this bright spice is deftly cut by a sharp but fleeting candied, fruity sweetness. The juxtaposition between the spice and the sweetness works well here. There’s also some oak in the background and the sweetness has a close relative in a nice burgundy flavor.
Flavors do take a step back during the second third. The spice is pretty much gone and the candied sweetness has significantly dissipated. That burgundy flavor is still kicking around with the oak however. Basically, the flavors just seem to have been washed out a bit.
Sweetness morphs into floral and the oak flavor has transitioned into a more general woody flavor. It’s still a respectable cigar.
Medium-full bodied with a good draw and burn; the Man O’ War Side Project Skull Crusher is anything but what it’s name would indicate. That’s fine and all but when I purchased these cigars I was expecting a wild, extremely robust cigar. But what I got was something different and enjoyable.
It was actually very enjoyable during the first third when the flavors were alive but then – during the second third and especially during the final third – it faded out like a child actor’s promising career. This wasn’t a total burnout like Haley Joel Osment’s but rather like Drew Barrymore’s where some of her career as an adult showed some of her promise.
Perhaps, the cigar took a turn for the worse after the burn line crossed the bulbous part. After all, when the ring gauge changes the blend has to change some as well. Maybe if this cigar maintained a constant ring gauge equal to its thickest point then it would have been much better.
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.