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.
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.
If you look at the bands on this cigar in a darkened room you would be forgiven if you thought they were just plain, black bands. But they’re not. These bands have the same logo replete with skull and cross bones along with the necessary titles on them as all the other Viaje Skull and Bones cigars; they’re just a different shade of black than the rest of the bands. It’s interesting and a little different, so that’s cool.
In the past I have reviewed a couple of cigars from the Viaje Skull and Bones line including:
The cigar is box pressed and short but fairly thick. It has an aggressive, sweet tobacco aroma about it and the wrapper is fairly oily. As far as I can tell there aren’t any but the slightest cosmetic imperfections and it looks like it is well made to me. I’ve smoked a couple of these in the past and I can’t recall having a problem with any of them.
Length: 4 ½”
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
Price: $254.00/Box of 25 | $10.25/Single
Very complex from the beginning with notes of hot peppers, chocolate, earth and, generally, a smoky presence to it. There is a little bit of a kick present here and I would nominally put it in the full bodied spectrum; but that’s not this cigar’s point. Its major point is its complexity (at least during the earlier stages).
The second third of this cigar takes on more of the savory and sweet notes. Earth, chocolate and some charred meat flavors have come on during this third. Very dark flavors that keep me interested.
The flavors do begin to flag a bit during the final third but I think part of that can be attributed to the fact that the flavors were pretty consistent during the final two thirds and, perhaps, my palate just got a bit too familiar with them. That’s fine if the flavors are good and they are good here.
Medium-full bodied with a good draw and burn; this cigar features a very dark flavor profile. During the beginning the flavors were bolder and during the final two thirds the flavors were richer. Personally, I did enjoy the beginning more because of the presence of that hot pepper flavor. It added a bit of variety and spiciness almost always improves chocolate and earth flavors for me.
This is a very tasty cigar with a decent amount of complexity, especially in the beginning. There are enough different flavors present throughout to keep you interested and this kind of cigar should appeal to a wide swatch of the cigar smoking public. The price tag, on the other hand, probably won’t.
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.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo | Binder: Nicaraguan | Filler: Nicaraguan | Single: ~ $12.00 | Torpedo | 4 ½″ x 52
0/3: Viaje, which is Spanish for “boutique,” has put out a limited edition torpedo the last two years called “?”. Sounds like a Super Villain’s name to me but, hey, I guess it works.
It’s short (obviously) and it looks well made. Tightly packed, the wrapper does have some stretch marks but is also very oily.
1/3: Strong with clean, fruity spice, leather and some coco. Nice mixture of flavors. Not too strong, but the flavors are really alive.
2/3: Black cherry and spice dominate the second third. Coco and cream are there as well. So is leather. Very smooth cigar with a slight nasal spice burn that lasts for a while.
3/3: Spice, leather and a bit of bitterness. Not much bitterness but it starts to creep in during this third.
4/3: Good draw and burn, this full bodied cigar is alright. A little bit better than “alright” but not a lot better. Personally, I’m beginning to get a little Viaje limited edition fatigue because they are relatively expensive cigars and they aren’t always great cigars. Better than average, perhaps, but nothing spectacular. That being said, it’s still an intriguing brand to me.
3.5 out of 5 points