Viaje Late Harvest Hang Time
Just prior to the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show, Viaje announced its latest installment under its Late Harvest line called the Viaje Late Harvest Hang Time.  The cigar would be showcased at the trade show and then shipped to its authorized retailers around the same time.  While this was the third batch of cigars released under the Late Harvest umbrella, the Hang Time release would differ in one way.  It features the same blend as the core Late Harvest line, but with a wrapper from a higher priming.  I recently had an opportunity to smoke the Viaje Late Harvest Hang Time.  Not only did I find it delivered an excellent smoking experience, but I found this would also be very different from its Late Harvest predecessors.

The Viaje Late Harvest line was launched in 2011.  The Late Harvest has a analogy to the wine industry.  In the wine industry, “Late Harvest” refers to harvesting grapes. In tobacco, the concept involves picking the last primings from the tobacco plant.  These leaves are exposed to additional sun following the picking of the earlier primings.  The end result is a thicker leaf that has additional oils and more flavor to it.  This is what Viaje has done with the Late Harvest.  

With the Hang Time, by using a higher priming, the leaf spends even more time on the stalk – resulting in a more intense smoking experience.  The motivation for this release still ties to the wine industry.  Viaje explained the Hang Time concept on their Facebook page: “In wine parlance, hang time refers to the length of time between flowering and harvest – in other words, how long the grapes hang on the vine.

Taking higher primings for wrappers has been a trend gaining traction over the past twelve months. This was seen on La Aroma de Cuba’s Mi Amor Reserva.  Recently, it was also incorporated into the L’Atelier LAT46 Selection Spéciale.

Without further ado, let’s break down the Viaje Late Harvest Hang Time and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile

Consistent with the rest of the Viaje Late Harvest line, the Hang Time is a Nicaraguan puro.  As mentioned, the blend components are the same with the exception of the higher priming of the wrapper.

Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

The sizes of the Viaje Late Harvest Hang Time are consistent with the other releases of the Late Harvest line.

LH550: 5 x 50
LH648: 6 x 48

Appearance

For this cigar experience I went with the LH550 – which is the robusto size of the Viaje Late Harvest line.  The higher priming wrapper is definitely darker in color than the core Late Harvest line.   The wrapper has a coffee bean color with a colorado red tint to it.   There is also some darker marbling in the wrapper’s color scheme.  The wrapper seems a a little thicker than the core line.  The wrapper is also not very oily in terms of its complexion.  There is also a thicker pig-tail on the cap.

There are two bands to the Viaje Late Harvest Hang Time.  The primary band features the Viaje logo in green on an ivory background.  There is also green and gold designs to the left and right.  This is highlighted by a farm design on the front of the band.  Toward the bottom of the band is the text “Late Harvest” in gold font.

Just below the primary band is a green colored secondary band featuring the text “HANG TIME” arranged in a wallpaper style mode.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For this experience of my Viaje Late Harvest Hang Time, I opted (as I usually do) to go with a straight cut as opposed to just pulling the pig-tail off.  Once the cap was successfully clipped, I then proceeded with the pre-light draw.  The dry draw notes delivered some notes of coffee, cedar, and a touch of pepper.  Overall, I considered this cigar to have a satisfactory pre-light draw.  At this point, I was ready to light up the Hang Time and see what the cigar experience would bring to the table.

Flavor Profile

Overall on the Hang Time, I found the flavor profile to be very different than on the core Late Harvest line.

There was some pepper at the start of the Hang Time.  This was soon joined by an interesting sweet-spice, coffee, nut, and natural tobacco notes.  The coffee and cedar notes moved to the forefront early on.  The natural tobacco, nut, and pepper notes became secondary.  There was also an underlying creamy note in the background that tied the flavors together nicely.  Meanwhile I also found the Hang Time to have a very interesting profile on the retro-hale.  I can best describe it as a toasted nutty spice.

As the Hang Time progressed through the first half, I did find the flavor profile simplified somewhat.  The primary notes took on nutty and earthy flavors.  Meanwhile the coffee and pepper notes were close  secondary notes.

By the last third, I found the Hang Time got more peppery and spicy.  There was a little bit of harshness as the cigar experience came to an end.  The resulting nub was on the firm side – and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

Overall I found the Viaje Late Harvest Hang Time to score very well when in terms of the construction attributes for burn and draw.  This is definitely one of the better scoring Viaje cigars when it comes to burn.  There was a slight jag on the burn line, but overall it required little maintenance to keep the burn going straight.  The resulting ash was on the firm side.  The color of the ash was also lighter than many Viaje cigars as it was mostly white with some darker speckling mixed in.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal. 

Burn of the Viaje Late Harvest Hang Time

The draw to the Viaje Late Harvest Hang Time was outstanding.  This made this cigar a low maintenance cigar to puff on.

Strength and Body

When compared to the original Late Harvest, the Hang Time is definitely going to deliver a fuller cigar experience in terms of both the strength and body.  I definitely found this wrapper made a big difference.  While age will still mellow this cigar a bit, I still think the difference in strength and body will be noticeable when compared to the core line.

Overall I found the Hang Time to be medium to full in terms of strength.  For those who smoked Late Harvest and wanted some more fire-power, this is going to be the smoke for them.  At the same time, the strength isn’t overpowering.

As for the flavors, there is some nice depth to them.  Overall, I found the Late Harvest Hang Time to deliver full-bodied flavors.  In terms of strength versus body, I give the edge to the body on this cigar.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this cigar is a great case study for how the priming of a wrapper can effect many of the attributes of a cigar.  In the case of the Hang Time, it is the flavor, strength, and body that were impacted.  I’m not sure the Hang Time is a better cigar than the original Late Harvest, but it is still a satisfying one.  As mentioned at the start, this cigar delivers a totally different experience from the core Late Harvest line.  While I’d recommend this to an experienced cigar enthusiast, this might be a good cigar for a novice looking for something a little stronger and fuller to cut his teeth on.  For those enthusiasts that did not like the original Late Harvest, I’d still encourage them to give this one a try.  As for myself, this is a cigar I will smoke again and its a nice cigar to have a few five packs around.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Full
Finish: Good
Assessment: Nice to Have
Score: 90

Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.