Viva Republica Guerrilla Warfare

The Guerrilla Warfare was a new cigar line showcased by Viva Republica at the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show in Las Vegas.  Viva Republica was founded by Jason Holly, who owns the El Humidor retail store in Northeast Pennsylvania.  The company launched its first blend, the Rapture at the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show.  In the year that followed, the line and the company started to generate some buzz throughout the cigar industry.  In fact prior to the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show, we named Viva Republica as one of our 2013 “Five Boutiques to Watch”.  With the case of the Viva Republica Guerrilla Warfare, this confirmed why we were so high on the company – namely the Guerrilla Warfare is one outstanding cigar.

While much of the boutique market is focused in Nicaragua, Holly and Viva Republica are making their cigars in the Dominican Republic at the La Aurora factory.  The  company is described as “UN PROYECTO ESPECIAL DE LEON Y HOLLY” – referring to the fact that this is a collaborative project with Guillermo León (owner of La Aurora) and Holly.  At this time, the three blends made by Viva Republica – Rapture, Rapture Maduro, and Guerrilla Warfare are all made at the La Aurora factory.

As we will soon see, the Guerrilla Warfare is a multi-national blend currently only available in a petit corona.  Without further ado, let’s break down the Guerrilla Warfare and see what the cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile

The Viva Republic Guerrilla Warfare features tobaccos from five countries:

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Dominican Republic, Mexican (Double Binder)
Filler: Brazilian, Dominican, Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

The Viva Republica Guerrilla Warfare is currently available in one size a 4 x 41 petite corona.  The cigars are packaged in cabinet boxes of 50.

Appearance

The Viva Republica Guerrilla Warfare’s Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper has a medium brown, wood-like color.  The wrapper itself does have a slight darker marbling on the surface.  I would also not categorize the wrapper as oily.  There were some visible wrapper seams, but the cigars I smoked were void of any significant visible veins.

The band features a green Viva Republica logo which is a fist over a cross.  To the left of the logo is the text “GUERRILLA WARFARE” in green.  Just below that text is the text “UN PROYECTO ESPECIAL DE LEÓN” in a smaller green font.  On a green stripe connected to the logo is the text “VIVA REPUBLICA” in black font.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

Prior to my cigar experience of the Guerrilla Warfare, I opted for my usual choice of a straight cut to remove the cap of the cigar.  I then moved on to the pre-light draw.  The cold draw of the Guerrilla Warfare provided a mix of wood, pepper and some sweet notes.  The sweet notes seemed to be a cross between natural tobacco and citrus.  Overall I was pleased with the pre-light draw of the Guerrilla Warfare.  At this point, I was ready to light up the Guerrilla Warfare and see what the smoking experience would deliver.

Flavor Profile

The start to the Guerrilla Warfare provided some notes of black pepper.  As the pepper subsided it was joined by notes of wood.  The wood notes had almost a hickory taste.  This hickory flavor was not of the fire-cured tobacco variety.  Meanwhile there also was some natural tobacco sweetness in the background.  The natural tobacco sweetness had some nice intangible qualities that made it enjoyable.  The black pepper notes could definitely be detected on the retro-hale.

By the time the Guerrilla Warfare reached the halfway point, the natural tobacco sweetness and hickory wood notes were primary flavors.  The pepper was now more of a secondary flavor on the tongue, but still very prominent on the after-draw.  This is the way the flavor profile held until the end.  The cigar never got overly spicy or harsh at the end.  The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

The Viva Republica Guerrilla Warfare scores very well when it comes to the attributes of burn and draw.  Keeping the burn line straight was a low maintenance task as the Guerrilla Warfare required very little in the way of touch-ups.  The resulting ash was firm with a mostly white color.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

Burn of the Viva Republica Guerrilla Warfare

As for the draw, I also found the Guerrilla Warfare to be a low maintenance cigar in this department.  Overall, it wasn’t loose and wasn’t tight.  This made the Guerrilla Warfare a real enjoyable cigar to smoke.

Strength and Body

From a strength perspective,  the Guerrilla Warfare does have some nice pop to it.  It doesn’t have overwhelming strength, but the cigar still has enough firepower.  I assessed the Guerrilla Warfare to be medium to full strength.  As for the the flavors, they were definitely robust.  I assessed the Guerrilla Warfare to be a full-bodied cigar.  When looking at strength versus body, I felt the body had the edge throughout the smoking experience.

Final Thoughts

The only negative thing I can say about the Guerrilla Warfare is that it is a short smoking experience and doesn’t last longer.  Overall, this cigar is a home run.  It impressed me out of the gate, and held my interest right until the end.  I’ve mentioned that I do not factor price into an assessment rating and score, but its hard to ignore the $4.00 price point with this cigar.  It sweetens the deal even more with this cigar.  While I still would recommend this cigar to a more experienced cigar enthusiast, I certainly would not discourage a novice from smoking this.  As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again.  I certainly consider this to be a box worthy cigar – even with 50 cigars in the box.  There is no doubt Viva Republica is a company to continue to watch.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Full
Finish: Excellent
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
Score: 93

Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Union Cigar Company in Monroe, NC