Viaje Zombie 2013 (Black Box)

Viaje Cigars is company known for its small batch and limited releases.  In 2011 the company introduced one of its most limited releases to date, the Viaje Zombie.  This one is very limited because it is released annually to virtually a handful of retailers in a single production run.  The Viaje Zombie 2013 was different in that it not only introduced a new frontmark (a tapered foot Robusto), but it was released in two blends – the Viaje Zombie 2013 Black Box and the Viaje Zombie 2013 Natural Box.  Only two retailers would receive 50 boxes (each) of the Black Box, while another two retailers received 50 (each) of the Natural box.  Fast forward to 2014 and Viaje has just released its Zombie 2014 edition to four retailers. Today, we go back and take a look at the 2013 edition of the Viaje Zombie.  With a year of age on it, the Viaje Zombie 2013 provided a flavorful smoke and one that will keep Viaje fans satisfied.

When Viaje President Andre Farkas was a guest on our Stogie Geeks show, he explained the Zombie was tied in with a story with another blend.  The story goes that Viaje Skull and Bones WMD (Weopon Mass Destruction) explodes.  Because of radiation from the explosion, people would mutate into “Zombies”. 

There have been several offshoots of the Zombie as well.  In addition to the Zombie 2013 Natural Box, the company has also produced the Viaje Zombie Super Shot (based on the Zombie blend). In 2014, the company is has introduced a Viaje Zombie 2014 Maduro and in the near future plans on rolling out the a new release called the Viaje Zombie Antidote.  The Zombie Super Shot and Zombie Antidote are planned to be rolled out to all authorized retailers.  As for the Black Box blend, this is special because it is the original blend that has been released annually since the series was introduced.

The Zombie 2013 Black Box packaging was interesting.  It featured a long rectangular slide top (black) box.  A puzzle piece illustration was inside the box and it was meant to interlock with a corresponding puzzle piece contained the Viaje Zombie 2013 Natural Box.

Viaje Zombie 2013 – the “Black Box”
Bottom of the Viaje Zombie 2013 Black Box
“Puzzle” piece included in each Viaje Zombie 2013 Black Box

Without further ado, let’s break down the Viaje Zombie 2013 Black Box blend and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile

For the Viaje Zombie 2013 Black Box blend, it is an all-Nicaraguan puro.

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

Historically, we list the vitolas sharing the Viaje Zombie 2013 Black Box profile:

Viaje Zombie 2011: 4 3/4 x 52 (Double capped)
Viaje Zombie 2012: 4 3/4 x 52 (Double capped)
Viaje Zombie 2013 (Black Box): 5 x 52 (Tapered footer) *
Viaje Zombie 2014 (Green): 5 x 52 (Tapered footer) **

* The Viaje Zombie 2013 Natural was also made in this size.
** The Viaje Zombie 2014 “Green” is the 2014 edition of what was the Black Box blend and size.  It gets the name green from the band’s font and is differentiated from the Viaje Zombie 2014 “Red” which is the maduro blend.

The Viaje Zombie 2013 was packaged 20 per box:

Viaje Zombie 2013 (Black Box) – Open

Appearance

The Viaje Zombie 2013 Black Box blend has a coffee bean colored wrapper with a touch of colorado red mix in.  The wrapper itself definitely has an oily complexion.  There are visible veins and visible wrapper seams on this cigar.  The surface of the wrapper is definitely on the toothy side – and it gives the cigar some charm.  There is a triple cap on the head.  As mentioned, the foot is slightly tapered and has an open footer.

The band is black in color with the text “ZOMBIE” in a green haunted-styled font.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

Prior to lighting up my Viaje Zombie, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap.  I then moved on to the pre-light draw.  The pre-light draw yielded some bold floral spice along with some earth and coffee notes.  Overall I considered the pre-light draw of my Zombie 2013 to be satisfactory.  At this point, I was ready to light up this cigar.  With this particular smoke, I gave some extra attention to make sure the tapered head was fully toasted before beginning the smoking phase.

Flavor Profile

With the tapered foot fully lit, the Viaje Zombie 2013 delivered a decent shot of black pepper. Notes of chocolate, coffee, and earth also entered the equation. The pepper receded into the background where I soon detected some of the floral notes I had gotten from the pre-light draw. Meanwhile the black pepper was also prominent on the finish and retro-hale.

As the cigar burned past the tapered end, the chocolate, coffee, and earth began varying in different degrees of intensity in the forefront.  At the same time, the pepper remained in the background and with the floral component varying in different degrees.

In the second third, the pepper remained prominent on the finish and nowmoved toward the forefront with the floral component diminishing greatly.  Meanwhile, the chocolate, earth, and coffee notes continued to be in the forefront.

The last third sees the spice firmly in control.  At times during the last stages, I did find the spice to have some harshness.  The resulting nub was cool in temperature, but soft to the touch.

Burn and Draw

I found that while the burn line of the Viaje Zombie 2013 started off pretty good, it did require more maintenance as the cigar progressed through the middle stages.  I found this burn line to get somewhat jagged toward the middle of this cigar.  The resulting ash was not overly tight.  It had a darker, grayer color – something typical of many Viaje cigars.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

Burn of the Viaje Zombie 2013

The draw was excellent on the Viaje Zombie 2013.  It was not too loose and not too tight.  While the burn was a little more high maintenance than I preferred, no such issues with the draw.

Strength and Body

The cigars smoked for this assessment have been aging for about a year.  During this time, the Zombie 2013 definitely mellowed somewhat.  I had originally had this cigar as a full strength cigar.  It seemed to dial back to just below the threshold of full strength.  Basically the Zombie 2013 was smoking in the upper range of medium to full.  The flavors still were full-bodied.  In fact, I found the Zombie now had a slight edge for flavor over strength – something that might be surprising to many.

Final Thoughts

The Viaje Zombie 2013 delivered some great flavors.  In fact, I think the flavors are much more mature and developed from when I smoked these a year ago.  While the Zombie 2013 had an excellent flavor profile, there were two things that this cigar lost points on – the burn requiring more maintenance han I would like and the harshness that developed at the end of this cigar.  Overall, while this is a cigar that has mellowed, it still is not a cigar I would recommend for a novice nor for someone who cannot handle a fuller cigar.  As for myself, there were more a lot more pluses than minuses with the Viaje Zombie.  It’s a good enough cigar that I’d smoke again – and it still will keep me interested in a box split.

Summary

Burn: Good
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: High
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Full
Finish: Good
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
Score: 90


References


News: Viaje Selects Four Retailers for Viaje Zombie 2013
Price: $11.00
Source: Purchased
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a