Viaje Skull and Bones Cloudmaker Edición Limitada

The Viaje Skull and Bones Cloudmaker Edición Limitada was released with the May 2014 shipment of Viaje Skull and Bones.  This shipment was the eleventh of the Skull and Bones series released by Viaje since its launch in the Spring of 2010.  In each of the shipments there have been different blend variations and sizes of this line of powerhouse cigar from Viaje.  The Cloudmaker is a 5 x 60 vitola of an undisclosed blend falling into the Skull and Bones genre.  It actually is the second 5 x 60 vitola to be shipped in the Skull and Bones family.  Back in 2013, Viaje released the Viaje Skull and Bones Big Ivan – another 5 x 60 cigar with not a lot of details disclosed.  I recently had the opportunity to smoke the Cloudmaker. Overall I found this to be an excellent addition into the Skull and Bones line.

The name Cloudmaker refers to a bomb developed by the United States during the World War II period.  The Viaje Skull and Bones FOAB and MOAB 2014 – which were the other two Skull and Bones cigars part of the eleventh shipment were also named for bombs.

The Cloudmaker is branded as an “Edición Limitada”. Typically these releases have been very limited and for the most part have been “one and done” releases by Viaje. The Cloudmaker is also a “Skull and Bones White” (named for the black and white band) versus a “Skull and Bones Red” (named for the black and red band) .  Viaje positions the Skull and Bones Red as “stronger blends”.  It is worth noting that the 2013 Big Ivan release was a Skull and Bones Red blend.

Without further ado, let’s break down the Viaje Skull and Bones Cloudmaker and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile

As mentioned, not much is known about the Viaje Cloudmaker blend.  Viaje cigars typically contain Nicaraguan Aganorsa tobacco, so it is probably safe to assume this is included in the blend. While this is branded as a Skull and Bones White, Viaje has not disclosed specifics on much  (if at all), this varies from the test of the line.

Wrapper: Not disclosed
Binder: Not disclosed
Filler: Not disclosed

Vitolas Available

As mentioned the Viaje Cloudmaker is available in one size – a 5 x 60 vitolas.  The cigars were packaged in 25 count bundles.  These cigars were more limited than most of the Viaje small batches and many retailers only received a single bundle.

Appearance

The wrapper of the Viaje Cloudmaker has a dark coffee bean color with some colorado red mixed in. Upon closer examination, there is some darker marbling that can be seen on the surface of the wrapper.  There is a light coating of oil on the wrapper itself.   There are some thin visible veins and thin visible wrapper seams on the wrapper.  The Cloudmaker also features a covered foot.

There are two bands on the band.  The primary band contains a black background and there is a white skull and crossbones prominently on the center of the band.  Going around the circumference of the band are two rows of smaller white cross-bones.  Inside those two rows are two white pinstripes.

The second band its located just below the primary band.  This band features the text “Edición Limitada” in maroon color on a silver background.  There are two thin maroon pinstripes above and below the text.  There are thicker maroon pinstripes across the top and bottom of the band.

Preparation for Cigar Experience

Before I lit up the Viaje Skull and Bones Cloudmaker Edición Limitada I went with a straight cut to remove the cap.  After the cap was successfully clipped I moved on to the pre-light draw phase. The dry draw delivered notes of coffee, cherry sweetness, and a touch of spice.  Despite the closed foot, I was quite pleased with the pre-light draw of the Cloudmaker.  At this point, I was ready to light up this cigar and see what that the smoking phase would have in store.

Flavor Profile

The start to the Viaje Skull and Bones Cloudmaker delivered a strong blast of red pepper. There was also a prominent coffee note in the forefront.  I picked up what I can describe as almost a burnt cherry note to start – it actually wasn’t a bad flavor.  While I wondered if this was a by-product of lighting the cigar, I did pick it up on each cigar I smoked. This cherry note soon morphed into more of a classic citrus sweetness.  This citrus joined the coffee notes in the forefront The red pepper also settled down as a background note, but it remained prominent on the retro-hale.

As the Cloudmaker moved through the first third, the coffee and citrus notes alternated in intensity as to which was the primary flavor.  The red pepper remained in the background and the retro-hale.

During the second third, I found the coffee notes still primary, but they were now joined by some earth notes.  The citrus notes were now in the background with the red pepper notes.

By the last third, I found the flavor pattern to be similar. While the earth and coffee notes were primary, the pepper notes did increase – moving back toward the forefront. The pepper did not overwhelm the closing stages of this cigar. This is the way the cigar experience came to a close. The resulting nub was cool in temperature but soft to the touch.

Burn and Draw

From a burn perspective, the Viaje Skull and Bones Cloudmaker Edición Limitada performed good, but not flawlessly.  While the burn line remained relatively straight, it did require more touch-ups than I prefer to keep it on track.  The resulting ash was a silvery gray – and lighter than most Viaje ashes I get.  While the ash came off the cigar in clean chunks, it was an ash that was definitely on the looser side.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

Burn of the Viaje Skull and Bones Cloudmaker
Edición Limitada

The draw had a slight amount of resistance to it.  While I normally a little resistance on a cigar, I do like it on the 60 ring gauge.  This allowed me to enjoy this smoke at a comfortable pace and in the end allowed me to maximize how I enjoyed the flavors.

Strength and Body

The Skull and Bones line has a reputation for delivering powerhouse smokes – especially from a strength perspective.  Viaje Skull and Bones Cloudmaker Edición Limitada is going to fall right into the sweet spot of how the Skull and Bones line is positioned.  The Cloudmaker will deliver a full strength smoking experience from start to finish.  As for the body, I found that if you retro-hale this will deliver a full-bodied smoke – and you will also get a little extra nicotine strength.  If you are one who doesn’t retro-hale, the depth of the flavors might not be there and it might be perceived as medium to full-bodied.  I’d still give a slight edge to the strength here with the Cloudmaker.

In terms of a comparison with the other Skull and Bones Limitada  – the Big Ivan, I found the Cloudmaker to be slightly dialed back. Given the Cloudmaker is a pretty full smoke, that is a testament to the power of the Big Ivan.

Final Thoughts

As I said when I smoked the Big Ivan, I felt that the Skull and Bones line had gotten a little boring and needed a little boost in the arm.  The 60 ring gauge was just what the doctor ordered with the Big Ivan.  Introducing the Cloudmaker helped to keep things interesting in the Skull and Bones line.

The Cloudmaker is a good cigar. I would still give the Big Ivan the edge, but it is still a fine cigar. I do think the Skull and Bones line has proven to work very nicely in the 60 ring gauge format. In general, I think the Cloudmaker should keep fans of Viaje’s Skull and Bones line happy. The bad news is that these were quite limited, so I’m not sure how many are still floating around retailers. As with most of the Skull and Bones releases, this is one I would recommend to the more seasoned cigar enthusiast who has a profile for full strength, full-bodied smokes. As for myself, I enjoyed this – and given its limited availability it’s definitely worth a box / bundle split.

Summary

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

References

News: Viaje Skull and Bones Cloudmaker to Ship
Price: $10.00
Source: Purchased
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