|Viaje White Label Project (WLP) PL TB#7|
The Viaje White Label Project (WLP) PL TB#7 was a 2014 release by Viaje Cigars. The name stands for “Petite Lancero Test Blend No. 7” The cigar introduced the first petite lancero blend for Andre Farkas’ company. The line is described by Viaje as a “vehicle by which we will release experimental blends, shapes, mash ups, factory errors, etc.” The #7 refers to the fact that this is based on the #7 test blend for this release. In terms of the WLP line as a whole, it is the eighth release under the WLP umbrella. It was also the only WLP release by Viaje for 2014. While the WLP PL TB#7 might be somewhat of an experimental release for Viaje, it proves to be a quality release. I’ve recently gone through smoking the WLP PL TB #7. Overall I found this to be an excellent cigar and one that could stand on its own in many humidors.
When Viaje announced the WLP PL TB #7, the company gave a nice detailed description of the White Label Project:
What is the White Label Project? WLP serves many functions: WLP is the vehicle by which we will release experimental blends, shapes, mash ups, factory errors, etc. Cigar making is a creative process. Most consumers walk into a humidor and see the final product unaware of the countless hours that went into what they see on the shelf. Some cigars come together quickly while others take many months or even years. Along with finalizing a particular blend there is packaging to consider. Packaging is also a lengthy process which takes countless hours to finalize. During the cigar blending and packaging process, mistakes occur. For example, the wrong size gets rolled. A particular blend gets the incorrect wrapper. Cigar bands get printed with the wrong colors or fonts. The list is endless. Most often when a mistake is found, the cigars or packaging get scrapped and corrected. This is where WLP comes in. White Label Project embraces the factory faux paux. WLP brings the consumer behind the scenes to try cigars that would normally never make it to market. It’s a side to the cigar industry most never get a chance to see.
Quick, spur of the moment, factory to market blends are also released under the WLP label. Without the time consumptive process of packaging, one off blends can be rolled and released in no time. These blends may also serve as a gauge. If a certain WLP release gets a favorable response, you may see it released again as a new line.
All of the WLP are small batch releases. Many of the Viaje WLP releases have been “one and done”. Three of the releases – the Viaje White Label Project St. Patrick’s Day Candela, the Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey White Meat, and Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey Dark Meat have been brought back for subsequent releases. Just this past year, the Stuffed Turkey White Meat and Stuffed Turkey Dark Meat became the first two WLP blends to “graduate” into their own (annual release) lines.
We turn our attention back to the Viaje WLP PL TB#7 and see what this cigar brings to the table:
The Viaje White Label Project PL TB#7 is a Nicaraguan puro featuring all Aganorsa farm tobacco.
Wrapper: Corojo 99, AGANORSA (Jalapa)
Binder: AGANORSA (Nicaragua)
Filler: AGANORSA (Nicaragua)
Country of Origin: Honduras (Fabrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L.)
The Viaje White Label Project PL TB#7 comes in one size – 6 x 40. The size is called a petite lancero, but some may consider this more of a short lancero. The cigars are packaged in bundles of 25 and a total of 300 bundles were produced.
|Bundle packaging of the Viaje White Label Project (WLP) PL TB#7
(Photo Credit: Viaje Cigars)
The Corojo 99 wrapper of the Viaje White Label Project PL TB#7 has a coffee bean color to it. Upon closer examination, some darker marbling can be seen on the surface of the wrapper. There is a light coating of oil on the wrapper. This is also one of the smoother cigars I have seen in a 40 ring gauge. There are some visible veins, but the wrapper seams are well hidden.
The band is the usual “White Label Project” band – namely a white background with “Viaje” visible boldly in black font. There is a thin black pinstripe at the top and bottom of the band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I normally do, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap of the Viaje White Label Project PL TB#7. Once the cap was clipped, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The dry draw provided a mix of coffee, a light sugar cane note, and a tingly pepper spice. Overall I was quite pleased with what I considered to be an excellent pre-light draw experience. At this point I was ready to light up the WLP PL#7 and see what the smoking phase would bring to the table.
The Viaje WLP PL TB#7 started out notes of coffee, earth, and a mix of black and white pepper. By the five percent mark, the coffee notes moved into the forefront. The earth and pepper notes receded into the background. I also detected some of cream and chocolate in the background as well. On the retro-hale, I picked up spice notes that were more of a white pepper variety.
Throughout the first two thirds, the coffee, chocolate, and earth notes alternated in intensity as to which was the primary note. The chocolate notes seemed to have more of a hold in the first half, but by the second half, the coffee notes played more of a key role. The pepper remained a close secondary note while the cream was more distant.
During the last third, the pepper spices ramped up. The spices eventually moved into the forefront joining the coffee and earth notes. There still were some chocolate notes present. While the spice had increased, it never became overwhelming on the palate. This is the way the cigar experience came to a close. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Last year when Farkas was a guest on our Stogie Geeks show, he talked about how 2014 would be a year when he focused on consistency and quality. If you look at the releases from Viaje from 2014, the company has had an excellent year with some well-constructed series – and the WLP PL TB#7 falls into this group of cigars.
Overall I found this to be a low maintenance burn. The burn maintained a relatively straight path from start to finish. The burn line itself had a slight curvature, but this burn was never in danger of canoeing. The resulting ash was on the firm side and came off the cigar in nice clean chunks. The ash itself had a charcoal gray color with some darker streaks in it. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
|Burn of the Viaje White Label Project PL TB#7|
The draw also scored quite well. There was a touch of resistance to the draw – which is something that I like. The WLP PL TB#7 also produced a significant layer of smoke as well.
Strength and Body
Overall I found the Viaje White Label Project (WLP) PL TB#7 to have a bit of a kick. I found the strength level to be on the upper end of medium to full for the duration of the smoking experience. As for the flavors, they had some nice depth on the palate. I assessed this cigar as also being on the upper end of medium to full-bodied for the duration of the smoking experience. In terms of strength versus body, I found both attributes balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
The Viaje White Label Project (WLP) PL TB#7 is a cigar that will appeal to the lancero enthusiast – and it is a cigar that will appeal to many Viaje enthusiasts. The cigar itself has some very good flavors and it is a well constructed cigar. As mentioned, I also found this to be a well constructed cigar. In fact, this seemed to be a blend tailor-made for the 6 x 40 format. This is a cigar that does lean toward the fuller and stronger side, so I would probably recommend it to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again – and its one I hope makes a comeback too. It’s worthy of a box split.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
News: Viaje White Label Project (WLP) TB#7
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a