Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Spicy

Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Spicy is one of three blends that make up Viaje’s new Señor Andre’s Chicharrones line.  Viaje is a company that has become known not only for its small batch production model, but its seasonal releases. Although Viaje founder Andre Farkas told us it coincidentally worked out this way, Señor Andre’s Chicharrones along with the new Viaje Jalapeño construct a theme to the upcoming Cinco de Mayo celebration.  Chicharrones provides three different “flavor” options and maps them to the three wrappers Viaje has become synonymous for: “Original” (Corojo), “Bold” (Maduro), and “Spicy” (Criollo). Today we take a look at Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Spicy – utilizing the Criollo wrapper.  Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable smoking experience.

Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Original (Top),
Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Bold (Middle),
Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Spicy (Bottom)

In terms of the cigar name, Señor Andre’s is a play on Viaje President Andre Farkas (This cigar along with the Viaje Zombie Antidote are two cigars where Farkas’ name appears on the packaging). As for Chicharrones, this is basically a fried pork rind, but sometimes beef or chicken are used.

The three blends of Señor Andre’s Chicharrones are packaged together. It comes in a ninety-count cabinet style-tray with three compartments containing thirty cigars of each of the three blends.

Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Packaging
(Photo Credit: Viaje Cigars Facebook Page)

Without further ado, let’s take a look at Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Spicy blend and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile

For the Señor Andre’s Chicharrones line, Viaje turns to the TABSA factory in Nicaragua. Last year, Viaje started utilizing this factory when it launched the Viaje Collaboration 2014 and Viaje Cache lines. As typical with Viaje, the blend utilizes Aganorsa farm tobaccos from Nicaragua.

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Country of Origin: Nicaragua (Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. – a.k.a TABSA)

Vitolas Available

For all three blends of Señor Andre’s Chicharrones, they are available in a single vitola – a 4 1/2 x 48 Rothschild.

Appearance

The Criollo wrapper of Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Spicy has a medium brown, medium-roasted coffee bean color with a slight colorado tint to it. Compared to Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Original, the Spicy has a darker wrapper, but when compared to Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Bold, it is lighter. The wrapper has a thin coating of oil on it and it is on the smoother side. There are some thin visible wrapper veins and thin wrapper seams.

The band to Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Spicy is black in color. At the top of the band is the text “Señor Andre’s” in a partial cursive white font. To the left and right of that text is a red wing pattern. Below that text is the text “CHICHARRONES” in large white font with a thin red shadow. Below that text is a red color fence–like design featuring the text “SPICY” in white font. There is a red-colored Mexican rattle to the left and right side of the band. On the far right is the “VIAJE” logo in white font on a red stripe in landscape mode.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

As I normally do, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap of Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Spicy. Once the cap was removed, I moved on to the pre-light draw phase. The dry draw provided notes of wood, citrus, and slight tingly spice. Overall I considered this to be a satisfactory pre-light draw experience. At this point I was ready to fire up Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Spicy and see what the smoking phase would have in store.

Flavor Profile

The start to Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Spicy delivered a combination of oak, red pepper, cedar spice, and a slight citrus note. The retro-hale produced more of a white pepper flavor through the nasal passages. The combination of the pepper and cedar notes delivered the “spicy” component of this cigar, yet I did not find this to be an overwhelming spice. At the same time the citrus and cedar delivered a subtle sweetness throughout this smoke.

During the first half I found the oak notes and cedar notes to be the primary flavor. The pepper notes floated in and out of the forefront. The citrus remained in the background.

During the second half, the oak notes transitioned to more of a bready note.  The pepper was now more prominent.  The cedar now played more of a complementary role while the citrus remained secondary.  This is the way the cigar experience came to an end.  The resulting nub was cool in temperature and slightly soft to the touch.

Burn and Draw

Overall I found the burn of Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Spicy to perform quite well. The burn path remained relatively straight. There was a little bit of jaggedness on the burn line, but this was more cosmetic and was remedied by a few touch-ups. The resulting ash had a salt and pepper color.  It wasn’t the tightest ash, but this wasn’t problem-some either. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

Burn of Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Spicy

The draw had a touch of resistance – which is something I consider ideal.  This made Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Spicy a low maintenance cigar to derive flavors from.

Strength and Body

Given this was a cigar named “Spicy”, I was a little surprised at the strength and body of Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Spicy. This is a cigar that I assessed to be a medium strength, medium-bodied cigar from start to finish. I still found the Chicharrones Spicy to deliver spice, but the spice was not going to be overpowering and did not assault the palate.

In terms of strength versus body, I found both cigars to balance each other very nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.

Final Thoughts

Overall I found the Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Spicy to deliver a solid smoking experience. I did like the fact it wasn’t a spice bomb, but still had enough spice from start to finish. When compared to the Señor Andre’s Chicharrones Original, I also found this to be a more dialed back cigar – which also surprised me. The nice thing is that this is going to deliver two very different smoking experiences. While my gut told me the Original blend would really shine with some age, I’m not sure this will be the case with the Spicy. It’s still a cigar I can recommend to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast wanting a “medium / medium” cigar with spice. As for myself, this is a cigar I’d smoke again. It’s worthy of a fiver.

Summary

Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium
Body: Medium
Finish: Good
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
Score: 89

References

News: Señor Andre’s Chicharrones by Viaje Cigars
Price: $7.95
Source: Purchased
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