Viaje Cigars has built a reputation for incorporating seasonal holiday themed cigar releases into its small batch model. In 2009, the company introduced one of its earlier holiday releases with the Viaje Holiday Blend – a cigar released for the Christmas Holiday. In 2012, Viaje expanded the Christmas-themed releases to include a second cigar, the Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane. The Candy Cane introduced the first barber-pole offering into Viaje’s portfolio. Prior to 2015, both the Holiday Blend and Holiday Blend Candy Cane were Nicaraguan puros made in Honduras. In 2015 Viaje began working with the PDR Cigars factory in the Dominican Republic and moved production of some of its small batch releases to that location – including the Holiday Blend / Holiday Blend Candy Cane. There would be one other change for the 2015 releases, they would be box-pressed for the first time. The 2015 releases were dubbed Viaje Holiday Blend 2015 and Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane Edición Limitada 2015. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane Edición Limitada 2015. Overall I found this to be an excellent release.
As mentioned both the Viaje Holiday Blend and Holiday Blend Candy Cane 2015 releases have been dubbed Edición Limitada. While most of Viaje’s portfolio is small batch, limited production, the Edición Limitada title has typically been reserved for the more limited or “one and done” releases. One note is that the 2016 edition of the Holiday Blend Candy Cane also has the Edición Limitada designation.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane Edición Limitada 2015 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The barber-pole features a combination of Brazilian Arapiraca and Ecuadorian Habano tobacco. These are not common tobaccos we have seen in the Viaje portfolio. Brazilian Arapiraca was the wrapper used on the Viaje Holiday Blend 2015 while Ecuadorian Habano was seen on the Viaje Collaboration 2015. The remaining part of the blend have not been disclosed. As mentioned this cigar is produced at the PDR Cigars factory in the Dominican Republic.
Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca / Habano Ecuador (Barber Pole)
Binder: Not Disclosed
Filler: Not Disclosed
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (PDR Cigars)
Each installment of the Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane has featured a 6 x 54 vitola. The Candy Cane Edición Limitada is no exception except that it is box-pressed. The recently announced Holiday Blend Candy Cane Edición Limitada 2016 also is a box-pressed 6 x 54.
The Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane Edición Limitada 2015 was packaged in 20 count bundles.
The structure of the Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane Edición Limitada 2015 barber-pole features the natural colored Ecadorian Habano wrapper wrapped around the coffee bean colored Brazilian Arapiraca wrapper. There is a light coating of oil on both wrappers. The wrapper seams are for the most part on the clean side. As for box-press it is more on the Cuban-style soft-press side.
The Candy Cane Edición Limitada 2015 features a covered footer. This cigar makes for a rare combination – a box-pressed barber pole with a covered footer.
There are two bands to the Candy Cane. The primary band is the same as the previous Viaje Holiday Blend ones – olive green and silver in color. It features “Viaje” in large classic silver font on an olive background. Below that text is the text “Holiday Blend” in olive font on a silver background. That silver background is situated below the olive background on the band.
The secondary band rests just below the primary band. This band is white with olive pinstripes on top and bottom. The text “CANDY CANE” is prominently displayed in a silver and red “candy cane” styled font.
Each individual cigar is wrapped in red an silver foil-like paper.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I normally do, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap of the Candy Cane Edición Limitada 2015. Once the cap was successfully clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The cold draw delivered a mix of coffee, dusty earth, and a slight cedar note. Overall I considered the pre-light draw to this cigar to be very good. At this point, I was ready to light up the Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane Edición Limitada 2015 and see what this cigar would bring to table.
The Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane Edición Limitada 2015 started with notes of cedar and wood. As the cigar progressed through the early stages of the first third, coffee notes emerged in the forefront. Meanwhile the wood / cedar combination receded into the background where it was joined by some dusty earth notes. I also detected an underlying creamy texture that kept this cigar quite smooth. There also was a touch of black pepper on the tongue, but it was more prominent on the retro-hale.
During the first half, I found the coffee notes did get richer while the creamy texture got softer. There wasn’t much change in the flavor profile. The coffee remained primary while the wood / cedar, dusty earth, and subtle pepper remained in the background.
Around the midway point of the Candy Cane Edición Limitada 2015, the cedar / wood combination increased in intensity. Before the second third was over, the cedar / wood displaced the coffee notes as the primary flavor. The coffee remained a close secondary note for the duration of the cigar. There was a slight increase in overall spice, but this cigar was far from being a spice bomb. In addition, by this stage the cream noteshad also diminished. As the Candy Cane Edición Limitada 2015 came to a close, it finished with a firm nub that was cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The burn to the Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane Edición Limitada 2015 maintained a straight burn path and straight burn line. I did find at certain points as the burn crossed a wrapper seam, the Candy Cane required a slight touch-up, but overall I didn’t find the amount of touch-ups to be excessive – and it didn’t represent any issues. The resulting ash was tight and firm with a nearly white color. Meanwhile the burn rate and burn temperature
The draw to the Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane Edición Limitada 2015 also performed quite well. I found this draw to be not too loose, nor too tight. This made the Candy Cane an enjoyable cigar to smoke from start to finish.
Strength and Body
Over the years, I have found the regular Viaje Holiday Blend cigars to rank among some of the boldest cigars that Viaje offers. This was maintained in 2015 when the Holiday Blend changed the blend and moved production to PDR. On the other hand, the Candy Cane releases have been more dialed back. The Candy Cane Edicion Limitada 2015 is going to fall into this category. The cigar started as a medium strength, medium-bodied cigar. By the second half both attributes increased in intensity and progressed to medium to full territory.
In terms of strength versus body, both attributes balanced each other very nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
One thing that I have always liked about the Viaje brand is that it has brought a little extra fun to cigar smoking. In addition, one thing I like about barber pole cigars is that they are fun. The Candy Cane series has brought the fun of smoking a Viaje and the fun of smoking a barber pole together. In addition to being fun, the new blend introduced for 2015 was pretty good as well. While the 2015 edition is using very different tobaccos than the previous iterations, I still think Viaje has done a good job keeping to the original Candy Cane’s wheelhouse flavor-wise (a medium strength, medium-bodied smoke with coffee and cedar notes). Overall this is a cigar I could recommend to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke again. If you can find the 2015 edition, it’s worthy of a box (bundle) purchase.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Cedar, Wood, Dusty Earth
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Assessment: 4.0-Box Worthy
News: Viaje Holiday Blend 2015 and Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane Edición Limitada 2015 Coming Soon
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
Stogie Feed: n/a
Brand Reference: Viaje
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted.