January 4, 2011 will be a day Indie Cigar Maker Andre Farkas will never forget – it was the day his company Viaje Cigars was put on the map in the cigar world. It was also the day Cigar Aficionado magazine named the Viaje Oro Reserva VOR #5 its #2 Cigar of the Year. In reality since a Cuban cigar was named #1, this was the top cigar that is available to us living in the United States. I must give credit to Outland Cigars in Charlotte, NC. 16 months ago, they had the vision to see what Farkas was doing with his line of cigars – and have brought this line of sticks into the store. This has allowed me to have access to what still is a very hard brand to find. The good news is that I was very satisfied with the Reserva VOR #5. While I still think the Viaje Satori was a superior cigar in 2010 (it was my #3 Cigar of the Year), this cigar more than satisfied me.
A little about what Viaje Cigars is all about. For many of their releases, Viaje has been employing a “micro batch” process for its cigar releases. Namely, it is producing the majority of its boxes in small batches (i.e. under 500 boxes) for a release. Such cigars that have been a part of this micro batch process are the Satori, Skull and Bones, the Holiday Blend, TNT, and the Summerfest. At the same time Viaje has developed a core line of cigars that are (for the most part) not subject to the micro batch limitations. This includes the Platino, 50/50, and Oro lines.
While the Oro line was introduced prior to 2010, it was in 2010 where the Oro line was tweaked with the introduction of the Reserva. Let’s take a look at the composition of the Reserva.
Wrapper: Nicaragua Corojo 99
The Reserva is slightly different in that the tobacco contains older leaf and ligero. There is only one vitola available for the Reserva – 5.5 x 52 box-press. The core Oro line contains a similar composition, but is not available in box-press and doesn’t not contain the aged ligero. The Reserva to some extent is intended to be limited in terms of production – plans on to roll this about twice a year (but not subject to the extremely limited micro batches).
After I put a punch into the cap and toasted the foot, I took my initial draws of this cigar. I was treated to a salt blast that I often get with Nicaraguan cigars. However, it didn’t take long for sweet cocoa/coffee flavors with a hint of spice would emerge. Around 20 percent into the cigar, I got a hint of black pepper. The black pepper was subtle and did not over-power. As the cigar progressed toward the mid-way point, the black pepper flavor would increase and become on-par with the cocoa sweetness in terms of body. The finish to the cigar was a bit warm and soft – I would have preferred it to be cool and firm.
The cigar was very smooth – much smoother than the core Oro line. It’s body and strength are both definitely is in the medium to full range The burn and draw were excellent on this.
Overall, I’m very pleased this cigar got a #2 from Cigar Aficionado. It’s great news for Viaje and I firmly expect more great things. I do think this is a good cigar for the novice or seasoned smoker as well as the traditional or trendy cigar enthusiasts. I will also say, if you like this cigar – you are going to love the Satori.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: Nice to Have