|Viaje Late Harvest Estate Grown|
The Viaje Summer 2011 release cycle was one that many Viaje fans were looking forward to. This cycle included the release of the Viaje Satori 2011, the Skull and Bones Little Boy and Fat Man, and a new line called the Late Harvest Estate Grown. Like most Viaje releases, the Late Harvest Estate Grown has been done in microbatch releases. While I don’t have the specific numbers of boxes, my guess is that most Viaje authorized retailers will receive one to two boxes. Overall, I would fully expect many cigar and especially Viaje enthusiasts will actively want to add this cigar to its collection. The Summer 2011 releases of Satori 2011 and Skull and Bones have been solid releases, so the question becomes how does the Late Harvest Estate Grown stack up? The great news is that the Late Harvest Estate Grown proves to be an outstanding launch for this new line by Viaje. The best thing about this blend is that it provides one of the more unique flavor profiles in cigars released in 2011.
The Late Harvest Estate Grown has an analogy to the wine industry but geared more toward tobacco harvesting. While in the wine industry, “Late Harvest” refers to harvesting grapes, the Viaje concept involves picking the last primings from the tobacco plant. These leaves are exposed to additional sun following the picking of the first primings. The end result is a thicker leaf that has additional oils and more flavor to it. This concept has clearly done something special for this blend. Let’s take a closer look at the blend:
The Viaje Late Harvest Estate Grown cigar is an all-Nicaraguan puro:
There will be two vitolas in the initial release. I would imagine we could see additional vitolas in the future. While the picture doesn’t show it, the Late Harvest Estate Grown cigar contains a pigtail cap.
LH550: 5 x 50
LH648: 6 x 48
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For this cigar experience, I selected the LH550 robusto-sized vitola. As I always do with a pigtail cap, I opted to place a straight cut into the cigar as opposed to pulling on the pigtail. The pre-light draw on the Late Harvest Estate Grown was outstanding and complex – providing notes of cocoa, chocolate, nuts, and some cinnamon. Given that the dry draw was outstanding, I anxiously went for my torch lighter, fired up the cigar and prepared for the cigar experience.
The initial flavors of the Late Harvest Estate Grown cigar showcased some of the nut and cinnamon notes that were on the pre-light draw. There was a moderate baker’s spice that I detected in the nostrils of my nose. Very early in the cigar experience, some caramel sweetness kicked in and quickly moved to the forefront with the nut and cinnamon taking on a secondary note. As the first third of the smoking experience came to a close, the cinnamon transitioned into the classic baker’s spice that I had earlier detected in the nose. The nut notes were still present, but the caramel sweetness had diminished significantly.
In the second third of the cigar, this is where the Viaje took a unique turn in terms of flavor. The spice remained by it was complemented by an unusual tart-like taste. I cannot come up with an analogy for this flavor. Don’t let the word “tart” fool you as the flavor was quite good.
As the cigar progressed into the last third, some of the cocoa notes I had on the dry-draw resurfaced and actually had more of a mocha taste to it. In the last 25 percent the baker’s spice kicked up. While the spice got a little harsh at the very end, it did not ruin the cigar experience. The nub was cool and a little soft as the cigar.
Burn and Draw
I have found many times Viaje Cigars need some age at least 8 to 10 weeks. With the Summer 2011 releases, this problem was not as prevalent. The Viaje Skull and Bones Little Boy and Satori 2011 did not seem to have this problem. As for the Late Harvest Estate Grown, this probably still needed a little more aging, but I don’t think nearly the 8 to 10 weeks I mention above. The burn on the Late Harvest Estate Grown had some tunneling to it. The tunneling wasn’t major and some touch-ups did the trick, but nonetheless the cigar still tunneled. At the same time, it really didn’t affect the flavors as I think the blend is solid. The burn rate and burn temperature had not issues to it. As for the draw, it was a little tight, but I like a cigar like that.
Strength and Body
For the Late Harvest Estate Grown, for most of the cigar it is not going to produce a lot of nicotine and it falls into medium in terms of strength. Toward the end of the cigar, I did detect an increase in nicotine and the strength moves more toward a medium to full. As for body, this cigar’s flavor profile does have some depth and easily falls into the medium to full range.
This cigar offers two terrific attributes – complexity and unique flavors. In spite of the slight tunneling I detected, this is one very good cigar. As I mentioned with even a little more age, I think Late Harvest Estate Grown will just continue to get better. This is a cigar I would easily give to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. I do think the experienced enthusiast might appreciate a lot of the complexity this cigar brings to the table. I know this will be a cigar I’d buy and smoke again.
Strength: Medium (Medium to High at end)
Body: Medium to High
Source: The cigar(s) for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.