|Viaje Satori 2011
There was no doubt in my mind that the best cigar that came out of the 2010 IPCPR trade show was the Viaje Satori. This cigar would go on to finish as my #3 Cigar for 2010 and still stands as the best blend put out by Viaje. The Satori was originally advertised as a limited edition cigar, but I was a little surprised that it appeared on the Viaje web-site – since many of the limited batch cigars produced by Viaje often don’t end up on that site. When I saw the Satori on display at the 2011 IPCPR, I was no longer surprised as I knew now why it was on their web-site for the past few months. I also got some clarification that this cigar is targeted to be an annual limited release. It also turns out that the 2011 is a different blend than what was released in 2010. Gone is the dark, oily double oscuro wrapper as it is replaced by a lighter, more-traditional maduro wrapper. I just have had a chance to sample the 2011 edition of the Viaje Satori – and while it is a very different smoke, it still is a terrific smoke.
While the Satori 2010 won a lot of fans into Viaje, there were two complaints that were heard: 1) The wrapper was too dark and therefore must be dyed (I don’t subscribe to that theory); 2) The wrapper was too thin and delicate (I can attest to that). With the 2011 Satori, Viaje made some pretty apparent external changes to the blend. For Andre Farkas and Viaje, tweaking a blend is something that is seen quite a bit with his brand. In most cases, the tweaks happen internal to the cigar. In the case of the Satori, a whole new wrapper was put on the cigar.
Time to break down this cigar and see what it brings to the table.
The big change is the Nicaraguan double oscuro wrapper is replaced by a San Andreas (Mexican) maduro wrapper. As I always state, San Andreas tobacco is some of the best out there – and it really lends itself well to fermentation processes. The San Andreas wrapper is lighter than the double oscuro wrapper – and it thicker and more textured than the 2010 wrapper. This new wrapper will not be confused for being dyed, plus it is sturdier and has a rougher texture than the double oscuro wrapper.
I don’t have any information if the binder or filler have changed, but its origins are still from Nicaragua.
Wrapper: San Andreas Maduro
I’ve included a photo comparing the Satori 2010 to the Satori 2011:
|Viaje Satori 2010 (Left), Viaje Satori 2011 (Right)
The Viaje Satori 2011 is availabe in the same three sizes and shapes as the Satori 2010. I do not have the numbers on how many boxes will be available.
Karma (Robusto):5 x 52
Nirvana (Toro): 6 x 50
Zen (Double Ended Box Press Perfecto): 6 3/4 x 52
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
With the Viaje Satori 2010, I thought the Karma (Robusto) vitola was the best size for the blend. However, since the Nirvana (Toro) was the first vitola I smoked with the Satori 2010, I decided to do the same and sample a couple from this size for the Satori 2011 (Note the pictures above are of the Karma – my Satori Nirvana picture did not turn out well)
I placed a straight cut into the cap of the Satori 2011 and commenced with a pre-light draw. The dry draw flavor notes I detected were wood with sweet notes. This wasn’t a cedar sweetness and I could never put my finger on what exactly this sweetness was. The sweetness complemented the wood flavors very nicely making for a satisfactory pre-light draw. It was now on to see what the smoke of the Satori 2011 would bring.
If you have read several of my Viaje assessments, a big complaint I have had is that many of the blends are “green” when they arrive in the retailer’s humidor. This was not the case with the Viaje 2010 and it was not the case with the Viaje 2011. In other words, the Viaje 2011 was ready to go.
The initial flavor notes did yield some cedar. It didn’t take long before some coffee notes emerged early on. I also detected some sweetness, but in this case it had almost a blackberry quality. I also detected some cedar spice notes (on top of the base cedar). While the spice was present on the actual draw, it seemed more prevalent on the after-draw.
Around 10 percent, I also detected some citrus sweet notes. These citrus notes pushed out the blackberry notes that were present early on. The cedar spice and coffee notes were still present. As the cigar progressed through the first third, the citrus notes became the dominant flavor with the coffee and cedar as secondary notes.
By the midway point, the citrus notes increased in depth. The cedar spice and coffee notes still hung in there and remained secondary notes. As the cigar progressed into the final third, the coffee notes meshed nicely with the citrus sweetness – making for a very interesting flavor profile. The finish to the cigar provided the ideal nub – a firm and cool nub. The finish was very pleasant and there were no harsh notes.
A final note on the citrus sweetness – this was never overly acidic. The end result was a very nice and natural sweetness to the cigar.
Burn and Draw
As I mentioned, sometimes when other Viaje blends have come into the retailers’ humidors, they often are “green”. This has also led to some less than spectacular burns. No issues with the burn on the Satori 2011 – this was a very straight burn that required few touch-ups. In fact, I smoked this sample with a breeze outside and it didn’t affect the burn. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal. The ash wasn’t as white as I would have liked, but it was still satisfactory. The draw was flawless – the Viaje Satori 2011 was a joy to smoke.
Strength and Body
Like the 2010 Satori, the 2011 Satori is not going to overwhelm you with nicotine. The strength from a nicotine standpoint remains medium in the 2011 Satori. The flavor notes in the 2011 have some nice depth to them. The body for the 2011 Satori is medium to full – this also is consistent to what the 2010 Satori was like. Overall, the Satori does a great job at balancing strength and body with the smoking experience it offers.
The obvious question is going to be – how does the Satori 2011 compare to the Satori 2010? As I mentioned earlier, the Satori 2011 is a very different smoke. Both are very good cigars, but when it comes down to flavor profile, I still had a preference for the espresso and black cherry flavors offered by the 2010 Satori. This is not a knock on the Satori 2011 as this is still a very good cigar. I’ll definitely be buying more Satori 2011s to enjoy. I also wouldn’t hesitate giving this to both a new and experienced cigar enthusiast. I look forward to more variations in the Viaje Satori line.
Body: Medium to Full
Source: This cigars for this review were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina