|Viaje Platino Reserva VPR No. 6|
It was at the beginning of 2011 where the name Viaje became better known to the mainstream consumer base of cigars. That is when Cigar Aficionado magazine named the Viaje Oro Reserva VOR No. 5 it’s #2 Cigar of the Year. The VOR No. 5 is a blend variation of Viaje’s Oro line. The Oro has a sibling line known as the Platino. Like the Oro line, there is a special blend variation that is a part of the Platino line known as the Viaje Platino Reserva VPR No. 6. Par with the course with most of the other Viaje releases, these have been made available in small-batch, annual releases. Late in 2011, Viaje released another batch of both the VOR No. 5 and the VPR No. 6. I recently had a chance to sample the VPR No. 6. My reaction is while VOR No. 5 was the cigar that got most of the attention, the VPR No. 6 is the better cigar.
The Platino series bears a resemblance to the Oro in physical appearance and it also has similar blend characteristics. The big difference with the Platino line is that it is an “amp’d down” version of the Oro (similar to what Viaje does with the Fifty Fifty Black and Fifty Fifty Red).
Here is a further break-down of the Viaje Platino Reserva VPR No. 6.
The Reserva series for both the Viaje Platino Reserva and Viaje Oro Reserva differ slightly in that the Reserva contains older leaf and additional ligero. As mentioned the blend of the Viaje Platino Reserva VPR No. 6 is similar to the blend of the Viaje Oro Reserva VOR No. 5, except that this blend is “amp’d down”.
Wrapper: Nicaragua Corojo 99
In addition to the VPR No 6, Viaje has also released a double torpedo of the blend called the Viaje Platino Reserva VPR DT. A double torpedo was also done for the Viaje Oro Reserva blend as well. For the VPR No. 6, it is similar to the VOR No. 5 in that it is a box-press.
VPR No. 6: 6 x 50 (box-press)
VPR DT: 5 3/4 x 52 (double torpedo)
While we have been comparing and contrasting the Viaje Platino Reserva VPR No. 6 to some of the other variations, we will now focus on the VPR No. 6 itself.
The VPR No. 6 is a classic box-press wrapper cigar. The Nicaraguan Corojo 99 wrapper is chocolate-colored with a slight colorado tint to it. There are some visible veins, but for the most part the wrapper is smooth and not toothy. At the foot, there is a distinct farm and cedar aroma that can be detected.
There are two bands on the VPR No. 6. The first band features an olive green, yellow, and silver wrapper that is highlighted by Viaje’s classic leaf logo. Toward the left of the logo in olive colored font, it says “Nicaragua” and to the right it says “Hand Made”. This band is difficult to distinguish from the band of the Viaje Oro Reserva cigars, but the difference is that the Viaje Platino Reserva cigars have silver on it while the Viaje Oro Reserva cigars have gold instead. The second band features the text “Reserva” in gold font on a black background. That band features gold striping at the top and bottom.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
With my Viaje Platino Reserva VPR No. 6, I placed a straight cut into the cap and proceeded to begin the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes provided a mix of cocoa, earth, and grass. While this pre-light profile was similar to the VPR DT that I had, these flavors seemed smoother. While normally I am not a fan of earth and grass notes; these notes balanced against the cocoa notes helped make this a satisfactory pre-light draw. At this point it was on to light my VPR No. 6 and see what else would be in store.
The start to my Viaje Platino Reserva VPR No. 6 started with a mix of earth and nut notes with a hint of cedar in the background. The start to the VPR No. 6 was not as spicy as the VPR DT had been. Shortly afterwards, the earth notes got richer and morphed to more of a coffee flavor. The coffee and nut notes were in the forefront with the cedar spice in the background.
Around five percent, the coffee notes took on a touch of bitterness as some chicory notes joined the equation. Sometimes bitter notes such as chicory can ruin a smoke, but this seemed to balance well with the other flavors. It was at this point where I also detected some notes of nut. Meanwhile, the cedar notes morphed more into a white pepper flavor. The nut along with coffee and chicory took turns alternating in the forefront.
Around ten percent, I detected some floral notes on the after-draw. The profile of nut, coffee, and chicory continued to alternate in the forefront while the white pepper remained in the background. By the end of the first third, the nut flavors won out and became the main flavor note in the profile.
In the second third, the nut notes remained primary with the white pepper in the background. There was also an interesting sweetness that emerged that complemented the other flavors, but I was unable to put my finger on this was. It was in the second third where the coffee, chicory, and floral notes dissipated. The nut, pepper, and sweetness in the flavor profile held into the final third. The cigar had a pretty smooth and flavorful finish. The resulting nub was near perfect – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
When I smoked the VPR DT, the burn was not bad, but it was not perfect. With the VPR No. 6, this was an outstanding burn. In 2011, I’ve noticed many Viaje cigars required 8 to 10 weeks of aging as some have been a little green and have created burn issues. The VPR No. 6 that I smoked did have the benefit of aging. In the end, the burn remained sharp requiring few touch-ups. The VPR No. 6 also burned an an ideal rate and ideal temperature. The draw was also outstanding – it made the VPR No. 6 a very enjoyable smoke to puff on.
Strength and Body
The Viaje Platino Reserva was positioned as an “amp’d down” version of the Viaje Oro Reserva line – and I would agree with this. For the most part, the Viaje Platino Reservas have proven to be medium-strength and medium-bodied. This is a notch down from the Viaje Oro Reservas where it is medium to full in strength and body. The Viaje Platino Reserva VPR No. 6 is a cigar that provides the right amount of nicotine and right amount of depth on the flavor notes. Overall, there was a very good balance between the strength and body attributes of the VPR No. 6.
I have now smoked the two Viaje Platino Reserva cigars as well as the two Viaje Oro Reserva cigars. Without a doubt, the Viaje Platino Reserva VPR No. 6 is the best vitola and blend of the “Reserva” cigars. While the VPR DT was a good cigar, it goes it confirms my position that toros are better smokes than perfectos or torpedoes. While some might get frustrated (myself) by having to age a Viaje cigar for a while, this cigar proves that the end result can be outstanding. I would not hesitate to recommend this to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. This provides a great medium strength, medium-bodied cigar for any time of the day. This is a cigar I will purchase again.
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.