|Viaje Super Shot 10 Gauge
Last month, Viaje Cigars announced it was shipping a new limited edition cigar called the Viaje Super Shot (or referred to as Viaje Shotgun Shells). The Super Shot was part of Viaje’s February release cycle (also joining the Viaje Winter Classic and the ultra-limited Viaje Friends and Family) and fits into their operating model of limited production/small batch releases. The name for the Super Shot comes from brand founder, Andre Farkas and his interest in clay shooting. Farkas was hoping to create a short smoke while taking a break in between shooting. The first vitola of this blend has been released – the Viaje Super Shot 10 Gauge. The end result is a powerful, and flavorful cigar that might be one of Viaje’s new releases since the Satori line.
Short and powerful smokes are not a new concept to Viaje. For almost two years, Viaje has released five batches of the Skull and Bones series. The Skull and Bones series has proven to be one of the more sought after releases by Viaje with no cigar exceeding 4 1/2 inches in length. While many of the Skull and Bones releases were very good, I think Farkas and his team have come to something special with the Viaje Super Shot.
The Viaje Super Shot has some very innovative, yet simple packaging. The cigars are packaged 25 in a cardbox box. The box resembles a box of shotgun shells.
|Packaging of the Viaje Super Shot
Par for the course with Viaje’s short batch release cycle, it is expected that each authoized retailer will receive approximately 1 to 2 boxes. Let’s take a closer look and see what the Viaje Super Shot Gauge 10 delivers.
Viaje usually keeps blend information pretty confidential. In the case of the Viaje Super Shot, there is very little specifics about the tobacco itself. We learn from the packaging that this is 100% Nicaraguan. This should be no surprise as most Viaje cigars are Nicaraguan puros.
At this point, Viaje has chosen to release the 10 gauge vitola first. At the time of this writing, there is no timetable on the second vitola – the 12 gauge.
10 Gauge: 3 1/2 x 54
12 Gauge: 3 1/4 x 52
The Viaje Super Shot 10 Gauge is higlighted by its chocolate colored, slightly oily wrapper. There are some visible veins as well as some visible wrapper seams. The cigar features a covered foot and a triple cap. The cigar itself does not feature a band on it.
|Covered foot of the Viaje Super Shot 10 Gauge
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my Viaje Super Shot 10 Gauge, I defaulted to my usual straight cut on the cigar. I then went on to commence with the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes started kind of bland with a lot of wood flavors and some secondary pepper notes. An interesting sweetness emerged and as I continued the dry draw and would get more prevalent. This sweetness soon took on more of a sugary taste and moved toward the forefront. Overall, it was interesting how the pre-light draw underwent some transitions, so it was time to fire this “shotgun shell” and see what it would deliver.
One thing I was critical with Viaje in 2011 is that many of their small batch releases seemed “green” and required aging of 8 to 10 weeks following purchase. In the case of the Super Shot 10 Gauge, this did not seem the case as it was ready to smoke right after purchase. This was reflected in the flavor profile.
While the pre-light draw had some level of complexity to it, the actual smoke of the Viaje Super Shot 10 Gauge would prove to not be too complex. At the same time, it would prove to still be very flavorful.
The start to the Viaje Super Shot 10 Gauge hit me with a very strong dose of black pepper. This was one of the stronger black pepper blasts I have gotten from a cigar in several months (I still wouldn’t put it in the category of Cu-Avana’s Punisher – but that’s also a unique pepper blast). Along with the pepper, I detected some notes of oak. The pepper notes subsided somewhat, but stilled remained in the forefront. The oak notes soon morphed into more of a mocha taste (a good cross between coffee and chocolate). The mocha notes joined the pepper notes in the forefront. In the background, I also detected notes of cream.
As the smoke of the Viaje Super Shot 10 Gauge moved into the second third, the pepper diminished to more of a secondary role. The cream notes present earlier on had dissipated. The mocha notes had transitioned into more of a combination of chocolate and leather. The chocolate and leather notes were now the ones in the forefront. When the cigar progressed into the last third, the pepper notes moved back into the forefront while the chocolate and leather subsided into secondary notes.
The finish to the Super Shot was spicy. There was some level of harshness on the finish. The resulting nub was outstanding as it was both cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
When I mentioned that some of the Viaje 2011 releases were not ready to smoke, this often had an impact on the burn and draw. With the case of the Super Shot 10 Gauge, this did not seem to be the case. The burn was relatively sharp and required few touch-ups with my torch lighter. The burn temperature was ideal. As for the burn rate, it actually was a little on the slow side. This might have led to a little bit of the harshness at the end. In this case, I do not chalk that up to aging.
The draw had some level of resistance throughout the smoking experience. While I normally like a little resistance, there were times the Super Shot had a little more tightness than I prefer. I could infer this led to the slower burn, but I would be speculating at best.
Strength and Body
I mentioned at the top of this assessment that this was a powerful smoke. This means it is full strength and full-bodied from start to finish. This cigar will hit you with its strength from the start, and even a little afterwards. This one is going to give you a nicotine buzz. The flavors are also very deep. In fact, I still felt pepper on my tongue after smoking the Super Shot 10 Gauge. It is the true definition of what a full-bodied cigar should be.
Overall, I felt that the Super Shot 10 Gauge is Viaje’s best work at balancing the strength and body of a cigar that is “full” in both of these categories. This one will deliver the flavor as well as the buzz.
This was a nice way to kick off 2011 for Viaje. When I assessed the Skull and Bones Mystery, I was wondering if the Skull and Bones series had run its course for short and powerful smokes – and I still stand by that. The one thing the Viaje Super Shot 10 Gauge brings to the table is that it is going to have deeper flavors to balance against the cigar’s strength. The flavors aren’t overly complex, but are very good. This is not a cigar for the novice enthusiast, and I would only recommend this to an experienced cigar enthusiast who likes full strength, full-bodied cigars. This one fits in my profile. If more boxes were available, I would be purchasing some more.
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.