Viaje WMD 2012

There has been quite a bit of activity around Viaje on this web-site the last few weeks, and this has been for good reason.  During the past month, Viaje has released a total of eight cigars to its authorized retailers.  These eight cigars could technically be aligned to six different blends.  Add a couple of other Viaje reviews we had in progress, and it seems like March has been Viaje month on Cigar Coop   Today, we explore another one of the eight releases.  This one is a 2012 version of one of Viaje’s Skull and Bones’ cigars that was released last Spring – the Viaje WMD 2012.   WMD stands for Weapon of Mass Destruction.  While 2012 has been a stand out year for Viaje, the WMD falls a little short compared to some of those other releases.

The WMD was released with the third batch of Skull and Bones in 2011.  If you have not read the assessment we did on the Viaje Skull and Bones FOAB, you can read the particulars of the Skull and Bones series below.  Last year, the WMD 2011 was a 3 3/4 x 54 petite robusto.   When I originally previewed the WMD, the information I had pulled from various retailers indicated the WMD 2012 was the same size.  Upon further review, and thanks to information from a reader, it is safe to say the WMD 2012 is smaller in terms of ring gauge.   The folks at halfwheel have also noted this and are stating this is a 3 3/4 x 52.  I’m inclined to agree with them on this.   Viaje tends to keep information about blends and sizes under covers, so it’s always hard to get this information confirmed.

These cigars are released in small batches, and I believe most retailers are receiving a usual one to two boxes (of 25) on average.  We will start getting into the details of the WMD 2012 below.  I’m going to combine “Blend Profile” and “Vitolas Available” because I think its applicable when breaking down this cigar and discussing this line.  If you read our review of the Viaje FOAB, most of this might be a rehash, but we are including it for completeness.

Blend Profile/Vitolas Available

What we do know is that the Skull and Bones series has consisted of Nicaraguan puros:

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

There have been some blend variations among the release cycles (waves) of the Skull and Bones.  We don’t know all of the particulars.  What we also know is that most Skull and Bones releases have either had black and white bands or red and black bands (with the exception of the Mystery Box Press which had a black on black band).

The first and second release cycles featured the black and white bands. The third and fourth release cycles featured the red colored bands.  In the fifth release cycle, the Skull and Bones Mystery goes back to a black and white band, while the Skull and Bones Mystery box-press (pictured above) uses a black on black band.   What is known is the red and black bands have been positioned as stronger blends (similar to what Viaje has done with the 50/50 black/red and Oro/Platino lines).

First Release Cycle (Spring 2010): Black and White
Daisy Cutter: 4 x 54

Second Release Cycle (Fall 2010): Black and White
?: 5 x 54

Third Release Cycle (Spring 2011) Black and Red
WMD (Weapon Mass Destruction) 2011: 3 3/4 x 54
MOAB (Massive Ordinance Air Blast or Mother of all Bombs): 4 1/4 x 54 (Torpedo)

Fourth Release Cycle (Summer 2011) Black and Red
Little Boy: 4 1/4 x 52 (Double capped)
Fat Man: 4 1/4 x 56 (Double capped)

Viaje Skull and Bones Little Boy

Fifth Release Cycle (Fall 2011) Black and White except Mystery Box Press (Black on Black)
Mystery 4 1/2 x 54 (Short Torpedo)
Mystery Box Press 4 1/2 x 54 (Short Torpedo Box-press)

Viaje Skull and Bones Mystery

Viaje Skull and Bones Mystery Boxpress

Sixth Release Cycle (Spring 2002) -Mix
WMD (Weapon Mass Destruction) 2012: 3 3/4 x 52 (Black and Red) (Unofficial size)
MOAB (Massive Ordinance Air Blast or Mother of all Bombs) 2012: 4 1/2 x 54 (Black and White – Short Robusto)
FOAB (Father of all Bombs): 4 1/2 x 56 (Black and White – Short Robusto)

Here is where things get a little confusing with the sixth release cycle. With the first five release cycles, for the most part each release cycle was consistent with the banding.   The sixth release cycle mixes things up.   First up there is also a 2012 version of the MOAB.  The 2012 MOAB changes its banding to Black and White (originally red and white in the third release cycle).  It also changes the vitola to a Short Robusto.  That particular vitola looks very much like the “?” vitola in the  second release cycle.  The FOAB is similar to the 2012 MOAB.  It just has a slightly larger ring gauge, and its name is a play on “MOAB”.

The  2012 version of the WMD (that was in the third release cycle from 2011). While we don’t know how much (if any) of the blend or tobacco crop has changed, we do know the WMD 2012 is smaller in ring gauge.  We are agreeing with what Halfwheel has said, and are stating this is a 52 ring gauge.

Yes, it’s confusing, but that seems to be the the product of the release cycles of the Skull and Bones.  Let’s take a closer look at the WMD 2012.


The wrapper of the WMD 2012 has a dark coffee bean color with a slight tint of colorado red in it.  The wrapper is definitely darker than what I observed on the FOAB.   There are some dark spots on it.  There are a few bumps on the wrapper, and the wrapper definitely is more on the oily side.  There are also some visible veins and wrapper seams.  While touching this cigar, the WMD 2012 definitely has a tight pack to it.

There are two bands on the band.   The first band contains a black background and there is a red skull and crossbones prominently on the center of the band.  Going around the circumference of the band are two rows of smaller white cross-bones.  Inside those two rows are two white pinstripes.  The second band is located just below the first band.  It also contains a black background and has the text “Skull and Bones” in red gothic font.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For my smoke of the Viaje WMD 2012, I placed a straight cut into the cap and proceeded to begin the pre-light experience.  The dry draw notes leaned heavy on the cedar spice side, but I could also detect some notes of coffee and wood.  This wasn’t a memorable pre-light experience, but it wasn’t a bad one either.   I was now ready to go forward and see what the cigar experience of the WMD 2012 would deliver.

Flavor Profile

The spice out of the gate with the WMD 2012 definitely took on a form of black pepper.  There were some coffee notes that were secondary, but for the most part the pepper spice was in control.  Later in the first third of the smoke, the coffee notes moved into the forefront with the pepper.  At the same time, I could also detect some cherry sweetness in the background.

As the cigar progressed to the midway point, the coffee notes moved back into a secondary role.  The pepper notes would remain the primary flavor.   By the time the cigar reached the last third, the coffee and cherry notes had pretty much dissipated and were replaced by notes of wood.  The pepper notes pretty much remained in control until the cigar’s close.  I did get some harshness on the finish, but I wouldn’t categorize it as overly harsh.  The resulting nub was still good – cool in temperature and firm to the touch.

Burn and Draw

This is one area where the Viaje WMD 2012 did not score well in.   The draw was pretty tight on this cigar. I mentioned this cigar seemed to be packed very tightly – and that could be an obvious factor.  While I like a little resistance on the draw, with the WMD 2012 I had to fight the draw with each smoke I had.   The burn seemed to also suffer as a result of the tight draw.  It was uneven at times – and required more touch-ups than I would prefer.   There were no issues on the burn rate and burn temperature as these were ideal from start to finish.

Strength and Body

When I assessed the Viaje FOAB, I mentioned how that blend seemed a little tamer than some of the other Skull and Bones blends.  With the WMD 2012, the strength also seemed to be amp’d down a bit, but I still categorized this as a full strength smoke.   The body of the WMD 2012 had some deep flavor notes and I assessed the cigar to be full-bodied as well.   In the end, I felt the balance between the strength and balance was off a bit – namely the strength had the upper hand over the body.

Final Thoughts

I mentioned I felt 2012 has been a very good year for Viaje.  However with the WMD 2012, there was something missing from this blend.  I mentioned in a previous review that I think the days of aging Viajes 8 to 10 weeks following purchase are over.  I’m not sure if the WMD 2012 would have benefited from more age or not.   When I compare this with the other releases like the Super Shot 10 Gauge, WLP Winter Classic, WLP Candela 2012, and FOAB, this one just doesn’t rank up there.   Even if the draw and burn were better, I probably still would take those other blends over this one.   This is a classic “See What You Think” in my book – and probably one for the serious Viaje cigar enthusiast only.


Burn: Good
Draw: Fair
Complexity: Low
Strength: Full
Body: Full
Finish: Good
Assessment: See What You Think
Score: 83

Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.