|Viaje Skill and Bones M?stery BP 2012
The Viaje Skull and Bones M?stery BP (box-press) 2012 is part of the seventh batch of Viaje’s Skull and Bones series. Since its inception in 2010, the Skull and Bones series has still proven to be one of Viaje’s popular lines. The Skull and Bones is at the core of Viaje’s small batches process as since it had two to three releases per year. At the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show, when we talked to Viaje president Andre Farkas, he did tell us that a Skull and Bones batch was coming this Fall with something “completely different”. This would turn out to be a wrapper change – a San Andres Maduro wrapper. While the blends have varied in the previous six batches released, the wrapper change marked the biggest blend change to date in the series. I recently had an opportunity to sample the Viaje Skull and Bones M?stery BP 2012. I found the change in wrapper to give the Skull and Bones a whole new profile – and deliver a very solid smoking experience.
The Skull and Bones M?stery usually comes out in the Halloween timeframe. On a recent interview with Kiss My Ash Radio, Farkas mentioned the name comes from the fact that all information about the cigars is kept in secrecy (construction, size, packaging) until the cigars make their way to the retailers (thus a mystery of what will show up at the retailer).
Let’s unlock the mystery behind the Viaje Skull and Bones M?stery BP 2012 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
As mentioned the big change with the Viaje Skull and Bones M?stery BP is the wrapper change to San Andres. Most Viaje cigars are Nicaraguan puros. There have been select Viaje cigars that have used a San Andres wrapper – most notably the Viaje Satori 2011 and Viaje Satori 2012.
Wrapper: San Andres Maduro
The seventh batch of Viaje Skull and Bones has three different vitolas, but two different blends. The M?stery 2012 and M?stery BP 2012 use the San Andres Maduro wrapper. The third vitola, the M?stery Vintage uses the Nicaraguan puro blend of Viaje Skull and Bones Mystery Box-press 2011. The boxes of M?stery 2012 and M?stery BP 2012 are marked as “MADURO”. All three vitolas in this release are packaged 25 cigars per box. Since these cigars are produced in small batch, most retailers will average about 1 to 2 boxes per store.
M?stery: 4 1/2 x 54 (A short robusto featuring the San Andres wrapper and a glow in the dark band)
M?stery BP: 4 1/2 x 54 (A short box-press robusto featuring the San Andres wrapper and a black on black band)
M?stery Vintage: 4 1/2 x 54 (The Nicaraguan puro that is an identical short torpedo to the Viaje Skull and Bones Mystery Box-press 2011)
For completeness, we include the six other batches of the Skull and Bones:
First Release Cycle (Spring 2010): Black and White Band
Daisy Cutter: 4 x 54
Second Release Cycle (Fall 2010): Black and White Band
? (Mystery): 5 x 54
Third Release Cycle (Spring 2011) Black and Red Band
WMD (Weapon Mass Destruction): 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 Band
Little Boy: 4 1/4 x 52 (Double capped)
Fat Man: 4 1/4 x 56 (Double capped)
Fifth Release Cycle (Fall 2011) Black and White Band except Mystery Box Press (Black on Black)
Mystery 4 1/2 x 54 (Short Torpedo)
M?ytery Box Press 4 1/2 x 54 (Short Torpedo Box-press)
Sixth Release Cycle (Spring 2002) -Mix of Bands
WMD (Weapon Mass Destruction) 2012: 3 3/4 x 54 (Black and Red Band)
MOAB (Massive Ordinance Air Blast or Mother of all Bombs) 2012: 4 1/2 x 54 (Black and White Bands – Short Robusto)
FOAB (Father of all Bombs): 4 1/2 x 56 (Black and White Bands – Short Robusto)
The San Andres wrapper of the Skull and Bones M?stery BP has a coffee bean color (the picture above was adjusted to showcase the band, the picture in the burn section better showcases this color). The wrapper has a leathery look to it and is not oily. The wrapper itself is pretty much void of veins and the wrapper seams are visible only under close examination. The box-press to the cigar is firm with no soft spots.
The banding of the M?stery BP is consistent with the Black and Black banding on the Viaje Skull and Bones Mystery Box-press 2011. There are two different shades of black, thus that is how you can see black on black. The top band is highlighted by a black skull and cross bones in the middle on a black background. Going around the circumference of that band are a row of black cross bones at the top and a row of black cross bones on the bottom. There are two black pinstripes in between the rows of cross bones. Below that band is a secondary band that says “Skull and Bones” in black gothic font on a black background.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the Viaje Skull and Bones M?stery BP 2012, I went with a straight cut into the cap of the cigar. I will admit the pre-light draw did not wow me. The dry draw notes provided me a mix of wood, leather, and unsweetened cocoa. From time to time, I could also pick up a faint spice. Since we do not score the pre-light experience, there was no loss of points here. At this point it was time to light my M?stery BP and see what this cigar would bring to the table.
For the most part, I have never found the Viaje Skull and Bones series to be the most complex cigar in terms of flavor transitions. I would still classify the Skull and Bones M?stery BP 2012 in this category. Normally one of my gripes with San Andres maduro wrappers is that they can be too pungent and overwhelm the flavor profile. No such case here with the Skull and Bones M?stery BP 2012. In fact, it allows the flavors nuances to be detected much better than the Nicaraguan wrapped Skull and Bones.
The start to the Skull and Bones M?stery BP 2012 treated me to a mix of leather and pepper. The leather soon became more of an unsweetened cocoa. The pepper did not start out as a pepper blast. In fact, it really was more of a secondary note – and it was more prevalent on the retro-hale.
Around the five percent mark, the unsweetened cocoa took on some sweeter characteristics, but the cocoa never got overly sweet. I also detected some almond flavors in the forefront with the cocoa. The pepper spice was still a secondary note – more prominent on the retro-hale.
By the midway point of the smoke, the pepper notes were present on the full draw, and joined the cocoa and almond notes in the forefront.. By the last third of the smoke, the pepper became the primary note. While the cigar was on the spicy side, it was not harsh. I was able to get an outstanding nub on this cigar. It was not only firm to the touch and cool in temperature – it was a real finger-burner.
Burn and Draw
Last year, Viaje Cigars took their share of criticism for burn and draw issues. I’ve seen some great improvement in this area for the 2012 releases and this is reflected with the Viaje Skill and Bones M?stery BP 2012. The burn on this cigar was excellent. The burn line curved slightly a couple of times, but nothing that I would call “uneven burn”. The resulting ash was a salt and pepper color. In fact, there was more white coloring to this ash than most Viajes out there. The ash was also firm, but not quite a “tight ash”. There was some minimal flaking to this ash. The burn temperature was ideal. The burn rate was a bit on the slow side, but this had no adverse effects on the flavor profile.
|Burn of the Viaje Skull and Bones M?stery BP 2012
The draw was outstanding. It had a touch of resistance to it – and that is something I like. I found this to be an enjoyable cigar to puff on.
Strength and Body
While the Viaje Skill and Bones M?stery BP 2012 has a different wrapper, this is still very much a Skull and Bones at heart. I’ve always found the Skull and Bones series to provide a smoke that will have an edge in strength over body. The Viaje Skill and Bones M?stery BP 2012 also holds to this model. I don’t mind a cigar that fits into this model from time to time – and the Skull and Bones M?stery BP 2012 still delivers enough flavor to satisfy.
From a nicotine standpoint, this is a full strength cigar from start to finish. From a depth of flavors standpoint, the flavors started out medium-bodied. As the smoking experience progressed, it moved to medium to full-bodied by the second half.
Last year, many Viaje Cigars were in need of additional age when they made their way to retailers. In 2012, I’ve seen significant improvement in this area for most of the Viaje releases. As far as the Viaje Skill and Bones M?stery BP 2012, this is a cigar that is ready to smoke out of the box. When I talked to Farkas at the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show, he compared cigars to wine, and drew the analogy how a blend can change and improve with age. While I don’t think the Viaje Skill and Bones M?stery BP 2012 needs age, I am curious to see how this smokes twelve months from now. While this was still a strong cigar from a nicotine standpoint, this also was probably the smoothest Skull and Bones release to date.
When I reviewed the Skull and Bones Mystery BP 2011, I questioned if the Skull and Bones series had run its course. The wrapper change definitely has given this series a nice boost and makes this a cigar Viaje fans will definitely seek out. Given this is a strong cigar, I would recommend this to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast who prefers full strength cigar. As for myself, I would definitely smoke this cigar again.
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.