|Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012 Dark Meat
The Viaje White Label Project (WLP) Stuffed Turkey 2012 Dark Meat edition is one of two blends that make up the WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012 release. The Dark Meat edition gets its name in that it is a maduro wrapper cigar. The Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey made its debut last year in a single blend and representing Viaje’s 60 ring gauge blend. In a conversation we had with Viaje president Andre Farkas at the 2012, he confirmed the Stuffed Turkey would be making a return. This time there would be two versions which he dubbed “White Meat” (a natural) and “Dark Meat” (a maduro). Originally, the Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012 series was intended to be released around Thanksgiving, but last month Viaje announced the Stuffed Turkey 2012 series would be delayed until December. We recently have had an opportunity to sample the Dark Meat edition of this cigar, and found this to be the best Stuffed Turkey blend to date, and overall one of the better Viaje White Label Project releases.
The White Label Project (WLP) is a line that has been released by Viaje this year. The cigars in this line are considered somewhat experimental to varying degrees. For 2012 the WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012 marks the third and fourth blends to be released under this umbrella – joining the Viaje WLP St. Patrick’s Day Candela 2012 and the Viaje WLP Winter Classic 2011
Let’s look at the Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012 Dark Meat Edition and see what this cigar delivers.
The Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012 Dark Meat is listed as a maduro wrapper. At the time of this writing, no country of origin was disclosed. For its sibling the Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012 White Meat Edition it utilizes a Criollo wrapper.
For completeness, we list the White Meat and Dark Meat editions:
Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012 Dark Meat
Binder: Not Disclosed
Filler: Not Disclosed
Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012 White Meat
Binder: Not Disclosed
Filler: Not Disclosed
|Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012: White Meat (Top), Dark Meat (Bottom)
Each of the Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012 edition cigars is 5 x 60 ring gauge – consistent with the size from 2011. The cigars are packaged in bundles of 25. Last year the packaging indicated there were 200 bundles produced. This year it appears from the packaging that the number of bundles has been reduced to 150 – however it is 150 bundles for each of the two blends.
The WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012 Dark Meat’s maduro wrapper has a rich milk chocolate color. It has a somewhat course texture to it. The veins and wrappers are visible upon very close examination. While both the White Meat and Dark Meat cigars were well packed, the Dark Meat felt a little “heavier” than the White Meat.
The band is the usual “White Label Project” band – namely a white background with “Viaje” visible boldly in black font. There is a thin black pinstripe at the top and bottom of the band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012 Dark Meat edition, I went with my usual straight cut into the cap of the cigar. Once the cap was removed, it was time to begin the pre-light draw experience. I found the dry draw to provide some great flavors as I detected notes of chocolate and spice. The spice on the dry draw seemed to be a cross between pepper and cedar. Once the pre-light draw was completed, it was time to toast the foot of the WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012 Dark Meat edition and see what else would be in store.
The initial flavors to the Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012 Dark Meat addition yielded a strong blast of pepper to start. While the pepper slightly subsided, it would still play a key role in the cigar experience. Notes of black cherry soon joined the pepper in the forefront while some chocolate notes emerged in the background. For the first half of the smoke of the Dark Meat, black cherry, and chocolate would be the main notes. For the most part the pepper remained as a primary note and from time to time the black cherry and/or chocolate would join it.
By the middle part of the cigar experience, the pepper notes subsided a little more. I also detected some leather notes. The notes of pepper, black cherry, chocolate, and leather continued with various permutations as to which were primary and secondary notes.
Toward the later part of the second third, some nut flavors also emerged. These nut flavors remained in the background and never surfaced as a primary note. As the Dark Meat moved into the final stages the leather and pepper notes were the main flavors – with the pepper increasing again. There was some spice toward the end, but there was no harshness. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch, but cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
I found the Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012 Dark Meat to score the best of any WLP Stuffed Turkey when it came to burn and draw. While I categorized the Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey 2011 and Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012 White Meat editions to have a “good” burn and draw, the Dark Meat edition is “excellent” in terms of these attributes.
The burn line to the Dark Meat edition remained relatively straight from start to finish requiring minimal touch-ups. The resulting ash was a less gray when compared to many Viaje smokes as it had a salt and pepper color. There was some minor flaking and flowering, but this did not create an adverse experience. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012 Dark Meat edition
The draw was excellent. While the White Meat edition had a looser draw, the Dark Meat had a touch of resistance – making for a good smoke.
Strength and Body
From a nicotine perspective, the Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012 Dark Meat edition was pretty much on par with the White Meat edition. I found Dark Meat edition to be medium to full in strength – just like the White Meat edition. The strength was not in your face, but provided a nice amount of pop.
From a depth of flavors perspective, I also assessed the Dark Meat edition to be medium to full-bodied. While the White Meat edition started out medium-bodied before going to medium to full, the Dark Meat edition stayed medium to full-bodied from start to finish. The Dark Meat edition does a great job at balancing the strength and body – with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
As mentioned at the start, the Viaje WLP Stuffed Turkey 2012 Dark Meat edition to be the best of the three blends that have been done to date with the Stuffed Turkey series. Given that the Viaje White Label project has an experimental angle to them, I’ve found some of the blends better than others. In the case of the Dark Meat, this is definitely one of the WLPs. I think its also worth mentioning that I have liked what Viaje has been doing with maduro wrappers – and the Dark Meat edition is no exception. I contend that when you get the right blend and excellent construction on a big ring gauge, it can make for a very good cigar experience. The Dark Meat edition is one of those cigars.
Overall, this is a nice cigar. I would recommend it to experienced cigar enthusiasts who like a robust maduro. I would even encourage a novice looking to graduate to medium to full strength cigar to try this one. As for myself, I would smoke these again and definitely keep some in my humidor.
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.