Viaje White Label Project (WLP) St. Patrick’s Day
Candela 2013

The Viaje White Label Project (WLP) St. Patrick’s Day Candela 2013 marks the third consecutive year that Viaje has released a candela-wrapped cigar.  As with the previous two years, the release has been timed with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.   While it didn’t come as a complete surprise that Viaje would release a candela in 2013, the timing of the announcement did.  Viaje President Andre Farkas put a Facebook message late on the afternoon of Saturday March 2nd announcing the WLP Candela 2013.  This announcement pretty much coincided when these cigars were shipped out.  For the 2013 release, many of the details have been kept quiet.  As for the cigar itself, Farkas and Viaje come full-circle – delivering a classic candela smoking experience.

The White Label Project was launched over two years ago and has been deemed a series of experimental blends by Viaje. The first Viaje White Label Project (WLP) Candela was released in 2011.  This cigar still ranks as one of the best candelas we’ve smoked.  The Viaje WLP Candela 2011 ended up coming in as our #28 cigar for 2011. The WLP Candela made a return in 2012 . This time there was a blend change and a slight change in the vitola size.  For WLP Candela 2013, it looks similar to the WLP Candela 2012.  We do know the size remains the same for the WLP Candela 2013, but we don’t have details about the cigar itself.  What we can safely say is the cigar smokes very different from last year’s.

Let’s take a closer look at the Viaje White Label Project (WLP) St. Patrick’s Day Candela 2013 and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile

As mentioned other than the fact this cigar has a candela wrapper, we know very little about the tobaccos. Typically, most Viaje cigars use Aganorsa (Nicaraguan) tobacco for the binder and filler, so there is no reason to believe this has changed.  However, we are listing the binder and filler as “not disclosed”

Wrapper: Candela
Binder: Not disclosed
Filler: Not disclosed

Vitolas Available

The Viaje WLP Candela 2013 is a 5 x 52 Robusto.   This is the same size as the previous year (the WLP Candela 2011 was a 5 x 50).   For the WLP Candela 2013, there were 175 bundles of 25 cigars produced for a total of 4,375 cigars.


The Viaje WLP Candela 2013 has the brightest green wrapper of the entire WLP Candela series. It is even brighter than the 2012 wrapper.  Like the 2012 wrapper, the WLP Candela 2013 wrapper is sturdy – especially for a candela.  The texture of the WLP Candela 2013’s wrapper is smooth and somewhat oily.  There are some visible veins present and wrapper seams as well. 

Viaje White Label Project (WLP) St. Patrick’s Day
Candela Series (Top to Bottom: 2011 2012, and 2013)  

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
As I normally do with cigars reviewed, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap of the Viaje WLP Candela 2013.  After clipping the cap, it was time to move on to the pre-light draw.  The dry draw notes of WLP Candela 2013 provided a notes of cream and a cedar sweet-spice.  Overall, I considered the pre-light draw of this cigar to be satisfactory.  I was now ready to light up the WLP Candela 2013 and see what the smoking experience would bring to the table.
Flavor Profile
As I mentioned at the start of this assessment, the Viaje WLP Candela 2013 comes full circle – delivering a classic candela smoking experience.  In other words, it seems like Viaje went back to basics with this smoking experience.
The start to the Viaje WLP Candela 2013 starts off with a combination of cream and pepper.  As the cream notes moved to the forefront, the flavor profile opened up.  Notes of citrus, grass, and hay joined the pepper in the background.
Around the midway point of the smoking experience, the citrus notes began to increase and joined the cream notes in the forefront.  The grass and hay flavors remained secondary while the pepper notes were nearly dissipated.
Later in the second third, the citrus notes took control as the primary note.  The cream notes receded into the background joining the grass and hay notes.  The pepper made a little comeback, but was also still a secondary flavor.   This was the way the flavor profile held until the end.  The end of the WLP Candela 2013 was flavorful and not harsh.  The resulting nub was soft to touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Right of the gate, this cigar was probably the best performing Viaje WLP Candela when it came to burn and draw.  The burn line remained straight from start to finish – requiring very little in the way of touch-ups.  The resulting ash was gray color with a some dark speckles mixed in.  The ash was also firm with very little in the way of flaking.  The burn rate was ideal.  As for the burn temperature, it was also ideal.  Many candela wrapped cigars have a tendency to burn on the warmer side, but no such problem with the WLP Candela 2013.
The draw was ideal.  This made the Viaje WLP Candela 2013 a very enjoyable and low maintenance smoke to puff on.
Strength and Body
Since this is a classic candela, this reflects in the attributes of strength and body.  Candela wrapper cigars tend to produce milder smokes in terms of these attributes.  This is exactly what the Viaje WLP Candela 2013 is going to deliver.  This is not going to be a powerhouse cigar by any means.  I assessed this to be a mild strength cigar.  As for the flavors, they are subtle.  I assessed the WLP Candela 2013 to be a mild-bodied cigar.  The mild-bodied flavors seem to work well with this blend.  Given this is also a mild strength cigar, the strength and body of the WLP Candela 2013 balance each other nicely.
Final Thoughts
I do find it very interesting that Viaje has come full-circle in terms of its candela releases.  The Viaje WLP Candela 2013 is classic in its flavor profile as well as its strength and body.  Given that the candela release has been a part of the “White Label Project” for three years, one has to wonder if Farkas is done “experimenting”.   A recent quote on Farkas’ facebook page said (in regards to the Viaje WLP Candela series) “Goin’ green 3 years running. Maybe next year we unleash the fat leprechaun.”   Whether that means the WLP Candela becomes a seasonal release or is a reference to a new experiment will most likely be a mystery until 2014.   
A cigar with a mild profile can work – and this is a prime example of one.  As for the WLP Candela 2013, this is a cigar I’d give to anyone who wants a mild strength, mild-bodied cigar.  It’s a great cigar for a novice enthusiast to experience candela.  Experienced cigar enthusiasts who don’t mind a mild strength, mild-bodied smoke will like this cigar.  As for myself, I would smoke this cigar again.
Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Mild
Body: Mild
Finish: Good
Assessment: Nice to Have
Score: 91
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.