|Viaje Exclusivo Super Lance (Pre-Release)
The Viaje Exclusivo Super Lance is planned to be the ninth vitola to be released in Viaje Cigars’ Exclusivo series. The Viaje Series was launched based on Viaje founder Andre Farkas’ personal blend. It falls in line with Viaje’s small batch, limited release model – namely while there have been nine vitolas, these have pretty much been released in individual batches per size. Plans are for the Super Lance to be released sometime during 2013. I’ve found the Exclusivo releases to bring very different smoking experiences from vitola to vitola – some better than others. I recently have had an opportunity to smoke some pre-release samples of the Super Lance. With the case of the Super Lance, this is one cigar that truly had the “wow” factor with this blend. This will definitely an outstanding cigar to look forward to.
The Super Lance is an interesting vitola in itself. When our friends at Leaf and Grape looked at this cigar, they mentioned that this is a 7 1/4 x 46 (**). I like to think of it as a cross between a Corona Gorda and a Lancero. Namely it has the ring gauge of a Corona Gorda (46) and the length of a lancero (7 1/4 x 46).
Without further adieu, let’s break down the Viaje Super Lance and see what this cigar brings to the table. Since this write-up is based on pre-release samples will will default to our “pre-review” format to document our thoughts and perspectives on the cigar. Once the cigar is released to retailers, we will provide a formal assessment rating and score.
Like most Viaje releases, the Viaje Exclusivo Robusto 2012 is a Nicaraguan puro.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
As mentioned the Super Lance becomes the ninth blend of the Exclusivo line. For historical purposes, we list the nine vitolas to date of the Exclusivo series.
Super Lance: 7 1/4 x 46
Short: 4 1/4 x 42
Robusto (2010): 4 7/8 x 50 (released in jars and bundles)
Robusto (2012): 5 x 50
Chiquito: 4 3/4 x 51 (Every two years – limited retailers)
Double Edged Sword: 5 3/4 x 52
Tower Cigars 45th (Boxpress): 5 1/2 x 52 (Retail Exclusive to Tower Cigars)
Corona Gorda: 5 5/8 x 46 (Event Only)
Atlantic Cigar 15th Anniversary (Lancero): 7 1/2 x 40 (* Retail Exclusive to Atlantic Cigars)
The wrapper to the Viaje Exclusivo Super Lance has a light coffee bean color with a slight reddish tint to it. There is also some darker marbling on the wrapper. The Criollo wrapper has a slight oily sheen to it. The surface of the wrapper can be categorized as somewhat bumpy. There are some visible wrapper seams and visible veins as well. There is a slight pig-tail on the cap.
Our pre-release sample used the black and white band that is seen on Viaje’s White Label Project series. The Exclusivo Series tends to feature the Viaje leaf logo with a black, silver, and ivory color scheme. At this time, we do not have confirmation if the Super Lance will use this Exclusivo band or not.
|Viaje Exclusivo Robusto (2012) – featuring the
Black, White, Silver, and Ivory Viaje Leaf logo
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I do with all cigars with a pig-tail cap, I went with a straight cut as opposed to pulling the pig-tail in order to remove the cap. Once the cap was clipped, I proceeded with the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes to the Super Lance yielded notes of lightly sweetened citrus, wood, cedar, and a little bit of pepper spice. Overall, I considered this to be one of the better pre-light draws on an Exclusivo blend. At this point I was ready to light up the Super Lance and see what the smoking experience would deliver.
The start to the Viaje Exclusivo Super Lance treated me to a decent blast of pepper. As the cigar moved through the early phases the natural tobacco transitioned to a coffee flavor. The coffee notes became the primary flavor while the citrus and spice became secondary notes. On the retro-hale, I was picking up some spice, but it was a little difficult to draw an analogy to what the spice was.
Later in the first third, the pepper transitioned to a baker’s spice and joined the coffee as a primary flavor. The citrus notes remained in the background and were joined by some grass notes. When the Super Lance moved into the second third, I also picked up some chicory notes from time to time in the background.
In the second half of the Super Lance, the baker’s spice slowly built up. As the cigar experience moved into the later stages, the baker’s spice became the primary note. The coffee and grass notes still were secondary while the citrus flavors dissipated. The end of the Super Lance was spicy, but not harsh. The resulting nub was ideal – cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
Some Viaje Cigars have gotten a reputation for burn issues. There was no such case with the Super Lance. In fact, this was one of the best scoring cigars I’ve had from a Viaje when it comes to this attribute. The burn line remained razor sharp from start to finish – requiring no maintenance to keep the burn line going straight. The ash had a salt and pepper pattern to it with a grayish tint. It also was a firm ash and did not flake along the way. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Early stage burn of the Viaje Exclusivo Super Lance
|Late stage burn of the Viaje Exclusivo Super Lance
The draw to the Super Lance was also excellent. The draw had a touch of resistance – and this makes for an ideal draw in my book.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I found the Super Lance to pretty much be in line with most of the Exclusivo line – namely medium to full. This provided just the right amount of kick in my book. From a flavor standpoint, the Super Lance had more depth than most of the other Exclusivos I had smoked. I assessed the Super Lance to be a full-bodied smoke. When looking at strength vs. body, I definitely found the Super Lance to be a cigar skewed more toward body over flavor.
With a blend that tends to vary between vitola to vitola, there often is one size that tends to be a sweet spot. With the Viaje Super Lance – the Exclusivo blend seems to have found that sweet spot. This was an outstanding smoking experience. The combination of the 46 ring gauge and the 7 1/4 length seemed to do some magic with this blend. This is definitely a cigar to look forward to in 2013. I’d probably steer this cigar to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast as there is a little more strength to this cigar than a novice may handle. As for myself, this is definitely a cigar I would pick up several of – and one I look forward to smoking when it comes out.
Strength: Medium to Full
Source: These cigars were provided by Viaje Cigars. This request was initiated by Viajes in order to provide feedback. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but in no way does this influence this review.
** Upon release of the Viaje Exclusivo Super Lance, the size was revealed to be 7 1/2 x 46.