|Viaje Secret Sauce
The Viaje Secret Sauce has become Viaje Cigars’ new event only cigar. Back in May, we broke the news of this new cigar being released. The cigar made its debut when Viaje President Andre Farkas did a pair of events in North Carolina for Charlotte’s Outland Cigars and Greensboro’s Pipe and Pint. In terms of being event only, this is a product that is only being shipped to a retailer for specific Viaje Cigar events. We recently had an opportunity to sample the Viaje Secret Sauce. 2013 has proven to be a solid year for Viaje Cigars’ and the Secret Sauce continues to the momentum the company has had.
Viaje is technically referring to this as their first true event only cigar. Prior to the Secret Sauce, the Viaje Exclusivo Corona Gorda was filling this role. We’ve been told that going forward the Secret Sauce would now be taking this role. One can argue that the Exclusivo Corona Gorda is an existing blend. Given that
Without further ado, let’s explore the Viaje Secret Sauce a little more and see what this cigar is bringing to the table.
As the name indicates of the Secret Sauce, we don’t know a lot of the specifics of the blend. Farkas did tell us the tobaccos are 100% Aganorsa leaf. He also mentioned the blend was based on the Viaje Friends and Family, but is ultimately a different blend.
The Viaje Secret Sauce is only available in a single size – a 5 1/4 x 56 Grand Robusto. The cigar is box-pressed. The cigars are packaged 15 per box.
The Viaje Secret Sauce has a thick coffee bean-colroed wrapper with a slight reddish hue to it. Upon closer examination, there is some darker marbling spots on it. I’d categorize this more as a silky wrapper as opposed to an oily wrapper. There are some visible wrapper seams and the cigar is pretty much void of any significant visible veins. The box-press itself is well-packed and not overly tight.
The band is a new design to Viaje. The band is mostly silver in color with white trim across the top and bottom. Across the band is the text “VIAJE” in large white letters that are in the company’s logo font. The white trim across the top and bottom have the text “EVENT ONLY” etched on it in a ticker-tape style mode. On the back of the band are two “S S”s etched in landscape mode indicating “Secret Sauce”.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the Viaje Secret Sauce, I opted for my usual choice of a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was clipped, I commenced with the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes yielded a combination of leather and some mild spice. I also detected some hints of cocoa. While I wouldn’t say it was the most exciting pre-light draw I had, I still considered it to be satisfactory. At this point I was ready to light up my Viaje Secret Sauce and see what the overall cigar experience would deliver.
The start to the Viaje Secret Sauce provided a combination of pepper, leather, cocoa, and some light citrus notes. As the cigar moved through the very early stages, it settled to the cocoa and leather in the forefront. The citrus notes were secondary flavors. Meanwhile, the pepper was more prominent on the after-draw and the retro-hale. During the first third, I found the cocoa and leather notes would vary in intensity.
In the second third, the cocoa and pepper notes diminished to the background. At the same time, the citrus also diminished becoming more of a tertiary flavor. Meanwhile the primary flavors became a combination of leather and earth.
In the last third, the pepper notes would increase and move on par with the leather and earth notes. At this stage, the citrus and cocoa notes had significantly diminished. There was a little bit of harshness at the end, but nothing too overwhelming. The resulting nub was ideal – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
Overall, I found the Viaje Secret Sauce performed well when it came to burn and draw. From a burn perspective, the burn line remained relatively straight – requiring a few touch-ups along the way. The amount of touch-ups was nothing excessive. The resulting ash was more of a charcoal color. The ash was firm, but not overly tight. It did have some isolated flaking along the way – again nothing excessive. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
The draw had a touch of resistance to it. This is something I consider ideal and made the Viaje Secret Sauce an enjoyable cigar to puff on.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I found this cigar to have a nice kick to it. At the same time, this isn’t going to be a powerhouse like some other Viaje offerings. The cigar started out medium to full, however I found the strength of this cigar does sneak up on you and by the last third it had progressed to full strength. As for the depth of the flavors, I found that the Secret Sauce for the majority of the smoking experience was medium-bodied. Toward the end, I did see an increase in the body as well as it progressed to medium to full-bodied. Overall, I gave the Secret Sauce a slight edge in strength over body, but not by too much.
Overall, I found the Viaje Secret Sauce to be an enjoyable smoke. There are many Viaje cigar enthusiasts that are collectors and while Viaje does release a “Collector’s Edition” cigar each year. While this is not a part of the Collector’s Edition series, this is still a cigar that those Viaje enthusiasts will want to have. It has a lot of nice characteristics of a good Nicaraguan puro in terms of earth, spice, and some of the cocoa notes. I did mention that the strength has a slight edge over the body on this cigar – and this seemed to work right with this particular blend. I’d probably steer this more toward a seasoned cigar enthusiast because the cigar does have some pop. As for myself, this is definitely a cigar I’d smoke again.
Strength: Medium to Full (Full in last third)
Body: Medium (Medium to Full in last third)
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Outland Cigars in Charlotte, North Carolina.