|Viaje Skull and Bones MOAB 2014|
The Viaje Skull and Bones MOAB 2014 is a part of the eleventh batch of Viaje’s Skull and Bones series. The MOAB is a cigar that actually has appeared in three batches of this series. The first Skull and Bones MOAB was released back in 2011 as a short torpedo and was among the of first of the Skull and Bones “red blend” (considered the stronger of the Skull and Bones blends). A year later, the MOAB made a return, but this time in the “white” blend in a short robusto format. Now after a one year hiatus, the MOAB has returned for 2014. I have recently had an opportunity to smoke the Viaje Skull and Bones MOAB 2014. The eleven batches of Skull and Bones have produced some cigars better than others. Looking at the Skull and Bones line as a whole, this has still been a good line by Viaje. With the MOAB 2014, I categorize this as a solid cigar and with it somewhere ranking in the middle of the line.
The Skull and Bones is a full strength, full-bodied line by Viaje. Most of the cigars in the line have been short robustos or short torpedoes, but there have been some exceptions. Many of the releases are named after bombs. The MOAB stands for (Mother of all Bombs or Massive Ordinance Air Blast). The MOAB 2014 (as well as the 2012 release) also has a counterpart called the FOAB (Father of All Bombs). The FOAB is similar to the MOAB, but it has a thicker ring gauge.
Let’s now take a look at the Viaje Skull and Bones and see what this cigar brings to the table.
As with many Viaje blends, the Viaje Skull and Bones MOAB 2014 is a Nicaraguan puro.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
The 11 batches of the Skull and Bones series have produced several blends, and many vitolas. The Viaje Skull and Bones MOAB is a 4 1/2 x 52.
While the blends have differed throughout many of the Skull and Bones releases, for reference we include a complete history of this series. There are also blend variations throughout the releases even though many share similar color banding schemes.
First Release Cycle (Spring 2010)
Daisy Cutter: 4 x 54
Second Release Cycle (Fall 2010)
? (Mystery): 5 x 54
Third Release Cycle (Spring 2011)
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)
Little Boy: 4 1/4 x 52 ((Double capped)
Fat Man: 4 1/4 x 56 (Double capped)
Fifth Release Cycle (Fall 2011)
Mystery 2011: 4 1/2 x 54 (Short Torpedo) (White Band)
M?ytery Box Press 2011: 4 1/2 x 54 (Short Torpedo Box-press)
Sixth Release Cycle (Spring 2012)
WMD (Weapon Mass Destruction) 2012: 3 3/4 x 54
MOAB 2012: 4 1/2 x 52
FOAB 2012 (Father of all Bombs): 4 1/2 x 56
Seventh Release Cycle (Fall 2012) – M?stery
M?stery 2012: 4 1/2 x 54 (Maduro)
M?stery BP 2012: 4 1/2 x 54 (Box Press Maduro)
M?stery Vintage 2012: 4 1/2 x 54
Eighth Release Cycle (Winter 2013)
Little Boy: 4 1/4 x 52
Fat Man: 4 1/4 x 56
Big Ivan: 5 x 60
Ninth Release Cycle (Fall 2013)
M?stery 2013: Robusto (Maduro)
Tenth Release Cycle (Winter 2014)
WMD 2014: 3 3/4 x 54
The wrapper on the Skull and Bones MOAB 2014 is common to many of the other criollo blends in the Skull and Bones series. It has a roasted coffee bean color with a slight colorado tint. The surface of the wrapper has a light oily sheen. There are also a couple of visible wrapper seams and a small number of visible veins.
The banding of the MOAB 2014 is consistent with the Black and White banding on the Skull and Bones series. The top band is highlighted by a white skull and cross bones in the middle on a black background. Going around the circumference of that band are a row of white cross bones at the top and a row of white cross bones on the bottom. The are two white pinstripes in between the rows of cross bones. Below that band is a second band where it says “Skull and Bones” in white gothic font on a black background.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up my Skull and Bones MOAB 2014, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut. After the cap was clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw mostly produced notes of earth and coffee. There were some light pepper and light citrus notes that I also detected. Overall I considered the pre-light draw of the MOAB 2014. At this point, I was ready to light up the MOAB 2014 and see what the overall smoking experience would deliver.>
The start to the MOAB 2014 provided a mix of earth, red pepper, and citrus notes. The earth and red pepper notes were primary right out of the gate while the citrus notes were much more distant in the background. The red pepper was also prominent on the retro-hale. Overall while the flavors were good, the flavors were also on the rough side to start.
Later in the first third, some coffee notes emerged – and in particular I picked it up on the after-draw / finish. In the second third, the coffee notes soon began to make their way into the full draw and soon began to float in and out of the forefront. As the coffee notes increased, it helped to smooth out the roughness of this cigar.
By the last third, the coffee was now on par with the coffee and pepper notes. There was a slight increase in the spice, but things remained smoother than they were on the start. This is the way the flavor profile remained until the end. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and slightly soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
Overall I found the burn to perform quite well on the MOAB 2014. The burn line remained relatively straight from start to finish. Touch-ups were not required often on the MOAB 2014. The cigar produced a charcoal colored ash that was firm and came off in nice chunks. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
|Burn of the Skull and Bones MOAB 2014|
I’ve always liked the draw on the Skull and Bones and the MOAB 2014 is no exception. The draw had that touch of resistance that I like making this an enjoyable cigar to smoke from start to finish.
Strength and Body
There is no doubt. The MOAB 2014 fits the mold of a Skull and Bones delivering a full strength, full-bodied smoke. Sometimes I’ve been asked which Skull and Bones cigar is the strongest / fullest and I’ve often had difficulty answering that question – especially when age is put into the equation. I’d put this in the middle of the rankings for both attributes. I would say as par for the course with many Skull and Bones releases, the strength has an edge (more so during the first third), but in the case of the MOAB 2014, I did not find that edge to be overpowering.
The Viaje Skull and Bones MOAB 2014 was kind of a tale of two cigars. It started out rougher cigar that delivered strength and spice early on. However as that cigar moved into the second half, it delivered a lot more smoothness and was not assaulting the pallet. A lot of that second half reminded me on how good the original Skull and Bones Daisy Cutter was. Overall I think if you are a Skull and Bones fan, this is definitely a cigar still worth checking out. As with any Viaje Skull and Bones release, I’d recommend this to the more seasoned cigar enthusiast. As for myself, given these are limited and have usually had good aging potential, this is worth a fiver in my book.
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
News: Viaje Skull and Bones FOAB and MOAB Returning for 2014
Stogie Geeks Episode: n/a
Stogie Feed: Viaje Skull and Bones MOAB 2014