|Viaje Collaboration 2014|
The Viaje Collaboration is a new line introduced by Viaje Cigars in 2014. While the cigar was showcased at the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show, it was announced and shipped to retailers on the eve of the trade show. Back in February, Viaje President Andre Farkas was a guest on Stogie Geeks and indicated he was working on a project where he would be collaborating with someone else in the industry. This project would turn out to be the Viaje Collaboration 2014. Farkas didn’t look far for whom he would team up with on this as he turned to Casa Fernandez for whom he has leveraged their production facilities and tobacco for his line. 2014 has proven to be an excellent year for Viaje and this is another solid addition into Farkas’ portfolio.
Farkas told us at the 2014 IPCPR the selection of Casa Fernandez was a natural one for this first Collaboration release. He said, “For my first one (Collaboration), I wanted to be with the guys I do all my business with, so this made the most sense.” For the Viaje Collaboration 2014, he let Casa Fernandez take the reins for this release and come up with a blend. The Collaboration 2014 is one of two cigars coming out of two cigars being made at the TABSA factory in Nicaragua – Viaje’s first releases out of this factory (the other is the Viaje Cache).
Farkas is planning on making a collaboration release once every one to two years. He isn’t just limiting this to manufacturers, but has has said this could include retailers or other industry personnel.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Viaje Collaboration 2014 and see what this cigar brings to the table:
The Viaje Collaboration 2014 features signature Nicaraguan Casa Fernandez tobaccos. The blend features Aganorsa farm tobacco and a Corojo 99 wrapper.
Wrapper: Nicaragua Corojo 99
Binder: Aganorsa leaf/Nicaragua
Filler: Aganorsa leaf/Nicaragua
The Viaje Collaboration 2014 is being released in one size – a 6 x 52 box-press vitola. The Collaboration 2014 will come in 20 count boxes.
While all Viaje releases are small batch limited production, the Collaboration 2014 had a higher production number than usual. There has been a run of 1,000 boxes of 20 produced for this cigar.
The Corojo 99 wrapper of the Viaje Collaboration 2014 has a medium brown color. There is a slight amount of oil on the surface of the wrapper. The wrapper has some visible veins and veins The box-press of the Collaboration has a slight soft press to it with a covered foot.
The Viaje Collaboration 2014 band combines both Casa Fernandez and Viaje elements. in the design. There is an ovular type design in a style similar to many Casa Fernandez bands. There is a silver oval field at the center of the band surrounding with black trim On that field is the text “2014” in white font. There is a larger oval surrounding the silver oval that has a white background with black and silver trim. A series of green and black stripes that eventually transition to black protruding from the left and right of the silver oval. These stripes divide the larger oval into two sections. The upper section contains the “VIAJE” logo text. The lower section contains the text “COLLABORATION”. The remainder of the band has a green textured pattern above and below the middle stripe pattern. Sitting on the middle black stripe on the far left is the text “CASA FERNANDEZ” in white font. On the far right is the text “VIAJE” in white font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up my Viaje Collaboration 2014, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap. Once the cap was successfully clipped I moved on to the pre-light draw. Despite the covered foot, I was pleased with the amount of flavor I got from the pre-light draw. The dry draw provided a mix of wood and natural tobacco sweetness. There also was a tingly spice that I detected on the tongue. Overall I considered the pre-light draw to the Viaje Collaboration to be satisfactory. At this point I was ready to light up this cigar and see what the smoking phase would deliver.
The start to the Viaje Collaboration provided a mix of black pepper, chocolate, natural tobacco, and some lemon sweetness. The chocolate, natural tobacco, and black pepper notes became primary early. while lemon sweetness became secondary. Meanwhile, the black pepper was prominent on the retro-hale.
As the cigar progressed through the first third, the natural tobacco was more prominent on the draw, with the chocolate flavor was more prominent on the finish. The pepper notes remained present in the forefront while the lemon remained in the background.
In the second third, the lemon sweetness and pepper floated in and out of the forefront and background. There also was a slight earthy note now present in the background. By the last third, the earth and pepper notes had now moved into the forefront. I could still detect the natural tobacco, lemon and chocolate notes – all of which provided some sweetness. This is the way the Viaje Collaboration 2014 would finish up. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and soft to the touch.
Burn and Draw
This cigar simply scored nicely in the area of burn and draw. Both attributes scored extremely well. Viaje Founder Andre Farkas had told us earlier this year he would focus on consistency and 2014 has living up to these expectations. The two cigars coming from TABSA, the Viaje Cache and the Collaboration 2014 have certainly demonstrated this commitment.
The burn line remained relatively straight from start to finish – requiring some occasional touch-ups, but nothing out of the ordinary. There resulting ash was a charcoal gray color with some dark speckling. The ash itself wasn’t overly firm, but wasn’t loose enough where it was a problem. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Viaje Collaboration 2014|
The draw to the Viaje Collaboration 2014 was excellent as well. It was not too tight and not too loose. The cigar produced had a nice amount of smoke production throughout the smoking experience. Overall I found the Collaboration a low maintenance cigar to puff on in order to derive flavor.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, the Viaje Collaboration 2014 starts out in the medium range. By the last third, the strength crept up enough to move into medium to full strength territory. Meanwhile the flavors had a nice amount of depth and weighed nicely on the pallet. I assessed this cigar as medium to full-bodied to start, but by the midway point this cigar progressed to full-bodied. In terms of strength versus body, I gave the edge to the body.
I personally love the idea of a collaborative project between two cigar manufacturers coming together. It keeps things interesting in the cigar business. I also liked the fact that Farkas selected Casa Fernandez for which his company has a long term relationship. Overall, this is a nice effort for the launch of this series. This cigar has nice flavor and delivers a high quality cigar experience. This cigar didn’t show any immaturity and my gut tells me that this cigar has some serious aging potential down the road. This is a cigar I’d recommend to either a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it’s certainly a cigar I’d smoke again and its one worthy of a five pack.
Strength: Medium (1st 2/3), Medium to Full (Last third)
Body: Medium to Full (1st Half), Full (2nd Half)
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
News: Viaje Collaboration 2014
Source: Purchased, Samples provided by Manufacturer (*)
Stogie Geeks Podcast: n/a
Stogie Feed: Viaje Collaboration 2014
* Some cigars used for this assessment were given to Cigar Coop by Viaje Cigars. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but this does not influence this review