Agile Cigar Reviews replace what we termed “Assessment Updates”. The concept is the same, but the name is different. Agile Cigar Reviews use a lightweight, shorter format. These will never take the place of our comprehensive reviews. They are only used on blends we have previously assessed. This might be a blend we are re-scoring or providing a score for a first time. It might be a blend we are looking at in a different size. Today we look at the Viaje Holiday Blend 2014 edition. This is a cigar where we assessed the several iterations before, most recently the Viaje Holiday Blend 2012 back in December 2012.
|Viaje Holiday Blend 2014|
The Viaje Holiday Blend 2014 is the fifth iteration of a December seasonal release by Viaje Cigars. The series was introduced back in 2009. For the most part this has been an annual release by Viaje Cigars as Holiday Blends were released from 2009 to 2012. There were plans for a Viaje Holiday Blend 2013, but production delays led the company to make a decision to not release that year. As Viaje President Andre Farkas informed Cigar Coop, ” If I can’t release for the holidays I don’t release”. The Viaje Holiday Blend 2013 was intended to be a 4 1/2 x 56 robusto grande. Eventually a Holiday Blend in this size as released, but it would be the 2014 Holiday Blend released in this size.
In terms of the blend, the Viaje Holiday Blend 2014 follows its predecessors as being a Nicaraguan puro with a Nicaraguan Criollo wrapper. The differences come from the vintages of the tobacco used. Also following suit, the 4 1/2 x 56 vitola has a covered footer.
The Viaje Holiday Blend 2014 started out with a blast of pepper. Once the pepper subsides it gave way to a combination of coffee, cedar, pepper, and dry cherry notes. The coffee notes took on several forms during the smoking experience: classic black coffee, espresso syrup (a thicker coffee flavor that coats the palate), and classic dark chocolate. The latter part of the smoke sees an increase in the pepper and cedar spices. The flavors are robust and full-bodied.
Strength-wise, I’ve always found the Holiday Blend to be full strength and the Holiday Blend 2014 is no exception. The strength and body balance each other nicely with neither attribute overshadowing the other.
The burn did require a few more touch-ups than I prefer, but in general it maintained a straight path. I found this to be a looser draw than previous Holiday Blends, but it did not impact the combustion rate. The cigar did produce an ample amount of smoke.
The Viaje Holiday Blend 2009 is considered one of the iconic cigars in the Viaje portfolio. While there have been some good iterations in 2011 and 2012, the Viaje Holiday Blend 2014 comes the closest. I found the blend worked great with the bigger ring gauge. It’s a cigar I’d recommend to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast, but it’s one that is box worthy.
Assessment: 4.0 – Box Worthy
Previous Assessment: Viaje Holiday Blend 2012
News: Viaje Confirms Holiday Blend 2014 Release
Stogie Geeks Podcast: Episode 69 (Holiday Blend 2012)
Stogie Feed: Viaje Holiday Blend 2012 Petite Robusto