Back in March, 2015, Viaje Cigars announced that its Viaje Collaboration 2015 edition would be done in conjunction with PDR Cigars. As the name indicates, the Viaje Collaboration Series is a project where Viaje collaborates with another member of the cigar industry to produce a cigar. Along with announcement of the Viaje Collaboration 2015, Viaje announced plans to start working with PDR Cigars on further projects. This was significant in that for the first time, Viaje would be producing cigars out of the Dominican Republic. As for the Viaje Collaboration 2015, it was officially unveiled at the 2015 IPCPR Trade Show and was released this past Fall. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the Viaje Collaboration 2015. While Viaje has had a nice track record of releases, the Viaje / PDR combination knocks it out of the park with this cigar. This ranks among Viaje’s best releases.
It was in 2014 when Viaje introduced the Collaboration series with the release of the Viaje Collaboration 2014. According to Viaje President Andre Farkas, the concept of this series is that Viaje will collaborate with another member of the cigar industry “every year or so” to develop a cigar. For 2014, Viaje teamed with its other manufacturing partner, Casa Fernandez to create the Collaboration 2014 cigar. While the 2014 and 2015 editions were made with manufacturing partners, Farkas has not ruled out working with retailers or other industry personnel for future installments of this series.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Viaje Collaboration 2015 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
In addition to being made in the Dominican Republic, this cigar uses a good amount of Dominican tobacco in the blend.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Havana
Binder: Dominican (Double)
Filler: Dominican Corojo, Dominican Piloto Cubano, and Condega (Nicaragua)
Country of Origin: Dominican Republic (PDR Cigars)
The Viaje Collaboration 2015 will be in one size – a 6 x 52 toro. According to Cigar Aficionado, 600 boxes of 20 were made.
Each cigar is packaged in an individual coffin. This is another first for Viaje Cigars.
The Ecuadorian Havana wrapper has a chocolate brown color. Depending how the light hits it, it may give off a dark colorado red tint. The wrapper has a light coating of oil on it. While there are some visible veins, most of the wrapper seams are well hidden. There is a white ribbon around the footer.
The Viaje Collaboration 2015 features a design to the 2014 edition, but with a slightly different color scheme. There is a silver oval field at the center of the band surrounding with black trim On that field is the text “2015” 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 orange 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 in black font. The lower section contains the text “COLLABORATION” – also in black font. The remainder of the band has a orange textured pattern above and below the middle stripe pattern. Sitting on the middle black stripe on the far left is the text “VIAJE” in white font. On the far right is the text “PDR” in white font.
Each cigar is packaged in a slide orange colored coffin. Each of the two horizontal sides of the coffin have the text “VIAJE Y PDR” in silver font. The slide top coffin has the text “COLLABORATION” arranged vertically letter by letter. Toward the bottom of the slide is the text “2015” – also in silver font. The bottom of the coffin is not painted but has a silver design on it.
The bottom of the coffin is not painted but has a silver stamped design on it.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting the Viaje Collaboration 2015, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap. After the cap was clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw delivered a mix of cocoa, cream, and a slight pepper note. Overall I considered the pre-light draw of the Viaje Collabration 2015 to be excellent. At this point, I removed the ribbon from the Collaboration 2015, lit up the cigar, and awaited what the smoking phase would have in store.
The beginning of the Viaje Collaboration 2015 delivered notes of cocoa and white pepper. In the early stages, there was a creamy component to the cocoa that gave the Viaje Collaboration a very smooth profile. I found the cocoa to be the primary note with the white pepper more of a secondary note. At the same time, the retro-hale provided mix of white pepper and cedar.
At the start of the second this of the second third of the Viaje Collaboration 2015, I continued to detect the creamy chocolate notes in the forefront. A generic wood note also surfaced joining the pepper spice in the background.
During the later stages of the second third, I found the wood and pepper notes increased and moved toward the forefront. By the last third of the Viaje Collaboration 2015, the wood and pepper crept into the forefront a couple of times, but the creamy cocoa notes still were grounded as a primary note. This is the way the flavor profile came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The Viaje Collaboration 2015 took a straight burn path from start to finish. As for the actual burn line, it was slightly jagged – however I didn’t find this was a cigar that needed an abnormal amount of touch-ups. The resulting ash was nearly white in color. For the most part this was a firm ash, but there was some occasional flaking along the way. The combustion to this cigar was excellent as the Viaje Collaboration 2015 had an ideal burn rate and ideal burn temperature.
The draw to the Viaje Collaboration 2015 had a touch of resistance to it – something that I consider ideal. Overall, this made the Collaboration 2015 a very enjoyable cigar to puff on.
Strength and Body
From both a strength and body perspective, I found the Viaje Collaboration 2015 to be one of the bolder Viaje cigars that has been released in some time. Both the strength and body started out medium to full. As the cigar experience progressed both attributes increased linearly in the first half. By the second half, I found the Viaje Collaboration 2015 was a full strength and full-bodied cigar. I didn’t find the strength and body increased much in the second half, but the Collaboration 2015 remained a “full / full” cigar in terms of strength and body.
Both the strength and body balanced each other very nicely from start to finish. Neither attribute had the edge over the other.
The Viaje Collobaration 2015 is a masterpiece. As I mentioned above, this cigar takes the place among some of the epic Viaje cigars released over the years – most notably the Viaje Satori 2010 and the Viaje Friends and Family line. If there were any questions on how good the Viaje cigars would be with Dominican tobaccos and coming from a new factory, they were answered with this cigar. Given that most Viaje releases are limited edition and small batch, whether this is the only release of this Viaje Collaboration blend remains to be seen. Because this is a a bolder smoke, this is one I’d recommend to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I’d smoke again – and one I’d fight Chuck Norris for.
Strength: Medium to Full (1st Half), Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium to Full (1st Half), Full (2nd Half)
Assessment: 4.5-Fight Chuck Norris for Them