In October 2017, Viaje Cigar unveiled a release known as the Viaje GP 10.31. Viaje founder Andre Farkas is well-known for revolutionizing the small batch model in the cigar industry, but there are two other things he is known for. The first is building releases around a particular theme, and the second is creating releases that are mash-ups of themes he has used already. With the case of the GP 10.31, it is the third release that Farkas has done around peppers. For the GP 10.31, he decided to “mashup” a pepper release around his Halloween seasonal themed project – and the end result was the Viaje GP 10.31. Given this was sort of an experimental project, the Viaje GP 10.31 was released around Viaje’s White Label Project model. Today we take a closer look at the Viaje GP 10.31.
The first “pepper” release was the Viaje Jalapeño in 2015. This was followed up by the Viaje Ghost Pepper in 2017. In a recent interview we did with Farkas on Prime Time, he told us that the Ghost Pepper was being retired due to issues using the name “Ghost”. It’s fair to say this is why the name “GP” was used in the name of the GP 10.31.
In the past Viaje has described the White Label Project line as follows:
What is the White Label Project? WLP serves many functions: WLP is the vehicle by which we will release experimental blends, shapes, mash-ups, factory errors, etc. Cigar making is a creative process. Most consumers walk into a humidor and see the final product unaware of the countless hours that went into what they see on the shelf. Some cigars come together quickly while others take many months or even years. Along with finalizing a particular blend there is packaging to consider. Packaging is also a lengthy process which takes countless hours to finalize. During the cigar blending and packaging process, mistakes occur. For example, the wrong size gets rolled. A particular blend gets the incorrect wrapper. Cigar bands get printed with the wrong colors or fonts. The list is endless. Most often when a mistake is found, the cigars or packaging get scrapped and corrected. This is where WLP comes in. White Label Project embraces the factory faux paux. WLP brings the consumer behind the scenes to try cigars that would normally never make it to market. It’s a side to the cigar industry most never get a chance to see.
Quick, spur of the moment, factory to market blends are also released under the WLP label. Without the time consumptive process of packaging, one-off blends can be rolled and released in no time. These blends may also serve as a gauge. If a certain WLP release gets a favorable response, you may see it released again as a new line.
Lately, Farkas seems to have kicked up the WLP releases. This has allowed Farkas to introduce small batch releases to market and assess whether they will be on-going releases before investing resources in building packaging,
Without further ado, let’s break down the Viaje GP 10.31 and see what this cigar brings to the table:
While details of the blend were not disclosed at the time the GP 10.31 was announced, some shipping details were made available. The factory and country of origin remain unknown.
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
Country of Origin: Not Disclosed
The Viaje GP 10.31 is available in one size – a 4 7/8 x 51 figurado. This is the same size that is used on the Jalapeño and Ghost Pepper releases. The size and shape is similar to what has been seen on the Viaje Exclusivo Chiquito. The cigars are packaged in 25-count boxes and a total of 300 boxes have been produced.
The wrapper of the Viaje GP 10.31 has a dark woody look to it. This wrapper was definitely on the oily side. The surface of the wrapper was slightly bumpy. There were some visible veins. The dark color of the wrapper did a good job at hiding the wrapper seams. The vitola itself almost has a salomon-like shape with a short 1/4 inch nozzle-shape on the footer. The footer is open with a short diameter. The cigar has its widest point just above the nozzle-foot and tapers toward the cap.
The GP 10.31 uses Viaje’s White Label Project band. The design of this band has a white background with “VIAJE” visible boldly in black font. There is a thin black pinstripe at the top and bottom of the band. Similar to the Jalapeño and Ghost Pepper releases, the cigar is covered at the top. While the Jalapeño and Ghost Pepper use a foil covering, the GP 10.31 uses white tissue paper. Like how the foil was used on the other releases, the white tissue paper is twisted at the cap to give the appearance of a pepper stem. One additional note, the cigar band sits over the tissue paper and not directly over the cigar.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to lighting up the Viaje GP 10.31, I removed the white tissue paper covering. After the covering was removed, I detached the band from the paper covering and placed it on the cigar. From that point, I placed a straight cut into the cap of the GP 10.31 and proceeded with the pre-light draw. The pre-light draw produced notes of coffee, cedar, and a slight exotic spice. I considered the pre-light draw of this cigar to be satisfactory, At this point, I was ready to light up the Viaje GP 10.31 and enjoy a smoke.
The Viaje GP 10.31 began with a short blast of black pepper and exotic spice. The spice blast slowly subsided and gave way to notes of chocolate and coffee. Sometimes on flavor descriptions, I will describe a fusion of chocolate and coffee as mocha. With the GP 10.31, I found these notes were separate and distinct. Meanwhile, there was an additional layer of black pepper on the retro-hale that was sharp at times.
During the first third, the chocolate notes emerged as the primary note. The chocolate added some sweetness to the flavor profile. The black pepper on the tongue was a close secondary note that at times moved into the forefront. In the background, there were also notes of coffee and some of the exotic spice. There also was a creamy texture that smoothed out some of the spices.
During the second third, the coffee notes started to surface alongside the chocolate notes in the forefront. The black pepper more frequently made an appearance as a primary note. Just past the midway point, the spice started to ramp up some more as the exotic spices built up in intensity. Meanwhile, the creaminess that was present early on started to dissipate.
The final third saw the spices and coffee notes dominate the flavor profile. There also was a slight chocolate sweetness I could still pick up from time to time. This was the way the cigar experience of the Viaje GP 10.31 came to a close. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
For the most part, I did find the Viaje GP 10.31 maintained a straight burn path. There also was a slight jaggedness on the burn line. While I wouldn’t categorize this as a problem some burn, I did found this cigar needed a few additional touch-ups above what I would consider the norm. The resulting ash had a salt and pepper color to it. This wasn’t the firmest ash, but it wasn’t loose or flaky either. Meanwhile, the burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
The draw to the Viaje GP 10.31 performed excellently. This is a draw that had a touch of resistance to it – which is something that I like. The GP 10.31 was also a cigar that had a nice amount of smoke production.
Strength and Body
The Viaje GP 10.31 is a cigar that delivers quite a bit of spice, but this should necessarily be confused with the intensity of the strength and body.
From a nicotine standpoint, I found the Viaje GP 10.31 started out medium. There was a gradual increase in the intensity level of the strength from start to finish. By the second half, the strength moved into medium to full territory. Meanwhile, I found the depth of the flavors of the GP 10.31 also started out medium to full-bodied. Like the strength, the body also has a gradual increase in intensity and by the second half, the GP 10.31 was a full-bodied smoke.
In terms of strength versus body, I found the body had a slight edge throughout the smoking experience.
Very simply, if you like a cigar that has a spicy profile, then the Viaje GP 10.31 is going to be a cigar for you. It’s a cigar that I found was better balanced in the first half as the spices were rounded out by some sweet and bitter notes. However as the spices ramp up, they are going to pretty much take over what your palate will pick up. As mentioned, this won’t be cigar that hits you with nicotine or weighs heavy on the palate – it’s simply one where the spices are the main story.
I’d still recommend the GP 10.31 to a cigar enthusiast who wants that spicy kick. While I’d smoke it again, I’d probably recommend trying one to see if it’s fits your profile.
Key Flavors: Chocolate, Coffee, Black Pepper, Exotic Spice, Cream
Burn: Very Good
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium to Full (1st Half), Full (2nd Half)
Value: Try a Sample
News: Special Edition Viaje Ghost Pepper Planned for Halloween
Brand Reference: Viaje
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop