A big year for Viaje Cigars came in 2010 as Andre Farkas’ company had two landmark releases – Viaje Oro Reserva VOR No. 5. and the Viaje Skull and Bones Daisy Cutter. The Viaje Oro Reserva VOR No. 5 would capture Cigar Aficionado’s #2 Cigar of the Year (and #1 non-Cuban cigar). The Viaje Skull & Bones Daisy Cutter would be a cigar that would quickly become a fan favorite and quickly achieved cult status. Daisy Cutter would also be the first release in the Skull & Bones series, and since then has led to dozens of Skull & Bones releases. Still, the case could be made that the Daisy Cutter would remain the most sought after Viaje release to date. In 2017, there would be another Daisy Cutter released, the Viaje Skull & Bones Daisy Cutter Edicíon Limitada which would be a maduro release. Meanwhile the original natural wrapper released had not returned since 2010 until this past June, when Viaje would re-release the Daisy Cutter with the natural wrapper. Today we take a closer look at the 2020 installment of the Viaje Skull & Bones Daisy Cutter.
The Skull & Bones releases tend to be some of Viaje’s strongest and fullest cigars. Keeping to the bold theme of these cigars, many Skull & Bones releases are named after bombs. The Daisy Cutter is the nickname for a bomb known as the BLU-82. It’s a 15,000 pound conventional bomb that has been used in U.S. military operations in Vietnam, the Gulf War, and Afghanistan. More recently, there have been some Skull & Bones releases with comic-book character themes.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Viaje Skull & Bones Daisy Cutter 2020 Edition and see what this cigar brings to the table:
Blend and Origin
The Viaje Skull & Bones Daisy Cutter 2020 Edition is a Nicaraguan puro. The country of origin and factory have not been disclosed.
Country of Origin: Not Disclosed
Factory: Not Disclosed
The Viaje Skull & Bones Daisy Cutter 2020 is a 4 x 54 Short Robusto, the same size as the original. The Daisy Cutter is packaged in 25-count slide-top cabinet boxes. Production numbers are limited and we know this was a single batch released for 2020.
The wrapper of the Viaje Skull & Bones Daisy Cutter 2020 had a coffee bean color with a strong colorado tint. Upon closer examination, there was a slight amount of mottling on the surface of the wrapper. The wrapper itself had a very light sheen of oil on it. There were some thin wrapper seams and some thin visible veins.
The banding of the Viaje Skull & Bones Daisy Cutter 2020 is similar to other Skull and Bones series. The top band is highlighted by a holographic 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. The holographic Skull & Bones insignia separates the 2020 edition from the 2010 edition which had a white colored insignia.
Prior to lighting up the Viaje Skull & Bones Daisy Cutter 2020, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. Once the cap was detached, it was on to the pre-light draw ritual. The cold draw delivered a mix of coffee bean, earth, and floral notes. Overall this wasn’t the most exciting pre-light draw, but given the pre-light experience is not scored there was no loss of points here. At this point it was time to toast the foot of the Viaje Skull & Bones Daisy Cutter 2020 and see what the overall smoking experience would have in store.
The Viaje Skull & Bones Daisy Cutter 2020 opened up with a strong blast of mixed pepper notes. Once the pepper settled down it gave way to coffee bean, fruit, earth, and floral notes. The coffee bean notes quickly moved to the forefront with the fruit, earth, and floral notes settling in the background. Toward the end of the first third the floral notes slowly began to increase in intensity. Meanwhile, the retro-hale delivered an extra layer of mixed pepper notes.
As the Viaje Skull & Bones Daisy Cutter 2020 approached the midway point, the coffee bean notes remained primary with the floral, pepper, earth, and fruit notes secondary. The floral notes were the most prominent of the secondary notes, but by this point there was an increase in the pepper notes. The pepper notes increased rapidly and by the end of the second third these flavors joined the coffee bean in the forefront.
There was not much change during the last third. The coffee bean and pepper notes were the primary flavors. The floral notes were a close secondary note and the earth and fruit notes rounded out the flavor profile. This is the way the Viaje Skull & Bones Daisy Cutter 2020 came to a close. The resulting nub was firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
The burn of the Viaje Skull & Bones Daisy Cutter 2020 did require some maintenance in the form of touch-ups to keep the burn on a straight path and have a straight line. The touch-ups did the trick but I found the amount of touch-ups needed for a short robusto to be excessive. The resulting ash was firm with a salt and pepper color. The burn temperature was ideal. The burn rate was a little slower than I prefer. On each of the four samples I reviewed, I got 65 to 70 minutes smoking time.
The draw to the Viaje Skull & Bones Daisy Cutter 2020 performed very well. It had a touch of resistance to it – which is something that I like. At the same time, this was still a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
Skull & Bones was designed to be a powerful line of cigars and the Viaje Skull & Bones Daisy Cutter 2020 lives up to it. Viaje Skull & Bones Daisy Cutter 2020 was released with a black and white-colored band, but as more Skull & Bones sizes came out some were released with a black and red band.
This was a full strength, full-bodied cigar from start to finish. Both attributes actually increased in intensity along the way. In terms of strength versus body, the strength had the edge.
I did have an opportunity to smoke the 2010 version of the Viaje Skull & Bones Daisy Cutter, but it was one I smoked several years later and had some age on it. While I didn’t review the cigar, I do remember it wasn’t quite the powerhouse the 2020 version was. At the same time, I can say it was still one of the best Skull & Bones releases from Viaje. Fast-forward to the 2020 version, it is not at the same level as the 2010 version. In fact, other than it’s strength, there was nothing else that stood out about this cigar. The 2020 is a case where the cigar is good, but not great.
This is still a cigar I’d position for the more seasoned cigar enthusiast. I was on the fence whether to purchase this cigar again or not, but given these are pretty scarce to find already, I’d be inclined to pick one up, age, and give it another shot; therefore you might want to do the same.
Key Flavors: Cocoa, Floral, Citrus, White Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
News: Original Viaje Skull & Bones Daisy Cutter to Make Return
Brand Reference: Viaje
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted