The last review I completed (the AVO Syncro Nicaragua) marked a change for AVO with the inclusion of Nicaraguan tobacco. This review of the Viaje Collaboration 2015 marks a change for Viaje in that the blend will include Dominican tobacco courtesy of Pinar del Rio.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the Viaje Collaboration 2014, so I wasn’t even sure whether I would buy their 2015 collaboration. However, I am a sucker for good marketing and packaging, and damn if Viaje didn’t knock it out of the park with the orange coffin housing the Viaje Collaboration 2015.
I’m not as big a fanboy of Viaje as some people, and PDR has never been one of my favorite manufacturers, but biases be damned! I’m excited to de-coffin-ify this cigar and get smoking.
And so we begin…
Viaje Collaboration 2015 Cigar Review
I’m be more excited about this blend if the wrapper were Nicaraguan and the fillers Ecuadorian and Dominican. That being said, I’m hoping and living on a prayer that Viaje and PDR beefed up the filler with a majority of Nicaraguan tobacco so that I’m not left wanting anything in the spice and pepper departments.
I’ve enjoyed several of Camacho’s Ecuadorian blends, and I’m known to dabble in Dominican blends from Fuente, so perhaps this blend will give me the right mix of cream, earth, pepper, and spice.
Appearance: Dark, oily, many many many thin veins. Toothy wrapper.
Aroma: Strong tobacco with hints of kitchen spice.
Pairing, Cutting, and Lighting
Drink Pairing: Gatorade
Lighter: Xikar single-flame butane
Cutter: Xikar guillotine
Cutting and Cold Draw
Cap snips off easily and the cold draw produces some mild barnyard flavors with an overwhelming rich tobacco note. The draw is medium to tight, but I’m sure the burn will help open it up.
The First Third
After toasting the foot, the first puff smacks my virgin tongue with kitchen spice, white pepper, and cedar. An impressive intro, I must say. A few more puffs and the kitchen spice is making itself the front-runner in the palate race. Tons and tons of smoke is pouring out the end of the cigar and clouds of smoke are invading my mouth with each draw. Really, the Viaje Collaboration 2015 could be in the running at the Vatican to be used to announce the next Pope. “We’ve made a decision–fetch the cigars, monsignor!”
About an inch in and blasts of black pepper are quite apparent. There’s a thick meatiness to the smoke with which I am quite impressed. This cigar is lightyears beyond the 2014–a damn fine decision to go with PDR.
The aroma is of cinnamon and wood–the perfect fall smells.
The Second Third
Strength is medium-to-full at this point. Not overwhelming, but not so light that I feel like I’m smoking air. A happy medium, if you will. Creamy whole milk comes to the forefront. The burn is a bit off, but it is incredibly humid outside as it rained earlier today, so I’ll give the cigar the benefit of the doubt.
The spice is mingling nicely with the oily smoke. As I mentioned, the Viaje Collaboration 2015 is the perfect fall blend. SMOKE THIS CIGAR NOW–don’t let it sit in your humidor till spring. If you do, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice. And for god’s sake, do not pair this beautiful smoke with a pumpkin beer. Snag an Ayinger Oktoberfest and act like an adult.
The burn is correcting itself with some careful rotation. Could’ve been a vein that threw it off. The blend reminds me quite a bit of Fuente but with a bite–less earth, more pepper.
Oofta. Caught myself being Eastern European: Adidas track pants, Adidas shirt, squatting, smoking. Not a bad thing, merely an observation. Burn is wavy again, but oh boy, dat ash. Some earthier notes are present but not dominating: grass, hay.
My nose is tingling. The Viaje Collaboration 2015 must have the perfect amount of Nicaraguan filler–I’m not begging for water, but I’m also not struggling to feel anything on my tongue. “We’re pepper! We’re here! We’re not going anywhere! Get used to it!”
The Final Third
The profile is staying steady. Hints of dried fruit dance around, but those could be from the fruity Gatorade that I’m sipping. I really need to turn this cigar into a cologne: Eau de Viaje. Smells amazing. Very solid construction overall–ash is thick and solid and the burn has fixed itself with no touch-ups.
The pepper is disappearing towards the end and being replaced with, don’t murder me, roasted pork. I swear. The Viaje Collaboration 2015 tastes like a damn pork roast. And there comes the pepper again–white pepper on the tip of my tongue, like a very tiny blacksmith used his very tiny red hot poker to stab the tip of my tongue. Bastard.
Strength is through the roof at this point–I smoke cigars like they’re candy, and my nicotine tolerance knows no bounds, but I’m feeling a head rush. Slight dizzyness.
The Last Inch
Notes are disappearing, burn is heating up. Time to call it a nub.
Final Impressions and Rating
HOT. DAMN. The Viaje Collaboration 2015 proved my hesitance wrong. Viaje and PDR blended the perfect mix of Nicaraguan, Dominican, and Ecuadorian to produce a cigar that has it all: delicious notes, plentiful smoke, and a profile that keeps me wanting more and more.
I could not be happier with this cigar. The 2014 is a distant memory in comparison to the 2015 clear front-runner. Seriously, buy this cigar. Smoke this cigar. The $12 price point is right on the money. I would have even paid $15.
Rating (Seek out and buy again, Smoke if I happen to find one, Avoid at all costs): SEEK OUT AND BUY AGAIN
Really a magnificent cigar, and not only do you get an enjoyable smoking experience with your purchase, but you get a snazzy little coffin that you can’t use for anything except looking and ooing and ahhing. Pretty neat, yeah?