Last month, Viaje Cigars announced that they would be making a return to regular production cigars and that the new regular production offering would be the recently limited Exclusivo. The announcement came as a shock to me, and while I understand the demand was great, on a personal level it is hard to stomach when limited and exclusive releases become regular production cigars. With that being said, I am always open to smoking the cigar and enjoying them, I just hope they maintain consistency and that they honor the release when it was limited. What was interesting about the announcement for the Exclusivo was that the offerings would not be in line with previous offerings, but would be more standard production vitolas. Today I am going to being doing something a little different, and instead of focusing on one offering from the line, I will be assessing the entire line. I am calling it a Vertical Line Tasting, and it is based off of the wine tasting term, Vertical Testing. Enough of the introductions though, let's take a look at the new regular production Viaje Exclusivo Robusto, Toro, and Double R.
Manufactured in Honduras at Raices Cubanas, the Exclusivo line is a Nicaraguan puro that is finished with a Criollo '98 wrapper as a majority of previous Exclusivo releases are. The three sizes are a Robusto, Toro, and Double R, and they measures 5" with a 52 ring gauge, 6" with a 50 ring gauge, and a 5 1/2" by 54 ring gauge respectively. Comparing the three cigars, The Exclusivos have a nice dark Colorado wrapper, and they sport some oily characteristics overall. I believe you could say that they are technically Colorado Maduro in coloring, and they have a nice darker milk chocolate coloring. There are veins throughout the wrappers, and they are medium sized to large throughout. Each cigar has a triple cap that is applied well, and they are consistently firm throughout. There is a consistent aroma of pepper, tobacco, wood, and earth, and there are some unique aged cheddar flavors present as well that are more pronounced in the Toro.
Viaje Exclusivo Robusto: The Robusto is the most simplistic of the vitola offerings in my opinion, and it is a cigar that delivers a lot of core flavors. There is not an abundance of transitioning throughout the cigar, but rather a core flavor profile that has depth from beginning to end. The flavors delivered are that of black pepper, tobacco, and dry earth, and it shows some mineral qualities with that. The spice level is very enjoyable, and you can get that Nicaraguan Criollo '98 flavor with that. I would classify the robusto as being medium to medium-full throughout, and it is perfect with the flavors offered.The construction on the robusto is simply terrific, one of the best Viajes in terms of construction, and it delivers an even burn line with a nice charcoal ash on the end. The draw is cool throughout, and it finishes by showing a nice bit of flavors with a cool draw. Overall, I would give the Robusto a solid 88 rating.
Viaje Exclusivo Toro: The Toro delivers some of the most unique qualities of the three offerings, and it is in this offering that I really picked up this aged cheddar flavor. It still has that spice, pepper, and tobacco profile, but there is this unique trait which separates it from the other offerings. It is a complex cigar that shows some transitioning throughout, but it lacked the depth that the other two cigars had to make it really separate and break away from the group. I would classify this cigar as being around medium-full, and you really pick up the strength and body from the Criollo '98 wrapper. The construction is perfect throughout the cigar and there was a part of me that thought this might be smaller than a 50 ring gauge. The ash had a nice charcoal coloring overall, and it held on firmly to the cigar with a cool draw throughout. Overall, a nice change-up to the Robusto, and a cigar that showed a little bit more wrapper and distinct flavors.I give the cigar a solid 89 rating.
Viaje Exclusivo Double R: The Double R is a winner in my book and it is a cigar that shows the unique qualities of the Toro, but also the great qualities of the robusto. It has a subtle aged cheddar flavor present with the cigar, and it is paired with some nice coffee and black pepper notes. I am picking up touches of cocoa with the blend, and it has a nice leather, tobacco, and woody finish. I feel it is the most complex of the blends and it has complexity, depth, and transitioning. The construction is solid throughout and it is delivering a nice burn line with that charcoal ash on the end. The draw is cool from start to finish, and it is giving off a great bit of smoke. I would classify this offering as being medium-full, and that goes for flavors, strength, and body. While I typically would not go for a cigar of this nature, in this line that is what I would smoke. I give the Double R a 91 rating.
The new Viaje Exclusivo line is very solid, and if the company can keep this regular production smoking like it is, they will have great success with this regular production release. The biggest factor will be consistency and solid construction throughout batches for a year and following years. With that being said, the three cigars smoked great from that first batch and produced some terrific flavors. All three vitolas had a core flavor profile that I enjoyed, but there was a uniqueness with the Toro and Double R that took those cigars to a whole new level. The construction on the releases was simply fantastic and looking back on the cigars coming out of Raices Cubanas, they might be some of the best constructed cigars I have had. I really cared for the body and strength level, and medium-full is a perfect level in my opinion. I hope the line does well as being regular production and that Viaje can keep the quality behind it that is required. On average, the line gets an 89.34 rating from me and I look forward to coming back to it towards the end of the year. With that being said, the Double R was my vitola of choice, followed by the Toro. I just felt the Double R delivered more than the other two and it shows a nice balance between the flavors throughout.
Seth's Humidor Rating: 89.34
Vitola of Choice: Viaje Exclusivo Double R