@elninodiablo @halfwheel @elbrooksie I couldnt agree more with the S&B review. Its a good cigar but it is more of the same.
Review: Viaje Skull and Bones White FOAB
In mid March of this year, Viaje released yet another slew of new cigars all at once to retailers. There were five new releases in all, bringing the total number of new Viaje Cigars to nine in less than a month.
The FOAB, which stands for “Father of All Bombs”, and whose name’s origin is based on an actual bomb, is a brand new release in the Skull and Bones White series. At 4 1/2 x 56, the FOAB is the big brother to the MOAB, which is 4 1/2 x 52, both of which were released in 300 boxes of 25 cigars.
Included in the second wave of releases were:
- Skull and Bones FOAB
- Skull and Bones MOAB
- Skull and Bones WMD (2012)
- Super Shot 12 Gauge
- WLP St. Patrick’s Day (2012)
These two releases brings the total number of Skull and Bones releases to 11.
In order of appearance and release:
- Viaje Skull and Bones Daisy Cutter (4 x 54) — May 2010 — 150 Boxes of 25 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones “?” (5 x 54) — October 2010 — 150 Boxes of 25 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones MOAB (4 1/4 x 54) — March 2011 — 100 Boxes of 50 Cigars (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones WMD (3 3/4 x 54) — March 2011 — 250 Boxes of 25 Cigars (6,250 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones Fat Man (4 1/4 x 56) — August 2011 — 125 Boxes of 25 Cigars (3,125 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones Little Boy (4 1/4 x 52) — August 2011 — 125 Boxes of 25 Cigars (3,750 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones “?” Box-Pressed — October 2011 — 125 Boxes of 25 Cigars (3,125 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones “?” — October 2011 — 250 Boxes of 25 Cigars (6,250 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones WMD (3 3/4 x 54) — March 2012 —300 Boxes of 25 Cigars (7.500 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones MOAB (4 1/2 x 52) — March 2012— 300 Boxes of 25 Cigars (7.500 Total Cigars)
- Viaje Skull and Bones FOAB (4 1/2 x 56) — March 2012— 300 Boxes of 25 Cigars (7.500 Total Cigars)
But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Name: Viaje Skull and Bones White FOAB
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L. (Raíces Cubanas)
- Wrapper: Nicaraguan Sun Grown Criollo
- Binder: Nicaraguan
- Filler: Nicaraguan
- Size: 4 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 56
- Vitola: Petit Robusto
- MSRP: $9.20 (Boxes of 25, $230.00)
- Release Date: March 12, 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: 300 Boxes of 25 Cigars (7.500 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
The Viaje FOAB has a dark espresso brown wrapper that looks like it would feel rough, but actually is quite smooth to the touch. While the FOAB feels nice in the hand, the cap could be applied better. The wrapper has a bit of oil on it and smells strongly of manure, espresso and chocolate. When squeezed, the FOAB displays the perfect amount of give.
The first third of the FOAB starts out right off the bat with a very strong bitter espresso flavor that is really quite nice, along with notes of cedar, leather and earth. There is no spice at all, but there is some black pepper that comes and goes. The draw is a bit loose, although not bad enough to really worry me, but the burn is wonderful so far. Surprisingly, there is a little bit of sweetness underneath the other flavors that really helps the profile along. Strength is a solid medium, but getting stronger, which is what I expected.
Into the second third, the Viaje begins to mellows out quite a bit flavor wise, but the strength continues to increase. The flavors are the same profile-wise for the most part, but the sweetness that was a background note in the first third is increasing until it becomes more of a player in the flavors. The black pepper is still noticeable, but there is still almost no spice to speak of. The burn is wonderful, but the draw is still just a bit loose for my tastes, although it is still well within normal range. Strength continues to increase and it ends the second third at a full-like medium.
Sadly, the final third of the FOAB remains much the same as the second third, both in flavors and strength. It does not get hot at the end, but the strength pretty much stays in the full medium category, never going above that.
- The two new releases in the Skull and Bones White series are virtually identical. Same blend, same bands, same length, same number of cigars released. In fact, the only two differences between the 2012 release of the FOAB and the MOAB is the price, and exactly two ring gauges.
- The FOAB has the largest ring gauge of any of the Skull and Bone White releases thus far, which makes sense given the name.
- Much like the Viaje MOAB (“Mother of all Bombs”) release, the FOAB (“Father of all Bombs”) is the nickname for a specific bomb. In in this case, it is the Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power, a Russian made thermobaric weapon, i.e. a “fuel-air bomb. Says Wikipedia:
The thermobaric device yields the equivalent of 44 tons of TNT using 7.8 tons of a new type of high explosive. Because of this, the bomb’s blast and pressure wave have a similar effect as a small tactical nuclear weapon, though on a smaller scale. In describing the bomb’s destructive power, Russian deputy armed forces chief of staff Alexander Rushkin was quoted as saying, “all that is alive merely evaporates.” The bomb is reportedly four times more powerful than the U.S. military’s GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (whose official military acronym “MOAB” is often colloquially said as the “Mother of All Bombs”). This would make it the most powerful conventional (non-nuclear) weapon in the world, although the veracity of the weapon’s size and power has been called into question by some U.S defense analysts.
- Farkas indicated on his Facebook page that MOAB is now no longer a part of Skull and Bones Red, but instead is now a permanent member of Skull and Bones White, because, “Skull and Bones Red is nuclear and Skull and Bones White is non Nuclear.” This makes sense when you read the above, as both the real life MOAB and FOAB are conventional, i.e. non-nuclear weapons. Of course, an argument could be made that the FOAB and MOAB could be considered a WMD (Weapon of Mass Destruction) considering their potential for destruction on a large scale, but really that is just a matter of semantics, as the term WMD has recently come to mean mostly nuclear, chemical or biological weapons for the most part. As an interesting side note, the first use of the term “weapon of mass destruction” on record is by Cosmo Gordon Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1937 in reference to the aerial bombardment of Guernica, Spain with convention weapons.
- As with most Viaje cigars, I think this is about $1.50-$2.00 more expensive than it should be considering the size and vitola.
- In general, I seem to enjoy the Skull and Bones White a bit more than the Skull and Bones Red.
- The ash is a salt and pepper gray, and holds on for quite a while, but that is not unexpected for a cigar of this RG.
- The construction, draw and burn were wonderful for the entire smoke on one of the samples, but the draw on the other was quite loose. Still smokable, but very loose.
- The ring gauge on this specific release was just a tad too big for me to hold comfortably in my mouth without thinking every time I took a puff, wow, this is a big cigar.
- Unlike the majority of Viajes, these do not seem to be overly wet fresh, which is probably why I did not think it sucked.
- The final smoking time for both samples was right around one hour and 15 minutes.
- If you are looking to purchase the Viaje WLP St. Patrick’s, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar, Casa de Montecristo (630.993.1234) and Tobacco Grove are all authorized Viaje dealers.
The Bottom Line: Like the Super Shot 12, I was a bit surprised at how well this cigar did. I was expecting a wet, overpoweringly strong, peppery smoke, and what I actually got was a nice espresso and earthy mix with a bit of sweetness and spice thrown in for good measure. While the burn was excellent on both samples I smoked, the draw was a bit loose on both samples. However, in my mind, the main problem with most of Farkas’ new releases is not that they are bad cigars, most of them are easily smokable, if not enjoyable, especially after six months or more of age, the problem is that most of them taste pretty much the same, almost all the way down the board. Viaje has the whole dark and earthy profile down pat, no doubt about it, but I find myself constantly wanting more complexity out of his cigars and the FOAB was no different. It is enjoyable without being amazing, and smokable without being distinctive. Having said that, I enjoyed it enough to get a five pack, just to see how they come along in the coming year.
Final Score: 86