Review: Viaje Super Shot 12 Gauge
Late last year, Andre Farkas showed off boxes of a new Viaje line, Super Shot. While the 10 Gauge Super Shot already shipped in late February, Viaje opted to stagger the release of the second size, Super Shot 12 Gauge. This past week, Super Shot 12 Gauge began arriving in stores alongside the next WLP Candela release and Skull and bones FOAB, MOAB and WMD.
Rather than rewriting history, here’s what Charlie said in his Super Shot 10 Gauge review:
From the start, it was believed that Viaje would release two sizes: Super Shot 10 Gauge & Super Shot 12 Gauge, aptly borrowing the name from different sizes of shotgun calibers.
While it was originally announced as a January release, Viaje would later announce that it was to be released in Februaryalongside the next installment of the White Label Project, the WLP Winter Classic. By the time the details of the WLPshaped up, it was announced that Super Shot 12 Gauge would debut in March, although the previously unannounced Friends and Family was sent to retailers alongside the Winter Classic and Super Shot 10 Gauge.
Farkas explained his reasoning for this line to Cigar Insider:
I recently took up clay shooting and I noticed something… The cigars I brought weren’t short enough to enjoy between rounds. I’d start smoking and before it was finished it was my time to shoot again, so the smoke kept going out… But it isn’t just for a day out shooting clay. It’s designed to be smoked when time is a factor or while doing any sort of work.
The two sizes are:
- Viaje Super Shot 10 Gauge — 3 1/2 x 54 — $6.40 (Boxes of 25, $185.00)
- Viaje Super Shot 12 Gauge — 3 1/4 x 52 — $6.00 (Boxes of 25, $144.00)
Here are some photos of the boxes, which look just like a box of shotgun shells:
Here’s a picture of some vintage shotgun shell boxes that were sold at auction a few years ago:
But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Super Shot 12 Gauge
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Fábrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L. (Raíces Cubanas)
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 3 1/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: NUb
- MSRP: $6.00 (Boxes of 25, $144.00)
- Date Released: March 12, 2012
- Number of Cigars Released: 300 Boxes of 25 Cigars (7,500 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2
The Super Shot 12 Gauge is quite a bit smaller than I expected with a wonderful dark mocha brown wrapper that glistens with oil. While I am a fan of the closed foot, even for the small size, it’s a bit light. The cigar has almost the perfect amount of give when squeezed, not too soft or hard and the wrapper is quite smooth to the touch. Iminating from the wrapper is a strong leather, damp earth, dark chocolate and black pepper.
Super Shot 12 starts out the first third strong with extremely distinct leather, almost like gnawing on a saddle, along with damp earth, toast and a fairly strong black pepper note. Strength is already strong by the end of the first third, firmly in a full-like medium category and only getting stronger by the puff. The burn is great, as is the draw.
The second third of the Super Shot 12 is basically the same flavors as the first third, but there is a slight sweetness that is present that really adds a little complexity that was missing. I am also tasting a dark bitter chocolate that comes and goes. The earthiness is somewhat stronger, but the black pepper that I noticed in the first third of the Viaje is much reduced, although there is still some on the retrohale.
While it gets stronger in the final third, the Viaje falls just short of the full strength mark. Flavors of dark chocolate, earth, leather and even a bit of nuttiness combine with a stronger sweetness than the second third. The Super Shot 10 Gauge did get a bit hot at the end, but I was done with it by then anyway. Construction and burn continue to impress and I had no problems with either.
- While this is a small cigar, it burns fairly slowly most likely due to the thick wrapper, which is nice.
- There is no denying that the overall appearance is excellent: extremely dark, thick and oily wrapper, a closed foot and sans band.
- Unlike Charlie’s experience with the Super Shot 10 Gauge, I didn’t find the need to smoke quicker than average with the Super Shot 12 Gauge.
- The construction of Super Shot 12 was wonderful with no problems whatsoever on burn, draw or the wrapper.
- While they are a bit gimmicky, the coolness of the boxes these come in cannot be denied. Definitely one of the most innovative designs of the young year.
- In the same Cigar Insider story, Farkas said, “The sizes are virtually identical to the actual shotgun shells.” While thehalfwheel editorial staff is not made up of firearms experts, it would seem an actual 10 gauge shotgun shell would have a 49.92 ring gauge and a 12 gauge shell would be equivalent to a 46.528 ring gauge cigar. In addition, while shotgun shells don’t have a uniform length, they on average a bit shorter than the length of the Viaje cigars. But then again, a 2 1/2 cigar is probably a bad idea.
- While these are quite affordable compared to other Viajes, I still think they are about $1.50 or so more expensive than they should be based on the size.
- Also unlike Charlie and the Super Shot 10, I didn’t experience any burn problems. Perhaps the extra few weeks between releases paid off in that respect.
- The final smoking time was just under 50 minutes.
- If you are looking to purchase the Viaje Super Shot 12 Gauge, site sponsors Atlantic Cigar, Casa de Montecristo (630.993.1234) and Tobacco Grove are all authorized Viaje dealers.
The Bottom Line: I was actually fairly impressed with this cigar. While not the most complex of profiles, it had some nice, enjoyable dark flavors and the construction, draw and burn are all excellent. This seems to be an aberration in terms of what Viaje has been doing for the last year or so, i.e. fat RG at $8.00+. I love the size, and the strength, while noticeable, was not overwhelming at all, especially in the small size. With the exception of Friends and Family, Super Shot, in both 10 and 12 Gauge forms, is easily the best recent release from Viaje besting two WLPs, three Skull and Bones and two Samurais. If you like the size, I would not hesitate to recommend buying some if you can find them.
Final Score: 88