Review: Viaje Zombie (Prerelease)
For those of you that don’t know…
Last week, it became known that Andre was going to be at an event at one of the best stores in the country, Tobacco Grove in Minnesota. There were rumors at the time that Viaje would have an exclusive and obviously limited cigar at the event with a unique shape, but the exact details were few and far between.
While some people thought that the special cigar would just be the release of the new VOR and VPR Reservas, which had been rumored to be due to be release for about a month now, it turned out that Tobacco Grove was getting a unique blend.
Dubbed the Zombie, it is a release that was always meant to come right after the WMD & MOAB cigars. The storyline Andre has put forth is unique (and somewhat corny):
The name comes from peoples transformation into Zombies after being exposed to radiation from the WMD release.
There were only 100 boxes of 20 produced (2,000 total cigars) for the events. One event is at Tobacco Grove tonight, and the other is at BURN Premium on Saturday night. Each store received 50 boxes of the Zombie to sell, and while BURN has already sold their allotment online, Tobacco Grove is putting aside 20 boxes to sell online today at 6pm CST. (Details on the sale are in the “Final Notes” section below.) In other words, if you are not physically walking into the store, there are only 20 boxes available for you to buy, if you want some. Interestingly, there are also 15 boxes (out of 200 total) of the Viaje Oro Reserva No. 5 available to be sold today, despite the fact that they will not be officially release for another couple of weeks.
Here is what the box of the Viaje Zombie looks like:
But enough of that, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Viaje Zombie
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Fabrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L. (Raíces Cubanas)
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Size: 4 3/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 52
- Vitola: Robustoish
- MSRP: $10.50 (Boxes of 20, $210.00)
- Release Date: April 22, 2011
- Number of Cigars Released: 100 Boxes of 20 Cigars (2,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 2
The first thing you notice about the Zombie is the unique vitola. It is about the size of a Robusto, but it is triple capped on both ends, making it look like a (very large) pill. (As far as I know, this is the first cigar to have this done, someone correct me if they know of another one.) The wrapper is an extremely dark and extremely attractive, lightly reddish espresso brown and has enough oil on it to give it a nice sheen. It seems to be very well constructed and has a nice give when squeezed. The wrapper smells strongly of coffee, barnyard and leather.
The First Third starts with some strong flavors of dark chocolate, espresso, hay, leather and earth. A great combo, but surprisingly there is almost no spice or pepper on the tongue at all, although there is a touch of black pepper on the retrohale. Halfway through the First Third, I can feel the strength already building.
The Second Third has many of the same flavors, but in different amounts. It’s more earthy than anything else with notes of leather and dark chocolate and the same bitter espresso. Spice and pepper amounts are about the same, i.e. almost nonexistent, but the strength is REALLY building by the end of the Third and I can tell this is going to be a kicker.
The Final Third did not change much flavors wise, but the strength kept trucking along. This is a FULL+ cigar, not to be trifled with — surprising for a cigar so small! It never got hot at the end, and I was able to finish it, but PLEASE do not smoke this on an empty stomach!
- There have been some rumblings on some of the boards that Andre, owner of Viaje Cigars, took the idea of the Zombie from Pete Johnson’s Monster Series. Honestly, I don’t buy it in this specific instance. Andre obviously had this idea a while ago, as he has linked the storyline of the Zombie to two of his previous releases, the WMD & MOAB.
- As before with the WMD & MOAB releases, the cost is somewhat of an issue, especially at the size that it is. It is about $3 too expensive for the cigar, but that has been Viaje’s SOP lately, so I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone.
- The cigar is triple-capped at both ends, and while some people at Viaje mentioned the best way to light is just to light the end without cutting it, I tried that on one of the samples I smoked and it just caused burn problems. I would just clip both ends (VERY little on the foot) and light like normal. I did it this way with my second sample, and it had no problems whatsoever.
- I think the band and logo of the Zombie, while distinctive, is a little cartoonish and there is no denying the obvious similarities the font has with the Monster Energy Drinks.
- The Final Smoking Time was 1 Hour and 35 minutes.
- If you want to buy some of the Viaje Zombie cigars from our good friends at Tobacco Grove, click on this link to take you directly to the online ordering page. Remember, they will go online at Exactly 6pm CST, and they won’t last long. You can also always contact them at www.TobaccoGrove.com, or call (763) 494-6688 (ask for Jeff).
The Bottom Line: Make no mistake, this is a Frakin’ STRONG cigar. In fact, it is the strongest Viaje I have smoked and easily one of the strongest I have smoked this year. It started strong right out of the gate and (surprisingly) stayed at a constant, almost overwhelming, level until the end. The flavors that were present were great, albeit not overly complex, but I really wish there was just a little more spice/pepper in the blend to set the profile apart. Is it better than the OR Skull and Bones or the Tower 45th Exclusivo? No, I certainly don’t think it is at THIS point, it is not nearly as complex as the Exclusivo blend, and the profile is not as rich as the S&B, but the Zombie should age VERY well and I predict that with a bit of time, it will transform into an even better smoke.
Final Score: 89