Size: 6.25 x 44 “Perfecto”
Today we take a look at the Viaje Zombie Antidote.
It was released in spring of 2014 and I’ve missed out on every opportunity to snag one of these until dear reader, Brian Gulley, sent one to me.
The cigars were made at the Fabrica de Tabacos Raíces Cubanas S. de R.L.
Only 12,000 cigars were produced. And since 2011, there have been 9 variations on the Zombie theme.
The cute little gimmick for naming the cigar “Antidote” is for curing smokers who have smoked too many Zombies.
Like most Viaje blends, the construction is stunning with a medium/dark brown matte finish wrapper. Depending on the light, some oiliness ekes its way through. Seams are invisible. Only a minimal amount of veins. A perfect triple flat cap with a well done perfecto foot. The wrapper feels toothy in some places and smooth in others.
I clip the cap and find aromas of chocolate, coffee, earthiness, leather, raisins, and cedar.
Time to light up.
A lot of smokers…WOW….May I interrupt what I was saying to express the nuclear blast of red pepper!!! Double Yikes!
As I was saying…a lot of smokers prefer to cut the perfecto foot off because it seems a hindrance to them when first lighting up. I don’t. It spoils the nuance of design the blender put into the cigar.
There that being said, the Viaje Zombie Antidote just fills the palate with flavors: Spiciness, chocolate, coffee, earthiness, meaty, wood, and sweetness.
The draw is great. And I love this size. In fact, the next cigar I will be reviewing for Brickell Cigar Co will be a 5.5 x 44. It is a cigar I’ve not heard of but sounds, and looks, delicious: FARAÓN TUTANKAMON by Cigar Factory. The price is good and it looks lip smacking good.
And more advertising. Stogie Boys has now given my readers a 10% discount on everything they sell. Just click on their ad on the right side of the blog. It will take you to their site and give you the coupon code. Thanks to Sheryl King. A real sweetheart.
Once again, back to the Viaje Zombie Antidote. The strength is a solid medium body.
The spice has ramped way down now. What remains are a concoction of sweet and savory elements: Chocolate, creaminess, meaty, raisins, butter, roasted nuts, toasty, cedar, leather, and that elusive “It” factor.
Right away, I’m impressed. That “It” Factor is something beyond my capability of describing. All the best sticks have it. A good example is some of the Ezra Zion blends, some of the Paul Stulac blends, and some AJ blends. Plus countless more lesser known blenders. I remember the first time I smoked a well-aged Ezra Zion “The Collective” or the Paul Stulac “White Blinding Light.” I got hit in the puss with superb mastery of the art of blending. Same goes here with Andre Farkas.
One thing that I am not impressed over with the Viaje Zombie Antidote is the char line. It needs constant attention. Pain in the ass. Farkas is better than this. Shouldn’t be happening.
The second third begins.
The flavor profile is very smoky and meaty. Along with coffee, chocolate and cream…it makes a wonderful plate of Spaghetti-O’s.
The Animals were playing in the background and I had a flashback to when I lived in London. They actually ate, for dinner, Spaghetti-O’s on toast for dinner. Just that. No veggies, no nothing. The TV commercials showed an Ozzie and Harrier family with the men and boys in suits and ties and the wife wearing pearls sitting at the dinner table digging into this horrifying delicacy. The same thing with baked beans on toast. I managed to stay away from that crap.
The Viaje Zombie Antidote is like a sea of swarming simbas. The burn is slow as the cigar is firmly packed with tobacco. The buttery element transforms into caramel.
The strength is still at medium body.
The spiciness returns. Although more of a black pepper than red.
I couldn’t tell you what white pepper tastes like if my life depended on it. I keep forgetting to buy some. It must be totally different because so many reviewers use that term.
This is a wonderful cigar. But, of course, I’m a big fan of Farkas. But sometimes, he just outdoes himself. And this is that time.
The price point. Absolutely, positively fair. Just about the entire line is reasonably priced. No $15 sticks. Which is a war crime against humanity.
Since it takes, on average, 3 hours to write a review, I look at the per hour rate of enjoyment. Is this cigar worth $3 an hour? To me, of course. In the real world, I assume this, at most, a 60-90 minute smoke. Depends on how you smoke. When the cigar is really good, I slow way the hell down and savor it thereby getting more bang for my buck. When the cigar is just OK, I puff away like a monkey smoking a cigarette.
I reach the halfway point.
I’m a little surprised that the flavor profile doesn’t meet my criteria for flavor bomb. It seems to just be loitering. Now the flavors are wonderful, just not potent or explosive.
The Viaje Zombie Antidote had an impactful start but then sort of goes nowhere.
This can only mean that the last third will be the sweet spot. I hope.
The strength hits medium/full with 2-3/4” to go.
I really thought the Viaje Zombie Antidote would take off by now. Disappointed.
And as it always happens, the moment I write that I am disappointed, the cigar comes to life.
I’m close to the last third and the flavors blossom. The sweet spot.
Here they are: Creaminess, coffee, chocolate, spice, caramel, raisins, cedar, leather, a bit of lemon citrus, smoky, and meaty.
The citrus gets stronger with each puff.
Brian Gulley, who sent me the cigars, sent me a note to enjoy the cigars but no way to contact him. He is not a FB friend. I search my blog for a comment by him..and nothing. All I know about him is his address which is in Seattle. So I have no idea how much humidor time the cigars have. Although, most were not in cellos.
The last third begins.
But this is OK. I’ve enjoyed the cigar experience. It’s not as spectacular as I first thought at the beginning of the cigar. And the consistency has been off a bit.
According to Atlantic Cigars, they are one of only two online stores authorized to carry them and they are back ordered. The other is Podman Cigars and they are out of stock as well.
But then as I wander around Google, I find several online stores that carry them. So, for a change, Atlantic is exaggerating their claim. It could be that only two stores carried them when first released. I don’t know.
The draw becomes difficult now.
The stick has become soft so it should draw normally. And then after a rolling in the palm of my hand, it rectifies itself.
The last third is better than the middle but not by much. Strangely, the Viaje Zombie Antidote is not a complex stick. The balance is just OK. And the finish is medium long.
The strength tamps down to classic medium bodied.
The Viaje Zombie Antidote is sort of schizophrenic. One moment, it is extremely flavorful and the next sort of flat.
The chocolate, coffee, caramel, creaminess, citrus, smokiness, and leather are running the show as the experience begins to conclude.
Would I buy this cigar? Probably not. I’m glad I had the opportunity to smoke this elusive cigar, thanks to Brian Gulley, but I am not tempted to spend $214.00 for a jar. Which by the way is very clever. See photo below.
I look forward to trying the FARAÓN TUTANKAMON by Cigar Factory from Brickell Cigar Co. A box is $139. Use the Katman15 code and it’s only $118.00 for 20 sticks. I chose this cigar to review because of its affordability. 5 packs will be available too. And remember that you can use that code to buy anything on the Brickell site.
The Viaje Zombie Antidote comes to an inauspicious end. A very pleasant cigar but take a look at “The Katman’s Best 151 Boutique Brands/Blends in the $6-$9.50+ Range” for cigars with a little more oomph, consistency, and better construction.
And now for something completely different:
As I look forward to a possible resurgence in my musical life, I am fond of looking back.
I really was a bona fide rock star in England in the mid 70’s.
Mind you, I was a very normal kid. I loved music. I loved playing my bass. I became very good. I was one of those musicians that really didn’t realize how good I was. Because it didn’t inflate my ego..like it is now.
I moved to England with nothing special under my belt. And then I was thrust like a thunder bolt into the world of big time rock n roll.
The band got reviewed every time we played a concert. And I was always mentioned for “holding the band together, etc.” This infuriated the other members of the band. I read it and laughed and thought nothing of it. Of course, it was the first step to my demise.
I never got over how the girls and boys that were fans would rush us and ask for autographs or just wanted to touch us. It always made me laugh.
In my head, I was just lucky; that’s all.
I started to be recognized on the street in London. So many articles in the music rags that had my face in them.
It is a very weird sensation and I always thought how intense it must be for the real rock stars.
I moved out to the suburbs. Big mistake as it took me out of the hubbub of the London music scene.
I had a neighbor that was a British soldier. A kid of 19. He and I schmoozed all the time. The first time I invited him into my apartment, he saw all the cool Curved Air posters on the wall.
For the first couple months we lived next to each other, I never said anymore that I was a musician for a living.
So he is sitting there and asks again what I do for a living? I tell him “I’m with them” as I point to the posters.
A look of shock. “You mean you’re a roadie?”
No. I play bass in Curved Air.”
He went into real shock and turned white as a ghost. He couldn’t speak.
He then promised that he wouldn’t tell his soldier buddies where I live. I laughed.
We talked a bit more but he was really uncomfortable and finally excused himself.
We lived next to each other for another 6 months. And in that time, our relationship completely changed.
When I saw him outside doing yard work, I would say hi and he wouldn’t look up and mumbled back at me, “Hi.”
We never had a conversation again. He was so intimidated by me that he was scared to death of me.
Now that sounds funny and cool at the same time. But that happened a lot.
I’d go to a party in London and I could hear whispers saying, “That’s the bass player with Curved Air.” Only a few brave souls would actually speak to me.
I became insulated. I no longer had a normal life. Everywhere I went, I was noticed. Especially with that huge fro on my head.
So fellow musicians were my only friends. And I met some of the greatest rock stars of the time and I was comfortable with them. As long as you don’t act like a fan, you have a normal relationship. You get invited to dinner. You get invited to the “In” parties.
It was a strange time. And I really didn’t like what was happening.
One night, after the concert and people were filing out of the concert arena, I went back out to the stage, sat down and let my legs dangle off the stage. People stared and pointed but no one ever approached me. I sat there smiling and looked very inviting. No luck.
I talked a lot about this to my band mates and they weren’t interested in talking about it. They were all prima donnas. And felt superior to everyone. This came natural to their egos.
Well, 40 years later, it just might happen again. If my music partner, Rick T pulls everything together, we will tour Asia. His CD is selling huge there and so are his singles. In which I am playing on because he lifted my bass tracks from old songs we did and put them on the new songs.
You can visit his Face Book page at: Rick Tunstall.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS