Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
Size: 3.75 x 54 “Petit Robusto”
I felt like writing this morning and I still have a couple cigars that John from Prime Cigar sent me.
Today we take a look at the Viaje Skull and Bones Red WMD (2014).
Only 7500 cigars were released in March of 2014. Three hundred boxes of 25. Therefore, a rare item.
I’m not a big fan of the “nub” sized cigar. Pain in the ass to smoke. But clearly, enough smokers like them enough that the manufacturers cater to their tastes and not mine.
The wrapper is a nicely mottled dark coffee bean brown with a nice amount of oiliness and a rustic quality to it. The construction is good. The triple cap is near flawless.
It was a bitch trying to discover the year that this cigar came from. There are approximately 19 versions.
The only other Skull and Bones that is this size is the 2012 and it has a secondary band this one does not.
AROMA AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
When I put the cigar to Charlotte’s nose, she yelled out, “Chocolate!” I was such a happy papa. My dear wife is beginning to get a nasal palate. I also smell leather, earthiness, spice, sweetness, mint, and hickory smokiness.
The cold draw is super heavy with cocoa, coffee, spice, leather, and roasted nuts.
For some reason, it is such a sunny Wisconsin morning, that the color of the skull and crossbones is coming out orange. While in reality, it is bright red. If I take it to somewhere less lighted, then other things disappear; such as the oiliness, etc.
I’ve got one of those ridiculously expensive Bugatti lighters that looks like a Zippo but is copper and black with a butane insert. CI and just about everyone else wants $40-$50 for them. I paid something like $20 for mine. And I have to change out the insert ($10) every 6 months leaving just a shell that hardly seems worth $40 to me just because it has the name “Bugatti” on it. I’m sure it is made in China.
Giant plumes of smoke ring my head with each puff. A giant blast of red pepper attacks my palate and I’m diggin’ it. The tobacco is goddam delicious. Earthy, minerals, and sweet.
I didn’t expect to write a review this morning with cigars being in such short supply. But I woke up early and instead of watching TV like a zombie, I decided to write. I wish I knew this as I would have dry boxed the cigar for 24 hours to make sure the burn was even. Fingers crossed.
The Viaje Skull and Bones Red WMD (2014) is a very decent cigar. As I’ve said over and over, Viaje is hit or miss with me. At this early stage, it is a hit.
A giant swath of cedar machetes its way through the other flavors.
Here they are at ½” burned: Spice, chocolate, coffee, earthiness, sweetness, decadent richness, and cedar.
The char line is a bit uneven but I will leave it alone and see if it wanders.
I’m only doing halves with this review. It seems silly to break it up into thirds.
The Viaje Skull and Bones Red WMD (2014) has plenty of humidor time on it. I’m sure Johnny put it away the moment it was available. Which was over a year ago.
I like the cigar but it is not bowling me over. Why? Because I keep thinking of it being a $9 stick that might last 30 minutes.
Here is an example. Charlotte got paid today and the dear woman allowed me one purchase. So I went to Cigar Monster and snagged a 5 pack of Paul Stulac Classic Angels (5 x 58) for $28. Or $5.60 per stick. Now this cigar is brilliant and will take a good 90 minutes to smoke. Most of my budgeted purchases will be daily deals and CM because shipping is free.
Creaminess jumps aboard. So does caramel. Warm yeasty bread is aboard as well.
I realize that no reviewers give most cigars their due as far as rest prior to reviewing it. And we miss out on a lot of smooth characteristics. Everyone wants to get their review out there before their neighbor.
There is such a deep, but smooth, complexity going on that I wonder what I missed out on other cigars.
The Viaje Skull and Bones Red WMD (2014) tastes like kettle corn now. Sweet and salty. While drinking a cup of Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate from Starbucks: “Steamed milk, mocha sauce, toffee nut and vanilla syrups, topped with sweetened whipped cream, caramel sauce and a mixture of turbinado sugar and sea salt.”
That description nails it. For the most part. The spiciness is on the wane but the coffee is still very strong.
The burn issue worked out its problems early.
Very nice cigar. Nice flavors. Complex. Long finish. The strength is medium but nearing medium/full.
The cigar band has too much glue and I cut it off with an X-Acto blade. And the Cosmic Muffin was smiling while I operated and not a single nick to the wrapper. Woo Hoo!
The caramel becomes a very potent component.
Cinnamon pops up. Along with nutmeg. Now we have a Starbuck’s drink.
The Viaje Skull and Bones Red WMD (2014) proves me wrong about the time issue. I now predict it will be a 40, not 20, minute smoke.
The Viaje Skull and Bones Red WMD (2014) needs its first major tune up on the char line.
The cigar is on cruise control. No changes as I get down to 1-1/4” left.
Spice and chocolate make a big comeback.
I really thought the cigar would hit medium/full but doesn’t. Probably due to the extended humidor time. I’m just spit ballin’ here.
Very good cigar but this stick just ain’t worth $9. Period. I have a few aged Curivari Buenaventuras in my humidor. I smoked one yesterday. Every bit as good as this cigar blend. Only difference is that the Curivari was $4.00. I intend to buy another box when I get my social security a week from today. Best bang for the buck out there. Curivari is a solid brand and most blends are in the $5 range and very good. I made a point of reviewing every single Curivari blend. All ten of them. It’s a shame that there isn’t a Maduro version of the Buenaventura.
The whole scheme of selling only 300 boxes keeps the price up and the availability down. Therefore, a high selling point. Farkas ain’t no fool. He could have released a shit load of this blend and brought the price down. The man is in love with limited edition blends.
With 1” to go, a bunch of flavors disappear: Chocolate, caramel, sweetness, and the cedar.
At this point, the earthiness of the tobacco is just about all that is left.
The Viaje Skull and Bones Red WMD (2014) is a very good cigar. Loads of flavor, complexity and nice balance.
I would have liked it a whole lot better if there was more of it. Less than 4” is just not enough. If the ring gauge was bigger, it would have helped the duration immensely.
I don’t have the huge back log of Viaje cigar reviews that the big guys have. Just too expensive. I’ve reviewed around 20 blends and it doesn’t begin to touch the surface of all the Viajes produced. The problem is that Farkas only releases small batches making it impossible to get them during the rush where everyone is knocking each other over to get to them. It’s like Black Friday after Thanksgiving. So if you don’t have the dough at the exact right moment, you are shit out of luck. And then a few months later, some asshole on Face Book auctions them off for 25% more than retail.
The last ¾” is extremely hot.
While I enjoyed the Viaje Skull and Bones Red WMD (2014), I cannot justify the price. Of course, it if was a Caldwell (Or Lost & Found), it would have been $3 more.
And now another dreaded story about rock n roll:
Darryl had the same routine before a concert: Eat a big meal, have a couple beers, and then throw up 30 minutes before we took the stage.
One night he broke with tradition. He didn’t throw up. He threw up on stage all over his keyboard.
Moments later, this douche bag roadie, who worked for our opening act;. A Dutch band made up of the guys from Focus took action. The band was called Trace. A three piece band: drummer, synthesizer player, and a guitarist/bassist.
Remember Rick Wakeman with Yes? The guy from Trace was doing the same thing with about a dozen synths on stage. Some were on wheels and he would run across the stage pushing the synths and playing at the same time.
This night, an array of horrors happened. Trace had the worst roadies I had ever worked with.
The night before, this one horrible roadie put the guitar and bass cases next to the big rig to be loaded up. And then he walked away expecting someone else to put them in the truck. Instead, they were stolen.
No one knew they were gone until Trace did their sound check the next day. The bassist only had one bass and freaked out.
My roadies told him he could use my bass. So you know what this asshole did? He unscrewed the pickup cover on my Fender P (Called the Ashtray), shoved foam rubber underneath the strings at the bottom of the bass, and de-tuned it. Meanwhile, no one told me until we finished dinner and got to the arena. In fact no one told me anything.
I found out when they went on stage and I saw my bass in his hands totally transformed. When he got off stage, he just handed my bass to a roadie and went to the dressing room. He made no attempt to put my bass back the way I had it. What an asshole!
And he never even thanked me! What a wanker!
Between Trace getting off stage and Curved Air going on, one idiot roadie was up in the rafters with the sound man and the mixing board. He spilled an entire bottle of Irish whisky into the board and fried it. You could see sparks and smoke rising all the way from the stage.
Luckily, we were only an hour from London and someone was sent, at light speed, to get another one.
So the audience had an over two hour wait between Trace and us. Thankfully, they all stayed.
We finally go on and Darryl pukes on his keys. I was on stage and I started laughing so hard that I doubled up and almost lost my bass. So we took another 30 minute break while a backup synth was put in place. But of course, Darryl never took the time to input the settings so he faked it. It sounded terrible.
So terrible that every time he played it, it sounded like a cat wailing. So he just left it alone for the rest of the concert and stuck with the violin, his primary instrument. Songs that started with synth riffs ended up starting with a screechy violin and guitar riffs.
I was amazed at what the audience would put up with. Didn’t bother them a bit.
And halfway through our set, our road manager was told by the guy that ran the arena it was time to shut ‘er down. It was around 1am. We refused to stop. We owed the audience a full set, plus some, for their patience. So we kept on playing.
Then the house lights came on. It was like daylight inside that arena.
We kept playing.
Then the asshole pulled the plug on the electricity and right in the middle of a song, the only thing we could hear was the drums.
Our great roadie, Beric Wickens (Is that a great name from Dickens or what?) manhandled the guy and forced him to put the electricity back on and shut down the house lights.
The police were called.
They came on stage while we were playing and the audience booed them. Our roadies attacked the bobbies. And while we were playing, 6 or 7 roadies and cops were rolling around on the floor on stage. I couldn’t stop laughing.
The fight ended and the road manager made the peace. He handed them closed envelopes with money in it. The cops left.
And then the lights went back on and the electricity was turned off.
We gave up.
And did Darryl clean up his own mess from puking? No. He made one of the roadies meticulously clean it after the gig. It was 4am before they poor guy finished cleaning it.
Roadies are the unsung heroes of the music business. They work hard for their money. After the gig, the band retires to the dressing room, go out for a bite, and then head to the hotel to go to bed. The band would get up around 9am, have breakfast in the hotel, and be shuttled off to the next gig.
The roadies would spend hours breaking down the gear. Head back to the hotel for maybe 3 hours sleep and on the road by 7am.
I became better friends with our core group of roadies than I did with the arrogant bunch of band members.
These guys were down to earth and fun to be with. The band had a giant stick up their prima donna asses.
It was a night to remember. So much for things working like clockwork.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS