Wrapper: San Andrés Maduro
Size: 5.5 x 52
Today we take a look at the Viaje Throw Down Fed Head.
Yesterday, I reviewed the Viaje Throw Down Dojonation. It was an excellent cigar and I rated it a 90.
A side note: I’ve had a few inquiries from readers telling me they don’t taste half the flavors I report in my reviews. I respond that I’ve been smoking cigars for 47 years consistently. And 5 years is insufficient to taste what I taste. There is no shortcut. The answer? Time. Some of you young smokers may be lucky enough to be blessed with winning palates. The rest of us have to learn the hard way like I did with almost 5 decades of cigar smoking under my belt. Don’t worry. Hang tough, be patient, and learn from an old man.
From the Cigar Federation Press Release:
“DENVER, CO (MAY, 21 2015) – Cigar Dojo, Cigar Federation, and Viaje Cigars have come together for an unorthodox cigar project, the likes of which have never been seen in today’s cigar industry. Combining the skill sets of two of the industry’s leading cigar communities, as well as the unique and highly sought-after characteristics of Viaje Cigars, Cigar Dojo and Cigar Federation have pitted themselves against each other in the cigar face-off of the century – introducing Throw Down.
“The epic battle officially begins May 21, 2015, with this press release and continues June 5th when the cigars go on sale. The concept is simple: each opponent has selected, in conjunction with Viaje Cigars, a unique cigar blend to represent their community. Purchasers of this unique project will then judge the outcome, receiving five cigars selected by Cigar Dojo and five cigars selected by Cigar Federation. Not only will consumers judge the victor, they’ll have a say in the outcome by voting.
“Cigar blends have been developed from the ground-up by Andre Farkas, the mastermind behind Viaje Cigars. After creating a handful of premium blends to be contenders for the final product, the cigars were then sent to both opponents – Cigar Dojo & Cigar Federation. Each brand then selected their preferred blend to represent themselves in the final throw down battle.
“Soft-packaged in bundles of 10 cigars, Throw Down will arrive with 5 cigars from each brand, using a 5.5” x 52 robusto vitola. Cigar Federation’s blend uses a San Andrés Mexican maduro wrapper over an undisclosed filler/binder blend. Cigar Dojo has chosen a Criollo 98-wrapped blend, using an undisclosed filler and binder. Coming in at $90 per 10-pack Throw Down cigars will be made available exclusively June 5th through the Cigar Federation online store.
“There is no doubt that the Dojo cigar will win this battle, after all… I am the Master Sensei.” stated Eric Guttormson, owner of Cigar Dojo. He continued, “I will let you in on a dirty little secret, both cigars are awesome and the real winner is the cigar smoker that buys a couple bundles of these.”
“Logan Lawler, owner of Cigar Federation, stated – “While I am really excited about both blends, we knew instantly the blend we wanted to represent us for Throw Down and I have no doubt it will win the battle.”
You can buy the 10 pack at the Cigar Federation Store.
According to Halfwheel.com:
“Both versions of the cigar were rolled at Tabacos Valle de Jalapa S.A. (TABSA) in Estelí, Nicaragua and a total of 5,000 cigars were produced.”
I love the color of the Viaje Throw Down Fed Head’s wrapper. I’m a sucker for a dark chocolate brown San Andres wrapper. Full of oil, tight seams, a modicum of veins, and impeccable triple caps. The sticks are packed like yesterday’s Dojonation but with the perfect amount of give when squeezed.
The cigar is slightly toothy.
The same double cigar band is used with the only exception being the name “FED HEAD” on the secondary band.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell lovely spices, pepper, floral notes, chocolate, maraschino cherry, sweetness, and earthy tobacco.
From the clipped cap and foot, I smell strong cedar, leather, barnyard, and earthy tobacco.
The cold draw presents flavors of flaming red pepper, cinnamon, chocolate, earthiness, cherries, leather, and espresso.
The first puffs are delicious. It starts with a big bang.
Creaminess, spice, chocolate, espresso, cherries, and a whole lotta’ sweetness.
This has the Dojonation beat from the beginning as the Dojonation did not start with such a winning formula. It took time to build. The Viaje Throw Down Fed Head may find its sweet spot less than an inch in.
Truth be told, you can’t go wrong with a San Andrés Maduro wrapper. It colors the whole cigar experience. At this moment, the flavor profile reminds me of a Nic binder and filler.
The strength is a tick above medium body.
I was so enthusiastic about the flavors I forgot to mention that the draw is spot on.
The pepper overtakes the creaminess and now leads the delicious pack of flavors.
I really hope that the cigar’s flavor profile builds from here and doesn’t poop out on me later because if it does what I hope it will do; this is my kind of cigar.
I love the Ezra Zion The Collective that was made exclusively for Cigar Federation. One of my all-time fave cigars. I wonder how much input the young men from CF had in that blend design?
I get a run in the foot and must correct it immediately. It was a big and quick run. Not good charring the wrapper to stop it. The cigar blend loses a point for that.
A new flavor pile up: Chocolate, spiciness, creaminess, espresso, cedar, sweetness, earthiness, cherries, and leather.
The char line just doesn’t want to behave. I smoked one prior to this review stick and not a single char line issue. Go figure.
The sun refuses to come out. Too bad. It would reinforce the oiliness and glistening of that oily Mexican wrapper.
Clearly, the Viaje Throw Down Fed Head is not as jam packed with tobacco as the Dojonation.
Smoke time has been 30 minutes. The Dojonation had 40 minutes to this point.
The Viaje Throw Down Fed Head blend has all the makings of a chocolate mocha candy bar. Heavy on the chocolate and espresso. The maraschino cherries almost make the flavor profile like the little chocolate covered cherries.
Strength hits medium/full body.
Now we have some nuttiness, toastiness, and a very rich, earthy tobacco flavor.
The nuts and toasty elements give the blend a whole new slant. Both flavors move to the front right behind the spiciness.
The char line is a bummer, dudes.
But we now have some deep complexity, nice balance, and a rich, delicious finish.
It needs a touch up every few minutes. This will have a major impact on my scoring.
The song, “Badge” is playing on the cable TV radio. One of my all-time favorite Cream songs. Did you know that George Harrison co-wrote that song with Clapton?
The Viaje Throw Down Fed Head has a more traditional flavor profile. The Dojonation was more unique but flavors were subtle and nuanced. With the Viaje Throw Down Fed Head, the flavors are very bold and out front.
Chocolate goes back to leading the pack. The spiciness has moved to the middle of the flavor list. Nuts and toasty right behind the chocolate. The cedar is on the wane too.
Strength remains at medium/full.
The cherry element becomes a more generic fruity flavor.
I’m enjoying the Viaje Throw Down Fed Head. While it is more traditional than the Dojonation it finds my comfort zone.
The classic rock channel is on the money this morning with its play list. Now it’s Jimi and “All Along the Watchtower.” My favorite Hendrix tune.
For me, constant transitions fuels my feelings for a cigar blend. It is something that most inexpensive cigars don’t possess. It is not the same thing as complexity. That’s a whole different bird.
The Dojonation had loads of transitions while never achieving the bold flavors of the Fed Head.
The Fed Head is complex and very flavorful but it is short sheeted when it comes to serious transitions.
It is totally dominated by the chocolate element.
And as I type the last sentence, new flavors come home to roost: coconut, nougat, raisins, and some caramel.
This helps the flavor profile’s spectrum of flavors and should help out the transitions.
We shall see.
Don’t get me wrong, I think the Viaje Throw Down Fed Head is a delicious cigar. I suppose 4-6 months of humidor time may fix any issues I’ve described.
Smoke time has been 45 minutes.
The char line now seems to be in check.
Here they are: Chocolate, nuts, toasty, caramel, espresso, spice, leather, earthiness, fruity sweetness, nougat, dried fruit.
If that’s not a Nic flavor profile, I’ll eat my right leg.
You watch. When they finally decide to reveal the leaf stats, I will have egg all over my face. So much for being an expert.
The strength has pulled back some. It is now just a tick over medium body. And so far, no nicotine.
Yea! The red pepper has returned and takes its rightful place in front of the pack. I love that oomph that a spicy component brings to the flavor profile.
Transitions finally kick in. I like to use the analogy of a rotating disco ball throwing out flavors as laser lights hit it.
This is the real sweet spot. 2-1/2” to go.
The char line is dead nuts and has been so for a bit. Fingers crossed no more trouble.
The sun finally comes out and you can see how beautiful the wrapper is.
I am thinking I may have to discount the construction issue with the foot because the previous Fed Head I smoked had no such issues. This is probably just an aberration.
So now, we are back on a level playing field with the Dojonation which makes it even harder to compare the two blends fairly.
Each blend brings something special to the table. Both completely different. It’s apples and oranges. How do you compare?
Smoke time has been an hour and 10 minutes.
You can see the small bits of toothiness now that the sunlight is bathing the stick in my photos.
The Viaje Throw Down Fed Head has reached killer smoke status.
This is probably how the cigar will start after a few months of rest.
The Fed Head is clearly now a medium body smoke.
Lawdy. What a great flavor list. The raisins move to nearly the front of the line. But chocolate still dominates with red pepper right behind.
The cigar slows down at this point. It must be packed more heavily here.
My doctor set me up for a new battery of tests. Lovely.
But I notice the brain fart when I need to remove the memory card from the camera to upload the photos to my laptop. For some reason, when I changed over anti-virus software, it won’t let me use a USB cable. And I find myself confused as to where it is stored in the camera. Very frustrating. I’ve gotten several kind messages from you readers giving me pep talks about this issue with my puny brain. Thank you guys. It means a lot.
Back to the Viaje Throw Down Fed Head.
Don’t you love it when you put a cigar down and then come back to it 5 minutes later and it’s still lit? The Fed Head has that quality.
We have hit flavor bomb status. It totally fucks with me now because I have to rate it. I hate rating cigars. Everyone has a different palate. What is delicious to me may be only so so to you.
The only folks entitled to rate cigars are the experts with Cigar Aficionado. Although, many a time I find myself scratching my head at how they rate certain cigars. You just know that they must be given cigars with at least 6 months of humi time. No ROTT cigars for them.
The cigar has gone out. LOL.
The Viaje Throw Down Fed Head returns to medium/full.
And with it, comes the nicotine.
I guess if I had ever smoked a single cigarette, the nicotine would not affect me so much. But I could never get past the dizziness smoking a cigarette provides. So I said, fuck it, and moved on with my life. I’m very glad I never got hooked on those things.
Charlotte smokes cigs. When she buys cigarettes, she gets the cheapest possible. When I buy her cigs, I get her the American Spirit brand. I don’t know how much less damaging they are but it is a better blend with no additives.
The Viaje Throw Down Fed Head finishes cool and without harshness.
Flavors are all intact.
Buying the limited run of these two cigars is a good idea. Any time you can snag 10 cigars instead of 20, it is a big relief as one gets tired of being beaten by your wife.
$9.00 has become the new $6.00 cigar. With cigar prices escalating out of control, this is a very fair price point.
Several months ago, I pre-ordered the Viaje Skull and Bones Collector’s Edition – Ten Ton Tess 5-Pack – Maduro (6 X 54). $72.35. Or $14.47 per stick. I still have not received them. I used the dough given to me by one of my sponsors. I didn’t tell Charlotte. I expect these cigars to be better than a BJ for that price. I don’t know what got into me. I use my platform to rail against the high pricing of current releases and then, like a schmuck, I go out and buy some. I blame it on the Alzheimer’s. LOL.
I can’t wait to see the pricing of all the new stuff coming out of this summer’s IPCPR trade show. Probably sky high and will put me out of business for reviewing the new stuff.
This was a chocolate candy bar from start to finish. Lots of sweetness and fruit. Nutty and toasty.
The Viaje Throw Down Fed Head compared to the Dojonation is a hard one. I gave the Dojonation a 90. But it was so different than the Fed Head that I am not sure what to rate it.
Despite the early burn issues, this was an extraordinary cigar. I have to wuss this one out and give the Viaje Throw Down Fed Head a 90 as well.
I highly recommend it.
You can buy the 10 pack at the Cigar Federation Store for $90.00. Well worth it. I want to thank my benefactor for being so generous and gifting me the cigars.
I will now let the balance of the cigars rest for a few months and see what we shall see.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS