Viva Republica Advanced Warfare | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Filler: Pennsylvanian, Dominican, Nicaraguan
Size: 5.25 x 43 “Corona”
Body: Full
Price: $6.00 MSRP

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Today we take a look at the brand new Viva Republica Advanced Warfare.

NOTE: Please do not forget about me when you have a $10 bill in your wallet and please donate to my Katman’s Medical Fund at Go Fund Me. No donation is too small. I need dough to pay my medical bills to treat my Alzheimer’s. Thanks.

BACKGROUND:
Factory: E. León Jimenes Tabacalera, Santiago, Dominican Republic.
I want to thank Miami Cigar & Co. for sending me samples of this cigar. They are the distributor for the line.
The Advanced Warfare is a follow up to the 2013 Guerrilla Warfare line.
This cigar made its debut at the 2015 IPCPR trade show this summer.
Owner, Jason Holly, decided not to use a different wrapper for the Advanced Warfare. It is the same exact wrapper as the Guerrilla Warfare. The rest of the cigar is totally different. The binder is Connie Broadleaf instead of a mix of DR, Nic, and PA.
And just like with Guerrilla Warfare, the packaging is in boxes of 50.

DESCRIPTION:
Kind of a gnarly looking twig of a cigar. Very rough around the edges. Seams aren’t tight. Lots of big veins for such a small cigar. It’s lumpy and bumpy. Like me. The cap has an unintended pig tail lying on its side as if it had just been slaughtered. All in all, it’s pretty sloppy. (Oops, there goes Viva Republica as a sponsor).
The wrapper is a chocolate graham cracker color with a bit of tooth.

SIZES AND PRICING:
Petit Corona: 4 x 41 $5.00 MSRP
Corona: 5.25 x 43 $6.00 MSRP

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell faint aromas of cocoa, sweetness, spice, and fruit.
From the clipped cap and foot, I smell strong baker’s cocoa, spice, licorice, earthiness, and coffee.
The cold draw presents flavors of chocolate, spice, cream, and earthy tobacco.

FIRST HALF:
No need to do this in triplicate so halves works just fine.
The draw is spot on.

There is some fresh orange citrus upfront accompanied by a spice element, rich chocolate, coffee, leather, earthiness, malt, creaminess, and a touch of dried fruit.
Now that’s how a cigar should start off…unlike what happened yesterday with the La Aurora Untamed Extreme review. Had to nearly wait for the halfway point before it kicked in. Not this baby. It is in 3rd gear from the get go.

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Strength is immediately medium/full.
The cigar is packed nicely and just the right amount of give making it a slow smoke.

The flavor profile cruises just above the horizon line. The flavors have become subtle and nuanced.
I’ve had the Viva Republica Advanced Warfare for about a month.

The creaminess, spice, chocolate, and malt are really simpatico. A perfect Superfecta. Been to the track lately?
A bit of complexity enters at the 8 minute mark. The malt is a combo of Flaked Rye Malt and Honey Malt. (See Malt Chart).
There is a definitive honey component now. Even my lips feel sticky. Floral notes appear.

The photo below is the first one I got with true color of the cigar’s wrapper. When there is no sun, lighting gear is not my forte. And, often, I get confused by the camera and its settings. Go figure.

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The char line has been a bit wonky this whole time requiring minor tune ups here and there.
On its own, the flavor profile is a bit numbing. Take a sip of water and the flavors are freshened and complex. This is so typical of a lot of blends. A constant car wash of the palate is needed to really taste the blender’s intent.

Did you get your latest Cigar Aficionado? An article about Kaizad Hansotia was interesting. When posed the question of why are there so many smokers who don’t like your blends and that you tend to cater to the rich with those super expensive blends….he replied….”all those people can go to hell and if he didn’t know what he was doing, he wouldn’t still be in business.” That was actually a paraphrase. I laughed when I read it. He even admitted to the fact that he makes good cigars for B & M’s and drek for online stores. This is a fact I’ve been touting for years. A Gurkha Crest at Cbid can be had for $4. At a B & M, it’s over $25 (That was in 2008) and most probably a completely different blend.
It’s bait and switch.

The Viva Republica Advanced Warfare kicks into high gear with a little over 3” to go.
Big and bold. Very spicy. Very, very full bodied. Lots of nicotine. And a boat load of flavor without the help of sipping water needed. Now we’re talking.

The cable TV radio really sucks this morning.

Man, it’s like a light switch was turned on. The Viva Republica Advanced Warfare is now a monster blend. I read some other reviews and about half of them gave the stick a so so rating. I don’t get that. Timing? Who knows?
The constant doctoring of the char line is a real pain in the ass and will affect my rating.

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Here are the flavors: Spice, creaminess, chocolate, coffee, malt, honey, floral notes, sweetness, fruit, leather, earthiness, a bit of cinnamon graham cracker, and raisins.
Wow. A dynamite cigar blend. You can’t beat a Corona for giving its all to the flavor profile. Even a robusto can’t match that intensity.

SECOND HALF:
Smoke time is 40 minutes. I didn’t think it would smoke this slow. Fucking great. I figured it wouldn’t go past 45 minutes for the entire cigar. I’m impressed.

8half
My favorite photo so far.

I’m very glad I chose to review this cigar today.
I was sent some Alec Bradley Enclaves and Flores y Rodriguez 10th Anniversary Reserva Limitadas. Those will be my last two reviews for a while.

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Manny Mota and Jesus Alou! Man this cigar experience is a knee knocker. Huge flavor profile. Full body to the max. For some reason, I didn’t review the Guerrilla Warfare line. Probably broke…no money. But I did review the Rapture which I found to be a great blend. If I can, I would like to get a hold of the Guerrilla Warfare and review it.

I’m listening to The Doors doing “Gloria.” I don’t remember that on any of their albums.
Oh lord! Now they are playing “Dazed and Confused” by Zep. One of my all-time faves. When I played in my band, Homegrown, back in the early 70’s, we did a shit load of Zep covers. We were lucky to have a singer that could mimic anyone. He did a crack up job doing Robert Plant. So we did an album’s worth of Zep’s music in four sets.
I used to get goose bumps when I would start the song with that famous bass line.

OK. Back to the Viva Republica Advanced Warfare.
Some bitterness shows up. Not good.
Bitterness usually shows as a result of huffing and puffing the cigar too vigorously which I haven’t done. Hopefully, it is a temporary setback.

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The Viva Republica Advanced Warfare is super complex. Some flavors have moved to the back of the line.
Here is the list one last time: Spice, chocolate, malt, sweetness, fruit, leather, earthiness, raisins, coffee, creaminess, coffee, and bitterness.

And then just like that, the bitterness dissipates dramatically. Good.
I’m swooning for your love. Or maybe it is just the large dose of nicotine.
This is one strong little firecracker. Full+ body.

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The big boldness has dissipated some. The zenith was apparently before the end of the first half. Still a very good cigar but not as exciting anymore.

The char line has behaved during the entire second half.
The Viva Republica Advanced Warfare comes to an end after an hour and 10 minutes.
The bitterness finally disappeared in the last 10 minutes.
This allowed the flavor profile to blossom a bit.

My score would be higher if not for the char line issues and that late bitterness.
I rate it at 90.

PRICE POINT:
Yeah, it is a small cigar but it packs plenty of punch. And the hour and 10 minutes of cigar experience make it worth more than the $6 asking price. Nice to see that Viva Republica isn’t greedy like so many other manufacturers. I wouldn’t try and find it cheaper. This price is good to go.

SUMMARY:
This cigar experience was a real surprise. First, its length of smoke time. And second, the big bowl of flavors.
Construction was very good. No wrapper issues. Just the recurring minor burn line problems.

Right to the end, this was a flavor heavy blend. I imagine that the petit corona must be a real fire cracker. But, generally, I don’t smoke cigars that small. They are good for running errands but that’s about it.

I highly recommend this cigar. The price is right. And you get more than your money’s worth. And there are plenty of online stores carrying both sizes.
I couldn’t find info on its production but based on none of the cigar news services not mentioning this, I have to assume it is a regular production cigar.

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And now for something completely different:
(I’ve posted this story a couple times but I have a lot of new readers)

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More on Hall of Fame drummer, Hal Blaine. I was doing a session in L.A. that Hal set up for me. We had been playing together for a year now and I had a pretty good handle on nuance. This is a man I idolized from a young teen. And now I was his partner in crime on recordings.

It was a national Chevy commercial. And it was bass heavy. When you do a 60 second commercial, you just don’t play 60 seconds of music. Sometimes, it can last for several minutes. It allows the powers to be to nip and tuck it anyway they want.

The other regular session players were used to seeing me with Hal. And it got me some serious street cred. Carol Kaye, the legendary bassist, came in to say hi because she was in the next studio recording another commercial. She was my bass teacher when I was 19. 13 years earlier. But after some prodding, I got her to remember me.

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We were rehearsing and on a break, Carol gave me some wonderful pointers. But she was a pick player and I was a fingers player. So it was a little hard to translate.
Drove me crazy with her lessons using the pick method. I played with a pick early on but she made you focus on the up or down stroke of the pick for each note. You have no idea how hard that is. Play this note with an up stroke..the next two notes with down strokes, etc.

The three of us were huddled together in a corner of this massive studio that housed a 24 piece band plus strings. It was like Abbey Road, or EMI Studios.
Since this was a union gig, we had ordained breaks and this one had ended (Hal got me into the union). I got back into position and in walked Neil Diamond. He made a beeline to Hal as Hal played on most of Diamond’s early stuff. I was awe struck. Back then, Diamond hadn’t gone all Elvis in Vegas yet. And he was pumping out hits one after the other. He was a really big deal.

Hal, always the gentleman, introduced me to Neil. And Neil was very gracious taking the time to kibitz with me for a couple minutes. I was a pig rolling in my own excrement. Neil sat next to us on a stool while we went back to playing. And I kept seeing him out of the corner of my eye as he watched me play. And then I hit a clam. Oh shit. The band leader stopped everyone and gave me a stern lecture. I was so embarrassed. But the cool players knew I was enamored with Diamond and that’s why I wasn’t concentrating.

Diamond sat there until our next break. He said his good byes and split. I was glad. He made me nervous. Hal gave me some suggestions on a certain part of the tune. Think of Joe Osborne he told me. I nodded with a big smile. Joe played on all the Simon & Garfunkel tunes, including “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Along with Hal. Joe was an expressive bassist and often stole the spotlight.

We got back into the tune and I changed my style a bit and vamped on some of the transitions. I was afraid to look at the band leader but when I did, he smiled at me. Whew.

The session lasted four hours. When we were done, I was soaked in sweat. I was playing commercial rock and roll and this was not my forte.

Hal had a cartage company pack his drums. It only took me 5 minutes to pack my gear. The band leader came over and told me that he was worried when he saw I played fretless but there were no worries or mistakes and I got a pat on the back…and a wink.

We were about to leave when he handed me a piece of paper. It was Neil Diamond’s phone number and I was told to call it. I was floored and, at first, thought it was a joke.

I called a couple times and spoke to a secretary. Neil never called me back. But that’s OK. That studio experience was thrilling for me and I figured I’d have a nervous breakdown if he asked me to play with him.

neil

I got a nice message from Carol yesterday:
“I’m sorry for your illness Phillip, good that you’ve had a good career.
Take care,
Carol Kaye”

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