Freya by Emma Viktorsson from Las Cumbres Tobacco | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Dominican ’98 Criollo (4-5 years of aging) [La Canela Farm]
Binder: Mexican San Andrés
Filler: Dominican ’98 Criollo, Dominican Piloto Cubano (Double Primings), Nicaraguan (Esteli)
Size: 5.75 x 42 “Sessrúmnir- Corona Larga”
Body: Medium
Price: $7.00 MSRP

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Freyja Poster

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Today we take a look at the new Freya by Emma Viktorsson from Las Cumbres Tobacco.
Many thanks to Miguel Castro for sending me these cigars. He also made it possible so that I may review two other brands/blends: Quesada Oktoberfest 2015 and Senorial Maduro by Jose Blanco.

BACKGROUND:
Factory: Tabacalera Palma
Release Date: August, 2015
Debuted at the 2015 IPCPR trade show and this is the second line released by Las Cumbres Tobacco.

Las Cumbres Tabaco is the company owned and operated by José Blanco and wife, Emma Viktorsson.

The back story: There was a Viking goddess named Freya. She was the goddess of fertility and beauty. And chief of the Valkyrie.
The blend was developed by Emma Viktorsson and Geraldito Perez.

There is just a shit load of information about this new line but as I read the other news sources and reviews, it is a mind fuck overload of info. And I really doubt you are that interested in a Viking mythology class 101. So I hit the high points. If you want to read about all the nitty gritty of this, go to Halfwheel or Cigar Coop. They have everything you ever wanted to know about how this product came to be.

DESCRIPTION:
Kind of a funky looking cigar with bumps and lumps. Some huge tree trunk veins. Fairly tight seams. A light/medium brown wrapper with a touch of oil and slightly toothy.
The cigar feels light in the hand so I expect a quick smoke. But there are no soft spots.

SIZES AND PRICING:
All based on Viking mythology.
Sessrúmnir (Corona Larga) 5.75 x 42 $7.00 MSRP
Valhalla (Robusto) 5.5 x 50 $7.85 MSRP
Thor’s Toro 6 x 54 $9.00 MSRP
Valkyrie Pyramid 6.5 x 52 $10.00 MSRP

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I can smell sweetness, molasses, spice, maple, smokiness, meat, and some floral notes.
From the clipped cap and foot, I smell more molasses, spice, toffee, smokiness, floral notes, and maple.
The cold draw presents flavors of nuts, strong toffee, sweetness, spice, smoked meat, and floral notes.

FIRST THIRD:
The draw is very tight. So, I grab my cigar awl and all (no pun intended) is well.

First flavors waste no time: Chocolate, spice, coffee, sweetness, cedar, lots of malt (Cara Munich Malt, Chocolate Malt, Chocolate Wheat Malt, Coffee Malt, and Flaked Rye Malt). (See Malt Chart).

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Strength is medium/full right out of the gate. But then this is a great size for immediate gratification.
6 x 42 is quickly becoming my favorite size…as of late. Mostly while I am crazy in the brain. LOL.

The Freya by Emma Viktorsson from Las Cumbres Tobacco (Boy, that’s a long name for a cigar) is finding its complexity with only half an inch burned. So my stupid prediction about the time this cigar will take to smoke is wrong…of course. It is a slow roll.

And it tastes just like I like it. I’m impressed. Now one of two things will happen. Either the flavor profile will continue to build and transition or it will peter out in the second half. Fingers crossed.

The maltiness is really pushing hard.
There was a song in the late 60’s by The Seeds. It was called “Pushing Too Hard.” They were one hit wonders. But my friends and I got a kick every time it played on the radio because the keys player played a huge clam in the middle of his solo. His fingers literally tripped over themselves and we would yell “Loser!” Can you imagine? They could have dropped in as many takes as they wanted and this was the best solo that the keys player could manage? LOL. Maybe that’s why they were called The Seeds. Should have been buried in the dirt and then waited for something good to blossom..like a tomato. Clearly, weed was smoked during the recording session.

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Creaminess makes its first appearance an inch in. Jewish rye bread. The Flaked Rye Malt nails it. It’s spicy and redolent of good rye and caraway seeds. (“You’re pushing too hard, you’re pushing on me.”)
The Freya by Emma Viktorsson from Las Cumbres Tobacco is doing just fine. Lots of complex flavors, nice even balance, and a long finish.

And one more incident of proof that everything coming out of the 2015 IPCPR trade show need not cost $16.00. Kudos to Las Cumbres Tobacco for thinking first of the consumer and profit margin, second.
Here they are as they are changing position in line: Spice, malts, toffee, coffee, rye, caraway, chocolate, nutty, molasses, floral notes, and smoky meat.
The cigar goes out. Bummer.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 25 minutes. Much longer than I expected.
And ahhh…the sun came out. Good for photos.
A bitter lemon citrus element appears. Tastes like lemon zest.

And then transitions occur. The toffee element becomes much stronger while the malts falter a bit. The spiciness has moved back a couple of notches but the coffee and chocolate are strong. The nuttiness is in the middle. The rye is front and center. Creaminess has moved to the back of the line.

6third

The lemon zest has disappeared.
Strength is still medium/full.

Each sip of water causes a rush to my palate. Flavor explosion with the red pepper burning my tongue and lips.
The Freya by Emma Viktorsson from Las Cumbres Tobacco is quite different from anything that the Blancos have produced. Kudos to Emma. She has the golden touch.

I hope that this new line continues and doesn’t stop here. Just like the two daughters of Pepin Garcia who produced the La Duena but was really blended by Pete Johnson. They got their 15 minutes and then disappeared into the back office.
I like the Freya by Emma Viktorsson from Las Cumbres Tobacco because of the constant transitions. Surprises with every puff.

The lemon zest returns.
But the creaminess has returned in a big way.
And then nicotine kicks in as the cigar hits full body.

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Oh lawdy. I’ve still got more than half the cigar to go and we have nicotine. I don my crash helmet and place the dog next to me to break my fall when I pass out.

This is, most definitely, not a cigar for newbies. And good only for the experience smoker that owns a crash helmet and an understanding dog.

Did you see “60 Minutes” this last Sunday. They did a thing about how smart dogs are. And what made a big impact was the declaration that when a dog looks you right in the eyes, they are hugging you with their eyes. I found that wonderful. So whenever my boxer stares at me, I kiss her on the lips. And only occasionally use my tongue.

Know what the name of the song with the longest title is? I will give you a hint: The Beatles.
It is “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey.” 10 words.
It was a Lennon song, of course.

HALFWAY POINT:
Smoke time is 35 minutes.
I’m swooning from the nicotine.

A big jump in the flavor profile hits. Sweet Spot 1.0.

8half

The malts have taken over. But the rye is the most potent I’ve tasted in a cigar. Once again, the spice is schizophrenic by moving to the middle of the pack.
The cigar is so smooth now. The complexity very deep and rich. The lemon zest disappears once again.

The spiciness really is Schizo. Now it is way up front. I think therapy is in order.
The nuttiness is defined by becoming almonds, hazelnuts, and Brazil nuts.

Coffee becomes a potent cup of espresso. I love espresso. I can lift a car after a cup or two but I still love it. Bought a Krups coffee maker and cappuccino maker about 17 years ago and I’m very good at making espresso and milky foam. I made the mistake of taking it to work one day and I spent all morning taking orders from the other employees. Learned my lesson. Got nothing accomplished. People actually stood in line outside of my office. Now I know what it’s like to work at Starbucks.

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The Freya by Emma Viktorsson from Las Cumbres Tobacco is a wonderful blend.
The creaminess, espresso, chocolate, and malts are super smooth now.
Sweet Spot 2.0.
This is an incredible blend. I can’t find the words to tell you how good it is. Transitions occur with every puff.

LAST THIRD:
The molasses sweetness is gone now. But a dab of raisins takes its place giving it a dried fruit sweetness. It re-emphasizes the chocolate and creaminess.

There are new flavors that are elusive. I can’t nail them down. There is some dark tea.
A crack forms just above the foot.

10third

A sip of water and a huge rush of chocolate and creaminess bang into my palate.
The last third makes the Freya by Emma Viktorsson from Las Cumbres Tobacco a real winner in my book.
The lemon zest is gone again.
And all the malt elements are strong and potent.

I’m conflicted about the rating. I think that with a couple months of humidor time, this blend will be a monster. It is a min-monster now. But I can easily predict the future of this blend with a couple months of aging.

Oh lord. Man, this is a good cigar. I cannot believe it is only $7.00. I found no information on whether it is a limited run or a regular production cigar. This is a box worthy cigar.

I’m perfectly happy with this size. I might be tempted to go with the Robusto (5.5 x 50) but since the Corona is going to be a cigar experience that takes over an hour, I’m happy.

The Freya by Emma Viktorsson from Las Cumbres Tobacco is now super full bodied.
Thankfully, the nicotine has not gotten stronger.
I’ve burned right through the crack. All is well.
Cinnamon shows up. Like Red Hots.

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This blend just keeps getting better with every puff.
I’m no longer conflicted. This is a bona fide high premium cigar blend.

I found two reviews and Halfwheel and Cigar Authority liked the cigar but not as much as I do. Different palates. A naturally occurring phenomenon. They both gave the cigar a rating of 89. I think it is much better than that.
I highly recommend this cigar.
Final smoke time is one hour 15 minutes.

RATING: 95

PRICE POINT:
Instead of starting at $10.00 for the smallest size, it ends with $10.00 for the largest size. Unheard of in a new boutique blend.
This blend can stand up to most of the cigars I can think of.
Obviously, you won’t see this on Cbid. Miguel bought them at the Cigar Federation store. So he got his 10% off making it a $6.30 stick. Small Batch doesn’t carry them and I could find no other online store that carries them.

SUMMATION:
This was a true cigar experience. Experienced palates will love the blend. Remember to squint your eyes and smack your lips. LOL. It is how I am able to really taste the hard to find flavors.
The Freya by Emma Viktorsson from Las Cumbres Tobacco is only half gimmicky. The cigar itself is not. But the back story is something you will find on Wikipedia.

Transitions, complexity, balance and finish are all perfect. Fits my palate to a tee.
It’s nice to find something new and discover just how great it is. I’m tired of writing negative reviews about lousy cigars. So this was a breath of fresh air.

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And now for something completely different:
My downfall as the fixer….

The band had finished its second album, at the famous Island Studio in London…and since Miles Copeland was a cheap bastard, he picked an untried producer to ride herd on the biggest egos on the planet. Now, the guy had a distinguished career as an engineer, but nothing as a producer. And the band ran all over him.. Once, he was almost brought to tears because Darryl Way, the band leader, violinist and keys player yelled at him….because Darryl wasn’t getting his way.

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The old Island Studios

I was the mediator of the group and we all know what happens to that guy. And it did.

Two camps sprung up…Mick, the guitarist, and Darryl. Then there was Sonja, the singer, and Stewart Copeland, the drummer. I was in between trying to make the peace. Both camps were constantly at odds with each other. I was looking out for myself. I finally hit the big time and I didn’t want to see it get flushed down the toilet over band squabbles.

Stew was a very good drummer but had no constraints. He was like Keith Moon and just soloed away during every song. On stage, this was torture, because while Darryl and Mick were upfront trading lead riffs, Stewart was on some other planet soloing in all sorts of weird time signatures causing the boys up front to lose where “1” was.

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That forced me hit quarter notes hard and heavy so they would know where they were. Quarter notes means 1-2-3-4. The backbone of rock n roll. It made me crazy to be an accomplished bassist playing quarter notes while Stew behaved like he was the star of the band. And this band was a progressive one with lots of intricate chordal changes. Not a 1-4-5 blues band. Darryl was a trained classical musician and our music reflected his training and love.

During the close of recording of the album, Jose Feliciano showed up for a couple nights and added his own style to our English progressive recordings. The only one it sounded good on was my tune: “I Broke My Leg in Yucca Valley, but My Heart Lies in Palm Springs.” Really, no bullshit. That was the name of the tune and of course, it was bass oriented. I got to show off. The band hated it. It was so intricate that they couldn’t figure it out. It was very American jazz fusion..the exact reason they hired me. So they went to the booth and sulked. My tune became a bass solo with Feliciano playing guitar and famous Brazilian percussionist, Paulhino De Costa playing every percussion instrument he had in his kit bag. And Stew was right on point. I tried teaching Sonja the two sentence lyrics but she didn’t have the range or the ability to hit the strange time signature…so we had our only instrumental on the album.

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Top: Jose Feliciano enjoying a doob, Me with fro, Jose recording in studio, and the lead roadies enjoying my hospitality in my hotel room.

RCA had a big “Listening Party” debuting the release of the album called “Midnight Wire.”
It was a scene right out of “Spinal Tap.” So the record was played on a continual loop throughout the party and each time Yucca Valley played, I could hear mutterings of, “What the fuck is that?”

My heart sank. Feliciano liked it so much that he bought licensing rights…but I waited and it never showed up on any of his albums.
RCA’s reaction to our album was a disaster. And not just because of “Yucca Valley.”

Behind closed doors, Copeland and his henchmen figured out a new plan. They brought in two American hot shot producer brothers that had just finished producing Clapton’s latest album.

In Amsterdam, they came to watch us perform and we got word that we better go meet them at their hotel one afternoon. I went by myself because no one was interested. I felt it was very important but the band had no interest.
So I sat in their hotel room and listened to these two fuck heads tear the album apart…just ripped it.

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Darryl Way and me.

And to my face, they told me my bass playing sucked. They said the vocals sucked. They said the arrangements sucked. They said the violin playing sucked. They said the guitar playing was out of place. Holy Bat Shit!

I raced back to our hotel and with my eyes as big as saucers, I told the band we are in big trouble. They just laughed at me while drinking and smoking dope.

The plan was to re-record the album but something needed to be fixed. The two camps were called for a meeting. I was not invited. They blamed each other for the album failure. And guess what? Yep. I got the phone call. I was gone. The album problems were laid right at the foot of the bassist. LOL.
Bastardos!

They hired a session bassist to fill in the tracks. But when I listened to the finished album, I heard my bass playing on 75% of the tracks. So I wasn’t the problem. And I’ve never been paid royalties as, to this day, the refuse to admit they used my tracks.

The new album had no soul and was listless and sterile. No excitement, no verve. It was considered by the critics as the end of the band. And this band had a long life time. I believe they put out 14 albums. I was on 4.

There I was, stranded in England without a gig. It was so humiliating when the musical mags and rags started reporting that I had left the band because of differences inside the band. But I called these rags and told them the truth and they printed it. The band came down hard on me for doing this. I didn’t care. They fired me without any severance and I was dead broke 6000 miles from home with my girlfriend and her little girl.

The roadies took pity on me and delivered half of the equipment stored in the management’s warehouse so I could sell it and have money. Management made no stink over this. These were their best roadies and the roadies got in the face of Miles Copeland and shamed him for doing what he did to me. So I sold everything and finally had some money in the bank.

I spent another 6 months playing with several well-known English bands but it just didn’t click with me and I decided to go home with my tail between my legs.
The upside? I still get player royalties. Woo Hoo. Fuckers!

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Me and little Jennifer critiquing a Curved Air album.

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3 replies

  1. That Beatles song is tied with the Brand X tune: Algon ( Where an Ordinary Cup of Drinking Chocolate Costs £8,000,000,000)

  2. A friend and I both smoked this cigar last week. Both of us have been smoking medium to full strength cigars for close to 20 years. This cigar kicked us to the curb. At the last third, both of us got dizzy, started to sweat profusely and tossed our cookies. I have never had a cigar do that to me before. It is very strange that both of us had the exact same reaction. Have some sugar nearby when you smoke the Freya just in case you overdose on the nicotine in this stick.

  3. Two of us smoked the robusto and really enjoyed them. No problem, no nicotine issues. Maxx which size did you smoke.