Viaje Pepper Series Carolina Reaper | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 4.875 x 50 Figurado
Strength: Full
Price: $8.56

Today we take a look at the Viaje Pepper Series Carolina Reaper
Many thanks to Tyler Jeffery at Havana Lounge & Cigar. They have these in stock because most of their patrons aren’t familiar with it so it’s a good place to give a call to snag some. Call Tyler at 414-258-8219.
Remember, I am writing in real time as I smoke this cigar. I don’t return to the body of the review to edit something stupid I said. It is straight through. I should have provided this boiler plate explanation from the very first review 10 years ago. But noooo….

Factory: Raíces Cubanas, Danlí, Honduras.
Fourth installment of the Viaje Pepper Series
Tobacco is 100% AGANORSA.

The PR portion of the presentation is first rate. Dressed up like a hot pepper with no place to go. But despite a single tree trunk sized vein, the tobacco sausage is a thing of beauty.
The dark espresso/chocolate hued wrapper is oily and a joy for the eyes. This little figurado is rolled seamlessly by journeymen (women) rollers. It is absolutely perfect. Even the cap is a work of art. The stick is pretty hard though. I hope I don’t have to pierce it to make it work.

From the shaft, I can smell barnyard, chocolate, coffee, cream, red and black peppers, swingin’ caramel, dark raisins, cedar, malt, sweet and savory notes of steak sauce, buttered sweet potato, coconut oil, and heavy floral notes.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell all of the above plus elements of Worcestershire sauce, beef jerky, smokiness, and chocolate covered almonds.

The cold draw presents flavors of Red hot pepper, lots of malts, coffee, chocolate, cedar, barnyard, savory mixture of meaty factors, and cream.

The cigar is jammed up and jelly tight. Thank goodness for my PerfecDraw cigar poker tool. It’s a tiny cigar so one must be very precise with the tool so as not to pierce the wrapper while digging away….opening the Holland Tunnel.

Man, the whole cigar is plugged stem to stern but my cigar poker clears the detritus and flotsam and jetsam so now I have a beautifully clear draw. Way to go Dr. Rod.

Time to light this up…boy have I been waiting for this.
Some guys and gals like to snip off the tiny nipple at the char line before lighting. I don’t. I like to live dangerously so as to see just how good this roller was at his/her job.

Right away, I’m impressed. Wow. Big bold flavors of chocolate in a gazillion versions, coffee with heavy cream, super hot red pepper, big floral notes, caramel, cedar, salty pretzel, raisins, huge with malts, and those beautiful savory notes.

The finish is already a mile long. Complexity digs its heels in immediately. Transitions begin to hold each other hands while exploring crossing the street with a teacher named Mrs. Harrison.

Notes of cereal topped with freshly cut banana. A touch of cinnamon. Nutty as in filberts and pecans. I’m not even half an inch in and this baby is blowing my mind.

And look what Viaje went and done did…a reasonably priced limited edition cigar. I believe only 2000 boxes were produced and most online stores seem to be sold out. That’s why I told you earlier to call my buddy Tyler. He has a few boxes and will sell them to you in that form or singles. Tell whoever answers that the Katman sent you. Tyler is only there on Tuesdays and Thursdays and one other day I forget.

Tyler told me last Thursday that he had smoked two right out of the cello and they were terrific. Tyler has an excellent palate. He knows his shit. Trust him if he suggests something to you.

OK. Back to the Viaje Pepper Series Carolina Reaper.
A marvelous cigar that allows me to be the fool. So much more fun describing a killer cigar than tearing down a piece of shit.

The creaminess is going locker room nuts. Remember when you first entered middle school and you had to take a shower after gym class? The older guys had fully formed genitals. Me? I had the package of a baby squirrel. I still have scars on my ass from being whacked with wet towels.

Complexity is full tilt. Flavors swirl in complete impulsiveness. The finish is to die for. Strength is medium/full. The blend is very spicy.

While the cigar being so packed caused issues that my cigar poker cured, the upside to this issue is that the Viaje Pepper Series Carolina Reaper has a very slow roll to its burn…just taking its time as it cruises up the coast on Hwy 101 reveling at the scenery and most certainly being right in the moment. Few cigars allow you this privilege. Being in the moment with a good blend is splendiferous. Nothing like it. Viaje just scored.

I have changed my mind. I want them all. I was just kidding when I said Tyler had a few boxes. They were just sold as soon as I can get a hold of my buddy, Tyler.

Yesterday’s review concealed a piece of trash underneath the PR game along with its $19 price tag. If Viaje had chosen to price this in the greedy range, they could have and still would have sold out quickly. Tick tock, tick tock…

Chocolate malts and vanilla are turning this cigar into a concoction I haven’t mentioned in ages…the iconic Egg Cream soda.

I grew up on that stuff. My dad always had a crate of real seltzer water with the transferrable spout. Just like the Three Stooges used to squirt each other. And you had to have U-Bet chocolate syrup. Yum.

Balance is so important that makes the difference between a good blend and a great one. Like a snail navigating the sharp razor blade maneuver, the balance must be perfect in its tailoring of what should be tasted first and in what order the tobacco follows its own passion.
The last time I had this much fun, my pants were around my ankles and the cat was yelling for me to stop…I speak some dialects of cat.

Smoke time is 35 minutes.
Strength hits full.

The first indelible sweet spot occurs right here, right now. The blend overflows with goodies from Tanta Claus. Yeah, it’s peeling my eyebrows off with its strength and spiciness but at the same time, it’s so smooth that it defies the gods.

The chocolate and creaminess along with sweet caramel and dried fruit…and those ass kicking malts make this cigar a pure delight. Now why couldn’t Viaje have made this a regular production cigar? I suppose that next year they will come out with their 5th version of the Pepper Series and we will all elbow each other to get some.

Construction is on its way to Mars. A perfect trajectory using calculations designed by the triangle sum theorem down to a plus or minus of .0001”. I’m a math geek…sorry.

The halfway point seems to arrive quickly due to the intensity of the smoke. I’m in for 45 minutes.
A good meal, a good whiskey, and a good cigar always seem to vanish quickly.

None of the earlier listed flavors have wavered. They are in sync without Lance Bass. The complexity is staggering. Viaje could have charged $14 and no one would have complained.
The blend has my nose hairs on fire from the cornucopia of peppers.

AXSTV ran the 2005 Cream concert at Albert Hall. Damn. After McCartney, Jack Bruce was my biggest influence. Bruce taught me how to improvise. Later, I glommed on to all the wonderful CTI label artists playing jazz fusion and mixed it all up…so by the time I got to England in 1974, I was ready. What a shame Bruce died. I have an old Ginger Baker story that occurred while we recorded at Island Studio in 1975 in London…next review.

You need to track down the Viaje Pepper Series Carolina Reaper and purchase as many as you can afford.
Robert Payne of Payne Mason cigars told me that his cigars need absolutely no humidor time and are ready to go out of the cello. He was wrong.

I’ve had this little pepper bugger for one week.
I took the chance of reviewing it because they are selling out fast and there is no point of me reviewing a cigar you can’t buy.

“Land of a Thousand Dances” by Little Richard. The Viaje Pepper Series Carolina Reaper is the land of a thousand influences. New compositions of flavor pockets keep rolling off the assembly line. Each one different from the last keeping me glued in the moment.

In the early 80’s, I got a chance to see the band U2 debut at the Whisky A’ Go Go. A celebrity filled audience. I was there with a radio disc jockey friend. I stood in front of the stage and listened intensely. I told my buddy these guys ain’t going nowhere. But I did get to meet John Belushi back stage who was there with his father. Dressed to the nines and very generous with his time, I wondered who this guy was? All I could think of was him on stage with Joe Cocker or singing in the Blues Brothers. A couple years later, he was dead. I believe U2 are doing OK.

Smoke time is one hour ten minutes.
New and more powerful sweet spot emerges from the black lagoon.
Unbelievable smoke. One stinking week of humidor time.

I don’t have another stick. What would Lucy say when Ricky said she couldn’t be in the show?
As strong as the Viaje Pepper Series Carolina Reaper is, not a sign of nicotine. Just a perfectly smooth and balanced cigar blend. And have a Hazmat suit nearby in case you want to avoid hot pepper poisoning.

I’ve got a Viaje Craft Series Bales on Bales stick I am dying to review.

Chocolate pumps and double pumps. Creaminess is downright illegal. The Egg Cream effect is right up front.
As the cigar begins to bid farewell, it never eases up on its civic duty to keep impressing. No letup of flavors so complex that I wish this was an all-day sucker.
Final smoke time is one hour 25 minutes.


And now for something completely different:
More on Butch “Eddie Munster” Patrick….
Our press agent had finagled us into attending an anniversary party for Alan Hale, Jr’s Restaurant Row seafood restaurant on La Cienega Blvd. The Skipper (Gilligan’s Island) had a very successful place called The Lobster Barrel. (The restaurant was sold after Hale’s death and the name changed to The Shark Bar)

Did you know that The Skipper’s real name was Jonas Gumby?
Butch and I arrived at the packed house and it was crawling with strange celebs.

Rudy Vallee was there. The silent screen/1930’s actor…the actor/singer who used a paper cone megaphone to sing through….Max Baer Jr. (Jethro) from The Beverly Hillbillies was there doing his best Elvis impression. No kidding. He had an expensive suit with a cape, shirt unbuttoned to his navel, a load of yellow gold necklaces, too many gold bracelets, and his hair was dyed jet black with Elvis side burns. He also had three good looking chicks hanging all over him.

We hung out and ate and drank on the Skipper. We also met some up and coming bands, who I can’t remember. Lots of photos were taken by newspaper and magazine reporters. Butch was in all of them. I lost them over the years.

Now here is where it went south on me….not Butch…me.

We meandered towards the exit of the restaurant saying our good byes to everyone.
Hale stood at the exit saying good bye to everyone and thanking them for coming. Now I thought this was his birthday party and as I shook his hand, I said, “Happy Birthday, Mr. Hale.”

Hale didn’t even flinch or blink when I said that. He thanked me profusely for coming and we were back on La Cienega. Then Butch turned to me and said, “You schmuck. It isn’t his birthday; it’s the anniversary of the restaurant.”

What a nice man Mr. Hale was not to correct me and embarrass me. I met a lot of celebrities while doing the Eddie Munster project back in the early 1980’s. And no one was as down to earth as The Skipper.

One more….

I was on an errand to bring some PR material to Entertainment Tonight on the ABC lot in Hollywood. They were planning to do a segment on my Eddie Munster project. We had a single called, “Whatever Happened to Eddie?” We used the theme from the show and I wrote some lyrics about Eddie. Naturally, Butch Patrick was the star.

As I made my way through the maze of buildings, the local morning show was doing an outside segment on the grass. They were going to interview Howard Cosell.

I had to stop dead in my tracks because I couldn’t get into the building without walking through the shot. A PA told me I could make my move during a commercial.

And there was the man, leaning against a steel rail…watching and waiting. So I tip toed up to Cosell and started a conversation. I showed him my PR stuff and he got a big chuckle out of it.

We talked quietly for about 5 minutes…about life. No sports. No entertainment. Just life. It surprised me what a down to earth man, nice he really was. No pretentions or uppity behavior because I was a nobody. I can’t remember what we spoke of but we laughed.

Then it was his time in the chair. He told me to stay and watch. Hell, I was in no hurry, so hell yeah. Work back at the studio would still be there.

They talked to him about Monday Night Football where he was a star. And he was funny. I couldn’t help it and laughed out loud causing the two on air to laugh on the air as well.

Then Cosell told them about me standing just a few feet away and that I should join them because of this really cool project I had. The two on-air idiots freaked.

He got out of his director style chair, walked off camera, and dragged me over. I just stood there like a schmuck. Cosell made me tell them about my project and show the record and PR photos of the band which I called “Eddie and the Monsters.” All of them in ghoulish makeup. And all very good looking young men. Perfect for tween girls to swoon over. That was our target audience.

The hosts got bullied by Cosell and then you could see in their eyes that in their ear mic, the director was telling them “Go with it.”

No one had heard from Butch in some time at that point. Now he is everywhere doing those child star actor conventions signing autographs for $10.

So they asked me about the project and I had all that shit for the camera to zoom in on. And it was a great, free commercial for my project showcased on ET the following week.
Because of my intrusion, I ended up bum ping the next personality scheduled…David Copperfield.

He stood there waiting…I slyly looked off camera saw that he was so angry that he was as red as a beet. He was pissed off big time. The on-air people made their apologies to Copperfield and said they would have him on another time.
Copperfield stormed off.

When we were done, Cosell invited me to breakfast at Canter’s Deli in the Jewish section of West L.A. Very famous place. Around since the early 20th century.

We got there and all heads turned. We spent almost two hours talking and laughing while he told me inside stuff about Monday Night Football. Holy cow. The stuff he told me. I should write about it because everyone he spoke about is now dead.

We kept being interrupted by autograph seeks. Cosell was magnanimous and generous with each and every person.
He finally told me he had to go. I offered to pay but he would have none of it. He asked if I had a place to go for Yom Kippur. I told him I would be with my family in Long Beach. He told me that if it fell through, I was welcome to his house.
I came this close to calling my father and telling him I had gonorrhea.


Tags: , , ,

3 replies

  1. Great story. I get nervous when celebs come up because I hate hearing (realizing) some of my heroes are too human. But thrilled to hear Cosell was a mensch.
    And the Viaje Pepper is so pretty I might have dropped $9 to see one in person if you nixed it but, your assessment has me eager to proceed.

  2. I love your celebrity encounters Phil! Here’s a comic from the early 90s who had the greatest routine on Howard Cosell. It starts at the 5:20 mark:

  3. Hysterical. How come I’ve never heard of Sobel?
    I have a library of Carson shows. No one has come close.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s