Viaje Exclusivo Nicaragua Leaded | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo ‘99
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 5 x 52 Robusto
Strength: Full
Price: $9.20

Today we take a look at the Viaje Exclusivo Nicaragua Leaded.
Samples provided by Tyler Jeffery at Havana Lounge and Cigar in West Allis, WI.
I’ve allowed the cigar at least 3 months naked humi time.

BACKGROUND:
From Atlantic Cigar:
“Originally created by brand founder Andre Farkas as a personal blend for private consumption, the Viaje Exclusivo has experienced an explosive following through consistent small batch, limited releases in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. The dark, oily Nicaraguan Corojo ’99 wrapper delivers some serious strength, the blend is finished with a puro blend of both a Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. The Viaje Exclusivo Nicaragua’s are being Manufactured at TABSA Factory in Nicaragua. The Exclusivo line is created using some of the best Nicaraguan tobaccos, and for the Leaded line, it utilizes the fullest bodied tobaccos available as a beefed-up version, making for an extremely complexed full bodied smoke.”

APPEARANCE:
A jam-packed stick. Solid as a rock with little give or resistance. I smell a plug. Seams are tight and the veinage has not gone overboard. A nicely applied triple cap and a purty cigar band.
The wrapper is an oily and glossy, rusty penny hue.

SIZES AND PRICING:
Robusto: 5 x 52 $9.20
Double R: 5.5 x 54 $9.80
Toro: 6 x 50 $9.44
Corona Gorda: 5.625 x 46 $8.80

SMELL THE GLOVE:
The first order of pungency is dark bittersweet chocolate. Followed by a sweet caramel creaminess, cedar, malt, dried apricot, white pepper, and cinnamon graham cracker.
The cold draw consists of that dark chocolate, creaminess, black pepper, cedar, barnyard, and an assortment of coffee flavored ganache.

FIRST THIRD:
The cigar is amply packed to the point I can’t get a clean draw. So here comes my trusty PerfecDraw cigar poker and tool. A couple deadly thrusts and it opens up like a dream.
Here we go…Plumes of smoke reach the ceiling and form an Arlo Guthrie lyric sheet from Woodstock. “Hey Mr. Customs Man…”

It’s dark and heavy with an immediate burst of flavor. The cocoa is tweaked; transferring its bittersweet qualities to something creamier. I can definitely taste that creamy ganache only found in the best chocolates.
Black pepper emerges but in a gentle and subtle manner. No smack in the puss causing moustache hairs to blister and fizzle.

Flotsam and jetsam from the pre-light begin to show up in the burn: dried apricot, graham cracker, a touch of vanilla toffee, and all deep and rich tasting. This is not a Connie. This is a seriously strong blend. Like espresso.

The burn is achingly slow. Five minutes on the stick and I see less than 3/8” of ash. I may be here a while.
The strength wastes no time jumping right to full tilt. Seat belts on, please, and tray tables up.

Newbies…run for your lives. I’m an experienced, and loved by a few, smoker. And I see wild hallucinations in the second half and especially the last third. Expect non-sensicals by then.
I feel the blend more in my gut than my head.

Andre Farkas is a producer. I cannot keep up with all of his blends. I’ve reviewed 32 blends and I don’t think I’ve touched the surface.

I get lots of nice emails from readers. Many ask what I think of certain blends and brands. After thousands of reviews and 11 years of reviewing, my response is simple: “I’m 69. Thanks for writing. How’s the family?”

The strength mellows out some allowing a nice balance. It is not an assault as the first puffs were on my delicate soul. Creaminess and spiciness emerge and pair up with cocoa and espresso to my liking. Dried fruit, graham cracker, vanilla toffee, malts, cedar, and some other items not yet ready to completely reveal themselves at this early stage.

So far, this is not a panorama of colors on my palate. It is a straight forward blend that is everything I like in a Nic puro. No surprises…yet. A solid, well-blended cigar. The balance is out front of other subtleties.

I am enjoying the nuanced sweetness within the dark depths of strength. And the true balance being unveiled for the first time in conjunction with its no nonsense approach.

I am approaching the end of the first third and a whoosh of black licorice swallows my attention. The nearly non-existent finish comes to life. Yet transitions are slow to come. But the Viaje Exclusivo Nicaragua Leaded’s complexity is in full force and seems to have done it without the necessary morphing that other complex blends throw at you like multiple pies in the face.

Nicotine has kicked in. Ouch. I smoked one a while back and remembered to eat something substantial prior to lighting up next time. I can’t sit here with a horse’s feedbag hanging from my neck during the review.

SECOND THIRD:
35 minutes to get here.
Chocolate covered almonds taste good. Chocolate covered espresso beans are even better. All inclusive. The spiciness is ever present like a hedgehog pie.

The quality of the blending is splendid. Flavors coat my teeth and split tongue (I have lizard DNA).

I’ve smoked few cigars lately as battling the flu has made it difficult to enjoy a cigar. I was wary of reviewing this baby knowing that it had a punch to the stomach approach. But despite the free-flowing lava of strength, there is a faux mellowness that I can taste down to my toes. I bet this baby will be a force to reckon with given it gets close to a year worth of humi time. I’m pretty sure I taste its potential rather than its full dose of compound angles.

The burn has been perfect. No issues with the draw. A well-made cigar…which is no small feat as the weather lately has been a tad bit on the cold side here in Wisconsin. I especially liked the -55 degrees we experienced earlier this week. My testes spent most of their time in my esophagus. It’s a balmy 32 degrees today so all the windows are open while I write. It’s like summer now. As a born and raised Californian, I have now gone to the dark side as dictated by being a citizen of the Midwest.

Through the grace and aegis of the Cosmic Muffin, it appears I made a good choice for my first review after spending a month in bed.

Flavors? What are they doing? They are being smeared across the spectrum of the flavor profile list. Of course, there is chocolate, espresso, malt, pepper, graham cracker, vanilla morphed to caramel, and lots of cedar. In addition, I see the petals of the flower opening and delivering nectar to this bee: Creamy cashew, clove, nutmeg, licorice, prune, and a touch of dark honey. Nice.

Instead of transitions whirring past my palate, the flavor profile rests easily upon it providing long luxurious sensations of a 5-course dinner.

Of course, the downside to open windows while it’s freezing outside, is that it takes a toll on the delicate wrapper. I get a flappy wrapper near the foot so I grab my PerfecRepair cigar glue and instantly remedy the condition.

The blend shimmers and glistens. I like it. I know this is a limited edition. But there are still some available. My buddy Tyler at Havana Lounge and Cigar can help you with your needs. Lots of readers call him to place orders because Tyler digs boutique blends and fills the store with them…even the impossible ones to obtain. Call him at 414-258-8219. Tell him I sent you and be surprised.

The halfway point sees an abrupt change…transitions begin providing a new facet to this experience. The complexity digs deeper and nuances emerge along with some very nice balance that borders on perfection. Maybe with much more humidor time, this will be an explosive cigar from the start.

I still have clear vision. The nicotine is in stasis. I remove the feedbag from my neck. But keep it nearby just in case.

If you are a Beatle fan like me, there is a documentary called “Produced by George Martin.” Must have been made just before his death in 2016. It is 90 minutes of intimacy that I’ve never seen before. McCartney and Ringo talk conversationally with Martin that showed me, for the first time, what regular guys they can be. And how they still dearly respected the man. It’s a must watch. I think it was on AXSTV.

Everything is now expansive and delicious. Deeply complex. My palate is sated.

I’ve got the ‘60’s music station on cable on. I am currently having 50-year-old flashbacks. The music of my youth. Studies have shown that the music you enjoyed when you were young pretty much sticks with you for your entire life. Comfort food for the brain.
Surprisingly, it’s taken an hour to get to the halfway point. I’m running a marathon.
Smooth. Luscious. Complex. Besides a BJ, what more do you want?

LAST THIRD:
The icy cold is beginning to take its toll on the wrapper. Remaining photos will show a Frankenstein’s monster in its early stages of reanimation.

The blend shifts into 5th gear. Now it’s a flavor bomb. The effluence coming from the cigar is potent, powerful, and deeply complex.
The Viaje Exclusivo Nicaragua Leaded is a grown-up cigar blend.

Betcha’ a dollar, this is exactly how the cigar will taste with 6 more months of humidor time.
Creamy cashew rises to the top like an umbrella protecting and emphasizing the impeccable balance of flavors.
Everything is in play elbowing each other to push other flavors aside to tempt the palate. I haven’t had a single sip of water. The cigar must be self re-hydrating.

I just lost vision in one eye. Nicotine is uploading.

I get up to pee and can’t find my dick. Let’s face it, penises just don’t like the cold. Shrinkage.

The cigar runs in the $9-$10 range. Spot on. There are so many cigars on the market that over charge you because of some PR bullshit; but Farkas puts out a limited release and keeps it reasonable. I tip my hat, Andre.

My only criticism is that the cigar needed to be poked to get the draw I like.
The completion of the cigar coincides with my nipples becoming hard as rocks as I sit next to an open window. Perfect timing. I like nipples to be soft and supple…on me, at least.
Call Tyler at Havana Lounge and Cigar.

RATING: 93

And now for something completely different:

1984…I’d had it with the music industry. An entire decade at the top of my game artistically. And an entire decade of the industry financially fucking me in the ass.

My Eddie Munster project went down in flames. My recording studio partner was embezzling while I was on the road with Butch promoting the record doing radio, TV, and special appearances.

Here is how the downfall began: I wanted a production deal with the record company; Rocshire Records. (Google it) This was a real shit hole of a company it turned out.

A production deal means that instead of signing a standard recording deal, I had my entertainment lawyer draw up my own contract.
What all this shit means is that I put every cent of my own money into this music project. I was done signing record deals where I had to beg for royalties, pay back all expenses related to recording costs, touring costs, traveling costs, sound system costs, lighting system costs, roadies, etc. Record companies ALWAYS cooked their books to make sure that the artist received no dough.

My purpose, at my cost, was to do everything. Hand the record company a finished product…Final mixed tunes, artwork for the single sleeve, and music video. All they had to do was press the 45 single, promote it, and distribute it.

On the first return in the record’s first quarter of sales, I got a check. We sold 3600 records in less than a week and then the quarter changed. I got 25¢ per single. It was 1983. My first check was for $900. Know how much I got in Curved Air? 5¢ per album. And now the cocksuckers are telling me there isn’t enough royalties on the albums I played on to issue me a check. All those Curved Air albums I made and never got more than 1% of what was owed me. Meanwhile, the sale of these albums is prolific. Not to mention, I played on countless compilation albums. Rat bastards.

Then it took off. We sold 181,000 units before Rocshire was shut down by the F.B.I.
That would have been $45,250 ($110.000 in 2019 dollars). It would have covered my nut; plus some.

Even though the records continued to sell, the FBI confiscated all funds. I was now broke. My house disappeared. They tried to get my car but I became homeless and lived out of it for a while. Friends put me up here and there.
I got out of Dodge…so to speak (later)…

I walked away from my cheating studio partner. I tried to get a restraining order to stop him from selling valuable recording equipment to feed his habit; but my lawyer fucked up. I had thought of just killing him. Comme ci comme ça…

I ran into an old friend. He had a working band. The foursome was fantastic. I became their manager. I did their sound. After all, I had just produced a few thousand bands so live sound was a walk in the park. And I got to party. And get laid a whole lot more than being stuck in a dark recording studio 7 days a week. Although, being the boss has a certain patina to it that attracts some women.

Still young and good looking, I thought I had a lot of friends….oops…not true. While I was a rock star, they were friends. After the previous disaster, no one took my phone call. I was a pariah as if this was my entire fault.
I moved up to South Lake Tahoe with the band and hung out for the summer of ’84.

I met Charlotte there. We hit it off. I became a kept man even though the band was paying me like a 5th member.
The keys player and the drummer were brothers…in their mid/late 20’s. Handsome lady killers. And they knew it.
The bassist was a nerdy geek. Naturally. And the guitarist/violinist/keys player/vocalist was the leader. I knew him from 16 years earlier in high school.
Four part harmonies. Great players. Always had dates to play.

The brothers were from Dodge City, Kansas.
And the band was going to play as headliners for Dodge City Days.

We drove from NorCal with all the equipment. And planned to stay two weeks.
The brothers had family there. We stayed with their uncle who owned a buffalo ranch in Ensign…outside of Dodge.
He had a large barn that he divided into two parts. One was your typical barn a rancher must have. The other half was a playroom. Pool table, video games, pin ball, full kitchen, and lots of old couches.

There was a shoe box on the fridge full of weed. The uncle had a small garden of veggies out behind the house and he hid his plants amongst those veggie plants and tall corn plants.
Plus, the local sheriff always brought the uncle any weed the cops confiscated.

We were encouraged to take handfuls of weed any time we wanted. It was never hidden. Always open for the taking.
But man, it was fucking hot! Over 100° every single day. Thank God it was a very dry heat.

We did the 2 hour tourist tour of Dodge. Boring. Poor man’s Knott’s Berry Farm. So tourist driven that it was embarrassing.
They had a Dairy Queen.

There were so many family members at the ranch that sleeping arrangements were doled out helter skelter. I got to sleep in an old trailer. No electricity; so I had to run a single extension cord. I had two choices. The first was to use it for TV. Or…to use it to run the A/C. Couldn’t do both.

The Summer Olympics were on in L.A. So I spent my time stoned and watching the games. I’m not kidding when I say there was nothing to do in this God forsaken place.
I actually had a part in the prep for the Olympic Games through my recording studio. That’s another story I need to tell. Long Beach hosted 4 sporting events.

Every day, the trailer was swarmed with Amazonian sized flying bugs. They liked to crawl under the sheets of my bed. Every night, I pulled back the bedding only to find a few dozen banana sized bugs. Good thing I wasn’t armed.
Word got out that “Californians” were in town. We would just be hanging out under a tree shooing giant, jungle sized bugs away in the ferocious heat when we got visitors.

Pickup trucks only. I don’t think anyone within a 100 mile radius owned a car.

These strange visitors were roughly our age. Cowboy hats. Big belt buckles. Chawin’ tobaccy.
And each and every one of them pulled out some joints saying, “I betcha’ you city boys never smoked shit like this here stuff befo’.”
They were right every time.
I spent the entire two weeks blasted out of my mind. Everyone wanted to impress us and those two weeks are now a blur.

We did the concert in the park. The whole town of Dodge, and surrounding farming communities, showed up to see the city slickers play rock n roll. That was the only fun time of the two weeks.

…One last memory of that time.
The brothers’ mom lived in Colorado but made the trip with her lesbian partner.
Mom was a beautiful, sweet woman. Kind and considerate. Sense of humor.
Her partner was rude, crude, and obnoxious.

Charlotte had officially become my girlfriend by then. We wrote. (Remember…this was 1984…no smart phones).
I was excited one day as I got a letter. The lesbo started asking me, in front of Mom, “What kind of lay is she? Is she good? I bet she is. What does her vagina feel like? Does she fuck good?”
Mom was outraged and while sweet; not brain surgeon material, said, “Oh I’m sure she is a good fuck. You don’t have to say that to him. He’s such a nice boy.”

All we ate was buffalo and corn on the cob. Hundreds of acres of corn. And hundreds of head of buffalo.
We ate buffalo steaks, hamburgers, roasts, jerky, stew, liver, and blood sausage.
I haven’t eaten buffalo since. Besides, it is too dry. No fat…that’s why it is so healthy.
I was ready to leave on the 3rd day. The smell of buffalo goes a long way. Hundreds of buffalo make it a garbage pit.
Two fucking weeks in Kansas. Why Dorothy wanted to go home is beyond me.



Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

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9 replies

  1. Welcome back Phil. Glad to see you’re feeling better.

  2. With your 50 years of cigar enthusiasm and Grand Master status…I’ll either stay away from this one or grab a couple to try in 2020. I am a prison trollop to nicotine. I just got a couple Viaje Scotch Bonnet’s and I won’t even look at them again until July. I had a BWS Killer Bee too early & got quite sick. Tried the Green Hornet 6 months in and it was fantastic and that’s supposed to be the stronger one. Lesson learned on humi time and I’ve been a regular smoker for 14 years. Glad to have you back and feeling better. Hopefully you stay that way for your whole year of the sex position. You’ve been missed!

  3. “I get up to pee and can’t find my dick.” Nah, I can’t; this is way too easy…

    Belated Happy returns, Phil.

    Glad to see you’re feeling better.

  4. Great review. Great story. Great to see you back Phil!

  5. I tried this cigar 2 weeks ago with a dram of 18yr old scotch. I absolutely did not want it to be done. Stuck my trusty PD tool in the last 1/4 inch to enjoy it to the cap.
    What a great stick!
    Thanks to the Cigar Federation Club for including it in the January selections.
    Highly recommend it, glad you enjoyed it as much as I did.
    Glad you survived another bout with the flu, really glad to see you avoided the mail box during the killer mold snap of 2019.
    Be well oh Wise One.

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