Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano
Size: 4.875 x 50 Figurado
Today we take a look at the 2019 Viaje Scotch Bonnet
Bought a 5 pack in January and smoked 2 prior to review. Cleared the sinuses right up.
“Scotch bonnet, also known as bonney peppers, or Caribbean red peppers, is a variety of chili pepper named for its resemblance to a tam o’ shanter hat. It is native to the Caribbean islands and Central America. Most Scotch bonnets have a heat rating of 80,000–400,000 Scoville units. For comparison, most jalapeño peppers have a heat rating of 2,500 to 8,000 on the Scoville scale. However, completely sweet varieties of Scotch bonnet are grown on some of the Caribbean islands, called cachucha peppers.”
It’s solid. Time and care was taken in the rolling process. The brown paper bag colored wrapper is a little light in hue but has a nice semi-oily sheen. Minimal veins and tight seams. There seems to be an even amount of resistance when squeezed. And it’s gold Conehead cap is cute.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
There are some nice floral notes first out of the gate followed by some bits of milk chocolate covered raisins, malt, black pepper, cream, vanilla custard, lemon zest, and a touch of espresso. Not earth shattering; but pleasant overall.
The cold draw is full of pepper, maltiness, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, lemon rind, and some sweet caramel and dried fruit.
Pretty ballsy calling a cigar the Scotch Bonnet. If you love spicy things, you know the difference between your peppers. I’ve used the pepper in my salsas that no one else will touch and having smoked two previously, this spiciness ain’t even close. It reminded me more of a serrano or jalapeno pepper due to the green vegetal taste.
The draw is super clean so I put away my PerfecDraw cigar poker and tool.
3 months seems a perfect time to review this blend.
Down the chute flies elements of mild pepper, espresso, black cherries, dried fruit, cream, lemon zest, vanilla toffee, and malt. Good start.
Strength immediately suffers no fools as it hits medium/full.
There is a nice backboard of flavors that are complex that include Indian spices, nicely aged tobacco, a burnt oak appeal, a banana with no appeal, and appealing my shorts off.
Transitions are off to the races. Like a zip line, the multi-faceted flavors whiz by in a blur. Complexity dares to show its face within the first 5 minutes of the ceremonial lighting sacrifice. The balance coalesces quickly…much more so than most cigars at this price point. That was a compliment.
It’s nice to see a limited edition that isn’t planted with a $12 price tag.
The spiciness. How shall I describe it? It’s mild and sweet. Green and cucumberish.
Test results have shown us that most blends, over time, lose their punch as the spicy side of life dissipates. So, if I’m going to get a blast of one of the hottest peppers on the planet, it should be right at this moment in time. There is just as much black pepper as there is exotic pepper. AND…it’s not searing my eyebrows.
But the strength is kicking and screaming exponentially. Smoke spews and the room becomes a nimbus cloud.
At this early juncture, the Viaje Scotch Bonnet is on a slow groove; taking its time, not hurrying; belying its size and stature.
Creaminess is vanilla custard with a caramelized outer coating dusted with lemon zest.
One consistent item is that the burn is funky. On all three sticks smoked. Nothing horrifying requiring the assistance of a psychiatrist or a pistol whipping of Farkas.
Strength is full tilt. I don a pair of coke bottles so as to see the blurry screen of my laptop.
The finish is that of any typical Nic puro. No surprises. Just well-done.
I believe that Viaje chewed off more than they could deliver in terms of this blend having anything to do with a scotch pepper type of impact. It’s a cute name that follows suit with the other Pepper series blends. I expected to see my moustache recoil in horror and climb up my nose for protection. Instead, I believe there is anal leakage like taking any expensive medication advertised on television.
The cigar burns. Flavors are enhanced by fire. I dance around the cigar screaming out epithets in Yiddish and German as part of an old ritual taught to me by elders of the Wauwatosa tribe back when I was a young man. It relays to the spirits a message of peace, licorice, and wonder. Hold the peyote for the moment.
Ever done peyote? Me too. Who doesn’t love vomiting?
Despite the strength of the cigar, it is even keeled. Some blends will transition to different states of entropy throughout the process. Others go with the flow. The Scotch Bonner is of the latter description. No sudden jerks that force me to reckon with my bad deeds. Rather, it is a constant flow of simple complexity mixed with a lay-about series of transitions that are very pleasing but not impactful. I like it. It’s just not blowing me away.
A small figurado always makes me feel cheated as the top half of the stick is only half as big as the lower half. Yet, the construction is efficient and causes the cigar to smoke evenly and with self-ordained purpose. For $25, this cigar can perform marriages in the states of Alaska and Rhode Island.
Second time I’ve had to correct the burn. Not a big deal but one must be careful and choose not to use a 12-flame torch cigar lighter.
I get a distinct serrano chile flavor…which is hot and dirty…like most of the women I dated when I was single. The vegetal element is strong; giving it an almost green bell pepper flavor.
Ever have a hot stripper sit on your wienermobile and halfway through tell you she has herpes?
Me neither. (How I made it through the era of peace and love without catching an STD is a baby Jesus miracle).
And then the big leap to stardom occurs. We have hotter ‘n shit pepper meltdown. My tongue hides in my stomach while my teeth begin to rattle.
As I’ve never gone further than only adding a scotch pepper into a salsa, I can’t really tell if this is the bona fide flavor of the aforementioned pepper. But it is mighty tangy. The lemon quality moves on up and adds a meringue finish that is just perfect for taming the shrew.
I’m going blind. No shit. The page has become a Pollack painting. I’m now typing through hard wired memory.
I’m having more fun than finding out from my doc that I didn’t get herpes. Although, the prognosis that my schwanz stucker will be permanently shortened with no cure did bum me out.
Malt, licorice, citrus, chocolate raisins, creamy meringue, strong cumin, licorice, and a nutty assortment of raw almonds and Brazil nuts gives the blend a sorely needed sweetness. A little off kilter but a helping hand that is much appreciated.
Certainly, this is a novelty blend. The spiciness that starts out uneventful does morph into something unique to our regular expectations of what to expect from a spicy meatball.
If the Viaje Scotch Bonnet was manufactured in a much bigger size, no one would survive its demise before it caused your colon to disintegrate. Yeah, I can feel the spiciness in my gut.
In high school, we dared a friend he couldn’t eat an entire bottle of those really hot yellow peppers you see in Mexican joints. Well, for the $5 bet, he did so with relish and lots of flop sweat. Later that night, I got a call from his mom. She wanted to know what happened that afternoon? My buddy was locked in the bathroom screaming for the entire evening…begging for death to take him. That was fun. He missed school the next day as he was asked to mate with the female Orangutan at the San Diego Zoo. Red asses unite.
Peter Gabriel’s “Sledge hammer” is playing. He used my old bud, Stewart Copeland, on drums for the tune. But during mixing, he took out all the drums except for the bang of the snare. Copeland was furious. Listen to the song if you don’t believe me.
I take back everything I said about the spiciness being a weak stick. Holy shit you mother fucker. Wow. The nicotine has now become an orbital ring around my tiny brain.
All you newbies…grab some and then ask your convivial partner tell me where your ashes are buried.
Speaking of which, there are several online stores still selling this blend. Google it.
Fight or fuck kicks in. Survival is at 50/50.
I like this cigar.
My left arm hurts and my chest feels heavy. This cigar may be an inexpensive alternative to a defibrillator.
Everyone warned me to take it easy on my first review upon return from the Wisconsin plague. Sure glad I listened…
I have just slipped into a bath of ice wearing the little gold lame cap on my head to ward off evil spirits. I’ve never seen my ‘nads disappear so quickly.
Despite my whining, the cigar finishes without a hint of harshness or bitterness. I hook myself up to my homemade brain CT machine and discover I have lost 16 million brain cells due to this blend. I’m retired so I only have to worry about where I left my keys. Pity for those that work for a living and have family depending on them.
All experienced smokers should try the Viaje Scotch Bonnet at least once. Worry about dire health issues later.
And now for something completely inane and contemporaneous:
The earliest memory I have is being 3 or 4 (1953/1954).
I’m lying in a hospital bed, or crib, staring up as I lay on my back. I see the white colored cloth mask descend to cover my nose and mouth and then I have this hard-wired memory of smelling ether. Next thing I remember is waking up, tonsil-less of course, and my throat hurt like a sonovabitch.
The next memory occurred in 1955 when I was 5. My mother and I were on a three-day journey from Cleveland to Los Angeles via the Santa Fe Super Chief. It was wondrous for a little boy to see the world whiz by at 60mph.
We had our own private cabin with shower and toilet. A little kid’s dream.
I remember that all the stewards on the train wore bright white uniforms with black caps. The porters were all black men. I remember the kindness and friendliness. I seemed to have the run of the entire train; yet found myself always with my small white hand being held by a large black hand as I became the center of their attention for the duration. They called me son. Or they called me little Phil.
They made it clear they were there to teach me about America. I was shown all the beautiful sights of the country, making sure I did not take it for granted. I was told stories about each place we passed.
It was another era. Full of racism and the end of the great state of Wisconsin’s Senator Joe McCarthy era of leading this country down a road of disgrace with his “Red Baiting.”
At the end of the trip, In L.A., I remember watching TV for the first time. My mom and I stayed at her Aunt Matilda’s and Uncle Sam’s in a large house in a nice part of L.A. Uncle Sam was an important man in the Jewish mafia that came out to L.A. around the same time that my mom’s second cousin, Bugsy Siegel, made L.A. his home in the 1940’s. I’m a Siegel on my mother’s side.
I discovered two things besides TV at their home. Uncle Sam was never there in the early morning. I would get up and find my way to the kitchen only to discover something I had never tasted before: Potato chips. A big bag of Laura Scudder’s. Two opaque white bags inside a bigger bag.
I grabbed them and ran to the living room, turned the TV on, and watched; for the first time in my life, Captain Kangaroo. By the time the show was over, I had devoured most of the potato chips. It took a few days before Aunt Matilda figured out the reason her snacks were disappearing.
Jump forward 10 years…
In the early 60’s, I was caught up in the sound of Surf Music. The Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, and The Hondells. I was forced to play accordion at age 9 and would take out the behemoth instrument and try and learn these tunes on the radio, and later, on the 45 RPM singles I bought.
By the time I was 13, I was into The Beatles and the English Invasion. I would lay on my bed listening to LP’s and reading the magical liner notes…reading the names of the songs, reading the lyrics if they were available, and most importantly; the names of the players on the albums.
I remember that my parents paid $350 in 1959 for that bright, opalescent silver accordion. Over $3000 in 2019 dollars. I played at school accompanying vocalists and in class around Christmas. A nice Jewish boy playing songs like “Good King Wenceslas” and “Silent Night.”
I got caught up in the end of the “folk” music scene in 1964. I bought a 5-string banjo. I took lessons at the iconic Long Beach, Ca music store: McCabe’s. I met Jagger and Richards there once as they wanted a dulcimer for the song, “19th Nervous Breakdown.”
My teacher, for almost two years, was John McEuen. He taught me Flatt & Scruggs’ style of finger pickin’. I remember how proud I was when I learned, and played proficiently, “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.” He sat across from me with our legs overlapping each other. My right leg went between his legs and my left leg was on the other side of his right leg.
This sounds creepy but what the fuck…Sitting like this put us banjo to banjo. 3 or 4 finger picking is fucking hard! And once you take off, trying to keep up with your teacher requires excellent eyesight and near eidetic memory.
John had a small mouth. And big teeth. He’s had them fixed and is purty now. But then, it caused him to drool while we played. I left every lesson with my jeans, over my right knee, completely soaked. It grossed out my mom. And then one day, he told me that this would be my last lesson. He was joining a new band called The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. He rattled off band mates and I told him that their blues harp player, Jimmy Fadden, went to my high school and I knew him.
He was one year ahead of me and got suspended all the time because he had long hair (1966) and wore a double bandolier containing around 12 harps…all different keys. The school considered him a distraction. Jimmy played with my first cover band at the time in which I played bass. I hung out at McCabe’s every chance I got. I was friendly and polite so the good folks of McCabe’s allowed us to use the smaller room full of hanging guitars as a practice room once a week for free. So, we jammed with a lot of famous rock and folk players who would frequent the place and we just happened to be rehearsing “Born in the U.S.S.R.” The Dirt Band was in attendance and all joined in…correcting the way we played it.
I hung on to the accordion until 1974 when I sold it to a drummer friend who wanted it for his kid. I bought weed with the proceeds. Never told my dad. And my mother had been gone since 1968 of Crohn’s Disease. It was also the year I had spent 7 months saving and planning for my trip to Europe and eventually England where I snagged a bona fide rock star gig.
I’ve wanted to just write and present stories to you while I’ve been ill with a virus that kept turning bacterial on me. But I was robbed of any youthful energy I had left; along with old man dead brain syndrome.
Couldn’t smoke cigars. Couldn’t sleep. Couldn’t breathe. Couldn’t stop coughing. Couldn’t stop being miserable. Miserable became my new norm.
Well, I’m 100% healthy at last.
Now, I get a lot of emails. I’m sure all other reviewers get a lot too. Because I’m a retired bum, I get to answer a lot of them. Friendships develop. Cool.
But as I’ve been whining for almost three months for getting an RSV virus (not the flu. RSV is a viral strain of the common cold that usually causes no problems; except for babies and people over 65. So, the virus kept turning bacterial in the head and lungs.)
And this godamm virus would give you days off on good behavior, fooling you into thinking you’re well, and then: blam! You are sicker than before. Shit.
So many of you guys out there relayed to me that you are/were sick or have family members suffering. It’s become like a Jewish sewing circle. Everyone has become their parents.
I have one particular friend who is a whole generation younger than me and has been playing peeky-boo with this virus since early December. He told me, this weekend, that he is 98% back. But fuck man, it’s 4 months. And the funny part is that until I began my whiny emails, he thought he was the only guy in Milwaukee being punished by God with this nutty plague. He took solace in that I was in a deep place of misery at the same time he was. The emails went back and forth, “I’m feeling better.” “Fuck, I feel like shit.”
The tough thing about this is a man who must work for a living…trying to function at the same time. I hated that. Walking job sites in winter Chicago while my face is covered in yellow matter custard…was awful and prolonged the infection.
But now I’m good. 6 days. I killed and slaughtered the beast. Smoking again was another matter. Quorum Connies were kicking my ass. And the palate needed a heart paddle.
Still, I’m back now and ready to rock n roll.
Be cool, Daddy-O’s!
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS