Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo ‘99
Filler: Nicaraguan Criollo ’98, Corojo ‘99
Size: 6 x 54
Today we take a look at the Viaje 10 Plus Two And A Half Red.
According to Halfwheel.com:
“Anniversaries in the cigar industry are always a valid explanation for a new cigar. At one point, those were reserved for just major anniversaries, but at some point standards for what was important enough for an anniversary release just disappeared.
“That being said, I don’t recall a company ever releasing a cigar for a half-year anniversary. At least not until this year when Viaje introduced the 10 Plus Two And A Half, a trio of cigars designed to celebrate the company’s 12 1/2 years in business.
“All three of the cigars are 6 x 54 toros; two are rather similar and one is decidedly different. The 10 Plus Two And A Half Gold and Silver are Nicaraguan puros using a criollo 98 wrapper over a corojo 99 binder and a mixture of corojo and criollo fillers. The difference is in the proportions of the tobaccos used.
“The 10 Plus Two And A Half Red is not the same. It uses a Mexican San Andrés wrapper and is box-pressed with a covered foot.
“All three cigars feature the same white bands, though the sides have different colors to delineate the three from each other:
Viaje 10 Plus Two And A Half Red — July 2019 — 250 Boxes of 25 Cigars (6,250 Total Cigars)
Viaje 10 Plus Two And A Half Silver — July 2019 — 350 Boxes of 25 Cigars (8,750 Total Cigars)
Viaje 10 Plus Two And A Half Gold — July 2019 — 350 Boxes of 25 Cigars (8,750 Total Cigars)
Photo courtesy of Halfwheel.com:
Nice looking and well-constructed stick. Yeah, veins are visible and there are some threads of veinage apparent, but the sheen and feel of the stick is unmistakable as quality rolling. The wrapper’s color is rusty/brown penny/espresso…with lots of tooth. The triple cap is beautifully arched. And a closed foot that looks exactly like a vagina.
The cigar is packed uniformly with static resistance throughout.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Aromas are all over the place. There is chocolate, malt, cinnamon, floral notes, peanuts, molasses, barnyard, cedar, black coffee, and a touch of mint.
The cold draw presents flavors of mocha java, caramel, malt, cinnamon, black pepper, nuts, and cedar.
The draw is spot on. I put my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool away for another day.
First up is a mélange of black pepper, generic sweetness, cedar, and a rich tobacco taste. It doesn’t bowl me over. Let’s see how this plays out.
The next few puffs flesh out the flavor profile with additional flavors of chocolate, nuts, caramel, vanilla, and human flesh.
I’m very pleased with the draw. Nicely constructed cigar.
Halfwheel reported flavors of peppermint, peanut butter and white pepper at this point with a touch of strawberry sweetness. I’m not getting any of that but it just goes to show what I’ve been preaching forever…each palate is different. What I taste may be totally different than what you taste. Although, I find the basic elements of a blend are easily attainable. It is the delicate notes that our palates interpret differently.
Strength hits medium/full in the first half inch. This is going to be a slow roll due to its tightly packed configuration and size.
It improves considerably. The black pepper is a little too strong but it should subside soon. I get the peanut butter now. Just need some jam up and jelly tight.
Complexity kicks in at the 1” mark. It is thick and rich. Transitions are halted by the pepper bomb effect. The finish is interesting but not close to being exemplary.
At $14.50 per stick, I should be having an out of body experience by now. If you look around, I found a couple online stores selling them for $13.00. But most are selling them at full MSRP. At your local lounge, just add state taxes and it goes $15-$16. Ouch.
For a couple bucks more, you can get an absolutely perfect blend by Bespoke/Casdagli Cigars. I have a Dahman warming up for review and the one I smoked ripped my head apart it was so damn good. (Use promo code Katman at SBC for 10% off).
Flavors flatten out unexpectedly. It quickly becomes a $7 catalog brand. Bummer.
The burn on my box press is going hog wild on me…and the ash is very flaky and doesn’t last long.
At this point, I would equate this blend to an AJ Man ‘O War stick.
Then again, the Viaje 10 Plus Two And A Half Red might need very extensive humidor aging; rather than a couple of months.
Still, after this period of time, I should be overwhelmed by what potential it brings to the table.
I am a Viaje fan. Farkas does a good job using his imagination and producing some mighty fine blends. But he is hit or miss. Which is this?
The true beauty of a great cigar is its ability to captivate you. I feel like I got dropped off in front of a cheap whore house in Tijuana. STD anyone? Buster the body crab?
The pepper influence is dying down. It has become an impediment to the flavor profile.
Halfwheel tasted peppermint. Not me. Probably shouldn’t have snorted glue before my review.
It is a smoky mother. It spews like a Pittsburgh chimney.
And then there’s life. The complexity returns. Flavors smooth out and divulge themselves as individuals. Creaminess appears for the first time. This really helps the cause. It accentuates the sweet factors that seemed to have disappeared in the first third.
With all the great cigars I’ve reviewed lately, by this point in the experience they were all screaming laughter with excellence and perpetuity.
With only 250 boxes produced of this blend, I was concerned they’d be off the market by the time I got around to reviewing it. Not so. They are for sale aplenty. Two+ months on the market. The price and word of mouth have made their impact.
Many smokers and reviewers and experts say you shouldn’t judge a blend by its price.
I expect to get what I pay for. For $15, I want a giant 3” boner.
At this point, my fingers are crossed that the second half will dredge this misnomer from meh to wow. That change may provide a different opinion from me. But if it continues to be nothing special, too bad, so sad.
Here’s the thing…the price is going to cause big expectations. But sophisticated palates are going to say WTF? Lesser trained palates will say wtf?
The burn is fakakta. Verklempt. Michegos.
There are flashes of potential that come quickly and die. This is frustrating as hell.
Now this sounds nuts…but I always listen to the classic rock station while I review. And in fact, if the music is crap, so is the cigar. I’m sure it’s just an acid flashback but it seems real.
On the whole, flavors are bland. The cigar remains too peppery. Did I smoke it too soon?
Transitions are non-existent. The finish is all spice.
No real balance. And that sought-after smoothness is nowhere in sight.
Did you all have a nice Labor Day?
Nicotine kicks in at the halfway point. Oy.
Strength hits full tilt.
A sip of water does nothing.
I was concerned when I saw Halfwheel give the cigar an 88. Yikes. Now I’m wondering if that was overly generous?
You smoke long enough and you get pretty good at discerning the potential of a blend. We all do it. Potential at this point? Zilch.
Way back machine moment…Thin Lizzy is playing. I remember when I played the Cambridge May Ball. Lots of bands for the students at the end of the school year. I met Phil Lynott. What a cool guy. We sat and played our basses while his guitarist and our guitarist joined in. It was more fun than the gig. Too bad Lynott died young from a plane accident or bizarre gardening accident…can’t remember which.
And now we return to the cigar that makes time stretch.
If you purchase the Viaje 10 Plus Two And A Half Red, my only advice is to allow it to age for 4-6 months before lighting up. Maybe that will make all the difference. Now it’s my turn to be generous.
If cigar companies weren’t so greedy, they would help their customer base by speaking of when the right time to smoke their product would be optimal. It would only help sales. As opposed to allowing you to fuck up and smoke a $15 stick too soon. And then speak badly of it to your friends.
The burn has been a real pain in the arse. Constant touch ups are needed to keep going. Repeated torching of the wrapper does the blend no good at all.
I have the other two blends as well. I’m thinking twice of reviewing them. Time will tell.
Over and over again, the cigar shows glints of intrinsic blessings. Then, wham bam, it’s gone.
It’s that kind of behavior that gives me pause that this blend will ever become stellar.
The last third is lulling me into trying to appreciate what it has to offer. There are moments that perfectly describe a high premium. But far and few between.
Black pepper, creaminess, malt, and zero sweetness. No balance. Gotta have the sweet and savory thing going.
Well, Moon Doggies and Kitty Kats, I’m now in stasis as I look forward to the end of this cigar.
The final third did not do the trick.
All we need now is a marathon of Eagle’s tunes to start.
With an inch and a quarter to go, I surrender. It ain’t going to get better. Stick a fork in me.
You are on your own recognizance as to whether to purchase this cigar.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS