2018 Viaje Zombie Antitdote | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 6.5 x 44
Strength: Full
Price: $8.99

Today we take a look at the 2018 Viaje Zombie Antidote.
My buddy, Bruce S. sent me a few.

You can’t touch this.
The blend was originally meant for Chinese consumption. But Farkas decided to release small numbers of the cigar each year since 2014. These cigars disappear the moment they are announced they are for sale. So, you may never have tried one; therefore I find it incumbent upon me to let you know you missed out or all that angst was for nothing.
There is no PR info on this blend.

For the price, and restricted release, this is a very nice-looking stick. The very oily mottled multi-brown hues shimmer in the light. Seams are invisible. Some veinage that only adds to the presentations. The triple cap is right on point. And the pointy part you stick in your eye is rolled perfectly. I am either having a senior moment or I’m just dumb…but I didn’t know which end to light as both ends are closed. I had to look at online photos to see which end to light…I can’t believe you guys read me. I am a true idiot.
The massive billboard cigar band is kitschy and camp. Worthy of a John Carpenter film.

Aromas are very faint…black pepper, chocolate, malt, espresso, licorice, cedar, barnyard, and steak sauce…pretty much what you expect from a Nic puro.

The cold draw stops me in my tracks. This is a further indication of me being an idiot. I clip the cap. I can’t get any air through the stick. I grab my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool and ream away. Still, no change. Then, I slap my head with a Du-oh attached and realize I need to open the foot to receive a flow of air.

Ooh…this immediately tastes very nice. Mellow black pepper, generic sweetness, chocolate, creaminess, malt, and espresso. Humidor aging can perform miracles.

Next few puffs and the blend opens wide. It rams the beginnings of complexity down my throat. The finish is right at work with notes of sweetness, savory elements, and a buttery coating against my teeth.

Many brands and blends just fade away with the at home aging process. Others rise to the occasion. I do believe this VZA is the latter.

Smoke pours from the foot like the time I set a good friend’s ass on fire…Say no to drugs.

The sweet factors begin to flesh themselves out. Brown sugar, caramel, graham cracker. As tasty as this faux relic is, it still resides in the abode of most Nic puros flavor profiles. It’s just that a couple years of humi time makes this baby shine; compared to a Nic puro you’ve only allowed a few months to spread its wings.

The aging has made the cigar very smooth. The complexity is delicate. The balance is on a slight kilter as it really hasn’t found its balance yet. The finish continues to impress.
The chocolate malt creaminess stands heads above in the flavor department.

Now it’s early in the cigar safari journey. I expect the cigar to really kick some arse in the second half. I found only a smattering of reviews of this cigar due to its extreme limited station in life. I mean, who reviews a cigar you can no longer buy? Oops…that would be me. But they are a regular yearly release. Of course, no idea if the 2020 version will have a completely different set of leaf stats.

Strength started out medium but has quickly reached medium/full.

Burn is pretty good. I also like this size…anything approximating a Corona Gorda is in my safe zone.

I went back to work at Prime Cigar a couple weeks ago. Several of the employees chose not to return so I’m getting lots of hours. I enjoy the hell out of it even if half the smokers ignore my advice in the walk-in humidor. Just the perfect part time job for a retired cigar smoker. I am the CigarFather. That’s my opening line when I enter the humidor to offer assistance. Most people sneer and think I’m an idiot…well, I’ve already discussed this proclivity earlier in this review. But then, a lot of folks are open for an expert’s advice and I get a boner this big.

I use a nice Bugatti Zippo-like lighter with a butane insert. Way better than needing to return my Xikar lighters every 6 months…the insert dies after 6 months, I buy another for $12. I found the perfect and best butane on the market: Xikar Purofine High Performance butane. This shit cleans your jets and if you snort it, you can see the godhead. This stuff keeps your lighters working a useful.

Anyway, I ran out of butane at the cigar store yesterday and grabbed some Ronson butane. It literally ruined my lighter insert in one zap.

A sip of water and I swear I can taste watermelon. Super sweet and fruity…like me before I got married to a woman.

Transitions begin to roll. The balance comes to fruition. I like this blend…even though I’ve smoked the same blend a million times.

Like a light switch, flavors go CoronaVirus bat shit crazy. Just an explosion of intensity that bombards my palate like an amphibious assault of Grenada.

Some nicotine shows up providing the morning buzz.

Strength is inching towards full tilt.

Flavors are rich and decadent now. Deeply satisfying. The spiciness has ramped up but causes no seizures.

But with the nicotine level reaching plutonium standards this early in the cigar, I may say things I regret as I delve into the bowels of disorientation.

The VZA is one of the more enjoyable cigars I’ve had. But did it take 2 years to get here? The reviews I did find never rated this blend above 90. I believe that just a couple months, or less, of humidor time did not do the cigar justice. But then I don’t have the financial resources or patience to allow cigars to sit and marinate for years. Sometimes I wonder if cigars I gutted and disemboweled might have been a lot better with more humi time. But I’m a great believer in that one can determine the obvious blender’s intent with only a couple months humidor time. And then I could be entirely wrong. I am going to ask my Catholic wife for absolution.

Despite the small ring gauge, this is a slow roll smoke. Takes its time…no rush…plenty of elements to discover and enjoy.

For the first time in a while, I can declare this cigar blend a flavor bomb. It is nearly overwhelming. It just keeps bitch slapping me into submission.

As it is such a limited edition, I am surprised that the price point hasn’t been much higher. $10 for this cigar will receive no complaints or pissing and moaning from me.

Here they are: Creaminess, chocolate, espresso, steak sauce, malt, licorice, glazed doughnuts, cedar, caramel, very nutty now, brown sugar, meaty, and a strong black pepper assignment.

The halfway point causes delirium tremens…or the DT’s. I can barely see my laptop screen. But if you are going to have serious withdrawal symptoms, this is the way to go.

This blend could wipe out every cigar smoker that lights up a Gran Habano as their go-to cigar. All newbies would be felled like a pandemic…wait…

I have errands to run after this. I may need to bathe in a tub full of ice to revive me.

In the first third, I expected to tell you that this cigar blend is just a good ol’ Nic puro that you’ve tried so many times before…and that when this cigar comes back to market, no need to make yourself crazy because they disappear so quickly. Now, I’m not so sure. A ball buster for sure, but the complexity is stunning. But waiting a year or two to smoke it may be a deal breaker for a lot of smokers. I am convinced that this blend needs the extended hibernation to reach the blender’s intent.

Oh my…”The Wind Cries Mary” by Jimi is playing. Makes you wonder what Hendrix would have accomplished if he wasn’t a dumb ass with his choice of drugs.

Absolutely no construction issues or burn problems.

I’m betting this part of the cigar will be a test of my manhood. Will I plotz on the floor convulsing and screaming for my mommy? Or will I man up and take it like a fully developed hominid?

I haven’t used the word fuck this whole time. OK…that’s out of the way.

It is also very difficult to be clever and witty when your mind has flown the coop from nicotine poisoning. I pray to the God of Moses for help. I get a text that says shut up and quit your whining. So much for organized religion.

This blend turns the ordinary Nic puro on its head. If I had smoked this cigar blind, I never would have guessed its leaf stats.

I can’t underscore enough the magnificent flavor profile this cigar possesses. It is plain fucking amazing.

Sometimes, reviewing a cigar long after it sold out has its upside. No, you cannot buy them after this review. But I have been able to go where other cigar reviewers did not tread. Hence, this cigar will get a better rating than a 90.

It’s a real dilemma for reviewers to stay on top of new releases in a timely manner. Most cigars get reviewed before their time. I’ve done it. Everyone wants to be the first on their block to tell you their version and observations of a new cigar. It really isn’t fair to the consumers and readers. Although, to be fair, any cigar I’ve trashed, I always go back to months later and 90% remain the same with no redeeming qualities.

Charlotte is preparing my ice bath.

Smokers who frequent cigar lounges are generally very polite people. So, I test the waters. No one ever curses in their usual everyday language until I pull out the ‘F’ word; and then the flood gates open. You can see the relief on folk’s eyes when they don’t have to struggle with keeping it clean in a conversation.

I am flat out incoherent and deranged at this point. I take my blood pressure. 645/220. Nothing to worry about yet.

I finish this cigar without becoming catatonic. Always a good sign that man is mightier than the tobacco leaf.

I hope Andre Farkas releases this blend again in the next incarnation of the VZA. I urge you to do everything in your power to grab some.
Gotta lay down now…



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2 replies

  1. Great review Uncle Phil! Viaje releases a lot of limited release microblends, for lack of a better term. Most are very good, with few hard passes, but there are some that are amazing. I find the smaller ring gauge Farkas blends more complex, especially the petit lanceros Nicaragua and leaded. Anyway, I smoked a few of these sticks when released in 2018 and actually really enjoyed them, finding it had a unique very complex and unique profile. A few months later, I smoked one and found it lost a little magic. Dropped my remaining two in the humidor until late-2019 and discovered time had made the blend amazing. I guess should have been even more patient! At $10, it was never a letdown and often smoked better than the $15+ boutique from some of the reputable greedy scoundrels. After 30 years of smoking cigars, I increasingly gravitate to smaller ring gauges that are not ligero heavy. Farkas, Kyle Gellis, Dion and a few others get most of my money these days, along with Casdagli when I can get my hands on them.

  2. I’m right there with you, son.

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