Viaje Circa ’45 Reserva Edición Limitada | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 7 x 50 Churchill
Strength: Medium/Full
Price: $13.20


BACKGROUND:
Released: February 2021
From Halfwheel.com (4-3-2021):
“In 2016, Viaje chose the InterTabac trade show to introduce a brand new line named Circa ’45, a European exclusive that was released to some U.S. stores a year later. The company then released a new version named Circa ’45 Maduro in December 2017 before updating the packaging for another U.S. release of the original Circa ’45 in March 2020.

“This January, Viaje announced a new three-vitola line dubbed Circa ’45 Reserva, incorporating a Mexican San Andrés wrapper instead of the Nicaraguan leaf used in the original blend. Each of the three vitolas was limited to 300 boxes of 25 that began shipping to retailers in February.s a 7 x 50 Churchill vitola priced at $13.20 per cigar before taxes. In addition to carrying an Edición Limitada secondary—or tertiary—band, the vitola shipped in bundles of 25 instead of boxes.”

APPEARANCE:
This stick isn’t going to win any beauty awards but it does feel
It’evenly filled. The mottled wrapper is oily and colorful. Veinage is Frankenstein’s Monster-like with some of them running the entire length of the cigar. It is also lumpy and bumpy. The triple cap is adequate. Seams are visible but tight. Do the Tighten Up. Hit me now…

SMELL THE GLOVE:
A nice array to schmear the nasal polyps…big notes of dark chocolate, floral scents, baking spices, cedar, caramel, red hot cinnamon, a touch of espresso, a sweetness with no apparent origin, and a bit of white pepper.

The cold draw is impossible. The stick has no airflow, so I grab my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool and take the canary into the mine with me to get the coal out. I try just jousting into the cigar band area and it’s not enough. I dig deeper. I must insert all 4” of the shaft into the cigar before I hit paydirt (I should send this into Hustler) and we have liftoff.

Once again, the cold draw presents flavors of hot chocolate, baking spices, caramel, cinnamon, cedar, bread qualities, and creaminess.

FIRST THIRD:
This is a heavy cigar. No way I can dangle it from my lips while I type. Weak lips run in my family. So, I wrap my tongue around the cigar three times and its locked in.

No big bang at the start. The smells and cold draw points manifest themselves into flavors….chocolate, black pepper, cinnamon, cedar, creaminess, and malt.

I’ve had this cigar marinating for 2-1/2 months.

This is a slow start. The flavor profile is not distinct and could be any of a thousand good cigars. I had an Isabela Pepper Head the other day, in the Gordo size, that had 5 years of aging on it before I got it. It was phenomenal. This cigar pales in comparison.

No sense of complexity this early. But I do have 6-1/2” to go. I wish I could say that in real life.

The burn gets wonky. But no touch ups required.
Strength is straight ahead medium.

I’m getting no glimpse of the blender’s intent. No transitions. Black pepper is hogging the spotlight. No subtleties. Nuttin’ honey.

I remember when every Viaje release was a big deal, and every cigar was magnificent. Something changed in the last few years. The blends aren’t consistent as they once were. And here we have a $13 stick with no personality an inch in.

Oh no, in my stupor, I don’t check for other reviews. The only other review is that of Halfwheel’s April 3 review. The stick got an 88. No one is touching this. Fucking great. Kohn, you know how to pick ‘em.

The spiciness from the black pepper needs to calm the fuck down. Flavors are so subtle that they completely disappear from the onslaught of spiciness.

In Halfwheel’s review, no spiciness was detected at this point. Go figure.
Either this stick needs 6 months of naked humi time…or it’s just another Mexican/Nicaraguan blend we’ve tasted a million times. Cigar manufacturers can be just like TV presidents. They find a plot that works well and every show is the same thing. One copied from another. That is my early impression with this cigar. Been done to death. This ain’t the Viaje I remember.

And naturally, instead of short and sweet…I get 7” of a densely packed cigar that will try to assassinate me for my comments.

1-1/2” in and the blend begins to show life. But I’m not sure…it could be that the first part was so bland that anything it now brings to the table deserves kudos.

Maltiness gets in the game and soars above the other short sheeted flavors. A sweetness emerges that is a mish mosh of raisins, Hawaiian sweet bread, and chocolate covered caramels.

My new job is a lot of fun but being a Netflix potato for 8 months is taking its toll on this dilapidated body. I show up for work erect and leave like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. A week or two and I should be able to not whine and whimper in front of colleagues. I have lost 10lbs. Probably coming from upchucking when I get home while screaming for my mommy.

The cigar is definitely falling into a routine of becoming a better blend. I know it to be fact…this cigar really needs way more naked humi time than 2-1/2 months. Having the first third be somewhat of a dud and then perking up in the second third is sure giveaway to my hypothesis.

I don’t believe Viaje gave out numbers of production. You can still find them online and in B&M’s.

“I’d Love to Change the World.” Ten Years After. Loved that band. “Goin’ Home.”

Transitions kick in. The spectrum of flavor points widens its grasp of my palate. I’m now confused. Some cigars are just blah in the first third but never get better with time. It is impossible at this point to know which it is. Oh well, we have nothing better to do at the moment so, I will trudge on.

I have serious doubts about the level of the rollers. The burn needs its first major touchup. It was packed too densely. You don’t release a show-off cigar blend and do it half assed.

SECOND THIRD:
The intense black pepper relents. Balance finally shows itself. It is a creamy chocolate mousse. Some almonds take their first bow. And complexity makes its debut. But I’ve already smoked 2-3/8” and I would have to rate that first third as WTF.

The cigar is becoming a pleasant stick…but I expect more than that. It’s supposed to be a special limited-edition blend. C’mon.

Big blast of very salty pretzel. Yucky.
Sip of water…salt is in the background now, but basically no serious forward momentum. This cigar review is being conducted a month after Halfwheel’s and the stick seems to mimic their review.

The saltiness disappears and I get a hint that the cigar is pushing, pushing to get that blender’s intent out into the world. Will I need to slap the cigar’s tushy when it arrives?

Fingers crossed…I believe the cigar is finally making its move. Maybe a 5-1/2” length would have been better?
Still medium strength.

I saw this 20-year-old girl in the store twice in two days. Each time, her jeans looked like she was attacked by a bear. Not the usual hip tears in the jeans, these were shredded. I had to ask…and I wish I hadn’t. She was missing the jeans right leg. Tattoos she wanted to show off. One was a bulldog crushing a police car in its mouth. For some reason she spoke to me. By the time she was done, I was sure she was some kind of QAnon weirdo. Or she was just mentally unbalanced. Cute girl though.

I know a lot of people make their dough working in retail. Except for last year at Prime Cigar, I have never worked in retail. It made me appreciate how lucky I was to work in commercial construction with educated and professional individuals. You see a lot of idiots in retail. Lots of them are very young with zero work ethic. At this point, I don’t care as I’m now able to contribute to our monthly income. A certain amount of patience with people comes with age. But that theorem is not true when it comes to reviewing cigars.

“End of The Line.” Travelling Willburys. Great fucking song.

A generous friend who works for USCCA gave me a cool plastic ammo can with a bunch of swag inside. The USCCA provides concealed carry insurance for the gun owner. I have $1million in liability…plus they provide expert lawyers if you need one. Plus, a lot of training videos on self-defense. Thanks Geoff. The company is nationwide but based here in Milwaukee.

The cigar remains at ‘pleasant.’ Terribly inconsistent. It continually fools me into thinking it is about to make that quantum leap into greatness…nope. It limps along like Aqualung.

“Take It Easy” by The Eagles. Early 70’s. Great song rendition of Jackson Browne’s song. Ever know anyone from Winslow, AZ? Charlotte’s stepbrother lives there as a prison guard. You have to see the town to really get the inference in the song.

I’m now hoping that the second half of the cigar does something spectacular, so I won’t end up giving this cigar a shameful rating. I’m thinking that Halfwheel’s 88 was very generous. If this was a $7 knockaround cigar, I wouldn’t be so heavily criticizing this blend.
Halfway point. It’s now do or die.

The first half was like getting your nuts shocked at Abu Ghraib.
I found out that the military was reading my reviews to prisoners to torture them. No deaths…that I know of.

Strength hits medium/full.

There are some nice complex notes, but I’ve been fooled before. Time will tell. Should get through this log in a few hours.

Ever stand at a urinal in a public restroom and get your sack snagged when you pull your zipper up and scream like a little girl? Me neither.

OK. The truth. This happened yesterday at work. A middle-aged employee heard it and thought either someone was having sex in the bathroom or was being murdered. Thank God, my junk is tiny. Otherwise, when I turned around in horror and faced the woman, she would have seen it. I took a photo of the red streak on my testicle this morning and will post it at the end of my review.

The glimpses of complexity that come and go reinforces my opinion that this cigar needs more humi time. Yes, I’m giving the blend the benefit of the doubt.

Lots of nicotine is settling in. What’s not to love?
The sweet v. savory is being fleshed out nicely. About time.

For the first time in this marathon, I believe I am beginning to enjoy the cigar.
The spiciness is minimal allowing subtle flavors to break on through to the other side.
I’ve got the blender’s intent now. I feared I’d have to finish this cigar with extreme prejudice.

Ever notice that when you speak with people wearing masks that they don’t get that you need to speak louder than normal? I’ve spent my days at the new job saying, “What did you say?”

Flavors are evenly balanced which makes them hard to pick out. It is creamy. Sweetness is apparent. But I could write a list of all the cigars with the same leaf stats as the Viaje…and not tell them apart from this stick.

I found no info on the cigar’s aging. Johnny Piette of Isabela will let his cigars rest for up to 5 years before he releases them. It is very easy to discern a cigar that has the most minimal of time left hibernating.

Maybe this is what the Viaje needs…put the onus on the customer to age it instead of the manufacturer doing his due diligence.

In the last 10 years I’ve been doing this, limited editions didn’t come down the pike that often. Now? Every other cigar is called limited edition. Methinks manufacturers are just dumping blends on their customer base that didn’t pass muster. Gotta make the money back, so why not label it limited edition, make it a little pricey, and disappoint.

“Dixie Chicken” by Little Feat. I was a huge Lowell George fan. My fellow players know that if they played their tunes, the complexity of the song’s structure was more involved than it appeared just listening instead of playing it. Lots of time signature changes. A bar of 4/4, then 2/4, then 5/4, and back to 4/4 before it takes off again.

LAST THIRD:
A nice creamy vanilla appears. Very Breyers ice cream-like.
Strength remains at medium/full.

My brain is swimming from the Vitamin N. (I know…pussy, pussy, pussy).
Pleasant is about the best I can say for this blend.
It is difficult picking flavors apart. They appear to be smooshed together in one glop.

My hope that the cigar would really take off in the second half are dashed upon the rocks at Pismo Beach.

If the cigar had started this way, it would have most assuredly become a better experience.
If you do purchase one…or have some marinating…let them sit forever in your humidor before lighting one up. Don’t even try one early. Waste of $13.

Strength goes full tilt. Bits of ear wax shoot out and the damn cat gets one piece on his forehead. Now I’m going to need to chase the cat around to clean him up.

The blend is better but lies in stasis. It is not going to surprise me. It is going to fade out like blocking out your wife’s bellowing for not taking out the trash.

Color me disappointed.
With 1-1/2” to go, I give up. It had its chance.

RATING: 84

And now for something way different:
Cannagars.

From a blog called “The Potlander”

“A New Site Selling Luxury Cannabis Cigars Bills Itself as “420 for the 1 Percent”—So We Tried It

“Smoking just got a whole lot bougier.

“What’s the most money you’ve ever spent on weed?

“Until last week, mine was a $79 one-gram gram of Sitka Gold flower rolled in 2 grams of hash—an indulgence for a visiting friend’s first legal pot experience.

“But I am decidedly part of the 99 percent, which means I’m not the target market for Leira Cannagars, which bills itself as “420 for the 1%” on their slick website.

“Seattle-based Leira rolls cannabis cigars, the smallest of which is a petite three-and-one-quarter-inch cigarillo size that retails for $110 in Washington shops, like Freedom Market of Longview, where I snagged mine. They sell out “within hours or the weekend they are dropped,” the company told us, as cannabis users splurge on a product that “represents success, luxury, and sophistication.”

“This cigarillo includes 4 grams of flower, coated with a half-gram of rosin, wrapped in cannabis leaves. It’s advertised as burning slowly over an hour. They also sell a six-inch Corona, which retails for $420, and which is filled with 12 grams of flower, sealed with 3 grams of rosin and also covered in cannabis leaves, that they claim will burn for us to five hours.

“Leira works hard to make the packaging look lux as well: each cannagar is sold in a corked glass jar, topped with drips of purple wax. While I hesitate to embrace weed as a product for the bourgeoisie, I am a sucker for marketing.

“My smoking history begins with Marlboro Lights in middle school and has plateaued at frequent bong rips and the occasional celebratory joint, so the information I have about cigars primarily comes from the media. Specifically, my firsthand knowledge is limited to the boxes making great pencil cases, and the flavored ones are best served gutted and refilled with weed, then sealed with saliva. Buying a cigar already made with Grape Diesel saves so much time (and saliva), even if it costs 100 times as much!

“Leira has a lengthy video with instructions on cutting and lighting the cannagar, claiming you need a cigar cutter and a butane lighter. Considering my weed budget was already shot after this purchase, I decided to go rogue and skip the step of buying equipment that I likely wouldn’t use again. (My kitchen scissors and a classic Bic worked just fine, which was somehow both a relief and a disappointment.)

“Here is one of the things I didn’t know about cannabis cigars: They’re hollow in the middle! If you smoke them in the manner you usually smoke a joint, your mouth will be burned. A lot of times. This was a surprise—I was expecting the density of a blunt, but the cannarillo was shockingly lightweight.

“Since I have smoked pot way more times than I have smoked cigars, it took a long time to figure out the best way to hit this thing.

“The two friends I shared with were equally baffled, and I ended up offering up a regular old-fashioned preroll once we were tired of the discomfort. At one point, we recalled media impressions of people smoking cigars, and puffed out our cheeks and inhaled while giving tiny wet smooches to the cannarillo, a method that finally resulted in less burning and deeper hits, but also made the whole thing sort of gross to pass around.

“One friend wisely said, “I wish we would have figured this method out $60 ago.” Indeed, for a 99 percenter like me, it was hard to enjoy the curling smoke without seeing it as money burning away between my fingers. I have to wonder why Leira didn’t bother adding inhalation instructions to their video—I suppose one percenters already know these things.

“My final impression of the Leira Cannarillo is one of disappointment.
“The idea is great, but the execution makes this a better novelty gift for a friend than a smoker’s splurge. I found the presentation tacky, reminding me more of Maker’s Mark than Montecristo. If I’d gone for the Corona and spent four times the money, I’d be outraged since you could buy an ounce of weed for that much and roll a ton of old-fashioned blunts.
“Since I’m middle class, I’ll definitely be scraping the debris of the finger-burning stump left behind into my bong instead.”



Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS

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