Size: 6.25 x 54 Toro
I’ve had my sticks for 5 weeks…not optimal for reviewing, but as they are still for sale everywhere and Viaje has not disclosed the number of cigars produced, I thought I’d jump in…and at least detect the cigar’s potential and hopefully deduce the blender’s intent. I smoked my first stick a few days ago and it kicked my arse from here to Saskatchewan. So, expect some nicotine whining no later than halfway through the cigar.
From Halfwheel.com (4-12-2021):
“There’s a pair of new Viaje Skull and Bones shipping next week, both inspired by Marvel Comic’s Punisher character.
“The two cigars—Viaje Skull and Bones Frank Castle, and Skull and Bones The Punisher—are both 6 1/4 x 54 vitolas that use what the company says is “a proprietary blend of Nicaraguan tobaccos.” The Punisher appears to use a lighter wrapper, while Frank Castle uses a darker wrapper. A spokesperson said the cigars are made in Nicaragua but did not name a factory.
“Each cigar has an MSRP of $13 and will ship in bundles of 25 beginning next Monday. The spokesperson did not answer a question about how many are being released.
“Viaje’s Skull and Bones series began as one that used names inspired by various military bombs. In recent years, the company has begun naming new sizes after comic book characters including Bruce Banner, Ghost Rider, Hulk, Johnny Blaze and Mephisto.
“In the Marvel universe, Frank Castle is a marine veteran who watches his family get killed. After that, he decides to fight crime using violence, earning him the Punisher moniker. The character was created in the 1970s and has been featured in a variety of comics, movies and television shows, most recently as the title character in the now-canceled Netflix series that aired in 2017-2018.”
The cigar feels like a barbell in my hand. Naturally, a cigar I expect to cause hallucinations by the halfway point is packed like a Wisconsin bratwurst.
The stick is very firm without hard or soft spots. Seams are tight and the veinage is minimal and not distracting from the high level of galoomphiness this log possesses. The wrapper is extremely smooth to the touch; and the touch from using my expansive mind powers to reach out with my ESPN skills and mind meld. The hue is a dark espresso brown but shimmers with oil in too much kitchen light. The triple cap is nearly flawless.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
First up is a luscious dark chocolaty syrup. Standing in queue are aromas of floral, barnyard, baking spices, black pepper, rye seeds, salty caramel, cedar, and hints of dark berries.
The cold draw presents flavors of heavy dark cocoa, mint, black pepper, caramel, cedar, berries, a touch of lemon rind, and teriyaki beef jerky.
The draw is pretty good for this big honker…which is packed solid. But I still use my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool to open the airway just a tad more to get the flow I prefer.
First puffs are just filled with delectables…rich espresso, that bittersweet chocolate, black pepper that ain’t too bad, that aroma of teriyaki jerky becomes the base of the sweet factor, big hunks of cedar, and baking spices.
Complexity wastes no time in exposing itself. This has the makins’ of a good Viaje of old. The finish begins immediately with nice overtones of savory and sweet that has me flapping my lips. Transitions have not begun. But there is an immediate depth I find pleasing.
The burn gets wonky. I experienced the same with my first stick. Harrumph.
A salty pretzel element appears. I’m not a fan of salt in my cigars. But I have a long way to go, so we shall see how long it annoys me.
The flavor is very beefy. I can taste Sunday dinner.
You ever wonder why manufacturers hide every detail of a cigar’s blend? Me too. I don’t get it. It’s not like the answers will fall into Russian hands and the Russkies can now rebuild Chernobyl. Create mystique? Maybe. Blender confusion? Maybe.
Regardless, this is nice tasting stick…and with only 5 weeks of naked humi time.
Strength is a potent medium. The spiciness from the black pepper is not hiding but it is far from overwhelming like my first stick.
Just as I finish the last sentence, the spiciness ramps up. Sometimes, this will dissipate with the right amount of humidor time. And then again, it could be a highly peppered cigar right to its death. Possibly a reaction from a Cesium influenced Ligero blend. (If I knew what I was talking about, I’d be selling insurance).
The pepper is a little schizo. The blend has smoothed out to the point that nuances and subtleties are visually apparent on my ceiling.
I would have loved to give this cigar a solid 3-4 months of humi time before putting fingers to keys…but I wanted to perform a public service announcement while the cigars can still be bought.
The saltiness has relented and actually enhances the chocolate. Creaminess makes its debut. Really helps balance the flavor profile. I swear I can taste tidbits of fresh orange…but that may be because I’m getting senile.
The blend is now searching for a place to land. Something is going on with 1” burned. There is a positive note happening as the cigar begins to strut its stuff.
I like that the sweet v. savory component began from the start and continues its journey.
Strength remains at medium+. Maybe I won’t end up in Saskatchewan with this one.
I’ve not been consistent, for a change, with my writing as my job has me hopping. I’m getting some very early shifts and I just don’t have it in me to review a cigar when I get home. I spend that time icing my swollen feet, knees, hips, low back, and neck. Other than that, the job has had no physical effect on me.
Mellowing is occurring. Nice. See. I knew something was going on. The cigar is struggling to display the blender’s intent while still too early to smoke.
I bought a fiver, so now I have 3 sticks left. Yes. I am a structural engineer, so don’t try this math at home.
I intend to let these sticks hibernate for months.
The stick is so packed full of love, it is taking forever to burn. The wonky burn continues to disappoint.
I’m betting the second half will shine like a new penny.
It’s hot, muggy, and rainy here in Milwaukee. My afro has returned.
First sip of water and it mostly affects the finish. No explosions. Transitions are caught in stasis. I’m sure this is the fault of not giving the cigar enough hibernation time.
The second half will tell the truth.
The saltiness has lessened but still finds its way to my palate. Makes me thirsty. Be gone, Satan.
And then a quantum leap occurs. Flavors spread out like a folding fan. Transitions finally kick in. Not big flashy flavors. Rather, tasty tidbits that really provide a nice character to the blend.
Unless the second half goes south on me, I am planting my feet and recommending a fiver. I am getting all the signs that this will be a good cigar. Now about the wonky burn…well, I hold my opinion in check as it is impossible to dry box a cigar in this funky weather.
Strength has not increased. This is a totally different experience than my first try. I couldn’t smoke the entire cigar due to the strength being commensurate to being hit by an 18-wheeler. Thereby proving my assertion that time matters.
The balance of flavors is even handed. Nothing lurks above the rest. The complexity is nice, if not all encompassing.
This Frank Castle is the type of cigar one wants to buy in multiples and then store away knowing that it was a good investment for the future.
The strong medium has relented. Much smoother. No different than when Charlotte shaves my butt cheeks. When in that position, just try to put pieces of toilet paper on the little cuts…impossible.
The place I work is 95% women from their teens to middle aged. I was ignored the first couple of weeks…but then as I turned out to be reliable, they are more friendly. A lot of flirting goes on. I like it. Gives me a boner this big.
Although, I’ve had a few customers go off on me for some stupid reason. I dealt with it. The company has a huge compactor in the back.
“Feelin’ Alright” by Joe Cocker. Right on dear departed brother.
I’m now comfy enough at the new job to katman both customers and work comrades. At first, they think I’m nuts or mentally impaired. No one works there with a gonzo sense of humor, so I’m doling myself out in small portions so as not to get fired.
You should see customers’ heads whiplash on me when they ask how I’m doing and I respond with, “Fucking great.”
Yeah, I went from store dick to greeter…the punchline to every standup comic. But it’s a lot of fun engaging with a huge crosscut saw of people, cultures, and mindsets. Some old guy said to me, “Some standup comics should know when to sit down.” I responded with “Well then, maybe you should sit down”…he just walked away muttering.
The second half begins and I am most definitely getting the gyrations of the blender’s intent, and I approve.
The spiciness has calmed way the fuck down. The blend is ultra-smooth. A very pleasant experience.
I am experiencing the wonder of the second half exerting its position in the universe. Make a right turn at Pluto and stop 3 miles away.
Of course, Pluto has been downgraded to just a zit in the cosmos, but you get the idea.
Flavor expansion is in play now. Transitions kick in. A nice array of the original and aforementioned profile.
Oh man…I’m digging it now. Good boy, Farkas.
I got to watch a taping of the TV show “Laugh In” in the late 60’s. Me and two buddies were the only ones in the audience. I had to take a piss. I was told I had to take the stairs to the stage and go down a long hall. I ran into Dan Rowan and as he passed, he said to me, “Hi. I’m Fred Farkle.” I had no response.
Goldie Hawn and Joanne Worley came into the audience and sat down with me and my friends. They were all over us and we had no life experience at that time to know how to handle it. It was embarrassing but fun. We all had boners this big.
I’m drinking a lot of water due to the salty background. Either that or I’m not hydrating enough at work.
I catch the big bosses hiding out and watching me…pretending they are doing something else. I told two cops that entered the store to arrest two of them standing together right behind me. I yelled that they had just had sex in the Unisex bathroom. It took a few days before the bosses would speak to me.
If you do snag some of the Frank Castles, do not smoke one out of curiosity. Put them away and forget about them.
I was right. The second half allows the blend to shine. Very complex now. Beautiful balance; except for the saltiness. Flavors waft from here to there…without a bus pass.
Charlotte gave me the OK to get BJ’s from customers or co-workers. I look forward to that. But I refuse to take a Cialis every day before work. So, I could end up becoming a disappointment to the willing women folk.
There are a million structural shops in town screaming for help. I’ve submitted resumes to all and not one has responded. Age discrimination at its finest. I’m too old.
The FC improves with every puff. I’ve reached the Golden Ticket.
Whatever rating I give this cigar will be based upon this experience. But I truly believe with time, I would have rated this blend higher.
Yeah baby, we’ve reached fucking delicious.
I’m betting flavors will be much more prominent with extensive humidor time. This time around, it is the syndrome of the whole being better than its parts. It’s a good cigar but trying to pick out specific flavors is futile.
Still…I’m having a good time. I’m relaxed. I’m calm. I have nothing witty to convey. I’m a hanging wall plant.
Oddly, I experience no nicotine poisoning.
The spiciness is in perfection mode. I enjoy a little kick in the seat of my pants. But the strength has not interfered. It is now medium/full.
The cigar decided to focus on being smooth throughout. Nothing wrong with that.
Don’t you just love the sound of a butt plug being pulled from your rectum. A sudden popping sound…and then a scream. I wish the cat would not stare. I checked on Amazon and no feline butt plugs to be found.
So, I use my grandson’s pacifier. The downside is he likes to hold the cat’s ass to his face. No idea why…
The stick has found its central purpose in life and hangs there. No harshness. A potent but soothing blend.
A nice grouping of flavor elements. A big portion of complexity. Once again, smoothness rules the day.
Now, I’d like to try its brother, The Punisher.
This was a good purchase. I can’t wait to try it again in a few months.
You have my permission to snag some. Don’t forget to follow my instructions.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS