Wrapper: Brazilian Arapiraca
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican
Size: 5 x 54 (Box Pressed)
Price: $8.60 in 2015
There is virtually no information about this cigar other than it existed. Only a tiny handful of reviewers touched it and no one really cared for it; which might explain the absence of cigar industry reviewers critiquing it. I did review the Viaje Holiday Blend Candy Cane Edición Limitada 2015…as just about everyone with a cigar blog did. That cigar got very mixed reviews. I fire bombed the blend with a rating of 80.
I received three Viaje Holiday Blend 2015 sticks, in their cellos, from a dear friend. Plume was clearly visible…but disappeared almost entirely when they were removed from their time capsules.
The cigars were slightly over humidified which was one reason the plume disappeared. The cellos were tighter than a Wisconsin brat.
These cigars are listed as box pressed. Over the last 7 years, that box press has mostly disappeared and forces me into a state of confusion when holding the cigar in the proper smoking position (laying on my back in the litter box). Just the slightest hint of corners but lighting the cigar softened them into extinction.
Most cigars, especially catalog brands, don’t age well. Even the boutique brands are hit or miss. But, spoiler’s alert, this blend seems to have improved exponentially.
THE WHOLE MEGILLAH:
The cigar seems to have held up nicely. I admit that there is a slightly beat up appearance but there is nothing reprehensible going on.
Look at the photo. How many caps do you see? I have no idea. The cigar looks like a full hat rack. There is one vestige of plume still visible. No, it is not mold. Mold looks completely different.
There are some delicious aromas disgorging from the wrapper. Fruitiness includes pineapple, candied lemon, and papaya. No idea if these exotic aromas were present at initial release. But the aromas don’t stop there…dark chocolate, espresso, lots of malt, a dash of black pepper, Frosted Flakes, and just a tad of barnyard.
The cigar has a closed foot. I opened it. That’s it…
I dry boxed the stick for 3 days and it’s firm and not bloated like this writer.
The draw is just fine. My PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool is useless, so I spit on it while cursing its ancestors. It slinks off and buries itself under one of my man boobs. But I find that nearly half of the cigars I smoke need a little help from the tool as I despise tight cigars. I know guys that would rather throw a cigar away than use the tool. They have more dough than me.
I start the review by telling Amazon Music I want to hear the Sounds of Motown. First up is Smokey Robinson and “Tracks of My Tears.” My wife grew up in Germany listening to Armed Forces Radio in the 60’s. She is a total freak for soul music.
Tons of smoke spew from the tubular bell.
Complexity goes straight to 3rd gear.
The aged tobacco shines like my forehead on a sunny day.
Very savory start. Flavors are hidden behind the unique essence of the sweetly smooth Brazilian wrapper. I love Brazilian tobaccy.
Slow roll on the burn.
The first one I smoked surprised me when I had to put it down for 15 minutes and when I came back, it was still rarin’ to go without a relight.
Very leathery and I never taste leather because I’ve never licked leather…or chewed on it. Well, not lately.
A subtle black pepper spiciness arrives to give the blend a kick in the arse.
I can’t believe that the stick is expelling smoke in great volume just sitting in my ashtray.
I sometimes expel smoke during sex…you hit your 70’s and everything changes; you’ll see.
The blend is almost entirely savory. All that fruitiness I inhaled is no where to be found at the palate level. Not complaining.
Naturally, as I finish writing that last sentence, I get some chocolate covered malted milk balls, cinnamon toast, and black licorice.
Nothing linear at hand. Complexity deepens with every puff. Subtle notes are screaming, “Sanctuary!” I finally took down my Festivus Pole. Frank never divulged that it cannot be upright during the Halloween season.
“Endless Love” by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross is playing. I’m swept into an elevator.
Sometimes a good cigar has me licking and smacking my lips like a dog that has been given peanut butter. No one is watching so it’s OK. Even though I know that the government has hidden cameras in my mini man cave. I never should have written countless letters to government officials in the late 60’s accusing them of assassinating JFK. Stupid move. How many guys you know that saw Ruby shoot Oswald on live TV?
The cigar is so rich that I want to plotz. The rested tobacco is doing the heavy lifting. Not a flavor wheel blend by any means. It is a serious man.
“Where Did Our Love Go” by The Supremes playing. They sing the line, “Oh baby, you’re deep inside me and it hurts so bad.” Fucking hell. Never noticed that in the 60’s.
Then The Jackson 5 is playing “ABC” and Michael sings, “Where are all the little boys?”
Strength started at medium and now that it has met the halfway point it hits medium/full. Like that a lot.
Clearly, time has been kind to this blend.
Now we’re talking…Marvin Gaye “Let’s Get It On.” Back in the day, this was a great album to play while seducing a pretty thing.
The cigar band slips off easily showing that dry boxing did the trick.
I hit the sweet spot. Intensity is through the roof. The flavor profile widens its spectrum like a woman slowly spreading her legs to show off what she’s got.
Charlotte’s 72nd birthday is this month. She still looks mighty fine. This photo was taken at her 70th birthday. Hasn’t changed.
The blend is screaming laughter. On a mission from God.
Surprisingly, the stick increases its smooth transaction like hitting the beach at night.
Some fruitiness finally appears in the back of my throat. Up till now, the savory faction has ruled the mission. It begins to tilt the other way.
Oddly, the 5 years I owned a recording studio from the late 70’s to the mid 80’s, not a single band came in laying down disco tracks. I was very lucky. Although, I did own a couple of polyester shirts.
The cigar is now perfectly balanced with equality in the savory v. sweet domain.
This 5 x 54 stick lasted nearly 90 minutes.
Not a lick of heat or harshness at the end.
Extended humidor aging is such a risk. A roll of the dice. In this case, it turned a shunned cigar into a brilliant blend.
I just noticed that there hasn’t been a lick of nicotine intruding on the pleasure journey.
This was fun.
I finish the review listening to Smokey singing “Ooo Baby Baby.” My feelings personified.
And now for something completely different:
I had a great gig at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park back in my high school years during the 1840’s. My best friend had worked there for 6 months and got me the gig.
I had applied earlier at the main personnel office with another buddy. He got a job…but since they didn’t hire Jews, or any other ethnic group, I was turned down. And for those that don’t know, there ain’t another last name more Jewish than Kohn, or Cohen, or Cohn. That’s OK. You don’t need to be a member of The Tribe to know a ‘Kohain’ when you see him.
My buddy, Skip, worked across the street where John Birch Society member Walter Knott had erected a facsimile of Independence Hall. The smaller version of Knott’s across Beach Blvd also had a big lagoon, a vintage carousel, miniature train, row boats, and the steamboat: the Cordelia K…named for Walter’s wife.
Knott’s began as a berry stand in the 30’s (He invented the Boysenberry) and blossomed into a fried chicken restaurant.
Ol’ Walter built a cool looking western town and ghost town. It later had all kinds of western themed rides. Including a full-size 19th century locomotive with passenger cars. It slowly cruised around the perimeter of the park and college boys dressed as cowboy bad guys came through firing blanks from their Colt revolvers and yelling that they were robbing the train. It was the only gig in SoCal where having long hair ensured you had a job.
Every ride, on both properties, was owned by a subcontractor Bud Hurlbut. It was Bud himself who hired me giving me the distinction of being the first Jew ever to work at Knott’s. About a week working there, I ran into Bud and felt cocky. I asked him if he knew that I was Jewish? He busted out a big belly laugh while patting me on the back and walked away still laughing.
Walter was a real S.O.B. He hated anyone not white. Or not Christian. And by the time I went to work there, he was ancient.
I got hired to be the new steamboat captain. I was thrilled when I found out it wasn’t like Disneyland whose jungle ride boats were on tracks. Not here. No track. I actually drove the boat. On the downside, they didn’t give me a gun.
I spent a week in training and then she was all mine. The boat sat around 40 people. And it cost 25 cents to ride. In fact, all the rides were 25 cents on our side.
I had to wear this stupid captain’s hat that made me sweat. So, I took it off a lot. And I got into trouble a lot. The 30-year-old manager would come in on his days off to catch me.
The steamboat was not run by steam; but rather, a big diesel engine that looked like a steam turbine. My back was up against it the whole time I drove the boat. It was nice during the winter months…but in the very warm summer, the non-breathable captain’s hat made me sweat like a feral pig.
I learned how to run the carousel, the train, sell tickets, and send people on their way in a rented rowboat. But the captain thing was my main gig.
I got tired of kids asking me if the boat was on a track when they saw me struggling to turn it as the boat had too short a run to get it out of dock and into the main lagoon. So, I told them, “No. The boat is not on a track…the water is.” I always got befuddled looks and the questions stopped…or sometimes the middle finger.
The lagoon was the size of a football field. It had a duck island in the middle of it. My job was to do two turns around the black lagoon. One was a wide berth and the second was close to the island. That’s what you got for your 25 cents.
But that 25 cents gave people the impression that I would give some sort of narrative and shoot at rising hippos as we rode along the black water.
They were always so disappointed that all I did was keep my mouth shut and drive.
One of my passions was to ram row boats. Especially, the people without the slightest hint of how to row a boat. I truly enjoyed watching them sitting in one place turning the boat in a 360-degree circle going nowhere. So, I aimed for them. I would grab the megaphone and yell at them to get out of the way and they would start screaming in panic.
I would then pull the throttle back, let the boat slow down to near motionless, and I would climb out and plant myself on the bow. I grabbed a long aluminum gaff and would push them out of the way. All the time listening to the near tearful patrons thanking me for not killing them…it broke up my day. Everyone thought the boat was on a track.
One Easter Sunday, chaos showed up dressed for the prom. The Farm was packed and so was the boat. I had a sharp turn to make to get out of the dock and turn to the left. Sometimes, I couldn’t make it because there were too many people on the boat. And I pulled and pulled that damn steering wheel. And on that day, the steering cable broke.
The boat then floated free. I pulled the steam whistle over and over which was the sign of an emergency. I stood on the bow of the boat waving my arms. Employees ran over and I yelled that the steering was broken.
No one knew what to do. One of the guys, fully clothed, just started walking into the lagoon…that nasty, smelly, black water. With no filtration system and 2 feet of muck at the bottom.
My head dropped in resignation…and I jumped into the water. The people on the boat applauded.
By this time, the boat had drifted about 50 feet from the dock. There were four of us in the water trying to push it back to the dock.
I moved to the stern. I leaped up to grab the back of the boat and was swiftly hit in the chest with the steering system that looked like two horizontal ladders about a foot and a half below the water. The water was so black, I couldn’t see them, and I never knew they were even there.
I completely submerged. I came up covered in muck. This was a bad day.
Me and another fella pushed the stern while treading water. Two others pushed the bow, and after nearly 30 minutes, we were able to get the boat back to the dock. The little boat was heavy and flat bottomed…and the big paddle wheels acted like brakes. And with over 40 bodies sitting there snapping photos of us and laughing…it was cumbersome and heavy.
Once locked at the dock, a huge roar of voices and applause filled the air…hundreds and hundreds of onlookers heard what had happened and lined the shore.
The owner, Bud, showed up and sent all four of us across the street for new clothes. Mind you, no shower, but new clothes. We had to work the rest of our shift doing other things, stinking to high heaven. He could have sent us home with a hearty hand clasp and a big thank you…but that never occurred to Bud.
Years later, the lagoon side rides were turned into a parking lot. Independence Hall was not touched.
I think that they put Walter’s urn on the same folding table with all the John Birch Society and other hateful pamphlets.
I forgot one thing…Once a month, Walter would mount an electric cart, driven by a suit, and head over to the lagoon. Walter always wore the same ridiculous shiny silver suit that made him look like a disco duck even though it was the late 1960’s. He loved riding the steamboat…usually twice…making patrons wait.
The man never said a word to me…even when he once tripped getting up and I grabbed him so he wouldn’t go elbows over ankles. Didn’t even look at me. Really nice man.
On my last day working there, I took the boat out for the very last time, full of passengers. I gunned it…causing a huge rooster tail of water from the paddle wheels. I turned it around on the other side of duck island and came around the wrong way…still at max speed. I went through the dock, with 3” to spare on either side, like a crazy man, at full bore. To this day, I have no idea how I didn’t crash the boat. And then I went around again, turned it around, and finished the boat ride with a thank you to my wildly frightened passengers.
I was later told by friends that my manager said he would kill me if he ever saw me again. For a couple years, I was a legend throughout the entire park.
A few years later, I was dating a Knott’s chick and we went to employee night and all the rides were free. She and I were at the front of the line of the Log Flume ride, and I noticed that my old manager was buckling folks in. I now had my afro and hoped he wouldn’t recognize me. I looked straight down at my feet as I got in.
Just before we took off, the manager said to me with a big evil smile, “Make sure you drive this in the right direction.” And off we went. I was sure he would have beaten me to death right there. My black pick with the black power fist on it probably scared him. Hand to God, this really happened.
Walter and Cordelia had a lot of kids so when Walter died, they went to war like the TV series, “Succession.” It was glorious reading about their fights in the newspapers.
One last thing…for a high school boy, Knott’s was full of beautiful girl employees. I nearly dated them all. I left there with a terrible reputation. I had spewed my precious bodily fluids to my heart’s content. Sterling Hayden in “Dr Strangelove” would have been proud.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS