Cigar Review: Viaje Exclusivo Nicaragua
Size: 6” x 50
Strength: medium-full to full
Overall Rating: 9.3
The Viaje Exclusivo began life as a personal blend for brand owner Andre Farkas, but since 2009 has become a staple in the Viaje line, with all kind of various sizes being released over the years. Now the Viaje Exclusivo gets a new Nicaraguan puro, manufactured at Casa Fernandez’s TABSA factory in Nicaragua, which sets it apart from the original line which is made in Honduras. This new medium-full to full bodied addition to the Viaje Exclusivo line surpasses its original version, and sure to become a favorite of Viaje fans.
Pre-Light: The Viaje Exclusivo Nicaragua features the typical Exclusivo band with a new blue and white color scheme that is meant to be the colors of the Nicaraguan flag. Against the milk chocolate brown wrapper, the cigar’s band really stands out. The smooth wrapper has a few noticeable medium sized veins and a slight oily sheen.
Natural tobacco and wood notes are noticeable from the wrapper of the Viaje Exclusivo Nicaragua. The foot of the cigar has aromas of the wood, coffee, cinnamon and natural tobacco. An easy cold draw allows through flavors of cedar, cinnamon, grass and just a hint of spice.
Burn: A great draw allows through a good amount of smoke. The Exclusivo Nicaragua burns pretty even throughout the cigar. Once a quarter or half inch of ash forms it has a tendancy to fall of with little warning, so when you see it get that far make sure to sh the cigar.
Flavor: Upon lighting the Viaje Exclusivo Nicaragua it starts with one of the most unique flavors combinations I’ve come across. There is a mix of pretzel, salt and spice, that fuse in such a way as to call to mind those pizza flavored Combos snack crackers. (When I though I was crazy, I had my friend Chief independently verify the pretzel/salt/spice was there, and he too tasted roughly the same thing.) After about the first half inch or so of Exclusivo Nicaragua, the flavors become more traditionally Nicaraguan. A blend of coffee, wood, earth, pretzel and spice continue during the first third of the cigar. On the retrohale there is a pleasant mix of cedar and red pepper notes. As the cigar burns into the second third the coffee flavor comes to the fore or the flavor profile. Background notes of nuts, earth, natural tobacco, subtle spice and extremely mild pepper are also present during the second third of the cigar. After burning past the halfway point of the cigar, there is a slight uptick in black pepper that compliments the coffee, natural tobacco, nut and earth flavors also coming through. At this point the red pepper on the retrohale has morphed into a black pepper like note. During the final third the pepper and spice come through on the palate, and blend together with the existing earth, nuts, natural tobacco and coffee. Right towards the very end of the cigar, the spice/prezel/salt combination that started off the cigar comes back.
Overall: Since hitting the shelves at my local tobacconist, I’ve found myself enjoying the Viaje Exclusivo Nicaragua on a pretty regular basis. So far this year, I’ve been very impressed with the Viaje releases, and would definitely consider the Exclusivo Nicaragua as another hit. It may not get at much attention as the Viaje Full Moon or the Satori, but the Viaje Exclusivo Nicaragua is (in my not so humble opinion) one of the best cigars that Viaje has made. It’s a good medium-full to full bodied cigar with a lot flavor to it, and (although we don’t take it into account in our Overall Rating) the price of the cigar is pretty reasonable. Several of the regular full bodied Nicaraguan smokers I know, like Headshrinker Gary have found the Viaje Exclusivo Nicaragua to be box-worthy, and I agree. Hardcore Viaje fans will likely snap these up when they hit the shelves, so it may be worth picking a few up when you see them. Though typically Viaje likes to release cigars in small batches and the company has not released any information about the production, I hope that the Viaje Exclusivo Nicaragua remains in regular production.
Pairing: While I’ve found I can pair the Viaje Exclusivo Nicaragua with just about anything, including a Diet Coke, this cigar just seems like a great cigar for pairing with a good craft beer. I’m not really even a craft beer guy, but when paired with a high quality ale the cigar holds up better than most. Single malts like the Talisker 10, Talisker Storm and Ledaig 10 also all pair very well with the Viaje Exclusivo Nicaragua.
Reviewed by Jonathan David (@JonDavid1210)