September 7, 2010

REVIEW: Viaje Satori

Today's cigar review is for a stick which was brought back from the IPCPR trade show by one of my partners at Cigar Explorer. (@Cigarexplorer on twitter, please follow us!) Many people are beginning to recognize the Viaje name and understand that Andre Farka's cigars are primarily micro-batch releases. Yes, Viaje does have 3 core lines (Platino, Oro, 50/50), but it's in these highly-limited releases that the company has been making the biggest impact. The Satori, meaning state of sudden spiritual enlightenment in Japanese, falls right in line with only 150 boxes of each of the three sizes being made. I'm not sure if the samples from IPCPR count towards that exclusive 150 box count, but I'm pretty excited to get my hands on one either way.

For more information on Viaje there is a great interview with Andre in this months Cigar Press magazine.

I'll admit upfront that I have truly enjoyed everything I have smoked from Viaje and hold them to a pretty high standard. The Skull and Bones and the Double Edged Sword are most likely going to end up in my Top 10 (if not Top 5) cigars of the year -- both of which I am out of, so if any readers have some they want to trade please let me know. Let's see how the Satori stacks up against my expectations.

Vitola: "Nirvana" (Toro)
Length: 6
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Nicaragua "Super special" Oscuro
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Price: $? each
Smoking Location: Explorer Lounge
Beverage: water
Manufacture's Website:

My Satori from Viaje was a very different looking cigar. The "super special" Oscuro wrapper was very dark and reminded me of black leather. The cigar felt smooth to the touch, which added to that leather description, but when inspected closely had a lot of tooth and tiny bumps. Another aspect of this cigar that stood out right away was just how tightly this stick was rolled. I was a little nervous about the draw before testing it, but after clipping the head, all those worries went away. The draw was just how I like it, free with some light resistance. The cold draw tasted sweet with raisin and coffee flavors. The pre-lit aroma was faint, but what was there was of typical aged tobacco.

First Third
This Satori lit up easily and started producing bold flavors from the first puff. On the front of the flavor profile was a nice black pepper note that woke up my taste buds and, on the finish, was a weaker sweetened black coffee taste. The cigar produced a lot of smoke, both on each draw and while resting, which easily filled up the lounge within minutes. After getting about an inch into this stick, the flavors started to change up. The black pepper faded off a bit and was balancing more evenly with the coffee taste on the finish. Simply put -- it mellowed out a bit. The burn on the stick was a little wavy but not problematic, with the body falling right into the medium range. 

Second Third
The second third was different than the first third in that the smoke seemed to get very creamy and have a smooth feeling on my palette. I'm not saying the first third was dry or harsh, I'm just saying the cigar was noticeably smoother in the second third. To go along with the very enjoyable smoothness were very strong flavors that even a beginning cigar smoker would pick up on. On the front of each draw, I tasted a lot of milk chocolate notes, which blended awesomely with the black coffee finish. The second third of this cigar was just like a mocha, frappa, whatever they call them at Starbucks...very enjoyable and relaxing. Another difference in the second third from the first third was the body, now rocking more into the full range. Not so full that it gave me the spins, but I could definitely feel the nicotine kicking in. The burn remained slightly wavy all the way through the second third, but again, nothing that needed a touch up with my lighter or anything like that.

Final Third and Final Thoughts
In the final third of my Viaje Satori, the creaminess from the second third faded off a bit, but the strong flavors of milk chocolate and black coffee kept on coming. The flavors were possibly even stronger now than they had been the entire stick and almost made me wish I could eat the cigar -- it was that good. Something I have yet to mention about the finish on this stick was just how clean it left my mouth feeling after each exhale. For such a strongly flavored stick, I would've expected more of a heavy after-smoke taste, but this cigar left none of that. The body in the final third was just like the second third in that it was FULL body. Much like the Viaje Daisy Cutter boasted a "be warned" stamp on the box, I think the Satori could warrant that same packaging. A very relaxing cigar, but not for beginners.

My final thoughts on the Viaje Satori? Another winner for Andre. The flavor profile is maybe not the most complex stick I've ever had, but the strength of the chocolate and coffee flavor blend make for a very enjoyable smoke. I am very interested to get my hands on the other sizes and see how they stack up. Specifically, the box pressed double torpedo which looks to be a truly masterpiece of a cigar (just as I thought the Viaje Double Edged Sword was, which is of a similar shape.)

Would I buy it again? If I get the chance and my cigar budget is there, I will buy more Satori. These are not an everyday smoke, but great for a calm evening after dinner on the deck.

Would I buy a box?  I'm not sure I would run out and buy a box right away (like I would if there were more Skull and Bones released, hint, hint), but after trying the other sizes I wouldn't put off buying a box in the future.



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