June 24, 2011

REVIEW: Viaje Summerfest 2011

Today's review is the first review of a bunch of new sticks, all being released at the same time by Viaje. If you like reading about Viaje, you're going to like this website for the next few weeks. Anyway, the cigar for today is the 2011 release of the Summerfest line. I couldn't find much information on this release online (as with all the other new releases), aside from it, once again, being a very small batch release. I sent a message to Andre asking for some more details:

Quote Andre Farkas:
"Last year the brushed foot on Summerfest was very difficult to smoke due to its length. This year the cigar has been designed to smoke. It gives you the ability to taste the filler alone before getting into the binder and wrapper. Again, unlike Holiday Blends unfinished foot representing the cold of Winter, the brush represents shedding clothing for Summer."

I smoked a couple of these last year and remember thinking the open brushed foot was a little overkill. This stick looks a little more like Andre said -- designed to smoke.  On to the review.

Vitola: Churchill
Length: 7
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Nicaragua Corojo 99
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Price: $9.35 in full boxes
Smoking Location: New Havana Cigars
Beverage: water


The first thing I noticed when examining the 2011 Summerfest was the brushed foot is a much tighter, bunched filler than last year's release. Last year, the cigar really looked like it had a paint bush on the end, but not so much this year. The wrapper was a dark brown color with some darker black streaks like you would find in spalted wood. Not the prettiest wrapper, but isn't really about the looks right? The aroma of the unlit cigar was very musty and at first and smelled kind of sweaty. After holding it out of the newly opened box for a few minutes that smell faded fast and gave way to a earthy natural tobacco scent. The cold draw was free and tasted mostly of natural tobacco with just a hint of raw honey. 

First Third   

I lit the unwrapped, covered part of my Summerfest and was greeted right away with a nice blast of white pepper. The front of the flavor profile was nice and spicy with the finish adding another element of a cooling mint-like note. I was very happy with what was going on with this kind-of-funny-to-smoke brushed foot. The cigar gave off a great volume of smoke both while resting and, more surprisingly, while being puffed on. I hit the wrapper part of the cigar about ten minutes into smoking and the flavor profile completely changed. A strong woody flavor came through and dominated the cigar both on the front and the finish.  No longer was I getting any of the mint taste, which I really missed. The body was in the medium to full range, but not anywhere near overpowering.

Second Third  

The second third of my Summerfest started off very similar to the first third with a strong woodsy flavor both on the front and the finish. Unfortunately, burning further into the second third, the cigar's finish started to taste medicinal. This could be from them being young (I have no idea how long these have been rolled, and even then, sometimes a fresh cigar can taste great), but something strange was going on. As the second third burned on, this taste seemed to fade a bit but I could still taste it in the back of my palate. Another change in the second third was that the strength of the cigar amped up. I would put this part of the stick firmly in the full strength area.

Final Third and Final Thoughts 

The final third of my Summerfest is where things really went downhill for me. At this point I was not picking up any really strong flavors other than a burnt tobacco taste mixed with ash. The smoke was very thick and coated my mouth, which I normally like, but it coated with an unpleasant flavor. I hoped some of those notes from the very beginning of the cigar would come back but they did not. The body was still in the full range and the draw still had zero problems.

My final thoughts on the Viaje Summerfest 2001?  This was not one of the better Viaje releases in my opinion. Note to anyone smoking this cigar.. do not cut off the brushed foot because it tastes great! After that, if you have a similar taste in cigars that I have, you might be disappointed. I normally like a lot of stuff from Viaje, but this one was not for me. On a more positive note, the construction of this cigar was excellent and it burned/draw without any problems. I'd love to hear what other people think of this cigar, so please leave a comment if you have a similar experience or one completely different.

Would I buy it again? I would like to try this in the torpedo size so I could see myself buying one of those to see if it's different.

Would I buy a box? Of this size, I would not.



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