August 26, 2011

REVIEW: Viaje Satori 2011 release

This week I was fortunate enough to get my hands on some of this year's release of the Viaje Satori. I say fortunate because, as everyone knows when it comes to Viaje limited release products, there is a very small amount to go around and the demand is high. (I picked up a sampler of all of the new LEs from New Havana Cigars so you will more than likely see a few Viaje reviews coming in the next couple of weeks.) I spoke with Andre at this year's IPCPR tradeshow and the story behind the Satori is it's a release that can only be ordered at the show and is his way of "doing a favor" to the shops who were in attendance.

Andre took a lot of heat last year with this cigar because of how dark the wrapper was. Last year he stated it was a "super special Oscuro" wrapper that had all of us scratching our heads. This year there are less secrets and he is being upfront about the leaf.

Quote from Andre Farkas: We switched the wrapper this year. We are using San Andreas Maduro. I love the change and I think its even better than last year's version.

So even though it comes in the same name as last year's edition, it is a different cigar. The stick looked nice, so let's see how it smoked.

Vitola: Robusto
Length: 5
Ring Gauge: 50
Wrapper: Mexican San Andreas
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Price: $10.35
Smoking Location: New Havana Cigars
Beverage: Water


As I mentioned above, the controversy last year (if you want to call it that) with this stick was the jet black wrapper it had. This years version is still very dark, but does not look nearly the same as far as texture and color consistency. The wrapper had some medium veins but felt very smooth. The pre-lit aroma was pretty mild until you got to the open foot where it smelled strongly of dried fruits, especially a (call me crazy) plum like scent. The cap clipped nicely and the cold draw also had some of the dried fruity notes to it. I like the artwork on the Satori. It's different enough to be fun, but not so much that it's cheesy. Also I think it would really catch your eye if you saw someone else in a shop smoking it. 

First Third   
The Viaje Satori lit very easily with a soft flame lighter and the draw was excellent. The flavors at the start were a mild espresso on the front with some wood like taste on the finish. The finish also had a spice that lingered long between puffs. Something definitely to note is the very interesting resting smoke this stick puts off. There was tons of smoke which filled the room and had a sweet floral smell to it. I wonder if you lit this in a room with a lot of other cigar smokers if they might look at you funny? About an inch into the cigar I was hit with a unpleasant build up of that lingering spice in the back of my throat. I had to get up and get some more water. The strength of the cigar was in the medium range.

Second Third  
Burning into the second third of my Viaje Satori I'm very pleased to say that uncomfortable spice in my throat went completely away. I'm also very pleased to write about how the flavors changed and the stick overall got very complex. The front profile of the cigar now had a much sweeter flavor and had hints of the dried fruits from the cold draw. It also had a flavor in it that is very near and dear to my heart so go down this road with me for a moment. My family is right-off-the-boat English, so we have some different foods at holiday dinners that are not standard with American fair. One of them is mincemeat pies. If you click that link you will see there are many kinds of mincemeat but ours is one that does not contain actual meat, just beef suet. This cigar in the second third reminded me of this flavor.  The finish on the profile was a standard black coffee flavor which was a nice way to end the craziness of the front. I did have a pretty wavy burn during this portion of the cigar and it did have to be corrected twice. The strength was like the first third, medium.

Final Third and Final Thoughts 
Heavy is the best way to describe the final third of my Viaje Satori. The complex and interesting flavors from the second third started to tail off and I was left with a very rich dark coffee flavor that dominated the front and finish of the flavor profile. It was a nice flavor, but I was disappointed to see what was going on in the second third leave so quickly. Another thing to note is during the final third the strength of the cigar picked up quite a bit and I would put it more in the full range now; not too full, but I could feel it in my system.

My final thoughts on the Viaje Satori 2011 release? I'm not really sure what to write of an overall thought. This particular cigar had some really high highs, and some really rough low moments. The harshness I had in the beginning could be due to me smoking this right off the truck and I was happy to have that experience go away as fast as it came. The middle of the cigar is where the stick really shined. It was complex and had me very satisfied. The finish was good but left me wanting more of what I had just had. I guess I will write it up as...It's good, but not great yet, and has potential to be even better than great if those flavors in the middle of the stick balance out into the rest of the experience.

Would I buy it again? Here's the catch. Even if I wanted to, I'm pretty sure they are sold out, or will be sold out before the week is up. If you want them, start looking now.

Would I buy a box?  See above.


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