I am a sucker for sales emails from Tim at Podman Cigars. When I saw that he had the 2013 version of the TNT and the C-4 in stock I had to pull the trigger.
Here is a little bit about Viaje from their website:
“What is Viaje? I get asked this question a lot. Viaje is a boutique cigar company specializing in the small batch approach to cigar making. Viaje represents the idea that quality is better than quantity. That small is better than big. That few are better than many.
Why small batch? Well, there are many reasons. Quality, consistency and most importantly, this is where I get my inspiration. If you enjoy mass produced cigars, you are in the wrong place. We use tobacco sparingly to execute our vision of what a cigar should look and taste like. Viaje represents the boutique in every sense of the word. This is what I enjoy, this is what I provide, and this is my promise. Join us in the revolution against mediocrity.”
Time to start smoking this Viaje C-4!
Viaje C-4 2013
Vitola: Double Box-press Robusto
Size: 5 x 56
Wrapper: 99 Sungrown Nicaraguan Corojo
Cigars Smoked for this Review: Two
Smoking Time: 90 Minutes
Price Point: $10.4 via Podman Cigars
Cigar Purchased At: Podman Cigars
Setting the Context
I am a Viaje fan boy, but I haven’t smoked a bunch of Andre’s stuff. I look at Viaje cigars as a collector’s items and have a bunch, but never smoke them. I have smoked a few TNT’s, Oro’s, Fat Man, and a Super Shots but this will be my first C-4 from any year. I smoked this on my back porch, with my new ashtray from India, paired with some alternative music playing on Pandora in the background.
This C-4 looked a little rough. The cap at the foot was partially coming off and the cap split a tiny bit when I cut it with my Xikar Multi-tool. The side of the box press was super soft and almost spongy in nature.
There was a small pin hole on what I naturally assumed was the foot (capped end facing down from the C-4 band) till I found this misleading write up on Cigar Earth. Needless to say I followed the directions from Cigar Earth, and they were totally wrong. The C-4 totally unwrapped on me and really pissed me off. I learned from this error and smoked another C-4 the next day and the experience was much better. Here are the pictures to show what happened.
I know when I say this, people are going to say I am nuts, and rightfully so. The cold draw tasted like the Salisbury steak that my mom made for me. Yes, that it right, the same Salisbury steak - coated in mushrooms and brown gravy. Maybe I lost my mind in India, but I took about 15 cold draws to make sure. I know I sent one of this to Matt so I am curious to see if I am right, or just plain crazy.
The first few puffs were a blast of black pepper which quick subsided into a rich earth flavor. The black pepper came back quickly and remained but was slightly more muted.
I then got a little bit of spice which was like a jalapeno on the retro hale. It reminds me of the Ezra Zion Tantrum a little bit, but much more intense. At this point I had to relight because it had gone out due to the over humidification.
For me the second half the C-4 was completely different. The pepper and spice went away and the cigar mellowed into rich oak notes under pinned by a sweet creaminess. It wasn’t expected and was a real treat. The burn did get a little wild at this point - like it had during my shit storm of an experience with the first C-4 I smoked -but it easily corrected with a touch up from my lighter.
The spice in the C-4 kicked back up which was a nice contrast to the creaminess. I was then able to pick up what tasted like cashews followed by a sour note which I would compare to the Mule Kick, which I have been told is attributed to some certain ligeros.
The spice really ramped up and an earthiness came to the forefront and remained until I finished the C-4.
My experience today was night and day different from yesterday. I am just a little concerned that there is very little information about the C-4 out there. I shouldn’t have followed what was said on Cigar Earth, but there was nothing about which end was the foot on Viaje’s website.
Overall, it was an enjoyable cigar and I really like the rareness of it, but after smoking it I am conflicted on if I would buy more. The C-4 was super complex and constantly changing flavor profiles which was very nice, but the construction was rough and I didn’t like how hot the cigar burned.
I think the C-4 is worth a try. I would actually tell you to buy two. I would smoke one and throw another in your humidor for a rainy day. I wouldn't recommend a box purchase on the C-4 at all.
I hate the fact that information on Viaje is really hard to find. Viaje’s website doesn’t tell me anything about their cigars. When I click on “get connected” it takes me to their Facebook page. I am very surprised Viaje doesn’t have an active Twitter account. I fully plan on posting this review to Facebook and tagging Viaje to see if I get a response.
Due to the fact that most double capped cigars retain a lot of moisture I dry boxed this cigar overnight which helped, but didn’t firm up the soft spots at all.
I don’t know if was a construction issue in the factory, the fact I didn’t dry box the cigar for long enough, or just the vitola itself, but the construction was pretty rough. There were several burn issues I had to correct. I would have expected a much better experience here.
I used my internet timer and used my slow smoking method.