Behind The Stick:
There are some cigars with a story and then there are cigars with a history. Viaje has always been a company that creates limited edition, limited release cigars which – love it or hate it – has put them on the radar of a lot of cigar smokers around the world. Without going too far into it – Andre Farkas created the ‘Zombie’ line basing it on how one would feel after smoking a specific cigar of his, but quite a few people on the internet felt it was more closely tied to an almost half decade run of Tatuaje’s Monster Series from Pete Johnson. Andre’s reply: “Zombie was born out of WMD and was in no way meant to compete with Tatuaje. Pete has created an incredible product that has found tremendous success. It is a shame that comparisons have been made. This was never the intent.”
As with many limited edition, limited release cigars – you either hunt them down and grab as many as you can or strangely enough somehow – one will find it’s way to you. The latter is how I ended up acquiring a 2012 Zombie – The Initial release was limited to just 100 boxes of 20 cigars each but the second run (2012) was 150 boxes of 20 cigars for a total of 3000 cigars produced. The three shops that received the Zombie’s were: Tower Pipe & Cigars in Sacramento California, Anthony’s Cigar Emporium in Tucson Arizona, and The Humidor Cigar and Lounge in Wichita Kansas.
Not that any of this really makes any difference 3 years later – but it does give us a bit of the background on a cigar that was ‘so talked about’ only just a few years ago. What does matter is that people have said that with the dual cap, (and the pin hole), that the aging process is enhanced and will actually result in a better cigar over time. There is also the opposing camp that feels that the extra moisture being held within the cigar will negatively affect the cigars aging abilities. While I have had the cigar resting for over a year, I trust the original owner to have properly cared for the cigar under their watch as well. Lets see what a 3 year old limited edition, limited release cigar is like!
Size: 4 5/8 x 52
Binder and Filler: Nicaragua
Factory / Country of Origin: Fabrica de Tabacos Races Cubanas S. de R.L./ Nicaragua
Release Type: Limited – 3000 produced
Release Date: May 2012
One of the questions I received the most when I was talking about the cigar – “how is the construction?” The dual cap (especially with pin hole) was such a random and unique idea – how is it aging? Andre reports that the pin-sized hole was put there to help the cigar breathe and release the moisture buildup inside the cigar. Evenly packed from head to foot, the cigar was not ‘squishy’ but I would put it more on the soft side than the firm side. The head clipped without issue and I lit the foot with cap intact which also did not have any issues. There was one part of the first third that did not burn through creating an odd ‘blemish’ to the ash but had no adverse effects on the taste of the cigar.
Straight jab to the face – bold pepper, spice, and earth quickly define each of their flavor profiles in a very distinctive way. The pepper and spice leaves a tingle at the tip of my tongue and a surge on the sides. The flavors are balanced and go well together although they did not provide as dynamic of an experience as I was hoping for. After the pepper spice died down, the core flavors of Earth, espresso and dark chocolate began to battle one another for front stage all while carrying this thickening sensation to the smoke making the flavors more prominent on each subsequent puff.
The Viaje Zombie has been a line of cigars that has been loved by many, hated by a few and talked about by what seems like… everyone. Without regurgitating everything you’ve already heard – I have to say that this was a really good cigar but not ‘so good’ that it would make me pay a premium or put it on the ‘bucket’ list of cigars to have. There was a lot of talk about this cigar when it first came out, not only from the people involved or the blend used, but that the cigar was going to cap both the head and the foot – which is one of the things that intrigued me the most.
The extra cap causes the cigar to hold in more moisture, a method that was even mentioned by Farkas as being an experiment. Right off the truck a few people had mentioned that the flavors appeared to be muted – subdued and almost a linear flavor profile experience. I heard a few of the more knowledgeable individuals mention that these would age very well but would be a slow age cigar that needed ‘copious amounts of time” so when this cigar found it’s way to the hideout, I had to let it rest an extra year!
There were some burn issues which were very common with other burn issues that have been reported. For myself, there were a few spots that appeared to be holding a bit more moisture and subsequently did not burn completely but the flavor was not affected. The cigar did not go out, but I did have to touch it up a few times – not as bad as a few of the other review sites had reported but this was not a cigar that I would leave unattended either.
If you have had a chance to smoke a 2012 Zombie please let me know your thoughts! If you have not had one and have the ability to grab one at a decent price and the flavor profile sounds like something you’d enjoy, be sure to grab an extra one for me!
Every Cigar Has A Story, Every Smoke A Memory