Andre Farkhas of Viaje created the exclusivo blend which was essentially for his own personal consumption. But like Steve Saka and Liga Privada No 9 blend or Pete Johnson and the Black Label blend, once word got out that they were delicious cigars, the demand to make them official releases increased. In my opinion, the Exclusivo blend is one of the few releases from Viaje that has stayed fairly consistent in terms of performance. I’ve never hesitated to purchase a ten pack or even a bundle when they have come out.
The Exclusivo Robusto 2010 was released back in 2010 with only 100 jars of 35 cigars getting produced. The size was released again this past week (May 7th, 2012) in a bundle format and I felt it was the proper time to review the version from 2010 to see how well they have “aged”.
Exclusivo Robusto 2010 (Jar Release): 4 7/8 x 50
Exclusivo Chiquito (2 store Release): 4 3/5 x 51
Double Edged Sword (DES): 5 3/4 x 52
Exclusivo Short: 4 1/4 x 42
Exclusivo Tower Cigars 45th: 5 1/2 x 52
Atlantic Cigar 15th Anniversary: 7 1/2 x 40
Corona Gorda (Event only, not pictured): 5 5/8 x 46
Viaje Exclusivo Robusto 2010
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Criollo
Size: 4 7/8 x 50
Smoke Time: 1hr 5min
Days in Humidor: 2 years 4 months
The wrapper is has rich oily color to similar to coffee beans. There are some dark spots scattered throughout the cigar which gives it a beautiful look. The cap on the cigar is larger than what I’m used to seeing on cigars but it is seamless and blends in well. It does have a little pigtail that’s probably not more than 2mm in length. I very impressed by the construction as there isn’t one soft spot and the beautiful “Exclusivo” band only contributes to the appearance. Some of the veins are can be felt but other than that, I don’t think they’re noticeable. I like the size of the Exclusivo Robusto 2010 as it’s overly large. I think Viaje lately has been producing many cigars with a ring gauge over 52 and it may turning some people off from trying out the brand.
I made an average cut across the head and there was some loose pieces of tobacco but I like the fact there wasn’t a gap between the cap and binder/filler. There was a breeze affecting the direction of the flame while lighting the cigar but it went down without any problems. The cold draw was smooth with some resistance behind each inhale. The Viaje Exclusivo Robusto 2010 held it’s own outdoors in terms of the burn because even though the breeze would create a jagged burn line, the cigar almost always corrected itself soon after. Plenty of smoke on every there and it had a chewy profile to it as well. The ash lasted about an inch every time. Overall, I was very impressed with how the cigar smoked outdoors especially with the breeze.
Letting them “age” in the humidor in cedar trays has given the wrapper a wonderful aroma of cedar, cinnamon, floral notes and aged tobacco. The foot has the same aroma only stronger. The initial draw was grassy, floral notes and spice. I haven’t smoked the exclusivo blend in a while so I was quickly reminded of what the flavor profile was like. In the first third, while I’m getting espresso and cedar, I’m surprised as how abundant the pepper is in this part. The sweet and peppery profile is creamy with a bite at the end.
In the second third, coffee and leather have a good balance while the pepper notes are still prominent. There is a good depth to the flavors and I feel the cigar at this point is a strong medium approaching full body. The aroma is also pleasant filled with cedar and pepper notes. The cigar has so much flavor with every draw. I do get floral notes in the background but are definitely noticeable. As I approach the final third, the flavor profile does get a bit simplified as I notice only leather, coffee beans with the consistent pepper in the background. There are some notes of earth and cedar in the last inch but it certainly as complex as it was in the first or second third.
- The Viaje Exclusivo Robusto 2010 has complex flavor profile and is definitely full bodied by the third part. It has a multitude of flavors that are very subtle and play more of a background role and can sometimes be dominated by the stronger notes.
- The cigar has mellowed out only a little as I’m surprised by the strength of the pepper there. I don’t think the robusto has improved drastically over the past few years but that isn’t to say it wasn’t very good to begin with. Based upon what I experienced with the few cigars that I smoked for the review, I feel confident saying these will age well.
- While I enjoyed the Robusto I feel the Double Edged Sword (DES) and Tower Cigars 45th are my favorite release in regards to the exclusivo blend. However, this is a better size from my experience than the chiquito at the current time. I have not smoked a chiquito in a while though so it’s quite possible the draw has improved.
- The price point for this cigar is fair and for the most part, feel the exclusivo blend is a good buy when wanting to purchase a blend from Viaje. The only exception was probably the exclusivo short which was over $6 if I recall correctly and it didn’t have a smoke time to match.
- Until Andre proves me otherwise, I’ll continue to purchase the exclusive releases simply because they don’t let me down. His cigars haven’t needed as much downtime recently as compared to 2011 releases so a comparison with the Viaje Exclusivo Robusto 2012 should follow shortly.
- Finding these will be next to impossible but the Viaje Exclusivo Robusto 2012 are already available. Check with your local Viaje retailer as the production numbers are fairly adequate.