In addition to the White Label Project Winter Classic and Super Shot 10 Gauge getting shipped over the past week or so, select retailers also received a single box of a very exclusive release by Viaje called Friends and Family. The blend is mysterious as is the number of boxes that were distributed to retailers nationwide. However, the inscription on the box reads, “Handmade exclusively for friends and family in the time honored Cuban tradition” so it is safe to say that’s where Andre got his idea from. Hopefully, I’ll be able to update the information in this review within a week or so. Anyhow, even though I usually do a “First Impression” review with a cigar that just “landed” I felt my experience with the Friends and Family was more than positive to go ahead with an in depth review.
Viaje Friends and Family Review
Size: 7 x 48
Vitola: Box Pressed Churchill
Smoke Time: 1hr 50min
The Viaje Friends and Family has a chocolate colored wrapper with a nice closed foot. Even though the cigar has a softer than average feel when squeezed, it actually seems very well rolled. The weight of the Viaje Friends and Family seems to be on the lighter side especially when taking into consideration the size of the vitola. The box pressed shape makes the cigar look smaller than what it is and the cap on the head could have been a little tighter. While the veins feel somewhat prominent, I think that has more to do with the shape affecting the wrapper than anything else. The Friends and Family bands on this cigar are beautiful to look at and they have the right appearance to them. The silver lining and lettering contrast well with the white background and the dark rich wrapper. I don’t notice any tears or holes on the cigar and I must say this vitola has an elegant look.
The cut across the head was very clean and even though the cold draw was semi tight, this did open up when it was lit. The burn was initially erratic in the first inch or so following the curvature of the cigar and also the veins, but the Viaje Friends and Family Cigar did correct itself well. The ash reminded me of a typical Viaje cigar with it’s dark grey color while only lasting an inch before falling. This didn’t surprise me as it looks like the cigar has more in common with a lancero than a churchill. As mentioned earlier, the draw was very good once lit and I never got an abundance of heat in the last few inches so the flavor wasn’t affected. The smoke was a constant stream and increased even moreso once I was halfway through the review.
The aroma off the foot and wrapper weren’t overpowering but I did notice some hay and chocolate. The initial draw reminded me of caramel and dark chocolate with a dominant presence of spice on the finish. The spice lingers for a while which I don’t believe really went away until the later half of the cigar. The first third continues with that sweet flavor of caramel along with the spice. It also has a nice creaminess which allows the flavors to circulate before exhaling. The retrohale has notes of cedar along with pepper.
The second third has a nice butter cream flavor while still producing a good size strength of spice on the finish. I am picking up some different flavors here as well like espresso and wood while throwing in hints of dark chocolate. In the final third I am noticing a certain sweetness along with espresso and some spice. The sweetness was not like the caramel earlier in the smoke but it had a fruity sensation.
- I would consider the Viaje Friends and Family to be a full bodied cigar with a multitude of balanced flavors
- As noted earlier, I initially expected the cigar to be somewhat wet with me doing a “first impression” review but this was not the case
- This is one of Viaje’s better releases in the past year but if you’re unable to purchase any of these, the VOR is just as good a cigar at almost $5 less
- While I can say resting these for 6-12 months may improve the experience, the Viaje Friends and Family smoked very well right out of the gate
- 2010 Viaje Reserva VOR #5 Review
- Viaje “The Zombie” Review
- K.A. Kendall’s 7-20-4 Corona Review
- Pictures of HTF Viaje Cigars