Cigar Reviews

Viaje Skull and Bones #2

By  | 

This week’s review is of the elusive, and extremely popular Viaje Skull and Bones.

Viaje Skull and Bones

The Good Stuff: I know almost nothing about this cigar. I have had quite a few different Viaje blends but this is my first time trying out the limited Skull and Bones Blend. This vitola, the Skull and Bones #2 is the second in the line proceeding Viaje’s first release of the Daisy Cutter which was a pettit robusto. I didn’t get a chance to try that one as Viaje is almost unheard of in these parts. Basically the Skull and Bones was Viaje’s answer to all the folks who lived thier cigars but wanted a bolder, fuller experience. The Skull and Bones has a Sun Grown Criollo wrapper bound around an all Nicaraguan filler and binder. These things are pretty limited and run about $12 a stick.

Viaje Skull and Bones

Size: 4.5 x 54  –  Wrapper: Sun Grown Criollo  –  Binder/Filler: Nicaraguan  –  Body: Full

Viaje Skull and Bones

Prelight: The Skull and Bones is a very mean looking stick. Starting with the extremely dark brown, almost black looking  wrapper. The color is very consistent and start with a folded over almost leather looking foot. The tobacco is carefully folded over the foot of the cigar to conceal most, if not all of the filler tobacco. The foot leads into a toothy, meaty body full of tons of random larger veins running all throughout the body. The body fills into a seamless, round triple cap. The cigar is extremely firm, not dry, but packed tight and hard as a rock. The band is a pirate looking, almost warning label black and white skull and cross bones. The smaller secondary band simply says “Skull and Bones” in a very retro/piratesque typeface.  The white on the band is actually printed with Glow in the Dark ink. I tried my hardest to take a good picture of this but this is the best that came out:

Viaje Skull and Bones

You get the idea. Any who, The wrapper of the Skull And Bones gives off a very sweet and spicy aroma. Oddly I could swear I pick up some sort of mint in there. The foot is pretty much the same story with only a slight earthy/grassy aroma. The cap on the Skull and Bones cut off clean using my Palio double bladed cutter. The cold draw produced a very spicy, semi-fruity taste with just a slight grassy aftertaste. Sounds like this will be a very interesting smoke.

Viaje Skull and Bones

First Smoke: I am always skeptical about how well a shaggy foot cigar will light up. In the Skull and Bones’ case it passed the test with flying colors lighting up very easily and even using my single flame butane torch. The draw on this thing rocks. I was scared it was going to be very tight but it was just the opposite kicking out a massive cloud of thick, white, lingering smoke. The first flavor was that of a pepper unlike what I am used to. It was a much richer, black pepper that bled into a nice strong tobacco taste with just a slight cocoa aftertaste. The pepper is strong enough to tickle the back of my throat as well as my tongue all while not becoming a nuisance. You can feel the body of this cigar right from the start. The burnline was a bit thick, but clean for the most part. There was one portion of the cigar that trailed the rest of the burnline but toward the end of the final third it was making a good comeback. The ash was a mixture of light and dark grays and pretty flaky, but well packed towards the core.

Viaje Skull and Bones

Halfway There: There has been this coming and going of a cashew taste on the tail end of a few of the draws. It’s pretty speratic but does add quite a bit of character to the experience.  The pepper has completely faded by the second third and I was left with a strong tobacco taste with a bunch of cocoa, a dash of wood, and a bit of grassy notes. This cigar is burning very, very slow and the fact that it is a fuller bodied cigar makes me slow down even more. I am already starting to feel a bit of the nicotine and I haven’t even stood up yet. As I hoped, the burn on this Skull and Bones has corrected itself and burned dead even most of the second third. Smaller waves did start reappearing towards the end. The retrohale reminds me that the pepper is still hidden deep within the Skull and Bones composition. On a side note, I can’t get over how huge the draw on this cigar is.

Viaje Skull and Bones

Finish: Shortly after the ash in the second third the Skull and Bones put itself out. I wasn’t smoking this too slow, but it lead me to believe I needed to speed up. So I did. Shortly after relighting the cigar went out yet again. What happened to that awesome draw I was getting?  After a thorough toasting it was back in action. Whew.  The flavors were still pretty much diluted versions of the second third. Tobacco, a bit of cocoa, bit of wood, and a splash of spice. Sadly, harshness in the cigar began to appear halfway into the final third. Along with the harshness came the nicotine stick. This cigar isn’t overly powerful, but it’ll wake you up that’s for sure. I had a few burn issues into the final third but nothing too crazy, just lots of waves. Is it a bad thing to say the best part of this experience was how easy the bands slid off? This cigar took about 2 hours to smoke. Quite some time for a robusto and and guy who smokes way faster than he probably should.

Viaje Skull and Bones

Overview: For as much hype this cigar has, I expected a much more pleasant experience. It wasn’t bad, but the Skull and Bones fell flat in flavor and the burn was on the verge of annoying me. I don’t care much if I have to relight or touch-up a cigar. It happens. But if a cigar has to be relit more than once or twice then there is just something wrong. The experience started off very promising, but started to fall on it’s face into the second third. I wouldn’t blame you if you passed this cigar up. This cigar has too much body for a novice smoker, but will satisfy all those nicotine addicts. I am happy to have tried it, but it was just lacking something.  This has been the first of the few Viaje’s I have had that have disappointed me. I’ve heard it’s limited little sister size the Daisy Cutter (Pettit Robusto) was a much more pleasant experience. Too bad they are almost extinct. Limited run cigars are something else that is starting to annoy me, but I will save that conversation for another time.

Viaje Skull and Bones

Pairing: My Skull and Bones was paired with a nice, dark glass of Spaten’s Dunkel. This isn’t a wheat heavy beer (Dunkel wiessen) so you do not get the sweet, zesty flavor. The Dunkel produces more of a grounded, smooth, dark chocolatey Lager flavor. This pair was awesome. It actually helped to give that extra cocoa push where this cigar needed it. The best pairing would by far be some black coffee.

Viaje Skull and Bones with Spaten Dunkel

I also paired this cigar with my matching pajamas. It’s Sunday. I deserve to be lazy.

Viaje Skull and Bones

Tony Casas is a 32 year old Creative Managing/Webdesigning/Craft Beer Drinking Cigar smoker from El Paso, Texas. When he isn’t loving his wife he is either sleepy, hungry, or suffering from a headache.

15 Comments

  1. Victor

    November 8, 2010 at 11:40 am

    too bad it was disappointing, it looks like it had potential.

  2. Tony Casas

    November 8, 2010 at 11:41 am

    My thoughts exactly Victor. I have been excited about this cigar for some time too! I’ll have to try to get my hands on the smaller vitola and see if that makes a difference.

  3. Jared

    November 8, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Thanks Tony! Great review and even better jammies! Just a note, its a closed foot not a shaggy. Shaggy would be like thier summerfest, which if you havent had you should! I have some S&Bs waiting for me to get home so I can kill them with fire and drench them in beer. Nice choice of beers too brother! The first ones in the line were called Daisy Cutters, what are these called?

  4. Tony Casas

    November 8, 2010 at 11:46 am

    These are just the #2 from what I gathered… kinda climaxless. I would think they would call it something cool and piratelike… but alas, nothing that I know of. I could be wrong there though. Agian, I didnt know much about these stick going into this. Viaje is unheard of around here. No one knows of them and I probably woudln’t either if it wasn’t for the internet! 🙂

    Let me know what you think when ya try em man!

  5. Daniel T.

    November 8, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Awesome review! The Glowing picture came out nice! haha

    Glad I didn’t chance any of these down, sounds like they’ve been a disappointment in a lot of peoples eyes.

    And the Pajamas, I don’t even know what to say about the Pajamas. I think you need to grow the Fu-Manchu to get your man-card back! 😛

  6. Tony Casas

    November 8, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    hahaha it took quite a few to get the band to even show up.

    Yeah, this is something i wish i would have passed on, but i am glad i got to try it for myself. Most of thier other stuff is just awesome. And don’t be talkng about my pajamas! I’ll have to bring up your baby poodle.

  7. Daniel T.

    November 8, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    I’ll trust your opinion and stay away, so many other’s to try out there. It’s disappointing to see it was such a success with the first run and this one was such a disappointment. Would age have helped on these you think or were they doomed from the start?

    and that little 6-lb ball of fluff will take you down any day!

  8. Tony Casas

    November 8, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Nah man, the aging process would just further the flat flavors and make them even more bland. The body was about the best part of the experience. That and the draw.

  9. DownInFlames

    November 8, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Hey Tony, great write up. I was disappointed in this stick, also. With that said, I’m glad I had the opportunity to try them. I really get into the Halloween/Pirate theme and although it was not as tasty as I hoped, it was a fun stick for me. I put it down on the last third because of the taste change to harsh tobacco. I will try next year’s if they make them and I get a chance.
    I have some new goodies we should discuss in the near future!

  10. Tadd

    November 8, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    I had the opportunity to buy a few of these, but I hesitated, The guy at my B&M couldn’t believe I would pass on them, They only had like 6 left, and they were 14 a piece…so I said nah, now I am kind of glad I did, I got one of the original Daisy Cutters, and gave it to a buddy. Good honest review. I appreciate it , you guys have a non-biased approach you know what I am sayin….. Keep up the solid work! And I am glad we didn’t see Big D in his P.J.’s or lack there of….. 🙂

  11. Tony Casas

    November 8, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    @JR Thanks for the kind words! Yeah I went in with super high expectations. I am glad I got to try it though, it wasn’t terrible, just could have been so much more. Whenever you want to do a trade just let me know! I am always game.

    @Tadd You gotta tell it like it is. I dont rate cigars for a reason. It’s purely subjective. The best I can do is tell what I personally liked, and didn’t like about each experience. I’m sure there is someone out there that thinks this cigar is dynamite, but in my opinion, you didn’t miss much by passing it up. For the record, Big D’s Pj’s have Moose, princesses, and unicorns on them :p

  12. dalamscius

    November 8, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    That was supposed to be our secret! lol. I have maple leaf shorts and a hat, that’s about as festive as I get, lol

  13. Danny Principe

    November 8, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    I really enjoyed the few I have smoked. I expected a brute, but found something much more mellow and refined.

    Too bad you didnt like them, but hey….different strokes right?

  14. Tony Casas

    November 8, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Exactly Danny, did you have this same size? Or the Daisy Cutter? Im curious how much the size makes a difference with this blend.

  15. Danny Principe

    November 9, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    I wish I had tried the Daisy Cutter.

    I enjoyed the flavor profile, but it was unique and not for everyone. They also burned perfectly for me, so Im sure that helped.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *