Viaje Honey and Hand Grenades Review

Sep

11

by at 9:54 pm No Comments Cigar Reviews


Brand: Viaje

Series: Honey and Hand Grenades

Size: ‘The Shank’ – 5 1/4″ x 52 ring

Origin: Honduras, with Nicaraguan Criollo wrapper, Nicarguan binder / filler

Price Paid: Free! Received as a gift.

Paired With: Old fashioned with Bulleit Bourbon

Cigars Smoked for this Review: 1

ViajeHH_1

Several months ago, I unexpectedly received the ‘Honey and Hand Grenades’ cigar from a trusted cigar buddy (thanks Dan!).  Made by Viaje, this cigar comes in several sizes, and is wrapped in a fancy, red foil wrapper below the band. From the limited research I did on this cigar, I learned that the red foil and tapered foot represent a shank that’s seen some action and is now bloodied. I give that concept big marks for creativity, and  I’ll admit that the HHG looked fancy enough that I had a tough time taking it from my humidor until but a few days ago.   Once I’d worked up the nerve to part with the swank looking cigar, I made myself a proper old fashioned and headed for the garage. Here’s how it played out:

Construction:

My H&HG was very well made, and consistently firm from cap to foot.  The medium brown wrapper had a silky feel to it, and no noticeable flaws.  The cap was beautifully finished, and held nicely when I chose a V-cut.  The cold draw didn’t offer any distinct flavour, but the cap had a nice, fresh tobacco aroma once clipped.

ViajeHH_2

First Third:

Like virtually every cigar I’ve smoked with a tapered or closed foot, the H&HG required a minute or two of patience while the draw opened up and the burn evened out.  It doesn’t seem to matter who makes the cigar, the taper always creates a situation where the draw and burn are sketchy for a minute or two.  Once things evened out, the H&HG offered up a medium draw with some nice, balanced flavours.  There wasn’t any one flavour that stood above the others during the first third, and I picked out mild leathery notes with a mild peppery character.  An underlying sweetness, which I think came partially from the wrapper, helped smooth out the meaty-leathery notes and the peppery or spicy notes.  Each puff yielded plenty of smoke, and finished with a smooth, toasty or cereal like finish.  The strength of the H&HG was medium during the first third.

ViajeHH_3

Second Third:

During the second third, the balanced flavours from earlier shifted slightly, but didn’t change.  The leathery flavour picked up a bit, and the cigar had a little more meatiness or ‘oomph’ on the palate.  The toasty character was a fixture, hanging in from the beginning to end of each puff, while the peppery / spicy notes became a little softer.  The burn was good, requiring a slight correction, and the draw and strength were both medium through the second third.

ViajeHH_4

Final Third:

The final third of my H&HG was by far the most interesting and enjoyable part of this cigar.  The overall taste of the cigar became much more dense or ‘meaty’, which played nicely against the peppery / spicy notes without overpowering them.  The underlying sweet and toasty flavours I mentioned earlier helped tie everything together, and were just mild enough to pick out.  The draw tightened up a little bit near the end, but was still manageable. The strength stayed on the high side of medium, and the burn was good.  Unfortunately, I think the same blending which amped up the meatiness and mouth feel in the final third also contributed to my H&HG going slightly bitter a little sooner than I’d hoped.  I would have smoked this one down to finger burning levels, but after a bitter puff or two with what looked like 5 or 10 minutes of cigar left, I called it quits.

Overall:

The H&HG impressed me with solid construction, skillful blending, and distinct, yet balanced flavours.  I think the H&HG is definitely a ‘cigar smoker’s cigar’, and falls far outside of the sticks you’d hand over to your pals who rarely smoke.  Would I recommend this cigar? Yes, absolutely. For  someone who can appreciate a little more complexity in their cigar, and likes a stronger finish.  Would I buy another?  Well, I was lucky enough to have this one gifted to me, but I’d certainly buy another now. That being said, I know the H&HG was originally a small batch / limited run cigar, and I don’t know many are still floating around out there.  If you see one, buy it.

Rock out,

 

Matt


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