Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo
Shape: No. 3
Size: 7 x 47
Strength: Medium to Full
Price Range: Around $13.00
To start off I will say a little background to what the Viaje Fifty Fifty series is about. It first made it’s debut in 2009 and after that it was meant to be an annual release for Viaje. The thing that sets these cigars apart is that they involve taking two different blends which they then combine into a single cigar. Overall this is a unique concept developed by Andre Farkas and his crew at Viaje. The Fifty Fifty series has always a pair of two when released, one Black, and one Red. The difference is usually the Black Label is to be considered a more full-bodied smoke referring to the body and strength. The Fifty Fifty is usually available in 3 sizes which are:
No. 1: 5 5 /8 x 46
No. 2: 6 x 50
No. 3: 7 x 47
Now lets get to the cigar itself. The Viaje Fifty Fifty Black Label has great construction to it being very smooth with a light amount of dark veins. It also has a baby pigtail to it like the previous years’ Fifty Fifty. It’s slightly heavy in the hand and when pressing upon it it has a pretty firm pack comparable to the stiffness of a very hard cousin with really no give to it kind of making me think this will have a semi hard draw.
The smell to the foot/wrapper has a light, sweet, wood smell.The pre-draw to this cigar has mild tobacco flavor with a draw that takes some effort which I predicted before by the tight feel of the cigar. As for the initial it was a sweet chocolate followed by a mild spice.
The first third of the Black Fifty Fifty had the main profile of a vanilla bean which reminded me of the Kristoff Kristania. A light chocolate mixed with a cedar spice followed the vanilla bean which ended up being great on the palate. The profile on this was starting out great. The draw still is taking a decent amount of effort during the first third which in turn is giving off little smoke from the cigar itself and the draw. The burn here too is slightly jagged and the ash is a dark grey/black mix that is semi flaky. Transitioning into just about the second third there still is that amazing creamy vanilla bean flavor along with a rich chocolate and that really mild spice that compliments the sweetness just right. Also at this point there is a warm earthy tone that’s present after each draw. Lastly nearing the second third the draw begins to loosen up slightly producing more smoke.
You can feel the journey of the Fifty Fifty about to take place once into the second third. The spice here is ever so slowly building up but, the vanilla bean is still center stage at the beginning of the second third being rich and creamy. The draw is loosening up the farther you go and producing more voluminous smoke. The burn still evening and ash still flaky and loose. Once past half way point the cedar type spice becomes now the main attraction with the vanilla bean taking its place. Through the retro haul you get a lot of spice. Also there is faint flavors of nuts and a dark chocolate earth.
The last third is now where you can really see the change that takes place and why the Fifty Fifty is so unique. The draw now has gotten a lot better along with the burn remaining really steady but the ash is still the same. On each draw the smoke is warm and creamy with the wood spice being combined with nuts and a dark chocolate. The finish on each draw had a light sweetness of the vanilla bean still and a faint anise tone as well but, just barely. The finish to this stick had a jagged burn again and flavors of spice mixed with a dark chocolate.
Overall the Viaje Fifty Fifty Black Label had an excellent flavor profile with the downfalls being the jagged burn that produced an ash that was a bit flaky, and a hard draw in the first half of the cigar that didn’t produce much smoke. I say don’t become discouraged by those factors because this stick really did have a great mix of flavors and having it transition around the midpoint was really cool. It’s like starting a whole new cigar so pretty much a buy one get one kind of deal with the Fifty Fifty.
Review on the Viaje Fifty Fifty Red Label No. 2 (2011)