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Stogie Reviews: Viaje Fifty Fifty Red Label No. 1

7 Sep 2010

If you haven’t heard of Viaje Cigars, you’re not alone. But expect to be seeing more from this relatively new manufacturer as it grows in popularity.

Viaje Fifty Fifty Red Label No. 1To bring us up to speed, Viaje is a boutique cigar company specializing in the small batch approach to cigar making. The company’s three main blends—Oro, Platino, and Fifty Fifty—are all Nicaraguan puros. “Nicaragua was chosen for its rich history and incredible tobaccos its fertile land produces,” reads Viaje’s website. “With its perfect climate and rich soil, there is no better place to produce a premium cigar.”

There’s nothing new about growing tobacco in Nicaragua. But combining two blends in one cigar? Well, that’s a unique approach. And that’s exactly what Viaje introduced last year with the Fifty Fifty Black Label—a three-vitola line with two distinct blends in each cigar to produce a transition at the midway point. Viaje’s Andre Farkas says the evolution is intended to be from “full to fuller.”

This year Viaje is expanding on its distinctive dual-filler strategy with the Fifty Fifty Red Label, a complementary line that intends to meld a medium-bodied cigar with a full-bodied one. It, too, is a Nicaraguan puro with three sizes: No. 1 (5.6 x 46), No. 2 (6 x 50), and No. 3 (7 x 47).

The Red Label No. 1 features a pigtail cap and a dark corojo ’99 wrapper with a toothy, leathery texture. Somewhat spongy to the touch, it exudes mouth-watering pre-light aromas of sawdust, dry cocoa, and earth.

After a burst of black pepper, the taste quickly settles into a mixture of dry cedar, nutmeg, herbs, and salt with meaty undertones. Flavorful yet lacking in balance or depth. The resting smoking seems more aromatic and interesting than what actually hits the taste buds.

As I approach the halfway mark, anticipation builds over the expected change. Will this cigar—already on the verge of the full-bodied spectrum—ramp up in intensity beyond the point of enjoyment? Or will the second filler blend simply add complexity to round off the profile?

Fortunately, I found the latter to be true. While the transition is less abrupt that expected, the second half is best characterized by the additions of cinnamon and cocoa to the flavor.

With good construction and a nice, albeit dry, taste, the Fifty Fifty Red Label No. 1 is a respectable cigar with two main drawbacks. First, those expecting a sea change in flavor may be disappointed by the gradual increase in power. And second, the asking price of around $8-10 is a tad high compared to other sticks in the price range. All things considered, this Viaje earns three stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

3 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Viaje Fifty Fifty Red Label No. 1”

  1. Todd Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 10:38 am #

    Very gimmicky,, and pretty pricey. I’d rather buy two good cigars.

  2. Stephen Lembo Saturday, September 11, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    Very good cigar, the reviewed comments are wright on! The small farmed tobaccos from Nicaragua are outstanding.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. Reviews: Viaje Fifty Fifty Black Label No. 1 | The Stogie Guys - Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    […] Black (the subject of this review) aims to transition from full to fuller, while the Red label reviewed by my colleague aims to be a more balanced transition from medium to full body. Like the Red Label, […]