Summer and the Fourth of July is here once again, and for our readers in The States, that means it’s time to celebrate the birth of a nation by grilling, drinking adult beverages and smoking fine cigars. So it seems only right that I go a little overboard with my review this week. How about something 9 by 50 with a fuse that’s wrapped in red tissue paper? I’m not talking about an exploding cigar (talk about a short Tower of Burn), I’m talking about the Viaje Roman Candle.
There’s not to much to tell about Roman Candle. It’s one of the Viaje’s latest limited releases (which is all they do now, so that goes without saying), and it was clearly intended to coincide with the Independence Day holiday. It comes in a single, Presidente size (9 x 50) in boxes of 15. Though with the limited allocations, finding a full box of these monster smokes will be a challenge. But the large size and higher price tag ($14) may make them easier to find longer than some other Viajes. That about covers it, let’s find out if it the show is worth the price of admission.
Size: 9 x 50
Wrapper: Nicaraguan Corojo 99
Smoking Time: 3 hours
Source: Purchased by reviewer
Price: MSRP $14
It’s been a little while since I lit a real roman candle, and I remember them being a little larger than this tobacco version, but not by much. The most interesting thing about the cigar is the fuse. And I’m not talking about the fuse being on the wrong end, it is on all cigars that have one. (Think about it, if you lit the fuse, you’d have smoke the cigar backwards. I’m still waiting to see a shaggy/unfinished foot twisted into a fuse.) What’s unique is the fuse isn’t extra wrapper leaf, it’s actually filler tobacco that has been pushed through the cap. If you slide the cap off, you can see the fuse runs right into the center of the cigar. Though it won’t really affect the smoke, it demonstrates attention to detail.
With the tissue paper discarded and the cap clipped you’re looking at a somewhat mottled oily wrapper, sometimes with a good amount of tooth, medium-sized veins, and on average one or two minor imperfections. To the touch, the cigars were firm, but not hard, and generally consistent. The wrapper had a pungent compost aroma that in some cases was a little like cheese. The cold draw was good, and tasted like light molasses.
I’ve had some bad burns in the past with Viaje products, and expected a little trouble with a stick this size. And I was surprised. Aside from a few touch ups to correct a straying burn, the cigar was maintenance free. Almost no relights, even with my notorious habit of smoking cigars slowly. The draw was never an issue either. I shouldn’t have been surprised, if they paid that much attention to the fuse cap, it’s reasonable to assume they would make a stick that burns properly.
Though the box the Roman Candle comes in has “Fireworks” printed prominently on the lid, I wouldn’t describe the flavor as explosive. However there was some evolution of flavor, and certainly power, as the cigar burned. For the much of the first third, creamy, rich tobacco and molasses sweetness dominated. A savory smokiness entered the scene a little before the second third, bringing with it wood, pepper and a meaty quality to the smoke. Aside from a growth in pepper, a little cinnamon spice and power, the profile continued unchanged until the end.
The price is out of my comfort zone for an individual smoke, but it is a large, well-made cigar that’s clearly intended for special occasions.
I enjoyed the Viaje Roman Candle, but much like any A or Presidente-sized smoke, it’s just not practical most of the time. If I didn’t have an office I can smoke in, there’s just no way I’d have been able get this review done so quickly. (I do smoke multiple cigars for a given review.) That being said, it’s a good choice for the golf course, or for that Fouth of July party around the grill. It has a little bit of a kick and a lot of rich, consistent flavor that you don’t have to really focus on to enjoy. It’s worth picking up a few for your outdoor summer events.
Liked It: Yes
Buy It Again: I might.
Recommend It: For events when time permits.
Tower of Burn
Here for your viewing pleasure is my trademark Tower of Burn.