This week's review is of the new Viaje White Label Project Candela. The WLP Cigars are Andre's medium where he can can test out blends that he doesn't want to do a full release of, but wants people to still be able to try. Only 100 bundles of 25 were released to Viaje accounts over the past few weeks to celebrate St. Patricks Day. This 5x50 Robusto features a bright green Candela wrapper and a Nicaraguan filler that is supposedly based off the Summerfest blend. I have recently reviewed a few other Candelas (from Illusione) that just happened to be made in the same factory. There has been a lot of chatter about this on the internet. Once side of the arguement being that Andre is stepping on Dion's toes by coming out with a Candela right after Dion made them popular again and out of the same factory to boot. The other side being that Dion isn't the first person to use Candela on a cigar, so its not really copying. My personal feelings is that Dion made Candela cool again. His blends worked really well with a wrapper you rarely see anymore. While I don't feel that Dion should be the only one allowed to come out with a new Candela, I think that Andre coming out with one right after Dion did and out of the same factory is a very riding the coattails move. If you are a part of any cigar board I am sure you are seeing plenty of debate on the whole Andre is copying everyone (Mainly Pete Johnson from Tatuaje and now Dion). Even though I have an opinion about the background of this cigar, it deserves a fair shot and it will get an honest review, reguardless of the controversy surrounding it. OK, I'm coming down off of my soapbox now and its time to review the Viaje Candela!
This is a well made robusto without any wrapper flaws or soft spots. The prelight draw shows a perfect draw with some herbal/grassy flavors. Once lit this cigar starts out with some grassyness and green tea flavors with just a little bit of peppery spice. There is an earthy core flavor to this cigar. The flavor is on the lighter side starting out with a rather thin finish. The burn has been very strait and the ash held on for around an inch. As I reach the halfway point not a lot has changed as far as flavor goes. The spice is gone and the grassy/herbal flavors are still there with the earthy core. The finish is still really short.
Entering the final third of the Viaje Candela has brought more vegetal flavors with some dark coffee added to the profile. I would say this is a medium bodied cigar that started out mild/medium strength but at the end has moved up to more of a solid medium strength. The grassy flavor has become just a little bitter, but not bitter enough to make me want to put it down. Honestely, I am getting a little bored with it though. It just doesn't grab your attention.
The Viaje WLP Candela was an Ok cigar. The grassy/vegetal flavors were a little too up front for what I like in a cigar. It wasn't a bad cigar, just not one that wows me. The construction was top notch though, the burn never wavered and the ash held nice and firm. Comparisons to the Illusione Candela line seem mandatory at this point. The Illusione had a richer flavor profile and the vegetal flavor from the Candela wrapper aren't as strong as they are in the Viaje. The Viaje has thinner and simpler flavors. The Illusione is much more complex and enjoyable to me. I am glad I had the opportunity to try this cigar (thanks paul!) but if you had to choose between this and the Illusione Candela, my money is going to Illusione. This sells for about the same as the Illusione (if you can find it) which is between 8 and 9 bucks.