Cigar Review: Viaje Satori 2013 Zen

For the 4th consecutive year Viaje has made the Satori cigar exclusively available to IPCPR attendees. The 2013 edition features the same blend and shapes as the 2011 release, when the Nicaraguan cigar’s wrapper was first changed from “super-secret oscuro” to San Andres Maduro. Having missed out on the first three incarnations of the limited edition Satori, I was looking forward to finally lighting up the “Zen” vitola (6 3/4×52) in today’s review.

The Zen is a cool and unusual shape, a double-ended, box-pressed perfecto. This one was well made and its dark, shiny, and veiny wrapper leaf made it harder than usual to spot seams and to see the layers of cap at its pointed head. After the clip, cold draws gave off a sweet, vegetal, and slightly spicy flavor that reminded me very much of chicken broth, or Ramen noodles. No, seriously.

After wrapping my head around the fact that I was about to light up a cigar that might taste like ramen, the smoke started out with more conventional flavors of earth, cocoa, hay, and strong black pepper. The perfecto tip had lit up easily but was beginning to progress into a crooked burn, and smoke production here was off the charts; I was effortlessly pulling out huge clouds of milky smoke with each puff. Flavors were full-on bold and eventually I began to pick up interesting background notes of herbal character.

The second 3rd introduced flavors of cream, tea, and a spice note that I recognized from Asian dishes that I’ve had. I had read write-ups on this cigar where the reviewer had mentioned this and, naturally, I thought they were tripping. Given that “Satori” is a Japanese term for “enlightenment”, I figured that maybe they were letting the concept of the cigar go to their heads. But I concur, it’s there, an undertone of Moo Goo Gai Pan, or something. The burn had straightened out, and the more dominant notes here were of semi-sweet chocolate, earth, and a healthy dose of pepper.

In the final third there were yet more new flavor components- sweet cedar, leather, molasses, bread, and a muted version of the pepper. At this point I finally lost what had been a particularly long, wild, and unattractive ash. During this last portion the flavors came across the smoothest and the smoke became gradually creamier until I decided to set it down.

More often than not, limited edition cigars just don’t deliver the way you think they should. This one delivered in spades. The Satori was crazy complex and flavorful with a myriad of tasting notes appearing in rapid succession. It had a smooth and easy draw, which made it a breeze to taste the relentlessly full flavors it was casting. I also think it may have earned the title of “smokiest cigar ever.” Smoke production bordered on ridiculous at certain points. The burn was a little off and it had a funky ash, but who cares when it tastes like this. I give the Viaje Satori Zen 2013 an A grade, this was an exceptional smoke and I had a lot of fun reviewing it. If you like boring cigars, avoid the Satori at all costs. If you’re looking for a seriously unique, complex and flavorful smoke, check these out.

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