Back in April, Billy and Gus Fakih from Artesano Del Tobacco and A.J. Fernandez announced they will be introducing a Viva La Vida box pressed vitola. Building on the Viva La Vida brand success, the “VIVA LA VIDA/CLUB 500.” is described as an exquisite Nicaraguan puro that measures 6 x 60 and is box pressed to perfection by AJ Fernandez.
The VIVA LA VIDA/CLUB 500 come packaged in 10 count boxes and carries an MSRP of $138.00 or $13.80 per cigar.
Brothers Billy and Gus Fakih, owners of Artesano Del Tobacco note:
“The Club 500 6×60 is a tribute to the first 500 cigar lounges and customers who are the foundation of Viva La Vida. We are honored and humbled by the support that we have received as we transitioned from the retail side of the business to the manufacturing and distribution side. We thank each and every one of those who have embraced the Viva La Vida brand.
AJ Fernandez has done an amazing job once again with the fermentation of the original Habano Oscuro wrapper that he uses on all Viva La Vida cigars. He explained to us the magic and we promised to keep it a secret. The result is nothing short of spectacular. “
I was fortunate to have received some samples of the Viva La Vida from Artesano Del Tobacco and for this review I sampled three of them. One that I sampled was fresh off the truck, which I don’t always do, but it was calling my name and I have to say it was special, I let the remainder lay a little more in the humidor. I smoked two more and today I have the pleasure of presenting you a review of this special cigar collaborated with A.J. Fernandez.
As noted this is a Nicaraguan puro with blend described as:
- Wrapper – Nicaraguan Habano Oscuro
- Binder – Nicaraguan
- Filler – Nicaraguan Corojo 99 and Criollo 98
Are you licking your chops yet! I know I am.
The Viva La Vida Club 500 is a beautiful dark, reddish brown, classic box pressed vitola. There is a fine oily sheen to the wrapper and a light grit to the touch. The wrapper is all but vein-less. The Club 500 is well packed, solid in the hand, and expertly finished with a well applied cap.
There are two bands that adorn this cigar. The primary band is the standard brand logo and shouts – Live the Life! The design of this band is one of the more attractive ones I have seen and the logo on the Black Box, will pop on any humidor shelf. The secondary band uses the same motif and is placed just below the primary. It declares this as the “CLUB 500”.
Running the Viva La Vida Club 500 under the nose, I picked up a hint of earth along the barrel and a sweet fermented leaf off the foot.
Using my double blade Xikar cutter, I sliced the head perfectly across the shoulder. In fact, that about as far as the cutter would go down. Remember, this is a 6 x 60 vitola. Giving it some cold draw puffs I found the draw to be spot on with restriction while it offered notes of earth and pepper.
Using my triple flame torch, I warmed the foot to an even orange glow and drew in the first puffs of peppery smoke. Follow along as I break this awesome cigar down and turn it to ash!
Cigar Review Notes
- Initial light offers a thick creamy smoke with distinct peppery notes on the nose and throat to start.
- White ash forms on medium char line
- Pepper recedes a bit as dark cocoa and butter notes enter
- Touch of mint adds a pleasurable sensation
- Smoke texture is most excellent
- Cedar notes add to the mix
- Cocoa increases moving into second third
- Hint of citrus brightens the profile
- Mild wave in burn but never needs a touch-up
- Extreme and solid ash is forming
- Sweet aroma
- Natural sweetness moves into the profile with a clean finish
- Mild spice notes enter deep in second third
- Cocoa adds back in as the spice increases as does the strength
- Aroma shifts to more of a floral note entering the final third
- Sweetness swirls with the spice
- Orange peel nuances appear in the final (that was a pleasant surprise)
- Full Strength
- Total Smoking Time was a solid 90 minutes
Overall, Artesano Del Tobacco Viva La Vida Club 500 is my favorite in the young brands line up and man did A.J. Fernandez nail this one. This is an extremely complex cigar in both flavor and aroma that the most discerning palate would find enjoyable from foot to nub. The construction was amazing as demonstrated through the long solid ash that held on for a good part of the burn. I rate this a solid 96! Go get a box of these now before they are gone and let some age for sure.
Point Deductions: (-1) Mild Wave
Bonus Points: (+1) Extreme Ash; (+1) Box Worthy; (+1) Consistent across Samples