Team Cigar Review: Artesano Del Tobacco Viva La Vida Toro

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Cigar Details: Artesano Del Tobacco Viva La Vida Toro

  • Vitola: Toro Extra
  • Length: 6″
  • Ring Gauge: 54
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Wrapper: Nicaragua
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez
  • Blender: AJ Fernandez
  • Price: $11.50
  • Release Date: March 2019
  • Source: Developing Palates

Aaron-Loomis

 Aaron Loomis

Seth Geise

 Seth Geise

 John McTavish

Jiunn-Liu

 Jiunn Liu

Pre-light Experience

The wrapper on the Artesano Del Tobacco Viva La Vida Toro is medium brown and carries a few slightly raised veins. The seams are smooth but easily visible due to a darker color at the edge of the wrapper. The head is finished off with a well applied double cap. The band is red, black, white and gold and has an image of a joker on it and the line name is larger than the company name. The aroma from the wrapper is a mix of wood and black tea while the foot brings wood, stone fruit sweetness and white pepper. The pre-light draw brings a creamy cedar with a mild spiciness on my lips.

Pre-light Experience

The Artesano Del Tobacco Viva La Vida Toro sports an oily wrapper that is Dark Maduro in coloring. The veins are small to medium in size and has an aroma of sweet spices, stone fruit, tobacco, chocolate and leather.

Pre-light Experience

The Artesano Del Tobacco Viva La Vida Toro has an image of a queen on the front which reminds me of the queen on playing cards. The color scheme is gold on red with white, gold, and red accents. The cigar seems to have an ever so slight oval press to it with a dark, smooth wrapper. Nosing the cigar, I pick up notes of chocolate and light wood with sweet prune in the foot.

Pre-light Experience

The Artesano Del Tobacco Viva La Vida Toro has a medium brown wrapper showing some fine small traces of tooth. Veins are well pressed, seams tight, bunch and roll even and head finished off with a well applied deep cap. Wrapper aromas give cedar and hay. The foot smells of rich black pepper spice and strong cedar. Cold draw tells cedar, hay and nuts.

First Third

The cigar begins with a mix of wood and baking spice. At a quarter inch in, a slight creaminess joins the profile. The retrohale shows a more defined cedar to go along with some baking spices. As the third comes to a close, the wood becomes a bit more defined as cedar and oddly there is a charred finish that isn’t present on the initial draw. The strength in this third is slightly below medium.

First Third

The first third begins by showing strong peppery spice notes, white pepper in particular, and with that are some baking spice qualities. I am picking up some leather notes as well, and there is a finish of dry wood and earth. The cigar is smoking at a medium level for strength and body, and the same goes for the flavors.

First Third

My first few puffs and I was tasting baked bread, some mid palate bakers chocolate and light post draw earth. A few moments later, light leather joins the post draw and lingers. On the retrohale, some mild baking spices, light with toasted bread coming through at the end of the draw. Once the cigar settles in, there is some creaminess joining the baking spices on the retrohale, and then at the 10 minute mark powdered light plus cocoa and sweetness. The baking spices fade at the 30 minute mark, with all of the flavors having settled at a light to light plus strength. In the bottom half the profile, it evolves to just sweetness with light cocoa and dry cedar completing the post draw.

First Third

The first third has flavors of nuts, sweet bread and a hint of cedar and baking spices. Retrohaling is my favorite part as the nuttiness, sweet bread and cedar all uniformly intensify. The finish is fairly short with soft cedar. Strength and body is medium.

Second Third

As the second third begins, the char is now present early on in the draw with the cedar behind it and some baking spice in the background. At a half inch in, the char has lessened slightly and the cedar has transitioned to oak. The retrohale now has a stale oak note along with some mustiness. As the third comes to a close, the char level has continually fluctuated with the oak and the baking spice has moved in and out of the profile. The strength in this third bumped up to medium.

Second Third

The cigar really declines in the second third and the flavor profile is bitter while showing some strong mineral notes. I am picking up some dry earth flavors, and with that are some spices, pepper, wood and leather notes. The strength is at a medium-full level, and the body and flavors are staying strong at a medium level.

Second Third

Bread comes back on the retrohale, followed by a faint cherry and then cedar to finish. The post draw is still lingering dry cedar, with light earth joining in as the cigar settles. As the Viva La Vida progresses, some faint citrus is occasionally detectable on the retrohale, eventually becoming cedar by the bottom half.

Second Third

The second third gets a bit more cedar as compared to the sweeter and creamy notes of bread and nuts. There’s also a greater baking spice and mineral presence. Strength and body remains medium.

Final Third

The final third continues on with the charred oak and no baking spice. At a half inch in, the char increases quite a bit and some bitterness joins the profile. At an inch in, the char has decreased a fair amount and the bitterness has left. The oak takes on a young/green character. The retrohale also takes on the young oak note along with some mustiness. At an inch and a quarter, the cigar begins to heat up which brings a slight mintiness to the young oak. The strength in this third remained at medium.

Final Third

The final third is quite awful and is bitter while showing faint spice and pepper notes. It is medium-full in strength and the body and flavors are at a medium level. It truly is a poor finish to a cigar.

Final Third

There are hints of cocoa on the retrohale, cedar in the middle profile with light earth closing out the post draw. Dry cedar comes back into the post draw as the cigar settles in, with mid profile bitterness joining minutes later.

Final Third

No changes to note within the last third. Still cedar and baking spices forward with less nuttiness and bread notes. Strength and body finishes medium.

Burn

The burn was a bit wavy, but always kept up with itself. The cigar did go out once in the second third, requiring a re-light. The ash held on in inch and a quarter increments.

Burn

The burn was solid on the cigar, start to finish. It was never perfect, and there were times when it needed to be touched-up, but overall solid.

Burn

The burn was straight in the first third, slightly wavy in the second third, which corrected itself, and straight in the last third.

Burn

Perfect burn. Cool burning, tight ashes and even burn.

Draw

The draw was slightly tighter than I prefer but didn’t cause any issues with the smoking experience.

Overall

The cigar began with a nice profile of wood and baking spice, but at about an inch in, it started to go downhill. Once the char joined, it built up and dominated the profile. I had heard good things about the Artesano Del Tobacco Viva La Vida Toro, but it didn’t materialize for me. It became a fairly typical AJ Fernandez blend and then even fell below that. This isn’t a cigar I’d return to and I couldn’t recommend it to others.

Draw

Draw was quite solid. It had a nice level of resistance.

Overall

Who would have thought the day would come where someone would say a cigar should apologize to Coldplay for sharing the same name as one of the band’s songs? The Artesano Del Tobacco Viva La Vida Toro is simply a bad cigar. There are no flavors with the cigar and even with that, it continuously declines in terms of smoking experience from start to finish. The body, strength and flavors were consistent, and it wasn’t painfully strong, but there is not much going for the cigar in terms of praise. If you don’t have any flavors, or any redeeming qualities on what is delivered, it is hard for a cigar to do well.

Draw

I found the draw to be right in the ideal zone of resistance.

Overall

The first third hinted as some flavor complexity but was overall fairly pedestrian through the smoking experience. The cigar seemed interesting to start but never seemed to evolve into more complexity, with the second third becoming largely cedar dominant. Overall, I found the Artesano Del Tobacco Viva La Vida Toro to be an average smoking experience with excellent draw, burn and construction. My total smoking time was 1 hour and 58 minutes.

Draw

The draw was also perfect.

Overall

The Artesano Del Tobacco Viva La Vida Toro had an overall decent showing. I enjoyed the first third the most as there was a great balance of sweetness, earth and spice. Past that point, the profile was more earth derived. Special shout out to the amazing perfection in burn and draw performance.

Aaron
Seth
John
Jiunn
GoodPre
Light
AveragePre
Light
GoodPre
Light
Good
AverageFirst
Third
AverageFirst
Third
AverageFirst
Third
Good
SubparSecond
Third
SubparSecond
Third
AverageSecond
Third
Average
SubparFinal
Third
PoorFinal
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AverageFinal
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Average
GoodBurnGoodBurnAmazingBurnAmazing
Very GoodDrawVery GoodDrawAmazingDrawAmazing
SubparOverallPoorOverallAverageOverallAverage

Aaron Loomis

SCORE

4.33

Cost/Point

$2.65

Scoring System

Seth Geise

SCORE

3.62

Cost/Point

$3.18

Scoring System

John McTavish

SCORE

5.75

Cost/Point

$2.00

Scoring System

Jiunn Liu

SCORE

6.10

Cost/Point

$1.89

Scoring System

Team Cigar Review: Artesano Del Tobacco Viva La Vida Toro
Jiunn LiuTeam Cigar Review: Artesano Del Tobacco Viva La Vida Toro

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