JC Newman

February 23, 2021

Viva La Vida Jester (5 x 56 Robusto Gordo)

Video review HERE.

(Description taken from Halfwheel.com website)

After selling their two Cigar Inn stores in New York City to JR Cigar in June 2015, brothers Gus and Billy Fakih turned their attention to another cigar project: Artesano Del Tobaco and their own brand called Viva La Vida.

The Viva La Vida line is a Nicaraguan puro that uses a wrapper grown by A.J. Fernandez, which also produces and distributes the line. Fernández’s name also appears on the front of the boxes that the Viva La Vida line comes in, though not on the bands of the cigars. Instead, the Artesano Del Tobacco name appears on both the primary and secondary bands.

The cigar is a 5 x 56 robusto gordo, and comes in a paper-wrapped five pack of cigars priced at $58, which works out to $11.60 per cigar before taxes, though the cigars are not designed to be sold as singles.

Back on June 19, 2019 I reviewed the torpedo version. It rated at 96 and wound up at number 2 for the year.

Blend and origin:

Wrapper: Nicaragua

Binder: Nicaragua

Filler: Nicaragua

Factory: Tabacalera AJ Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.

The cigar is dense feeling and has a nice feel in the hand.

The test draw after cutting the cap was very good. The initial flavors at light up were a citrusy cedar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, worn leather, and black coffee. There was a lot of black pepper rated at 8 1/2. A sweet start with plenty of leather and coffee.

At the first third (23 minutes) there are now elements of sweet caramel in the mix. The leather is at a nice level and does not overtake the cigar. You first notice the nice citrus/cedar notes with brown sugar and caramel. Those sweet notes are quickly followed by the leather, nutmeg, and black coffee. The black pepper is still very good but not quite at the 8 1/2 level it started with. It's slightly toned down to around 8. The finish is nutmeg and caramel with very nice lingering black pepper. The cigar starts off in the direction of full bodied. I'd call the first third medium to full but it's moving up rapidly. The first third was very enjoyable. I rated it at 95.

As I moved through the second third (53 minutes) the leather notes have developed and really come out. Along with them the black coffee notes have increased. It's almost like the cigar flipped. It started off quite sweet with moderate leather and black coffee notes. Now the darker notes have taken the lead. There are still plenty of sweeter notes but there is no doubt the leather and black coffee have increased. The nutmeg is still holding down the middle. At this point it's not intrusive. I really noticed the cinnamon notes. They have also increased. The cigar is now a definite full bodied. The finish now has leather in the mix. The lingering black pepper is still very good. I rated the second third 94.

The cigar lasted 1 hour 16 minutes. The cigar is quite full bodied now. The leather and black coffee have pulled back a little and the nutmeg has risen. The net change in overall enjoyment is zero. The sweeter notes are still holding their own and quite nice. But there was a definite increase in nutmeg. The finish is basically unchanged. With the net zero change the final third score is 94. This is a quite flavorful, powerful short cigar. Very nice.

Overall Score: 94.33

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