In 2017, Viaje released a new cigar in its Skull and Bones line exclusive to R. Field Wine Co. in Hawaii called The Hulk. It uses the same band as regular Skull and Bones line except the skull is green instead of black, white, or red. It came in two sizes The Hulk 56 and The Hulk 58.
Earlier this year, Viaje decided to release this cigar, “The Hulk”, as well as “Bruce Banner” on a national level and shipped this starting in April. The names come from the Marvel Comic character scientist Bruce Banner who gets exposed to gamma radiation and turns into “The Hulk” when he gets angry. The character has also been featured in many movies including the latest renditions of The Avengers.
The blend uses a Nicaraguan Criollo 98 wrapper, with Nicaraguan binder and fillers. It is rolled at the Raices Cubanas in Honduras. The Viaje Skull and Bones Bruce Banner measure 5 1/4 x 56 while The Hulk measure 5 1/4 x 60. When originally released in Hawaii both cigars were called The Hulk, but with different size names, 56 and 58. Now Bruce Banner has replaced the 56 size and the names are simply The Hulk and Bruce Banner. Both come in bundles of 25.
Little shorter than a standard Gordo but there’s a nice weight to it. The wrapper is blemish free, slightly oily with no soft spots, and has a partially closed foot but I do find that there is a very large repair that makes up most of said closed foot. The predraw is nice and firm with a bit of baking spice and hay. The wrapper has a bit of earthiness to it with a strong initial punch of barnyard and hay from the foot.
The first few puffs remind me of slightly blackened toast with a woody background. The smoke is velvety smooth and slowly there’s a pleasant sweet tobacco note that develops. About an inch in it’s all fresh cut wood, tobacco, and bright red pepper with most of the grain notes from the beginning all but gone.
There’s a total lack of sweetness but the rich tobacco flavor is still there. Overall, I’m finding the experience very drying on the palate like most Nicaraguan cigars. The woody notes are still the start of the show with the red pepper dipping a little bit in strength but still full force on the retrohale.
Little bit of sweetness has returned at the end but most the flavors from the previous two thirds are still the same. I’m finding just a bit more breadiness too which is helping keep things interesting. Still, it’s a wood dominate profile and everything else is just living in it.
There’s almost a sneaky level of nicotine that keeps building slowly the entire time. It wasn’t enough to make me dizzy but I could feel that warm sensation in my stomach. The burn was pretty good but it was slightly wavy the entire time but I didn’t need to touch up or relight it at any point so it had that going for it. The draw was snug but the smoke output was ample and had a creamy mouthfeel. There’s not a crazy amount of flavors that will keep you guessing but the experience that it provides is very solid and almost the classic Nicaraguan experience I look for in this style.