Viaje Teams Up With PDR Cigar For 2015 Collaboration Project

There's a new brand logo painted on the walls of the PDR Cigar Factory in the Dominican Republic, only it isn't a logo from PDR—it's from Viaje. Andre Farkas of the Viaje Cigar Co. has collaborated with PDR owner Abe Flores to create the first Dominican-made Viaje cigar. It's part of the Viaje Collaboration series, which he first put into motion last year. The concept, as Farkas explains, allows him to team up with other cigarmakers in the industry and blend a smoke that goes outside of his comfort zone. Last year, Farkas collaborated with Casa Fernandez and created a Nicaraguan puro. For this year's Viaje Collaboration 2015, Farkas is using Dominican tobacco from PDR Cigars and is being guided by Flores, who has made his inventory of tobacco available for this project.

"I never had anything to do with the Dominican Republic," Farkas told Cigar Insider. "Abe and I established a blend so quickly. After only a few hours, we finalized it. This process has never happened so fast. I think we have a great synergy."

In Farkas's opinion, Dominican tobacco has a "softness on the palate" that he enjoyed experimenting with. The Viaje Collaboration 2015 is a blend of Cuban-seed Ecuadoran Havana 2000 wrapper, two binder leaves of Dominican Corojo and a filler combination of Dominican Cojoro 2006, Dominican Piloto Cubano and some Nicaraguan tobacco from Condega.

"I think it's important that we try to innovate and push the envelope a little," said Flores, who makes his own cigars as well as contract brands for third-party companies. "It was just a matter of letting Andre's palate steer the process and we've come up with a very interesting blend."

The cigar measures 6 inches by 52 ring, each packaged in its own individual coffin. Only 600 boxes of 20 are slated for production, which began in early February.

"He brought his expertise and was able to translate my words into the actual cigar," Farkas said of Flores. "This is my first time working with tobacco that was not grown from Aganorsa."

Although the cigar is being manufactured at PDR in the Dominican Republic, it will be distributed by Viaje.

Farkas has also moved production of his Viaje TNT and Viaje C4 brands to PDR as well. Formerly made at Raices Cubanas in Honduras, these two brands are now made under Flores's supervision with a new blend and new Connecticut broadleaf wrapper to replace the original Nicaraguan Criollo wrapper. These new, reblended lines will hit the market in June. The Viaje Collaboration 2015 cigars will be introduced at the IPCPR trade show in July.

This story first appeared in the March 24, 2015 issue of Cigar Insider.