Tag Archives: Room 101

A La Barba, an 1881 Perique Bold, a Room 101 and a Chogui Dos77 Cigar

La Barba_One&OnlyHmmm….I just realized all four cigars I’ve smoked so far this week have had a number theme, starting with the La Barba One & Only, a generous gift from my not so secret Santa, George,  this past Christmas. This cigar was a toro sized cigar with an Ecuador Habano wrapper and undisclosed binder and filler made at the William Ventura factory in the Dominican Republic. This is a limited edition cigar in the La Barba line, which is the creation of Tony Bellatto. This was a really well-balanced and sweet smoke on the milder side of medium to my palate. It was perfectly constructed and worked exactly like a great cigar should. This was one of several great cigars George sent, and I thank him very much for sending me some great cigars I wouldn’t normally have a chance to sample.

 

1881PeriqueBold_ToroI’ve been really enjoying the 1881 Perique line from Tabacalera Incorporada in the Philippines. This was a surprise since I had a bad experience with Philippine cigars in the 90s and spore off them. Of course, in the latter 90s there were a LOT of crappy cigars coming from everywhere, and I especially disliked Filipino and Indonesian brands. So I was skeptical, but have really enjoyed the cigars from Tabacalera Incorporada, especially the 1881 Perique, which use Perique tobacco from Louisiana in the blend. This time around I smoked the 1881 Perique Bold toro, with a natural wrapper. The Perique gives a unique spice to the full-bodied blend, which also features aged Philippine and Brazilian tobacco. These are definitely interesting cigars.

 

Room101_UncleLeeYesterday I  lit up a Room 101 Uncle Lee that I picked up a few months ago when Matt Booth was at the Bethlehem, PA downtown Cigars International store. I recently bought a box (of 10) of these at Holt’s very inexpensively, around $40 for the box with shipping. I really liked this cigar when I smoked it a while ago and figured having a box in the humidor wouldn’t be a bad thing. The Uncle Lee is a 6½” x 50 in the Ranfla shape that is in several of the other Room 101 lines, including the Room 101 Johnny Tobacconaut where it’s called the Ranflactic. Uncle Lee was Matt Booth’s uncle who introduced him to the enjoyment of cigars. I find the Uncle Lee to be an excellent cigar with a bright, refreshing flavor. It’s smooth, it tastes great, and I like this as a change of pace.  Like the rest of the Room 101 line, I’m afraid when they are gone, they are gone. We’ll miss you Matt!

 

Chogui_Dos77_RobustoTonight I grabbed a Chogui Dos77 Rogusto that I picked up a few months ago at B and B Cigars in Chestnut Hill, PA when I went down to hang out with Vince, the manager of the shop, and Steve Saka. I had heard a lot of great things about this line, so I figured I’d try it out. This is a  cigar that until recently was only available in the Dominican Republic, where the cigar is made. For some reason, as stated on the inside of the band, were supposed to “Fear the F*cking Bird”, with a bird where the “*” is.  I’m not sure what that’s all about, but I wasn’t real fond of #Fear the F cking Birdthe flavor of this cigar. I know some people who might be a fan, I think this is a cigar that to folks who like the sour flavors might appreciate, but it’s not for me. The plus side was the construction was exceptional, it was firm, burned straight as an arrow with a nice, flat ember telling me how much care is taken in the blending and leaf placement. I wanted to like this cigar, it wasn’t inexpensive, and I’ve heard raves about it. There are a lot of cigars that I don’t “get” that people love, so don’t go by me! Happily, of the vast variety of cigar I smoke, it’s rare that I get one that I don’t take some enjoyment from, and the smoking of this cigar was certainly not unpleasant, the flavor just wasn’t for me.

 

That’s plenty from me for tonight, it ended up being a longer post than I wanted to write, but that’s the way it goes!  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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A Short Story, a Big Payback and a Couple Rocky Patel Fifty-Five Cigars

Fuente_ShortStory_MaduroFinally over the sinus thing for the most part, I trust my taste buds again, without question, and I know this because I smoked a Fuente Short Story maduro Thursday that was just a wonderful little cigar. I’ve had this in my humidor for a while, I figured since I just got some maduro Best Sellers, and I got off to a late start, this 4″ x 49 perfecto would be perfect. The Short Story has been around for as long as I can remember, which, in cigar terms, is a little over 20 years. It’s a cigar my wife would smoke when she enjoyed cigars. Back then it was just in the Cameroon wrapper, and is still a delicious cigar. The maduro has a broadleaf wrapper and has a little “dirtier” flavor to me, which I love. It’s rich, earthy and dark chocolaty. I have various Hemingways in my humidor, it seems I buy the maduros when I stop in Holt’s, they always seem to have them. It’s amazing how the Fuentes can make a cigar that tastes the same over the last  years! One odd note on the Short Story: while the rest of the Hemingway line has “Hemingway” on the boxes, the Short Story does not, yet it’s listed under that line on Fuente’s website.

 

BigPaybackFriday I was in the mood for a substantial cigar, so I went with a Room 101 Big Payback Hueso, the 6″ x 60 gordo in the line. I picked some of these up last summer when I was at Cigars International’s downtown Bethlehem store when Matt Booth was hanging out there. Ironically, I was listening to Matt on Kiss My Ash Radio while enjoying this cigar. I was a little bit behind, so the episode was two weeks old. Any time Matt appears on any show it’s a treat, full of surprises, he’s a hoot. Unfortunately, Matt is leaving the cigar industry and Davidoff is reportedly selling of the cigar under the Room 101 brand. the Big Payback line is/was a budget friendly line, a Nicaraguan Puro rolled in Honduras. I really like these cigars, in both the Nicaraguan wrapper and the Ecuador Connecticut wrapper, it’s a solid cigar that I find very appealing. I just got a box (10) of the Uncle Lee, I suppose I need to put some more of the Big Paybacks on the shopping list before they are gone for good. It’s a great cigar for a little over $6.

 

Yesterday my wife and daughter wanted to do some shopping at the King of Prussia Mall, one of the largest malls in the country and only fifteen minutes down the road.  One of my favorite things about shopping with my wife is that I can let her shop while I go to International Tobacco and sit and have a cigar. It usually ends up being a very costly cigar, but that’s OK.  Yesterday the selection was RP 55 Coronakinda slim, and the humidor tends to the classic side, without a lot of boutiques, they do have Davidoff, Padron, and many of the usual suspects. They have a coffee bar with soft drinks and are generally quite hospitable and friendly. I usually look for something I haven’t had, of course, so I picked up a couple of the Rocky Patel Fifty-Five, a “Corona” (4″ x 55) and a Toro for later. Since the Fifty-Five is inexplicably not listed on the website, I linked to Famous Smoke Shop’s listing for this, and would like to direct you to the new ad in the right sidebar. If you make a habit of shopping at Famous, click through the ad and maybe I’ll make a little dough on the side to support my “research”. They also offer a discount code, so we both win. Anyway, I lit up the pudgy little perfecto and was intrigued with the flavor. They say this cigar has Nicaraguan fillers and wrapper, and a Costa Rican binder, which you don’t see every day. RP 55 Corona-damageI got a mintyness throughout the smoke that was different and enjoyable. Unfortunately, there was a bit of chip at the cap of the cigar that I didn’t notice which resulted in the wrapper coming off completely with about an inch and a half left. I probably could have gotten a replacement if I had let the shopkeeper cut it for me, but I’m a DIY kinda guy and carry my own tools, so I didn’t press the issue. I haven’t had this kind of thing happen in a very long time, and I don’t expect it from a $9+ cigar. (As I write this, I think of the last time I wrote this and it was about another RP cigar….bad luck, I guess). Verdict: loved the flavor, hated the fact that the wrapper came off and I had to mess with it at all.

 

RockyPatel_Fifty-five_ToroSo intrigued by the flavor of the little 4″ x 55 “Corona” was I  that I look my evening walk with the Toro version of the Rocky Patel Fifty-Five. I suppose I should get one of these for my own 55th birthday in a year and a half, these were made to celebrate Rocky’s 55th birthday. As 55 is an unusual ring gauge for a cigar, I suspect a lot went into making these with special molds and all. The Rocky Patel Fifty-Five Toro is 6 ½” x 55, and has the same make-up as the little guy, both cigars have a bit of a taper at each end, which in my mind puts them into the perfecto category. I gave the Toro a much closer inspection, I certainly didn’t want to repeat the experience I had earlier in the day. I was pleased to find no flaws in this cigar, although the draw was a little on the restricted side until it got going. I found the same mintyness, with an occasional minty-cinnamonyness here and there. It was very intriguing to me, it’s so rare that I encounter an unusual flavor in a cigar any more.  While I wasn’t thrilled dropping north of $11 on a cigar, this one really didn’t bother me, I found it so interesting and special. I also don’t mind spending a few bucks in a local shop that provides the service of “husband day-care” while the better half shops, if people don’t spend money there it won’t be around!

 

In some news, I received an e-mail from Gaby Kafie of Kafie 1901 Cigars announcing that they are opening, or have opened, their own factory,  “Tabacalera G. Kafie y Cia”,  in Danli, Honduras. They were previously working with the Reyes family’s factory, having their cigars made along side such classics as Puros Indios and Cuba Aliados. Last year, Dr. Kafie introduced the Kafie 1901 Coffee with proceeds going to Cigar Rights of America.  Best of luck to Dr. Kafie and his family, I know he has a strong passion and hope he has few obstacles to success. Also of note is General Cigar Company‘s announcement that they will be adding Temple Hall Estates to their Foundry division’s FTC Heritage Series. the original Temple Hall Factory opened in Jamaica in the ’40s, and the Connecticut shade wrapped cigar will pay homage to that factory. This line joins the re-imagined Bolivar and Ramon Allones brands in the Foundry line-up. Will Cooper has the full story here.

 

That’s all for now, until the next time,

 

CiagrCraig

 

 

 

 

 

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A Room 101 Event and a Cavalier Geneva White Series Cigar

CI_DowntownSunday I had mentioned that we were going to Cigars International‘s Downtown Bethlehem store where Matt Booth was having a Room 101 event. We got there (it’s about an hour and a half drive), to find out there was a Celtic festival going on, making it difficult to find a place to park!  After driving around for another thirty minutes we finely found a place to park and made our way to the store. The Downtown store is a a small shop with a couple of chairs but a rather large selection. Fortunately, it was a nice day, and they had tables and chairs on the sidewalk. There was a lot of foot traffic, mostly oddly costumed folks in kilts and whatnot. They even had Celtic music playing on street side Room101_BigPayback_CT_Huesospeakers. And then there was Matt Booth. This was a cool event, as there weren’t lines of people there for the event, so there was a lot of good one on one time with Matt. He even had his attorney there, which, if you follow him on social media, is what he calls his young son, who is about as cute as can be. I bought a hand full of cigars and lit up a Room 101 Big Payback Connecticut Hueso, the 6″ x 60 gordo in the line. This was a very good cigar, and to my surprise, Matt was smoking one as well, in the robusto size, and said that it’s his recent go-to cigar. It was a nice, smooth and very flavorful cigar, quite a nice smoke for a beautiful afternoon in good company. I had gotten some of the Nicaraguan wrapped Big Paybacks too and almost regretted not getting more of the Connecticut, although I like the original Big Payback as well.  If you ever have occasion to spend some time with Matt Booth, jump on it, he’s one of the more interesting gentlemen in the cigar industry!

 

Room101_UncleLee_RanflaWhen I got home I lit up a  Room 101 Uncle Lee, a cigar Matt made to pay tribute to his uncle who introduced him to cigars. I only bought a couple of these as they only had a couple left, I would have bought a 10 count box if they hadn’t already sold out. The Uncle Lee is only made in the Ranfla size, the 6½ x 50 perfecto size that you find in Room 101’s Johnny Tobbaconaut line, the new Chief Cool Arrow, and the Namakubi line. This was a really interesting cigar with an Ecuador Habano wrapper, Nicaraguan Corojo binder and Honduran and Dominican Corojo fillers, so lots of Corojo. There was a flavor sensation akin to mint that wound it’s way through the smoke. This was a really nice cigar, I enjoyed the crap out of it, and may have to pick up a box. Matt mentioned that CI bought the remaining inventory, so they might be the only game in town for that cigar.  It was a really nice cigar day.

Room101_UncleLee

Cavalier of Geneva_WhiteSeries_DiplomateLast night I went into the IPCPR sample humidor and pulled out an interesting cigar from a booth we just happened upon on our last day at the show. Cavalier of Geneva is a Swiss cigar company, and their cigars feature a 24 carat gold diamond on the wrapper. I smoked the Cavalier of Geneva White Series Diplomate, a 5½ x 56 with a pigtail cap. the cigars feature a five country blend, Habano wrapper,  Connecticut binder and fillers from Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and Paraguay. The cigar was a nice, well-balanced smoke, on the milder side in strength, but medium in flavor. It burned well, and the gold embellishment on the wrapper had no effect in flavor or burn, but it was kind of neat to watch it burn. These were supposed to be available in the US as of August 1, and are being distributed by Dallas Texas-based CigarArt. I’m very interested in trying the maduro in this line, and I should have smoked it tonight, but, for whatever reason, I decided against it. The San Andrés Negra wrapper over Arapiraca binder sounds quite intriguing.

 

That’s all for now, until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

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Odds and Ends, a L’Atetier, A La Flor Dominicana and Room 101

SugarSkullCigarsFirst, a couple of items I’ve come across in the past week that I think are of interest.  Since Halloween and Día de los Muertos are coming up, my friends at Custom Tobacco are offering two “Skull Candy” band designs to their portfolio of custom bands. Custom Tobacco specializes in custom banding, and the cigars they use are very good. I’ve had the pleasure of smoking their Briarmont Classic cigar a few years ago (here) and it was of excellent quality and flavor.  Check these folks out if you ever need some custom banded cigars.

My wife likes to point out unique cigar related items to me when she sees them, and this item falls under the “for the man who has everything” category, and is truly an over the top cigar accessory. The Emperador Cigar Chest has over 2,600 individual part to deliver a luxury cigar accessory. On top is a tourbillion timepiece (I don’t know what that is) made from over 300 pieces by a Swiss watchmaker, and surrounded by 24 individual glass tubes, each of which comes pre-packed with a Grand Cru cigar wrapped in four gold leaves (not sure what the cigar is either). This compartment is secured by a passcode, while the included cigar cutter, table lighter, and ashtray sit securely in a front drawer (apparently unprotected by any advanced security features). It pays equal attention to the care of your cigars, incorporating a world’s first self-regulating humidity system that needs neither water nor human intervention to keep a constant humidity level of 70% and an internal temperature between 61º and 65º F. I don’t quite understand the science behind something that controls humidity without water, but OK. I don’t expect to be reviewing this item.

 

LAtelier_La Mission_1989So I had some great cigars this week and a disappointment or two, and I’m not going to name names on the disappointment, lets just say I’m not the only one I’ve heard of being let down. I moved on to something else that night, and may (or may not) revisit that cigar another time.  I don’t see any value in posting negatives as, with all cigars, your mileage may vary.  One of the highlight cigars of the week was one I picked up on a recent visit to Holt’s store in Philly. I ended up buying various Pete Johnson cigars and one was the L’Atelier La Mission 1989, which is a  5 5/8″x 54 with a nice little pigtail cap. I had a feeling about this cigar when I picked it up, it just looked like it would be in my wheelhouse. It has a dark, oily San Andrés wrapper, binder from Nicaragua and Nicaraguan fillers. which includes Sancti Spíritus leaf, which is a hybrid of Pelo de Oro and Criollo.  This cigar started out with the spice one expects, and really develops into a rich, complex cigar that is a pleasure to smoke. I loved the espresso-ness of this cigar, I’d smoke this one again for sure.

 

LFD_1994_TangoThe next night I replaced my disappointing cigar with a La Flor Dominicana 1994 Tango, a neat little Rothschild size, 4½” x 48.  There are times when I have a cigar that lets me down and I just move on, and there are times when I just need another cigar to un-piss me off. This was such an occasion. The 1994 line is the company’s 20th anniversary cigar, commemorating two decades of doing things the right way and making great cigars.  This little LFD is a nice little cigar, rich, smooth and tasty.  This one also has a San Andrés wrapper, although not fermented to the maduro shade that many are. Like many LFD cigars, it’s a Dominican cigar with a punch, it’s not a mild cigar by any stretch, but full of flavor. I smoked their new La Nox earlier in the week too and was quite impressed, more on that another time.

 

IMG_2259Saturday we had tickets to see Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys in Atlantic City, but on the way there we stopped at the Wooden Indian for a Room 101 event with Matt Booth (and his area rep “Tom Smith”).  I was really looking forward to picking up a few more Johnny Tobacconauts, and got a few in the Ranflactic and Fileriod sizes. I lit up a Ranflactic and we hung out in the Wooden Indian’s Liga IMG_2260Privada Lounge as we had arrived quite early for the two o’clock event.  Matt says that he has originally wanted to call this Johnny Tobaccoseed, but ended up going with the astronaut theme instead, and who can argue that the astronaut on the box doesn’t look just like Matt?  Ironically, it turns out that Matt’s father is second cousins to the Wilsons of Beach Boys fame, and he was actually being serious when he told us that. The cigar IMG_2261was great, seeing Matt again was great, and Dave at The Wooden Indian always has great events.  If you were wondering, Matt didn’t make an appearance in my IPCPR Secret Question video, but I asked him what his answer would have been, and he said that Dave Lafferty (of Drew Estate) embodies the essence of Matt Booth, so he would play him in the Room 101 movie. I was expecting something more along the lines of Johnny Depp, but OK.  The event was great, then we went to AC, where I enjoyed a Room 101 San Andrés before the great concert, which my wife reviewed on her website here. While IMG_2266Brian Wilson may not be the best singer, and the years have not been kind to him, he is a legend, someone that artists like the Beatles idolized, and has surrounded himself with a great bunch of musicians. It was a treat hearing all the Beach Boys classics (Al Jardine was also there, so there were two of the original Beach Boys there). It capped off a great day, although the slot machines were not kind to us.

 

Anyway, that wraps up the week. I did smoke a tasty Leaf by Oscar Maduro also this week too, and there was a Asylum 13 Ogre Lancero that was great as well, although not as complex as it’s chubbier siblings. I have plenty more interesting cigars to smoke this week, hopefully there will be some great ones!  Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

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Big Delicious, Villiger San’Doro and Southern Draw Kudzu Cigars

Room101_BigDeliciousFollowing on the heels of the Johnny Tobacconaut, I came across a lonely Room 101  Big Delicious that is a Smoke Inn exclusive and was released with much fanfare a year or so ago. This is a cool 6¼” x 52 figurado with a dark Habano 2000 wrapper.  You don’t see “Habano 2000” used that much any more, it got such a bad rap for not burning when it came around in the early part of the century (that makes me feel old…, it was around 2000).  The wrapper hangs over the foot so one really gets a nice taste of it off the light. When I see a wrapper folded over the foot, or some variation of that, I tend to just stick the cigar in my mouth and light it up, I figure toasting will burn off that extra wrapper leaf before I get to enjoy it!  Anyway, this cigar was sitting in the humidor, all alone and needed to be smoked, so I smoked it.  It was still big, and still delicious.  It burned well, had loads of deep, rich flavor and was quite satisfying.  These are still available from Smoke Inn and aren’t too expensive compared to a lot of other cigars. I don’t know that age has really improved this cigar, so if you get some, smoke them, I don’t believe they are regular production so they are what they are, still Big, still Delicious! The Website calls it the “The bastard child of Matt Booth and Abe Dababneh!”, I prefer to think of it as their “love child”.

 

Villiger_San'Doro_ToroWhile looking through the IPCPR samples, my eyes landed on a Villiger San’Doro Maduro in a toro size.  This year they released the San’Doro line in three wrapper, the Maduro, the Colorado and the Claro. While the Colorado and Claro are made at Tabacalera Oliva in Esteli, the Maduro I smoked is a Brazilian puro made in Viliger’s factory in Bahia, Brazil.  I’ve smoked Brazilian puros before, and when I smoked this one I didn’t know it was a puro. This was a nice, sweet maduro with  lot of great flavor.  I have samples of the claro (Ecuador Connecticut) and Colorodo (Habano from Nicaragua) in the humidor and I’m looking forward to smoking them, although I expect them to be completely different.  I’m not entirely sure when or if these are going to be offered in the U.S., there seems to be a lot of information pointing towards a European release this month.  I suppose someone will let me know!

 

SouthernDraw_KudzuI smoked a really nice Sindicato Hex Perfecto, and another Leccia Luchador Frogsplash this week, but i’ve discussed those before and there’s nothing really interesting to report. I did receive some goodies from Southern Draw Cigars and couldn’t wait to dig into the Kudzu after having a good experience with the Firethorn a week or so ago.  The Kudzo Toro is 6″ x 52 and has the covered foot again.  Both the Kudzu and Firethorn come in four sizes, a Pigtail capped Petite Corona, a 5½” x 52 Robusto, the Toro and a 6½” x 60 Gordo. The Kudzo has a dark Habano Oscuro wrapper and Binder and fillers from Nicaragua.  It starts off with a punch, and I began to question the wisdom of lighting this up before I had dinner. While it was a stronger cigar, my poor dining judgement didn’t come into play, as it smoothed out and was a solid medium to full cigar which I found to be quite enjoyable. It had some wood and chocolate flavors and smoked evenly until I put it down with under an inch left. I’m quite impressed with this line in my limited experience with them, although they are made at the A.J. Fernandez factory so I shouldn’t be surprised. Thanks to Robert Holt for sending some samples along, very good smokes.

 

That’s it for today, I don’t usually do two posts in one day, so don’t get used to it! While I’m thinking of it, next Saturday, October 3rd, from Noon to six is The Smokin’ Goose festival in Limerick, PA.  This was a great time last year, and this year they are having it right at the store instead of off site.  I plan to be there and am looking forward to it.  Check out The Smokin’ Goose website for tickets and information. A portion of the proceeds go to Cigars For Warriors. Until the next time,

 

CigarCraig

 

CigarCraig

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