|Room 101 San Andres|
The Room 101 San Andres is a new core line being offered from Matt Booth’s Room 101 Cigars. It will be offered as a new core line to the brand. It also marks the sixth blend released by Room 101 and fourth in the past twelve months. As the name indicates, it uses a Mexican wrapper from San Andres, but this one is a natural wrapper. Typically San Andres is a tobacco used for maduro wrappers, but we are beginning to see more San Andres releases as natural wrappers. Lately, I’ve been a little skeptical about some of the San Andres wrapper cigars being released, but in each cigar assessment, I make a clean slate. In the case of the Room 101 San Andres, it appears that Booth and his team have put together another winning blend, and have really solidified their core line.
While this is intended to be a core line cigar, Room 101 is planning to produce only 20,000 cigars in each of the five vitolas to start with. The plan is to limit the production annually, but make it a core line in the Room 101 portfolio.
Let’s break down the Room 101 San Andres in more detail:
The San Andres wrapper features tobacco grown by the Turrent family in Mexico The Turrents are one of the largest tobacco producers in the San Andres region. The remainder of the blend consists of tobacco from Honduras and the Dominican Republic.
Wrapper: San Andres Natural
Binder: Corojo Seco (Honduras)
Filler: Criollo Ligero and Corojo Seco (Honduras and Dominican Republic)
There will be five vitolas offered with the Room 101 San Andres line. With the exception of the 4 x 42 Papi Chulo, the other four vitolas use area codes to represent the vitola names. These area code names are consistent with the other Room 101 core lines, but use a “SA” suffix. The cigars are packaged 25 to a box except for the Papa Chulo vitola which is packaged 50 to a box.
Papi Chulo: 4 x 42
213SA (Petit Corona): 5 1/2 x 44
305SA (Robusto): 5 x 50
615SA (Churchill): 7 x 48
808SA (Corona Gorda): 6 x 60
For this cigar experience, I went with the 305SA (Robusto) vitola. The natural San Andres wrapper has a lighter coffee bean color to it. There are some dark spots There are minimal visible veins and in general the wrapper seams are well hidden. The wrapper itself is slightly oily, but has more of a silky complexion to it as it is relatively smooth. There also was a very nice cocoa aroma that could be detected by the foot of the Room 101 San Andres.
The band has a brown colored color scheme. The Room 101 logo is front and center on the band. On the right side of the band, there is four lines of text in landscape mode. The first line says “SERIE” in small gold font. Below that line it says “SA” (representing San Andres) in larger gold font. The third line says “ROOM 101” in small gold font, and the fourt line says “MEXICO” in a medium sized font.
|Landscape text on the Room 101 San Andres band|
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my Room 101 San Andres 305SA, I opted to place a straight cut into the cap. I then proceeded to commence with the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes provided a nice mix of citrus, wood, and cedar. The citrus component of this pre-light draw was the primary dry draw note. Overall, I considered this a nice pre-light draw. At this point, I was excited to fire up my Room 101 San Andres and see what this cigar would bring to the table.
Upon lighting my Room 101 San Andres, I was treated to a sweet pungent aroma is characteristic of many San Andres wrapper cigars. From an aroma standpoint, this was very nice. In terms of flavor, with Mexican San Andres wrapper (particularly with the maduro), I sometimes find that it has too much of a sweet pungent taste at the expense of complexity (this was mentioned in one of my 2012 IPCPR Preview stories). The good news is that the Room 101 San Andres does not go down this route.
Back to the flavor profile, the initial flavors of the Room 101 San Andres provided a mix of citrus and leather. The citrus sweetness subsided quickly, and notes of coffee emerged in the forefront with the leather. The retro-hale provided notes of salt on the tongue. Eventually the salt morphed to a pungent/exotic spice. This spice remained on the retro-hale and was more of a secondary note. My guess is the Mexican wrapper was at play here.
Later in the first half, the pungent spice moved into the forefront with the leather and coffee. The spice continued to increase as the cigar progressed. It eventually became the sole primary note as the leather and coffee moved into a secondary role. The finish was spicy, and had a touch of harshness. The resulting nub was a little soft to the touch, but cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The burn of my Room 101 San Andres did require multiple touch-ups to keep the burn line going straight. The cigar wasn’t canoeing, but had more of a jagged burn. The touch-ups did the trick, but I did have to do more touch-ups than I liked. It didn’t seem to have any adverse effects on the burn rate and burn temperature as both were ideal. As for the draw, it was flawless. The Room 101 San Andres providing a great experience with each draw from start to finish.
Strength and Body
The Room 101 San Andres started out as a classic medium strength, medium-bodied cigar. It provided just the right amount of strength from a nicotine perspective. From a depth of flavors point of view, the flavors were enough to be effective and enjoyable. I assessed the body to be medium to start. In the last third of the cigar, I did see the cigar increase in strength. It caught me off guard, but it did increase to full strength. The body of the cigar increased too, but made it up to medium to full-bodied range. For most of the smoke, the components of strength and body balanced each other very nicely for most of the smoke. Toward the end, the nicotine did have a slight edge over the flavor.
The Room 101 San Andres was a very good cigar. It did have a unique spice component to it. This cigar has offered a lot more in complexity when compared to many other Mexican San Andres cigars. What I have really liked about what Room 101 has done in the last year is they are bringing some unique patterns to the smoking experience – and these break the mold of a predictable smoking experience. The Room 101 brand has proven to be a nice addition to its parent company, Davidoff’s portfolio. This is a cigar I would recommend to both novice and experienced cigar enthusiasts – although I would caution the novice should be prepared for the kick at the end of this cigar. Overall, this is a cigar I look forward to smoking again – and trying some of the other vitolas in the line.
Strength: Medium (goes to Full by the last third)
Body: Medium (goes to Medium to Full by the last third)
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Butthead’s Tobacco Emporium in Danbury, Connecticut.