|Room 101 Daruma
At the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show, Matt Booth of Room 101 Cigars officially launched his seventh blend, the Room 101 Daruma. The name Daruma continues the theme of Japanese culture that was started with the Room 101 Namakubi. Daruma is the Japanese name for the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma – considered to be the father of what is known as Zen Buddhism. In a conversation I had with Booth, he described the cigar as the Room 101 OSOK and the Namakubi coming together. While Booth will admit to a rocky start with his Room 101 line, there is no question that the past year has seen some incredible momentum with the brand. After sampling the Room 101 Daruma, there is no question that momentum continues to make Room 101 a serious player in the cigar industry.
Daruma dolls are modeled after Bodhidharma. The story of the Daruma doll plays into a the philosophy behind the cigar. The following is background information on the Daruma doll as taken from the Camacho Cigars web-site:
The single eye I have penciled in on my Daruma doll is my silent reminder that I have set a goal that is pending completion. My Daruma will become a bi-oculared character once my task is complete. I have one year in which to complete my task – and if one of my attempts should fall short of victory I will not quit, but rather try again. Because, I know that if I do not give up and my will does not falter it is never a question of “if,” but only a question of “when.” We have named our latest series after the Daruma as he symbolizes resilience – a key ingredient to our success. Use your Daruma to set a goal of your own.
Fill his left eye when you have decided what you will be committing yourself to, his right when your task is complete. As the tradition is to burn the Daruma at the end of the year, take a brief moment to ignite a fine cigar in celebration of your accomplishment.
Let’s take a look at the Room 101 Daruma. I will disclaim that this write-up is based on a single pre-release sample. Since this is a pre-release sample, we will default to a pre-review to share some thoughts and perspectives. We will provide an assessment rating and score when we smoke one or more available from a retailer.
Prior to the 2012 IPCPR we identified Ecuadorian Habano as a “red hot” wrapper in the industry. However, this is a wrapper where Booth has seemed to hit his stride with as both the Namakubi and OSOK blends utilize this wrapper. For the Daruma, Booth once again turns to a wrapper that has worked for him. The interesting twist is the use of a Brazilian binder – a first for Room 101.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Filler: Honduran and Dominican
The Room 101 Daruma is currently available in five sizes. Except for one 60 ring gauge vitola, the frontmarks are geared toward smaller ring gauges.
Monstro: 5 x 60
Roxxo: 4 x 48
Papi Chulo: 4 x 42
Mutante: 7 x 38
Sucio: 7 x 48
For this cigar experience I sampled the Papi Chulo vitola. The Papi Chulo has slowly become a favorite of many Room 101 fans. The wrapper to the Room 101 Daruma Papi Chulo has a nice coffee-bean color with a touch of colorado red to it. The wrapper itself is not very oily and has a bumpy feel to it. There are visible veins and visible wrapper seams on the surface of the wrapper. From the foot of the cigar, there is a nice cocoa-like aroma.
The band features silver font and striping on a gray background. Going horizontal on the band is an oval that features the name “Daruma” in a cursive-like font. Below that text is the text “ROOM 101” in a much smaller font. By the seam of the band is the same cursive text “Daruma” in a very small font. Peeling the band, there is some very small text that says “PORTUGUESE BREAKFAST” and “(Bleep) Yeah” (the latter in a script font). On the back of the band is an image of a Daruma doll head.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the Room 101 Daruma, I went with a straight cut into the cap of the “Papi Chulo” vitola. I immediately proceeded to commence with the pre-light draw. It was on the dry draw that I detected a combination of earth, spice, and a little cocoa. Overall, it wasn’t the most exciting pre-light draw, but it wasn’t a bad one either. It was at this point, I was ready to fire up my Daruma and see what the smoking experience would bring to the table.
The start to the Room 101 Daruma treated me to a nice dose of cedar spice to start with notes of cocoa in the background. The spice soon took on a combination of both pepper and cedar notes. This spice settled in the forefront – and was joined by citrus notes.
I found the smoking experience of the Room 101 Daruma to be the story of the spice, citrus, and cocoa notes. As the smoking experience progressed, I found these notes to shift in and out as primary notes. As the Daruma reached the second half, it seemed as though the spice notes took control of the flavor profile. While the spice increased, it was not at the expense of the other flavors – which held right until the end. In our recent conversation, Booth talked about the pepper through the nose and can definitely subscribe to that. As the smoke came to a close, the end of the cigar was spicy, but not harsh. The resulting nub was ideal – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The Room 101 Daruma showcased some very good construction – and this was reflected with the attributes of burn and draw. Keeping the burn line straight was a relatively low maintenance task as I did not have to make many touch-ups. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal throughout the smoking experience. The resulting ash had a slight bit of flaking to it. The draw had a little bit of resistance, but I view that as a positive as I do not like a draw too loose.
Strength and Body
The Daruma does a very good job at delivering a nice dose of strength and plenty of flavor. From a nicotine profile, the Daruma does have a little bit of kick, but it is not going to overwhelm you. There is enough strength in the Daruma to assess this as a medium to full strength cigar. As for the body, the flavors are robust. While I thought the flavors to the Room 101 Namakubi were deeper, the Daruma’s flavors still have enough depth for it to be considered a full-bodied smoke. I definitely give a slight edge to the body over the strength when comparing the two attributes.
In general the 4 x 42 Papi Chulo size has worked very well with the blends in the Room 101 line. In the case of the Room 101 Daruma, it continues this tradition. However, this was a cigar that I was most curious on how it would smoke in a longer size – most notably the 7 x 48 Roxxo. Overall, this is still another solid release for Room 101. This is probably a cigar I would steer more toward the experienced cigar enthusiast as it does have some strength to it. I’d recommend this to an experienced cigar enthusiast that does like a spicy profile. As for myself, this is a cigar I definitely look forward to smoking again.
Strength: Medium to Full
Source: The cigars for this write-up were provided by Room 101 Cigars. The request was initiated by Room 101 to myself (Cigar Coop) to provide feedback. Cigar Coop is appreciative to samples provided but this plays no role in the assessment of this cigar