|Room 101 Serie HN|
Just prior to the 2013 IPCPR Trade Show, Room 101 Cigars launched the Room 101 Serie HN. This cigar marks the tenth blend to be produced by Matt Booth‘s Room 101 brand. This cigar is intended to be a core line. For the past few couple of years, the Room 101 brand has launched core lines based on a particular regional wrapper. It started in 2011 with the launch of the Room 101 Connecticut (Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper). Last year, the brand launched the Room 101 San Andres (using a San Andres wrapper). Now the Serie HN introduces a Honduran (Criollo ’98) wrapper. I recently had an opportunity to sample the Room 101 Serie HN. This might have been one of those pre-IPCPR cigars that slipped under the radar – as this is a very good cigar with some unique flavor.
The approach with the Room 101 Serie HN is similar to what was done for the Room 101 San Andres. 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.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Room 101 Serie HN and see what this cigar brings to the table:
In addition to the Honduran Criollo ’98 wrapper, there are tobaccos incorporated from Brazil and the Dominican Republic.
Wrapper: Criollo 98 (Honduras)
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler Honduran Criollo Ligero and Dominican Navaratte
All Room 101 Serie HN sizes will be packaged 25 per box except for Papi Chulo which will be packaged 50 per box. As with the other Room 101 core line offerings the vitolas are named after area codes (exception being Papa Chulo)
Papi Chulo: 4 x 42
305: 5 x 50
213: 5 1/2 x 44
615: 7 x 48
808: 6 x 60
For this smoking experience, I went with the 305 robusto sized vitola. The Room 101 Serie HN’s Honduran Criollo ’98 wrapper has a medium to dark brown color. There is some darker marbling on the wrapper. The wrapper also had a slight amount of oil to it. There are also some visible wrapper seams and visible veins.
The band features red and white FU logo. On the side of the band is a large “HN” in white font. Above that text is “SERIE” in small white font. Below the “HN” is the text “ROOM 101” and “HONDURAS” – also in smaller white font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Prior to my smoking experience of the Room 101 Serie HN, I went with my usual selection of a straight cut. After successfully removing the cap, it was time to commence the pre-light draw. There was a nice amount of flavor nuances on the dry draw as I detected notes of earth, wood, coffee, and baker’s spice. Overall, I considered;the pre-light draw of the Room 101 Serie HN to be excellent. At this point, I was ready to light up my Serie HN and see what would be in-store for the main course.
The start to the Room 101 Serie HN provided a mix of red pepper and oak notes. The red pepper could be detected on the retro-hale right on the on-set and this is something that would be present from start to finish. It was also in the early phases where a crisp lemon flavor entered the equation. This wasn’t an overwhelming lemon flavor, but it still was a primary flavor early on. By about the five percent point, the notes of lemon, oak and pepper were in the forefront with some earth notes in the background. By the middle of the first third, the pepper and earth switched places – with the earth moving into the forefront and pepper into the background.
By the end of the first third, the earth took over as a primary flavor. The lemon notes became a close secondary note. The oak notes dissipated and were replaced by a bittersweet chocolate note in the background. The pepper started a pattern of floating between a primary and secondary flavor. This flavor pattern held for the majority of the smoking experience.
By the last third the pepper notes were now grounded in the forefront. The lemon notes could still be detected as a secondary flavor. While the end of the cigar was spicy, there were no harsh notes. The resulting nub was on the softer side, but it was cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The Room 101 Serie HN performed very well with its burn and draw attributes. From a burn perspective, I found the Serie HN burn relatively straight. While the burn line was slightly jagged from time to time, it still did not require a significant amount of touch-ups. The resulting ash was tight with a nice white color – with very little in the way of flaking. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Room 101 Serie HN|
The draw was outstanding. I found it had a touch of resistance – and that made for an ideal draw in my book. This made the Serie HN an enjoyable cigar to smoke.
Strength and Body
From a strength perspective, I found the Room 101 Serie HN had a little more pop than one might expect. I believe the Honduran ligero played a key role here. Overall, I found the strength to be on the upper end of medium to full on this cigar. A couple of times, this cigar came close to full strength in my book. As for the flavors, there was some nice depth. I assessed the Serie HN as being a full-bodied smoke. In terms of strength versus body, I gave the body a slight edge here, but both attributes countered each other nicely.
Brand owner Matt Booth is pretty candid in terms of his first two releases, the original Room 101 and the Room 101 Conjura of not being his favorites in terms of his body of work. While I do think Booth is a little hard on those cigars, one thing I can say is those are pretty “plain” cigars. There isn’t anything that gives those cigars a unique identity. Now into his tenth release, I see how far Booth has come as a cigar-maker. The Room 101 Serie HN really brings some nice qualities to its flavor profile – especially the combination of the lemon and chocolate notes.
This cigar has a little more kick and a little more body. I’d probably steer this to more of an experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is an enjoyable cigar. I’m glad this will be a core line offering as it is definitely cigar I’d smoke again and perhaps split a box with a friend.
Strength: Medium to Full
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were provided by Davidoff. The samples received were initiated by Davidoff order to provide feedback. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the samples, but in no way does this influence this write-up.