|Aging Room M20 ffortissimo by Boutique Blends Cigars
The Aging Room M20 ffortissimo is one of four cigars launched by Boutique Blends Cigars at the 2014 IPCPR Trade Show. The M20 is the second cigar in the ffortissimo line to be released. It was at the 2013 IPCPR when the first ffortissimo, the Aging Room M21 ffortissimo made its debut. The M20 differs from the M21 in that it is a San Andres maduro blend as opposed to the all Dominican M21. However there have been two distinguishing characteristics of the ffortissimo line. First up, ffortissimo represents some of the more powerful cigars to be released by Boutique Blends Cigars. Secondly, the ffortissimo is one of the more limited lines in the already small batch focused Boutique Blends portfolio. Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke the M20. I’ve considered 2014 to be the strongest year to date for Boutique Blends and the M20 represents another winner.
The name Ffortissimo comes from the world of music. Musical terms have been used on many Aging Room Cigars. This connection stems from company President Rafael Nodal‘s passion on the world of music. The term fortissimo means “loud” and this is appropriate because the M20 ffortissimo is considered a bolder cigar. Like many of the small batch Aging Rooms, the M20 has ties to the calendar. It stands for when the blend was created: “M” stands for Monday and “20” stands for the day of the year.
Without further ado, let’s take a closer look a the Aging Room M20 ffortissimo and see what this cigar brings to the table.
As mentioned above, the M20 introduces a maduro into the ffortissimo using a San Andres Mexican wrapper over Dominican binder and filler. The cigar is made at Jochi Blanco’s Tabacalera Palma – the factory Boutique Blends has been partnering with for the past several years.
Wrapper: San Andres Mexican
The Aging Room M20 fortissimo available in one size – a 5 3/4 x 47. perfecto. As mentioned above, this is a box-press. While the M20 is the same size as the M21, it differs in that it is a box-pressed cigar.
|Aging Room M20 ffortissimo (Cigar Coop IPCPR 2014 Photo)
The Aging Room M20 ffortissimo is packaged in boxes of ten. There were 2,000 boxes produced of the M20, down from the 3,000 boxes of the M21.
The San Andres wrapper has a dark brown chocolate bar appearance to it. Upon closer examination, there is some darker marbling that can be seen on the surface. The wrapper itself has a light amount of oil on it. I found this to be a very smooth wrapper – especially for a San Andres maduro. The wrapper has minimal veins and thin wrapper seams.
The box-press of the cigar is firm. It features an almost rounded-style cap. It features a pig-tail on the cap. The footer of he cigar has a nozzle shape with an open footer.
The band is the brown, gold, and white one that is found on the Aging Room small batch releases. It features the Aging Room logo text in white font on a brown background. To the left and right of the logo is the text “Aging Room” in small brown font. There is gold and white pin-striping at the top, bottom and center of the band.. Below the center pinstripes is a white musical stanza-like background. The left side of the stanza is the text “Small Batch” in brown font while the right side has the text “Aging Room” in brown font. On the center of the stanza is the text “M20” in blue font. There are also gold adornments around the rest of the band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I normally do, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap of the M20 as opposed to pulling the pig-tail off the cap. Once the cap was clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw provided a mix of earth, cocoa, and a slight cherry sweetness. Overall I considered the pre-light draw of this cigar to be excellent. At this point, I was ready to light up the M20. I toasted the entire nozzle of on the footer to help ensure the burn started out right. Now it was on to the smoking phase and to see what this cigar would deliver.
As the M20 burned through the end of the perfecto, the notes I detected were mostly black pepper. Once the M20 got toward the main body of the cigar, notes of cocoa and earth emerged. The cocoa and earth notes moved into the forefront. The black pepper soon receded into the background. Meanwhile the pepper was still quite prominent on the retro-hale – and remained like that for the duration of the cigar experience.
Throughout the first half, the cocoa and earth notes remained primary. These two notes alternated in intensity as to what note was primary. The pepper remained in the background. A slight cherry note surfaced in the more distant background.
By the start of the second half, I found the cocoa notes diminished. The earth notes were now primary with the pepper notes remaining close secondary note. The cocoa notes didn’t totally dissipate as they still surfaced from time to time. By the last third, the pepper notes finally made it into the forefront with the earth notes. The cherry notes had dissipated and the cocoa was still cropping up from time to time. This is the way the cigar experience came to an end. There was a slight bit of harshness from the spice at the end, but it was not overpowering. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
As I have said many times, when it comes to vitolas that are more artesian looking, there is a tendency (in my book) for them to not perform as well when it comes to burn and draw. There were no such problems with the M20. It appeared the strategy of lighting the entire nozzle on the footer worked well. This cigar maintained a straight burn line from start to finish – requiring only occasional touch-ups. The resulting ash was light gray. It was not overly loose, nor overly tight. There was some light flaking along the way from the ash. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Aging Room M20 ffortissimo
I found the draw on this box-press to be outstanding. I found that because there was less tapering by the cap. As a result, this cigar almost had the feel of smoking a more traditional box-press. The draw itself had touch of resistance, yet was open enough to make this smoke enjoyable. I also found tat the M20 produced an ample amount of smoke.
Strength and Body
Overall I found the M20 to be worthy of the name ffortissimo. The cigar started out medium to full in strength, but the strength did build upp. By the midway point, the M20 was operating at full strength. I found the strength also continued to build in the second half. The body followed a similar pattern: namely the M20 started out medium to full-bodied, but the flavors did get more robust and by the last third, the M20 was operating at full-bodied. Overall I found the strength of the M20 to have a slight edge over the body. At the same point, there is no shortage of flavor with this cigar.
Overall I found this to be an excellent cigar by Aging Room Cigars. One thing that really stood out is how good a job the San Andres Mexican maduro wrapper played with the rest of the blend. One of my complaints about San Andres wrapper is that it often is too pungent and overwhelms the blend. There was no such problem with the M20.
From a strength perspective, this cigar has some firepower.. It is a cigar where the strength will sneak up on you. The M20 might a slight notch down in strength from the M21, its still worthy of the name ffortissimo. Given this is a strong cigar, this is a cigar I’d recommend to a more experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself, it’s a cigar I’d smoke again – and it’s worthy of a box split.
Strength: Medium to Full (1st Half), Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium to Full (1st Half), Full (2nd Half)
Assessment: 3.5 – Box Split
News: Aging Room M20 ffortissimo
Source: Cigars provided by Manufacturer
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