Name: Aging Room F55 Quattro Espressivo (Robusto)
Country of origin: Dominican Republic
Size: 5”x 50
Binder: Dominican, Habano
Welcome! Today I get the opportunity to review the Aging Room F55 created through the combined effort of two gentlemen, Rafael Nodal, of Boutique Blends Cigars, and Cigar maker Jochi Blanco, of Tabacalera La Palma. This Cigar was purchased by me from Cigar International about 2 months ago and has had the opportunity to rest in my humidor for about 2 month. Let me tell you it has been a painful two months. I have been wanting to smoke this stick for a while now. I have read a lot of great things about these cigars especially after winning the #1 Non-Cuban Cigar of the year from Cigar Aficionado. Now I am not one to really hold those ratings on a pedestal. I think, at times, there is a lot of politics and favors when it comes to things like that, but hey I could be wrong. Either way, let’s get into it!
The Aging Room Quattro F55 Espressivo in the Robusto size. I never quite under stood the changing of the names but I guess the creators can really do whatever they want, can’t they? It is boxed pressed, with a toothy dark chocolate wrapper, visible seems, and a green hue that ran along the veins of the wrapper which really caught my attention. I thought that it was mold upon first glance, making my heart sink. Convinced that there was nothing wrong with my humidity, I decided that I had to do a little research and as it turns out this is a flaw in the wrapper, and no fault of my own. It is caused by imperfection during the curing process. If the curing barn that is being used has overly dry air, then the process that is required for the tobacco to dry properly is hindered, thus leaving traces of chlorophyll (green) on the leaf, and on the flip side if there is too much humidity then you run the risk of rotting and destroying the leaf before it can dry. Now for a stick that has reached such top honors, I was a little disappointed to see such an imperfection in the wrapper, not just the green hue, but also issues with the way it was rolled. The seam closest to the foot seemed to have rolled under itself, leaving a thick lip in the roll. Usually these kinds of imperfections would have been weeded out before hitting the store front, although there are occasions when they may slip through.
Flavor/Taste & Aroma:
Upon first lite, I was hit with a very nice chocolate and coffee mixture, very pleasing, and at this point I was very excited. Large plumes of smoke and a slight spice on the retro hale. Everything that I was hoping for. As I continued through the first third, the smoke became very smooth a little dry but still very nice.I starting picking up on a slight woodiness on the finish that complimented the coffee and chocolate at the start. Now at this time, I am sitting on my front porch enjoying what I believe is about to be one of the best smokes I have ever had. The only flavor I need to come into play would be a nice leather and I would have been in heaven. Instead, I started to pick up on a bitterness that left me reaching for my water to try and wash it out. At this point I am hoping that this was just a small hiccup in the smoke, but as I took another draw I could taste the bitterness once again, and as I began to transition into the second third I began to notice a cracking developing in the middle of the 2/3, my first thought was “ahhh ****!” So I took another draw and I realized the bitterness had gone away and the coffee and chocolate had returned. I was relieved because I really, really wanted this smoke to be good, but as I continued through the 2/3, there it was again; the bitterness. The first thing that I did was look at the ash. Every time I have an issue, I automatically look at the ash, and there it was: the infamous tunnel. I tried everything I could to touch it up and hope that it would correct itself. To no avail the cigar shut off on me. At this point I actually had to cut basically the whole second and just the tip of the last third off in order to overcome the tunneling issue that I was having. After the cutting was complete, I took my torch and began the relighting process. At the beginning, there was a slight bitter flavor but I am sure that was just due to the relighting because after about 2 draws I was once again greeted by huge clouds of chocolate and coffee. It was a nice to taste those flavors once again, especially after the nastiness I was faced with in the second. The smoke became thick and rich coating the inside of my mouth with nice chocolate and earth flavors. I wish this cigar would have been like this the whole way through. I also began to pick up on the strength of the cigar. It was a very nice balance of power and flavors and at no point did I feel that it was going to floor me, which made me happy. Now I don’t know if it would have been stronger if I didn’t have to cut out the whole 2/3, that will be left to another time to find out.
At the beginning, I thought this was going to be the most enjoyable smoke I had ever had. I have read things about this cigar that made it seem like it was the god of all cigars. But on this day, not so much. I should have known I was going to having issues from the start even though the cigar had a very nice salt and pepper ash, it was very flaky in the beginning which usually leads me to believe that trouble might be lurking around the corner. That was the case with this one in particular. Even though it started well, the 2/3 killed it for me. Not only that, the green hue, imperfections with the wrapper, tunneling, very flaky ash that would only hold on for about a half inch or so… all these things are something that I would not of expected from this cigar. These are hand rolled cigars, however, and every once in a while there is going to be that one bad egg and I got that freaking egg. Bummer, but it happens. With that being said, the last third was a delight after I cut off the pieces that need to go. The cigar burned with straight tight ash, razor sharp burn lines and beautiful flavors.
Overall, this cigar was just no fun for me to smoke unfortunately. Multiple touch ups and the tunneling just ruined this smoke for me. I really wanted this smoke to be good. Like i said, If the last third was the whole cigar I would have been very pleased, but it wasn’t. Maybe down the line I will have the opportunity to try it again, but until then this is what I got.
On a side note, before anyone might say it has to be my humidor, this stick has been sitting in the same humidor as the rest of my smokes and I have not had any issues with those.