Sunday, January 29, 2012

Room 101 "323" Toro

Room 101 “323” Toro

Fatal Halo Rating

Dimensions: 6” x 50
Price:  $10.00
Burn Time:  2 Hours
Wrapper: Special Semilla 101
Binder: Honduran
Tobacco: Honduran & Dominican Republic blend

Room 101 was a cigar I had been meaning to try for some time.  Aside from their cigars, they have a wickedly impressive merch line that certainly catches the eye in any cigar shop you might walk into.  Definitely a style all their own, Room 101 cigars seem to be the type that is designed and made by Samurais and sold to Rockstars – and reality isn’t that different as they were developed by Christian Eiroa and musician Matt Booth.  Just to give you an idea of how col their style is, I had wanted (and received) a VERY nice Room 101 cigar ashtray for Christmas – well before I had even smoked one!  I was also impressed that the varying sizes of cigars in the Room 101 line were named according to different area codes.  This one was the “323” which corresponds, of course, to Central LA & Hollywood, California.  The rest of their line is as follows:

“213” Coronoa – Los Angeles, California
“305” Robusto – Florida
“404” Torpedo – Atlanta, Georgia
“702” – Las Vegas, Nevada
“808” Bertha –  Honolulu, Hawaii

I chose the "323" because it seemed to be of adequate size to produce a good smoking experience and because the price was right about where I was looking to spend.  The whole story of the Room 101 line is a pretty interesting one, but rather long to highlight here, so if this review interests you, feel free to check out their main site at: and see what they’re all about.  It is notable to mention that Room 101 uses their own special wrapper that cannot be found on any other cigar anywhere else and this was a big reason why I was anticipating trying one.

Pre-Smoke Analysis
Right away, the design of the label stood out to me the most.  A simple black and silver tribal-style text design with obvious Japanese influence including some kanji on the back – renditions of the Japanese Irezumi tattoo style – were evident that this was more a work of art than just a clever marketing design.  The label itself was wrapped around a firm and well-made cigar – no noticeable soft spots with a triple-capped head.  The wrapper was a bit veiny, but no noticeable tears or defects to detract from its milk-chocolate colored body.  The feel of the cigar was smooth – like parchment – and didn’t really give off any noticeable aromas.  The cap clipped off cleanly with no fraying and lit as easily as the parchment feeling it had between my fingers.

The First Third
Right away, the Toro gave off a nice, woody aroma.  Medium-bodied with definite traits of nut and cedar; a real relaxed and earthy taste.  The flavor didn’t rest too heavily on the palate and remained surprisingly smooth.  It was a bit peppery, but not at all overpowering.  It was an easy cigar to draw from and produced a strong, solid ash with an even burn.  I couldn’t help but admire its construction as it burned and could really see the potential this cigar might have if it had marinated in a properly seasoned humidor with other cigars for a few months – but that would be difficult to allow with how enticing it is all on its own.  It’s leathery aroma to match its texture was also a bit of a welcomed surprise.

The Second Third
I was also surprised to notice that this cigar was virtually weightless.  It had no heft at all.  I don’t know if that made a difference in the burn or the taste, but it was interesting to barely feel anything in my hand at all – especially something that produced so much flavor.  The aroma and taste began to sweeten a little bit amid the enhancing spiciness.  It took on more “savory” characteristics but remained very woody and earthy.  Though it was teasing at a growing complexity of aromas and flavors, it balanced out to a pretty consistent level and the intensity of its characteristics were remaining just as strong as they were at first light.  The burn was damn near flawless and produced thick, white smoke that I allowed to linger on my palate for as long as it could before taking another draw.  The professionalism of the craftsmanship was very evident at this stage in the burn.

Burning Out
What was remarkable about this cigar was that it burns cool – as in to say that the smoke pulled into the mouth from the draw is surprisingly cool against the tongue – and it remained this way up until the end.  It didn’t grow hotter as the cherry burned up to the head.  The flavors kicked up a bit and the spiciness became a little more pronounced which allowed me to really taste the earthiness on my tongue.  I had to correct the evenness of the burn at this point, but was really able to overlook that one occurrence against all the positive experiences I had smoking this cigar.  Big billows of white smoke lasted right up to the end and this was not one that I wanted to put down.

Final Thoughts
My only regret about this cigar was that I wanted to kick myself for not trying one sooner.  This was an amazing cigar that gets a thumbs-up on all aspects from design, construction, flavor/aroma and burn quality.  It was unlike any cigar that I have had thus far and certainly worth the hype.  This is a cigar that matches well with my personal style and my preferred tastes.  I certainly think you are doing yourself a great disservice if you claim to enjoy fine cigars and do not give this brand – in any of its many incarnations – a try at some point.  I only wish these were a little more affordable as I could certainly see myself stocking my humidor with a box.

Liked It?:  One of my top favorites!

Buy It Again?:  Absolutely!

Recommend It?:  I’d be a fool not to.

Check out Room 101’s unique style through some pictures from their merch line:

The ashtray I received for Xmas!
Still can't bring mysef to use it!

A nice clipper/lighter with chain combo!

A double-blade cigar clip.  Great artwork.

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