Cigar Reviews

Aging Room – Small Batch M356 (Plus Giveaway)

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This past Saturday, I woke up feeling pretty good about living in the South and avoiding that crazy snowstorm that hit the Northeast.  The weather was a warm 64°F with a slight breeze. Perfect smoking weather.  After acquiring a couple sticks from the local B&M, I was set on having a great day of cigar smoking.  Before I knew it, El Paso became a dust bowl.  When the amount of smoke entering your mouth is less than the amount of dust, it is time to put out the cigar.  I held off on firing up this Aging Room Small Batch M356 on Saturday and decided to do a review of it in a more suitable smoking environment.

Aging Room Small Batch M356

Aging Room cigars are produced by Boutique Blends, LLC an Oliveros Cigar company and available in six vitolas: Motivo (6 by 46), Forte (5 7/8 by 40-56), Major (6 1/2 by 60), Mezzo (6 by 54), Presto (4 1/2 by 48), and Rondo (5 by 50).  Here is a brief excerpt from a press release I located on www.pr.com.

At the end of 2011, Oliveros also introduced the Aging Room Small Batch M356 blend. The Aging Room is blended using a small batch of extra aged Dominican grown Habano. The blend M356 delivers a very robust and bold cigar with a full body and full of complexity. The Aging Room Small Batch, quickly received great reviews from consumers and experts alike and was the highest rated cigars of 2011 by Cigar Insider. The Aging Room Small Batch was also selected as one of the Top 25 Cigars of 2011 by Cigar Aficionado.

Aging Room Small Batch M356

The Facts
Price: Approx. $8.50
Format: Toro
Size: 6 by 54
Wrapper: Dominican – Habano
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Pairing: Water
Smoke Time: 1 hour 55 minutes

Pre-light

The Small Batch M356 bears an oily, Habano wrapper that is medium brown in color, with a burnt  orange hue. Medium size veins run down the rustic looking cigar. Other than the foot being under filled, the rest of the cigar is firmly packed. Aromas of cooking spices and pepper come off the wrapper and the foot blasts me with a huge amount of pepper followed with cinnamon and clove.

Aging Room Small Batch M356

After punching the cigar with this nifty Screwpop Cigar Punch, the free draw delivers clove, pepper, and minor spice.  My mouth is already experiencing some dryness from the cold draw.

Aging Room Small Batch M356

First Third

The Aging Room instantly warms my mouth from the amount of spice hitting my tongue and back of the throat. With my palate now being fully engaged, I detect familiar Habano flavors of pepper, woodsy notes and spice. Due to the pepper and spice, I am a little hesitant to retrohale this M356.  Nonetheless, I give it a shot. I am pleasantly surprised by the ease of the retrohale that brings out white pepper and spice in a very enjoyable fashion.  While the draw resistance is nice, I am not able to draw the amount of smoke I prefer.  Knocking off the ash about an inch in, I clip the cap with my double guillotine cutter. The smoke production has literally doubled.  The thick burn line is carrying a slight wave but I don’t foresee any issues arising. I originally thought the flavors to be medium, but, after clipping the cap, they are definitely full with medium strength.

Aging Room Small Batch M356

Middle Third

The flavors of the Aging Room have evolved to deeper notes of dark fruit (merlot) and roasted nuts.  The peppery core, wood, and spice remain relevant in the profile.  Farther along into the middle third, the cinnamon has come through that I picked up from the foot aroma. The finish is really unique with a lingering spice and oak flavor.  While a copious amount of smoke fills my mouth, it is on the light, dry side.  The grey ash holds on easily for over an inch. The burn remains wavy and has one of the thickest burn lines I can remember on a cigar. The strength has kicked up a notch as I finish up the middle third.

Aging Room Small Batch M356

Final Third

After a minor touch-up, I am into the final third with a bang.  The dark fruit flavors have become much sweeter with an added toastiness and oak-like flavor. I am sneezing like crazy from the pepper on the retrohale and the finish is dry with hints of chocolate.  Small areas of the wrapper, mainly by the wrapper seam, are having difficulty burning requiring a couple of touch-up.  As I approach the final inch of the Small Batch M356, the flavors progress to coffee and roasted nuts. I usually find it difficult to pick up on the room aroma once I start smoking. However, this Aging Room has a wonderful cedar aroma like walking into a humidor or sauna. The ash has become flaky which is most likely a result of the touch-ups. The flavors remained full throughout the stick and the strength has moved way up leaving me with a nice nicotine buzz.

Aging Room Small Batch M356

Wrap-up

The Aging Room Small Batch M356 received rave reviews when it hit the market back in 2011.  Somehow, I looked over this stick until now.  Well, this will not be a stick I look over any longer.  The M356 Mezzo offered complexity that was engaging and challenging and produced several flavors that I more commonly associate with Nicaraguan tobacco.  With a price around $8.00 a stick, this will be an easy buy in the future.  I encourage you to head to your local B&M, grab an Aging Room Small Batch M356 and let me know what you think of it.

Aging Room Small Batch M356

Giveaway

Finally, the good stuff! The crew over at Screwpop Tool, LLC sent over one Screwpop Cigar Punch to check out and another to giveaway.  I’ve been carrying the Screwpop around for 2 weeks now and have made good use of it. The Screwpop has a cigar punch on one side and a bottle opener on the other.  While a cigar punch is not my go-to cut for a cigar, the Screwpop does free up a significant amount of real estate in my pocket by combining both a cutter and bottle opener in to one.  Not only are we going to giveaway a cigar punch/bottle opener, we decided to throw in a few cigars from our own humidors to sweeten the deal.  The giveaway includes the following:

Screwpop – Cigar Punch
El Suelo Prado (5 3/4 by 58)
Quesada – Heisenberg Coronet Cuadrada (5 1/4 by 44/48/55)
Arturo Fuente – 2012 Unnamed Reserve (6 by 47)
262 Cigars – Ideology Belicoso (5 1/2 by 52)
Undercrown Robusto (5 by 54)

Screwpop Giveaway

This contest is open to anyone in the US  who is 18 years of age or older.  To enter the giveaway all you need to do is leave a comment below.  For additional entries, like our Facebook page here (plus 1 entry)  and share this post on your wall (plus 1 entry).  A winner will be chosen at random.  The giveaway ends February 20, 2013 11:59 PM EST.




Jeremy Hensley is a bean counter for a non-profit in El Paso, Texas. He is married to the most understanding wife (he still can’t figure out how she puts up with his cigar smoking hobby), and blessed with two beautiful children. When he is not acting like a kid, he enjoys everything outdoors, especially fishing with his dad in the Great Lakes. Also, he meets the criteria of being a Casa Fumando reviewer: being a hockey fan. Feel free to contact Jeremy anytime via email (jmhensley13[at]gmail[dot]com). And make sure to follow him on twitter http://twitter.com/pdn_jdog

64 Comments

  1. NoDough

    February 13, 2013 at 8:00 am

    I LOVE CONTESTS!!!! 🙂

  2. ian6poole

    February 13, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Boutique blends has made some pretty god stuff. Been enjoying a SWAG lancero lately.

  3. Gil

    February 13, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Nice cigar review.

  4. Dave with a Y

    February 13, 2013 at 8:19 am

    I have never had any of the smokes in the giveaway and hope to soon. Great review of the Aging Room!

  5. irratebass

    February 13, 2013 at 8:30 am

    Sounds like a nice cigar right up my alley, great review and thanks for the contest.

  6. Saul

    February 13, 2013 at 8:37 am

    I plan on smoking my first aging room (f55) today.

    • Jeremy Hensley

      February 13, 2013 at 8:51 am

      Saul,
      Let us know how you like it. I’ve been really digging Sumatra wrappers lately so I’ll have to pick up the F55 and try it out.

  7. Revjava

    February 13, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Jeremy,
    Thanks for another great Review! Just curious what did you pair with? H2O? Sounds again like a good smoke with cup of coffee? You got my mind racing~ Now I have to look for a local B&M to find some aging rooms..Thanks!!
    ~Ryan

    • Jeremy Hensley

      February 13, 2013 at 8:55 am

      Ryan,

      The usual H20. Oh man, I was dying to have a cup of coffee with it but made the sacrifice and stuck with water. Probably smoke another one this week and pair up with coffee. The nicotine was a little strong, depending on your tolerance, may want to smoke it later in the day after a lunch or so. Let me know what you think if you end up picking one up.

  8. Jeff

    February 13, 2013 at 8:54 am

    Great review and another awesome contest! Thanks!

  9. czerbe

    February 13, 2013 at 8:56 am

    So you need to live in the US… so Dan is out!!! LOL Maple Leafs!!!! Great review on the Aging Room I still have tried this stick. Hope all is going well with you guys great give away.

    • Tony Casas

      February 13, 2013 at 9:00 am

      GO DEVILS!!

  10. Hector Garza

    February 13, 2013 at 8:58 am

    Looks like a good bunch. The Arturo Fuente unnamed was an okay smoke. Not a whole lot going on. I am however eager to try the rest. Nice review on the stick

  11. Joseph

    February 13, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Sounds very interesting. I’ll have to be on the look out for these sticks. Nice review bro!

    Mango

  12. MikeTheITGuy

    February 13, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Thanks for the review. That’s a very cool little tool there!

  13. Jake

    February 13, 2013 at 9:19 am

    No entry, just a comment.
    Great review and photos, Jeremy. Casas Fumando-worthy =)

    • Tony Casas

      February 13, 2013 at 9:23 am

      Why no entry?! Just for that, I hope you win.

      • Jake

        February 13, 2013 at 9:30 am

        Lol! I won a couple of years back. Wanted to give other people a chance. Only fair, right?

        [grumbles under breath] “…hopes I win… damn nice-guy, Tony… I’ll show him…”

    • Jeremy Hensley

      February 13, 2013 at 9:47 am

      Jake, that was the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me!! However, Tony, Daniel, I make the rules around here and we will decide who’s in and who’s out. Jk. But thanks for reading the review. And you are entered no matter what you say.

      • Tony Casas

        February 13, 2013 at 10:05 am

        Jeremy, Pack up your things. there is a cardboard box on your pool table. You can pick up your last check (of nothing) next week.

        • Jeremy Hensley

          February 13, 2013 at 11:02 am

          Please make sure the check is made out to “Mr. Hensley”

  14. cjrio

    February 13, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Aw man it must be brutal outside. Looks like the cold has finally driven you into the garage!

  15. RSO

    February 13, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Reading your review has made me hungry. Thanks a whole lot, J!

    • Tony Casas

      February 13, 2013 at 9:55 am

      I left a little Debbie in your office yesterday. The trick is, you gotta find it.

  16. smoke

    February 13, 2013 at 10:01 am

    Nice review and great contest. Thanks!

  17. Mike G.

    February 13, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Great review and great contest!

  18. MattSRoss81

    February 13, 2013 at 10:16 am

    Nice review, and thanks for the contest. I really enjoy the M356 and I find the other Aging Room cigars (and the SWAG cigars as well for that matter) to be enjoyable across the board.

  19. Eric Sturm

    February 13, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Great review and a great cigar! One of my favorites!

  20. Steve Bonin

    February 13, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Ah the South. I remember it well – especially when I am shoveling snow

    Oh well, vacation to AZ coming up

    Thanks for doing the reviews and contest!

    • Jeremy Hensley

      February 14, 2013 at 9:17 am

      Where at in AZ? If you are around the Phoenix area, make your way over to Gilbert, AZ and check out Fox Cigar Bar.

      • Steve Bonin

        February 14, 2013 at 11:41 am

        Jeremy

        I’ll be in Mesa. I’ll try to stop by. Do they have any Herrera Esteli in stock? That would be a good choice to smoke in the lounge there if they do

        Thanks for the suggestion!

        Steve

        • Jeremy Hensley

          February 16, 2013 at 10:23 am

          Yes, sir. They have the Herrera Esteli in stock. I can’t wait to get my hands on some.

  21. jjo

    February 13, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    I’ve been meaning to try this one for a while now. Thanks for another great review – it’s nice to know that there is such a difference between punching and cutting this cigar.

  22. gene

    February 13, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Hey Jeremy

    Great review, got one putting on a little age in my humidor. Keep up the photo’s, great color saturation. How about a pairing with a Kokanee brew with a VHS replay of the ’89” Stanley Cup winners?

    Gene

    PS Tony, Go Devils?

    • Tony Casas

      February 13, 2013 at 7:06 pm

      Ahh man, I’m a HUGE Devils fan. Strange, I know..

    • Jeremy Hensley

      February 14, 2013 at 9:15 am

      Gene, thanks for the kind words about the photos but I still have a lot to learn. Also, you both have it all wrong. Red Wings all the way, baby!!

  23. foozer69

    February 13, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    awesome site and thanks for the contest!

  24. gene

    February 13, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Tony

    Don’t tell me spring training in Port St. Lucie too ? ” Say it ain’t so – Joe ! ”

    Gene

    • Tony Casas

      February 13, 2013 at 8:40 pm

      Haha nah man. Only hockey. I don’t really follow anything else :/

  25. Dave

    February 13, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Thanks for all you do for us BOTL

  26. Tyler Limbrick

    February 13, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    Great review!

  27. Swede214

    February 13, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Smoked this cigar this summer, I did like it even though at the end, it did get a little strong foerme. I did nub it, can’t waste a good cigar. Thanks for the contest.

  28. jimbobber

    February 13, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    Thanks for the review! Aging Room is a brand I keep forgetting to pick up at the local b&m; I’d better start using a shopping list.

  29. Erin

    February 13, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Love the Undercrown! Great review…thanks for the recommendation.

  30. Kekoa Kai

    February 14, 2013 at 9:54 am

    Great review. I actually just enjoyed a couple of these cigars from Rafael. Showing some love on FB.

  31. Andy K.

    February 14, 2013 at 11:24 am

    In it to win it?

  32. Charlie C

    February 14, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Your review leaves me tempted to try one, but honestly, I haven’t smoked a single Oliveros I’ve liked. Ever. I gave a shot. A couple I’ve even given second chances too. But nothing about them has ever thrilled me. Not flavor, not construction, not the burn. Just mediocre smokes.

    • Jeremy Hensley

      February 16, 2013 at 10:18 am

      Charlie,
      This is one of the few Oliveros I have enjoyed. I actually haven’t picked up an Oliveros cigar for a couple of years until this Aging Room. This was a nice surprise. Flavors and construction held up.

  33. George Maitland

    February 14, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    I’ve enjoyed this smoke each time I’ve tried it. You should try the F55, if you’ve not done so, as IMHO it’s an equally enjoyable smoke.

    • Jeremy Hensley

      February 16, 2013 at 10:16 am

      George,
      Thanks for the recommendation. I will see if the local shop carries the F55. If so, I will definitely grab a couple to try.

  34. Smokin Aces

    February 14, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    I have been a big fan of these sticks as soon as they came out. A real sleeper in my opinion.

  35. Steve Bonin

    February 17, 2013 at 8:59 am

    I’m going! I’ll tell them you sent me

  36. BryanShaw

    February 18, 2013 at 5:16 am

    Great review.

  37. Troy T

    February 20, 2013 at 8:42 am

    I just tried the Aging Room Small Batch this week, and I was very pleasantly surprised! I didn’t know anything about it, but after reading your review- I think it was spot on. I thought I was smoking a Nicaraguan cigar, but Í wasn’t 100% certain. It certainly was a bomb of pepper and spice, but in a good way. The cigar straddled that fence between spice and bitterness, but never turned bitter.

  38. paul1954

    February 20, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    cool giveaway! i can’t wait to show off the screwpop to my cigar buddies on cigar night.

  39. Andy K.

    February 20, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    In to win it. Thanks for the review.

  40. Steve Bonin

    February 21, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Jeremy

    I was at Fox yesterday. I got a dozen Herrara Esteli toros, and smoked one there. Great selection and staff!

    I told them you sent me, and that you would mention them in the review if they sent you one. Hope that works. 🙂

    Steve

    • Jeremy Hensley

      February 21, 2013 at 10:26 am

      I am glad you enjoyed your visit. You’re right, the staff and selection are great. One of the best places I’ve been. Let us know how you like the Herrera Esteli. Hahaha, thanks for the mention!

  41. Jake

    February 27, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Ha ha, suckers, I didn’t win /

  42. Jarvis DeBoice

    February 27, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    I have written a few reply’s on previous reviews, Daniel says I go on a bit tooooooo long, anyway just wanted to say I thought your review on the Aging Room Cigar was spot on, I think it may be the best review I have ever read.
    I received a couple of these at the last Big Smoke in Vegas and by far they were my favorite cigar, I could actually retaste that great smoke as I read throuth your review.

    • Jeremy Hensley

      February 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm

      Jarvis, thanks for the kind words. We appreciate all comments even when they “go on a bit tooooooo long”, hahaha. How was the Big Smoke event? I have only attended smaller events which I enjoy due to the time you have to chat with reps or brand owners. One of the larger events I would love to check out is the Great Smoke that Smoke Inn puts on,

  43. Jody Edge

    January 13, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Your review was spot on. The aging room is a awesome stick. Never tried any of the giveaway cigars .

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