Aging Room – Small Batch M356 (Plus Giveaway)
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 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.
Price: Approx. $8.50
Size: 6 by 54
Wrapper: Dominican – Habano
Smoke Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.