It's "that" time of year again...new cigars have been officially unveiled at the IPCPR retail show and will be hitting the stores between now and the end of the year. Keith went to the ?show; he works with Maxamar Ultimate Cigar in Orange, California, and the owner asked him to come to help choose what will be sold in the store this year. He brought back a lot of cigars...more than most bloggers? It's a possibility, but then again, he didn't go as a blogger, he went as a retailer and that makes a difference. He got some duplicates of some and sent a bunch on to me. For the next few weeks, we'll be featuring some in "Cigar Previews" instead of "Reviews"...we don't feel it's right to publish a scored review of a cigar from the retailer show. First, they may sit around for several days in less-than-optimum humidification during the show. Second, even if they do, they might not be indicative of the exact quality of cigars that ships...they might be worse or better...I've seen it happy both ways. So..."reviews" are for those cigars we buy in a shop or for those that manufacturers send to us as representing shipping cigars; "previews" will be short hits about what we experience from show samples including whether or not they make us want to try it again when it comes time to do full reviews.
I'm starting it off today with a cigar that will debut "for sale" in a little less than 2 weeks, if the sun, moon, stars, and customs agents all align correctly...
ROOM 101 DARUMA
The Daruma is this year's LTD offering in the 101 line, following last year's Namakubi, and the previous year's Conjura...and this year's OSOK, for that matter...can't forget about OSOK! Since no "official" info is listed yet on this cigar, I'll be referencing my friend Will Cooper's write up, which you should read HERE: Matt Booth is apparently kicking things up a notch this time by making this one more Nicaraguan-influenced...the filler is Nica and Honduran, the binder is Mexican, and the wrapper is a Ecuadorian Habano. There will be 5 sizes available, including this Papi Chulo that I'm smoking today and a lancero...which may end up being the size I buy a box of.
The wrapper was earthy and leathery to the nose and oily to the touch; I got a ripe barnyard note on the foot...emphasis on the manure part of the barnyard. On prelight, the draw was excellent and the flavor was earthy, almost a little foresty (like a Davidoff) and a bit spicy. After lighting, I got a deep, thick earthiness, and wood flavor that was not really cedar, which I find light and sharp...this was heavier. Plenty of pepper spice on the tongue and nose, too.
As I smoked the Daruma, I was impressed by its full body and full, earthy flavor. There was plenty of spice throughout and sweet notes came through to balance it well. I don't want to get too ahead of myself, but if the regular production sticks are this good, this will be the best thing Room 101 has put out in either regular or LTD lines. Fantastic little smoke!