Room 101 is an interesting concept that, for literature buffs, is a terrifying place in the novel 1984 by George Orwell. The cigar brand called Room 101 is a collaboration between Camacho cigars and Matt Booth, who is the founder and genius of the brand Room 101. I could probably write several pages on Matt Booth alone… an ex-marine who became a fashion and jewelry designer that took a liking to cigars and dove in head first and now operates in both business worlds; a non-stop man of extremes and intense creativity. But we’re here to take a quick look at one line of his Room 101 cigars, Room 101 Serie HN.
This is an outstanding cigar that is very complex yet in perfect balance. If we look at the name of this cigar we notice it is Serie HN where the H stands for Honduras and the N stands for Navarette which is a tobacco region in the Dominican Republic. These two letters describe what is in the filler of this fine cigar. The filler is held together with a Brazilian Mata Fina leaf and then finished off with a Honduran Criollo 98 wrapper. We have the rich and spicy flavors of Honduran Criollo, the earthy sweetness of Mata Fina, and the creamy wood and nutty notes of the Dominican tobacco. The resulting blend is just outstanding with a full flavored smoke of medium intensity and plenty of flavors bouncing around the palate.
I smoked this cigar while enjoying an IPA. Now most folks say that while you can pair some of the heavier cigars with dark beers, porters, and stouts, trying to pair a cigar with an IPA is a lost cause due to the high level of hops and that bitter crispness present in most IPAs. This cigar held its own quite well with the IPA and the IPA held up against the cigar. I might not put this cigar up against the Double IPAs or anything even stronger but with a basic IPA or any other Pale Ale you will be pleasantly surprised. The hints of white pepper and almost a slight citrusy note to this cigar were spot on with the IPA. Some background floral notes in the smoke worked well with the brew also.
This cigar started out with that barnyard aroma found in Honduran tobacco and quickly turned into the lightly spiced and citrusy notes described above. Great draw and a fairly consistent burn made it a joy to smoke. The last half of the smoke saw quite a bit of earthy flavors with a little creamy nuttiness that, while not complementing the IPA, still did nothing to detract from a fairly good matchup of flavors that worked together well on this hot summer night. Try one with your next ice cold IPA and you too may find a welcome surprise!
Keep on smokin’
Steve Mungeer, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits Category Manager: Premium Cigars and Craft Beer and Certified Retail Tobacconist