Room101 is in many ways, the part of Davidoff of Geneva USA’s portfolio made to push the boundaries of price points, sizes and branding. Enter Johnny Tobacconaut.
The day before the 2015 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show opened, Room101 announced Johnny Tobacconaut. While there are most certainly some parts of the release that seem similar–it’s made in Honduras, it features perfecto shapes and the finish of the boxes are similar–Johnny Tobacconaut is very much a bold release, even for Room101.
Tobacco-wise, it’s a Nicaraguan puro, a somewhat growing trend from Camacho’s Board of the Bold brands following Room101 Big Payback and B.G. Meyer Standard Issue.
It’s offered in three sizes: Fileriod (4 1/2 x 52 x 45, $12), Ranflactic (5 1/2 x 30 x 50, $13) and Chingonova (8 x 60 x 44, $14)—each in boxes of 20.
About those boxes–they are high gloss black with copper accents. On the outside, there’s the tobacconaut logo, a stylized astronaut with a backpack of tobacco leaves. Like many Room101 releases before it, the cigars are wrapped in tissue paper as well as an outer paper wrap.
- Cigar Reviewed: Room101 Johnny Tobacconaut Ranflactic
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Agroindustria LAEPE S.A
- Wrapper: Nicaragua
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Length: 5 1/2 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 30 x 50
- Vitola: Perfecto
- MSRP: $13 (Boxes of 20, $260)
- Release Date: Oct. 5, 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: 3,500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (70,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
The paper doesn’t do much to keep the aroma of the cigar inside as once I take off the two protective sheets there’s some only some faint hints of leather and cereal. It’s a similar story on the foot: cereal, leather and some mild peanuts. The cold draw reminds me a lot of the aroma out of the Camacho Strongbox Humidor, which is made out of mahogany, despite the fact I never stored them in the humidor. Alongside that woodiness is a similar cereal note, although it’s sweeter and now reminds me of Cap’n Crunch.
As on the cold draw, the draws on the Ranflactic range from open to tight once the cigar is lit, which is concerning. Along with that variance is some noted differences in flavor; when the draw is open, the cigar starts with a lot of the mahogany I pick up from the cold draw alongside some cedar and some cigar cookie towards the finish. If it’s tight, the Room101 presents cedar alongside a smooth creaminess with some grilled potatoes. There’s a weird herbal flavor on the back end along with some black pepper and cranberries. The tighter version has a punishing retrohale with a blend of herbs and spices, albeit, not KFC’s blend. In the mouth there’s a sweeter nuttiness alongside some bread and the funky herbal flavor that I still cannot place. While the tighter samples have the herbs, they are far reduced compared to the open rendition of Johnny Tobacconaut, which offers creamy cedar and lemon cake alongside some of the milder herbal flavors. My mouth is salivating a lot, more than I can remember in a while, and I’m drinking quite a bit of water, somewhat involuntarily. As for strength, it varies from medium to full, not medium-full.
The tighter renditions of Johnny Tobaccoanut see the nose pick up a ton of details, with the nuttiness now being identified as cashews and walnuts. There’s some creaminess right after that and the lemon cake, but other than that, the mouth stays the same as the first third. As for the open sample, a meatiness adds itself into the upfront flavor in the mouth while the lemon cake and brea remain in the nose. Fortunately, the herbal flavor has died down and there is now a developed cedar, burnt butter and some generic tartness towards the end. All three samples require a touch-up at some point, but the smoke production remains strong regardless of the draw. As for the strength, it’s picking up in the tighter samples, but remains around medium, a stark contrast to the sample with the open draw, which is still full.
While the tale of two flavors definitely comes to an end at the final third, the draws are still in different places. On all three cigars, I find the lemon cake note through the nose with some walnuts and cinnamon on the tongue. On the finish, there’s some bread along with hints of vegetable oil. The flavors are refined and without the herbal funkiness that has been present on the first two thirds of the Johnny Tobacconaut. Strength also finds common ground with all three samples ending full.
- Releasing an all perfecto line is not terribly common. I’m a fan of the shape, but many aren’t.
- I’m not sure what to make of the draw. While none were too problematic for smoking, the range of the tightness was a problem.
- While the packaging is beautiful, both the band and boxes were not the easiest to photograph. Brooks Whittington thought the Johnny Tobacconaut figure should have been included on the band, and while I agree with that sentiment, I’m not sure where it would go. I think having the text on the cigar is better and wouldn’t want to remove the Room101 sakura logo from the back of the band.
- Room101’s decision to package cigars in the tissue paper and with the wrap has its pros and cons on the shelves. On one hand, consumers will gravitate to it because of the boldness, but I imagine that most people want to see what the cigar looks like before purchasing it out of a retail humidor.
- I love the brand concept for Johnny Tobacconaut.
- Cigars and space isn’t a new thing. Alec Bradley famously put a Mundial in a weather ballon and sent it into the atmosphere.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 45 minutes on average.
- Cigars for this review were provided by Room101/Davidoff of Geneva USA, which advertises on halfwheel.
- Site sponsors Atlantic Cigar Co., Emerson’s Cigars, JR Cigar, Serious Cigars and STOGIES World Class Cigars (713.783.5100) have the Room101 Johnny Tobacconaut in stock.
The Room101 Johnny Tobacconaut was inconsistent, a sentiment I've expressed about cigars on what feels like an almost weekly occurrence as the year winds down, and it’s not a great one. While all three samples finished quite strong in terms of nicotine, the first two thirds varied from mild to full—and it doesn’t stop there. The draw saw an equally wide range and the flavors, as expected, varied quite a bit as well. While there’s no point deduction for it, making cigars inconsistently is almost as problematic as making bad cigars. But ultimately, it’s not as bad. I like the concept, I love the packaging, but the cigar itself is not Room101’s greatest work. For me, it’s a miss in what has otherwise been a banner year for Matt Booth and company.