If you’ve been paying attention to releases in the cigar industry over the past two years or so, you’ve seen the word DeSocio pop up several times from several different manufacturers.
The DeSocio project is the creation of Tom Sullivan, president of New York-based cigar distributor Alliance Cigar, as well a owner of the online retailer Superior Cigars. The DeSocio name come from Sullivan’s maternal grandmother, the last person in his family to bear it. When he announced the Flor de Antiilas DeSocio from My Father Cigars, Sullivan spoke of the importance of the name, citing his cigar-smoking grandfather, an Italian immigrant.
“The stories I’d hear all the time from my aunt and uncle, particularly when I started in the cigar business, ‘oh, he’d be proud of you.”
Announced in July 2015, this latest addition to the line is a box-pressed 5 3/4 x 47 preferido in the company’s Aging Room Ffortissimo series, with the blend the same as the company’s Quattro F55.
- Alec Bradley Tempus DeSocio (6 x 54) — $8.65 (Boxes of 20, $173) — Regular Production
- Flor de las Antillas DeSocio (5 3/4 x 54) — $8.60 (Boxes of 20, $172) — 500 Boxes of 20 (10,000 Total Cigars)
- Oliva Serie V Melanio DeSocio (6 1/2 x 54) — $12 (Boxes of 10, $120) — 500 Boxes of 10 (5,000 Total Cigars)
- Alec Bradley Prensado DeSocio (5 1/2 x 56) — $9 (Boxes of 20, $180) — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
- Aging Room Quattro F55 DeSocio (5 3/4 x 47) — $8.75 (Boxes of 20, $175) — Regular Production
“We are honored to add the Aging Room Quattro to our DeSocio collection. Rafael Nodal and I have been friends and working partners for many years,” said Sullivan via a press release. “This was a great opportunity for us to collectively create something unique and at the same time have some fun together.”
While its availability might be relatively limited, it’s a regular production cigar, joining the other six sizes in the Quattro F55 line: Concerto (7 x 50), Vibrato (6 x 54), Maestro (6 x 52, Torpedo), Espressivo (5 x 50), Concerto S (6 x 50) and Stretto (4 1/2 x 46).
- Cigar Reviewed: Aging Room Quattro F55 DeSocio
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera Palma
- Wrapper: Indonesian Sumatra
- Binder: Dominican Republic Habano
- Filler: Dominican Republic Habano
- Length: 5 3/4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 47
- Vitola: Figurado
- MSRP: $8.75 (Boxes of 20, $175)
- Release Date: Dec. 21, 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
There is quite a bit happening visually with the Aging Room Quattro F55 DeSocio; three bands, a tightly curled pigtail cap, nipple foot and box press provide quite a bit for the eyes to take in at first glance. The first step is to remove the foot band, which reveals a bit of excess glue spilling out from the band and which forces me to be a bit more careful when removing it so as not to damage the wrapper, something I avoided in two of the three samples. The capa shows its oiliness in spots, while it looks drier in others, with plenty of veins and mottling to lead the eyes on a journey. It’s a firm cigar from side to side but a bit softer top to bottom, and almost pillow-like at certain spots. Given the incredibly small opening at the foot it’s hard to get any sort of aroma from it, and the wrapper itself is fairly subtle, showing a bit of dough and faint wood, with one sample showing a bit of hot buttered rum. The cold draw comes across a bit tight with notes of peanut butter, almond, and just a touch of baking chocolate.
It’s can be surprisingly hard to get the first draws of air flowing through the Aging Room Quattro F55 DeSocio; I don’t want to call one sample in particular plugged, but if you had blindfolded me I thought I might be trying to pull a frozen milkshake through a straw. Thankfully it’s fleeting and opens up very quickly, revealing a medium-bodied smoke with a prominent pepper note opening things up with a backing of cookie dough, some subtle chocolate and a bit of wood and earth that don’t stand out on their own, but rather complement the other flavors. It turns a bit sharp once the burn line reaches the main part of the cigar as the pepper really comes alive, lighting up the nose with unexpected potency on a retrohale. The first clump of ash falls off at about an inch in length, a tidy first clump that held on well for being a smaller ring gauge cigar but far from being heralded as durable or sturdy. I’m finding myself interested by the smoke production of this cigar; it definitely settles way down when I’m not puffing on it, and then takes a few draws to ramp back up, but when it does this petite vitola produces an impressive amount of thick, blue-gray smoke.
I’m pleased to see that the pepper has stepped up just a bit heading into the second third; it wasn’t getting overpowering but it was a bit too forward at times. Now it’s tamed itself save for the retrohale where it is still very sharp and punchy, but that can be regulated by the number of retrohales taken. On the palate I’m getting a bit of soft earth with pepper towards the back of the throat, with touches of snickerdoodle cookies as an underlying flavor along with just a very faint bit of raspberry sweetness. The draw tightens up just a bit once the burn line passes the midway point, with pepper still bright and prominent in the nose. I find that the air flows smoother through the cigar when turned sideways, as the Aging Room seems to keep its structure better that way, providing better smoke production and draws. My palate continues gravitating back towards the pepper, which while not as upfront as it has been previously, toys with the senses at times as the smoke wafts up from the palate into the nose and across the eyes.
The draw opens up nicely in the final two inches, with just the slightest amount of restriction that helps to deliver plenty of the pepper-laden flavor and create copious clouds of smoke. While the pepper has ramped back up, it also feels like the cigar is at its most balanced and complex; I can’t say that flavors are jumping out at me, but the combination of sweet, subtle earth, dough and cinnamon work well together, with the pepper providing the more vocal top layer. Strength is back in a big way, and I’m beginning to feel the nicotine from the cigar get into my system, which becomes my signal to put the cigar to rest. Combustion can be a bit of an issue in the final puffs, but for the most part the cigar smokes down to a tidy and flavorful nub.
- Three bands is a lot of covering on any cigar, even more so something this size.
- The glue was applied a bit liberally on the bands, taking some of the wrapper off when removed.
- I’ve never quite understood the connection of brass knuckles to the Aging Room brand, and why they’re featured so prominently on the band.
- I visited Tabacalera Palma, where these were made, during Procigar in 2015 and got a couple photos of the box-pressing process.
- Alliance Cigar shipped the Aging Room Quattro F55 DeSocio alongside the Foyle Meritage Collection.
- I got into a discussion with another cigar maker recently about when to remove the bands, and his conviction is to leave them on as long as possible to let the heat of the cigar warm the glue and make the removal process easier, so as to avoid tearing or otherwise damaging the wrapper. I generally agree, though I still prefer to take the bands off as soon as feasible. In the case of this cigar though, the foot band has to come off immediately, and can result in occasional damage.
- I’m not sure if I’m just dealing with a string of bad luck, but it seems like a number of the cigars I’ve been smoking lately have had trouble burning in the second half.
- Final smoking time was one hour and 40 minutes on average.
- The cigars for this review were provided by Alliance Cigar.
- You can purchase the Aging Room Quattro F55 DeSocio from Superior Cigars here.
While I would have preferred a bit more vibrance in the flavors from the Aging Room Quattro F55 DeSocio, there was never a point where I was unhappy with what it had to offer. I was impressed by the cigar’s consistency and overall balance, while construction was solid. Combustion issues cost the cigar a point or two, but not enough to say you should avoid it. A respectable expression of the blend in a distinctive shape.