Room101 Big Delicious (Prerelease)

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In December 2012, halfwheel broke the story of a new cigar coming from Room101 and Smoke Inn, a project called “Big Delicious” that takes its name from Matt Booth’s nickname for Abe Dababneh, proprietor of the South Florida retailer.

The new cigar, the six installment in Smoke Inn’s MicroBlend Series™, made its first public appearance on February 15, 2013, at a dinner hosted by Booth as part of Smoke Inn’s annual Great Smoke event. Attendees of the VIP dinner were given a commemorative five-pack of the cigars, just over two months ahead of its April 26 release date. The dinner was limited to just 60 people, meaning that 300 cigars were released as part of that event.

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The cigar is the first collaboration between Dababneh and Booth, whom is known in this project as “Swanky White.” As part of the build-up to the release, a website was launched for the project and contains a weekly comic strip chronicling “The Adventures of Big Delicious and Swanky White.”

Further details came out via a press release on January 15, including a note that the cigar would be based off of Room101’s last successful limited release and use a Habano 2000 wrapper with binder and filler tobaccos from Brazil, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.

As mentioned above, this is the sixth release in Smoke Inn’s MicroBlend Series™, which launched in December of 2010 and has become an increasing staple of Smoke Inn’s offerings.

Room101 Big Delicious 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Room101 Big Delicious
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Factory: Tabacos Rancho Jamastran
  • Wrapper: Ecuadoran Habano 2000
  • Binder: Honduran Corojo Seco
  • Filler: Brazil, Dominican Republic Piloto Ligero, Honduran Corojo & Nicaragua
  • Size: 6 1/4 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 42–54
  • Vitola: Torpedo 
  • MSRP: $8.95 (Boxes of 15, $134.25)
  • Release Date: April 26, 2013  
  • Number of Cigars Released: 750 Boxes of 15 (11,250 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2

The wrapper of the Room101 Big Delicious is silky smooth and has a slightly oily finish that gives it a unique texture that feels great in the hand. Both samples received had slight cracks in the wrapper at the feet, something that possibly attributed to the closed foot and the wrapper being stretched to cover the end of the cigar. The Room101 Big Delicious is also hefty in the hand, possibly a nod to Booth’s jewelry designs or just the byproduct of the tobaccos used. The pre-light is rich and complex, just spicy enough to be noticeable and backed by an earthy component that has notes of tree bark, some soil, floral notes and in the first cigar sampled, a rich gravy-like note bringing it all together. The cold draw is surprisingly loose with air moving almost unchallenged through the cigar. The flavors here aren’t as dense or intense, yet the pepper note is still present and the flavor is just a bit sharper.

The covered foot wastes no time picking up the flame from the match, releasing a spicy, rich smoke into the air. Pieces of the covered foot begin breaking off and floating away with the breeze while the Room101 Big Delicious billows a peppery white smoke that is meaty, saucy and tangy when it hits the nostrils. The pepper settles down considerably within the first inch or so, likely diluted a bit as the filler and binder come into play and it’s not just the wrapper-covered foot driving the flavor. It has also slowed the smoke production down considerably, and while still impressive, it’s not as voluminous as it was out of the gate. Depending on where you happen to be smoking the Room101 Big Delicious, the first third of the cigar infuses the air with some a slightly sweet aroma that is fantastic. By the time the burn line is an inch or so along, the flavor has softened considerably, becoming slightly sweet and almost like cotton candy in the mouth, minus that cheap sugar crunch. Subsequent puffs take add a creamy flavor to it as it has gone from strong and peppery to smooth and creamy in a remarkably short amount of time.

Room101 Big Delicious 2

After the ash breaks off nearly two inches in, the pepper returns in a big way but with just enough sweetness to provide balance and contrast and give the Room101 Big Delicious a very complex flavor profile. The flavor starts to intensify and then back off in this middle third, teasing the idea of returning to being big and brash before morphing into a much softer smoke that fills the mouth with fluffy smoke and delicate flavors. What becomes most interesting is that the Room101 sneaks up on me more in the nose than on the palate, particularly when it’s at rest. Nearing the final third, a warm, sweet, strawberry jam note wafts through the air, commanding my attention.

Room101 Big Delicious 3

The final third of the Room101 Big Delicious brings the pepper back in a big way, as the smoke makes my eyes water almost to the point of thinking I’d been doused with Tabasco sauce. The palate doesn’t get quite the same level of intensity, but the change is certainly noticeable. The cigar has also ramped up its kick in the final inches, delivering much more of a body punch than it did in the first two thirds. The final third also seems to burn at a much slower rate, with the smoke getting heavier and denser than it was earlier, and providing more time to reflect on the experience up to this point while soaking in the more robust flavors offered in the final inches.

Room101 Big Delicious 4

Final Notes:

  • You can pre-order the cigar starting April 5 via Smoke Inn’s website. It will be formally released on April 26 at their new headquarters in Boynton Beach, FL.
    Room101 Big Delicious Back
  • The band isn’t terribly big, but when it was on it felt like I had much less cigar to smoke than when I took it off.
  • Abe Dababneh is also featured as part of Eddie Ortega’s Wild Bunch, as he will be the June release under the name “Honest Abe.” That cigar will be a 6 1/2 x 52 Toro Extra called the RingMaster.
  • Dababneh is also known as “Ming” and frequently includes the nickname in his signature.
  • The die cut job on the bands is fantastic. In fact, the bands are very impressive on the whole, and when the ends are matched up perfectly it really is a well-designed part of the cigar.
    Room101 Big Delicious Band
  • I’m not going to rave about the characters on the band, but I won’t rant about them either. It’s an approach that seems to work for Booth and Dababneh, and gives the Room101 Big Delicious a look that’s different from most of the other cigars on the shelf.
  • Booth’s Room101 Silver offerings have recently been picked up by Zales.
  • In the press release, there was mention of a Room101 Big Delicious chain being given away at some point.
  • Episode 5 of The Adventures of Swanky White & Big Delicious makes mention of a wrapper leaf called W502 that is very highly regarded and is supposed to be part of this project.
  • Here’s a picture of the not-perfect feet:
    Room101 Big Delicious Foot
  • According to Smoke Inn’s website, the inspiration for the MicroBlend Series™ came from the beer world.
  • If you’re looking to buy early releases of Smoke Inn’s MicroBlend Series™, you’re out of luck. Only the Tatuaje Anarchy Apocalypse and Arturo Fuente Solaris remain available for sale. The Padrón SI-15, Tatuaje Anarchy and My Father El Hijo have completely sold out.
  • Production on the Room101 Big Delicious is significantly less than the previous MicroBlend Series™ release, the Tatuaje Anarchy Apocalypse – 11,250 for the former, 19,500 for the latter.
  • That said, it is only the third of the six releases to have more than 10,000 sticks made.
  • This cigar takes a lot longer to get through than you think. I’m not one to rush through a cigar, and thankfully the Room101 Big Delicious is enjoyable from start to finish. The final third is almost deceptively long, as the burn rate slows down to a crawl at some points.
  • The cigars for this review were provided by Smoke Inn.
  • Final smoking time is about two hours and 45 minutes, though could be pushed to three hours.
91 Overall Score

I'm quick to pick on the names that cigars are given, especially ones so upfront as Big Delicious. The big part is pretty easy to agree on – this cigar is sizable and will engage you for nearly three hours if you let it. The delicious part is more subjective, but for my palate hit on a lot of the right notes. It's big and bold to start before beginning an extended dance of moving from creamy and near mild to almost full-bodied and robust, thanks to notes of spice, pepper and earth that sneak up and hit you square in the face with eye-watering smoke. Separate the two extremes and you could create two winning cigars; bring them together the way the Room101 Big Delicious does and you have a complex cigar that lives up to its name.

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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