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Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H-Town Lancero (Prerelease)

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The announcement of this store exclusive cigar came on December 3, just over two weeks before the cigar’s official release at the store’s annual holiday party. Jorge Ahued of Stogies World Class Cigars told halfwheel that “I love lanceros, and my customers have become fond of that size because they see me and my staff smoking them all the time. So I approached Matt (Booth) about an exclusive; there was never a question as to what size I wanted to do.”

Booth and his Room101 brand are no strangers to store exclusives, having previously collaborated with Cigar Inn for the OSOK 212 in 2012 and Smoke Inn for the Room101 Big Delicious, part of that store’s Microblend Series. However, both of those releases were modified blends of existing cigars, where as the Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H-Town Lancero is the first exclusive size of an existing blend without being tweaked.

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The Room101 Namakubi Ecuador was originally released in March 2013 with four formats, and this lancero brings the total number of vitolas to five:

  • Room101 Namakubi Ecuador Papi Chulo—(4 x 42 )— $6.00 (Boxes of 50, $300.00)
  • Room101 Namakubi Ecuador Filero—(4 1/2 x 42 x 52)— $8.00 (Boxes of 10, $80.00)
  • Room101 Namakubi Ecuador Ranfla—(5 1/2 x 19 x 50 x 30)— $10.00 (Boxes of 10, $100.00)
  • Room101 Namakubi Ecuador Chingon—(8 x 44 x 60)— $12.00 (Boxes of 10, $120.00)
  • Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H-Town Lancero—(7 x 38)— $9.50 (Boxes of 20, $190.00)

In the press release, Dylan Austin, head of marketing for Room101 Cigars said:

…with the Room101 brand we really like to explore and push the boundaries with different flavor profiles. The Room101 Namakubi Ecuador is the product of us combining two of our greatest successes to see if we could create something truly unique. With this new blend, we’ve done just that. The Room101 Namakubi Ecuador is an absolute flavor machine.

The boxes of the Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H-Town Lancero look like this:

Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H Town Lancero Box 1

Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H Town Lancero Box 2

Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H Town Lancero Box 3

Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H Town Lancero Box 4

Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H Town Lancero Box 5 

This is the third lancero from Room101, albeit the first not called Mutante.

Room101 Daruma Lancero Master Collection One Lancero  Namakubi Ecuador H Town Lancero

  • Room101 Daruma Mutante (7 x 38) — September 2012 — 1,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Room101 Master Collection One Mutante (7 x 38) — November 2013 — 1,000 Boxes of 20 Cigars (20,000 Total Cigars)
  • Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H-Town Lancero (7 x 38) — December 2013 — 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars) 

Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H Town Lancero 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H-Town Lancero
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Factory: Agroindustrias Laepe, S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuador
  • Binder: Honduras Corojo
  • Filler: Dominican Republic & Honduras
  • Size: 7 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 38
  • Vitola: Lancero
  • MSRP: $9.50 (Boxes of 20, $190.00)
  • Date Released: December 19, 2013
  • Number of Cigars Released: 500 Boxes of 20 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

The footband adds an interesting touch given its use of a different front for H-TOWN, as well as the inclusion of Stogies logo on the back, and seems to align more with the main Namakubi band than the secondary Ecuador band, which with its prominent white and gold components really stands out from the others. As for the cigar itself, the dark coffee bean brown wrapper has a fair amount of decent shades present, highlighted by just a bit of oily sheen. The cigar feels firmer at the foot and head than it does in the middle, which seems to have a bit more give. The veins are small and thin but noticeable, sticking up just a bit from the leaf’s surface. Just above the main band on one cigar, there seems to be a sizable stem just under the wrapper, as it can be both seen and felt, creating a thick ridge in the cigar’s construction. The pre-light aroma at first is reminiscent of coffee, but it seems to have some brighter notes of fresh cut orange that come out after a few sniffs. What looks like a flat cap at first glance actually reveals a tightly wound cinnamon bun style, which when clipped allows for a cold draw that has a bit of wood and differing manifestations of a chocolate note—one was more like a milkshake, another like pieces of dark chocolate—but as with what the nose detected, there’s little if any pepper to be found here.

Within a few puffs that deliver copious amounts of smoke, the Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H-Town Lancero establishes itself with a hearty, saucy tang that has a bit of pepper and really excels in grabbing hold of your tastebuds in much the same way that trying a food for the first time does. There’s a woody backbone to the flavor early on, but on top of it are laid notes of earth and subtle hints of pepper that are found primarily in the nose. If you are a retrohaler, you’ll be best served doing it early to enjoy some of the citrus notes that the cigar also offers, with orange zest being the most dominant. On the first cigar smoked, the ash begins splitting in half like it had been hit with an axe from the get go, though despite that and another horizontal crack that appeared about half an inch in, the dirty gray ash held on very well. There is certainly no shortage of flavor in the first third of the cigar, though a lot of the time it is hard to pin down specific notes. Another retrohale packs a good punch from the pepper notes and  limits the quantity that can be exhaled without feeling overpowered by its power. The ambient smoke coming off the cigar keeps it front of mind, with a red chili pepper note developing past the halfway mark.

Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H Town Lancero 2

As the second third begins, the strength of the cigar feels like it is starting to creep up, and the pepper content is certainly increasing both in the nose and on the tongue. I continue to struggle to find specific notes for the flavors I’m picking up, defaulting instead to broader generalities of earth, wood and a hearty sauce note that has a touch of sweetness but is primarily something I would imagine serving as a marinade or dipping sauce for pork. It’s almost got a bit of hoisin sauce in it but is much more concentrated and without the sweetness I associate with that condiment. It’s at the halfway point a strong note of pepper comes through and begins to drive the taste. A retrohale just past the midway point of the Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H-Town Lancero proves to be futile, as the pepper is just too much to tolerate, let alone enjoy. Smoke production continues to be about as plentiful as one can expect from a lancero, while the ash does a more than impressive job of remaining attached, dropping off in regular one inch intervals.

Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H Town Lancero 3

With all three of the bands now removed and the burn line having progressed into the H-Town’s final third, pepper has taken over the leading note role, as each puff releases another solid hit of tingling white pepper in the nose and a bit of black pepper on the palate. The final third also brings a bit of burn issues with it, as the cigar requires a few relights after extinguishing itself. After being largely dominated by pepper in this portion, the earth and wood notes begin to make their return and provide depth and complexity for the pepper, which still stands out but now has a much needed supporting cast for its finale. Touches of prune sweetness begin to emerge as well and contribute yet another layer of flavor. A downshift in flavors takes the profile to a deeper and richer point in the final two inches, as the soil and wood notes become damper and offer more for the taste buds to dive into. Notes of cocoa powder and coffee beans close out the cigar and provide for the most complex flavor profile the H-Town offers.

Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H Town Lancero 4

Final Notes:

  • Interestingly, we didn’t actually take the cellophane off for the box pictures, that’s how they came.
  • Each of the three cigars smoked seemed to need a bit of dryboxing; the first one went out much more frequently than the second two.
  • While I know it can be done, I’m not a big fan of plucking the cap off cigars that have pigtail or other decorative caps. I stick with a straight cut, mainly because it results in a cleaner cut and less tearing.
  • Lanceros aren’t known for significant smoke production or long ashes, but this one was an exception to that generalization.
  • If you see these at other retailers, it’s not a mistake. Ahued has been given the rights to wholesale the cigar as well.
  • If you are unfamiliar with Ahued’s store, it’s quite possibly the only store in the world where lanceros are the best seller. 
  • It has been mentioned in other reviews from this brand, but the proper way to spell Room101 is with no space. Common sense might tell you otherwise, but not in this case.
  • The first thing that popped into my mind when I heard that this would be called the H-Town? This.
  • I’m still trying to figure out if there is a reason or message hidden in the coloring of the word H-Town. The O and W are white, while the other letters are red.
  • Officially, Houston’s nickname is Space City, a nod to its proximity to NASA activity.
  • In addition to being known as H-Town, Houston is occasionally referred to as the Bayou City and Baghdad on the Bayou, for what Wikipedia describes as being home to ten winding waterways that flow through the surrounding area. Other nicknames for Houston include the Magnolia City, Capital of the Sunbelt, Clutch City and The Big Heart.
  • Additionally, you may hear the city referred to in pop music and hip-hop as Screwston (an homage to the late DJ Screw), Hustletown and the City of Syrup or Syrup City.
  • The city’s marketing slogan is “Energy Capital of the World,” as it is home to more than 5,000 energy-related firms.
  • Houston is the largest city in Texas and fourth largest in the United States.
  • The cigars for this review were provided by Stogies World Class Cigars.
  • Davidoff, part of Oettinger Davidoff AG, is a site sponsor. Room101 is part of the Oettinger Davidoff AG family.
  • Final smoking time is about one hours and 35 minutes.
  • The Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H-Town Lancero is available exclusively from Stogies World Class Cigars in Houston. Phone orders are accepted at 713.783.5100; be sure to tell them halfwheel sent you. If you are at the event later tonight, Charlie Minato and Brooks Whittington will both be in attendance.

We are giving away a five-pack of Room101 Namakubi Ecuador H-Town Lanceros.
Leave a comment to enter. Contest rules are here.
Contest closes December 27 at 11:59 PM CST.

92 Overall Score

I recall trying one or two of the Room101 Namakubi Ecuador's regular production vitolas prior to trying the H-Town Lancero, and while those cigars were good, they certainly seem to pale in comparison to what the lancero vitola offers. The flavor profile is tight, deep and complex with numerous changes through addition and subtraction, as well as frequent transitions and variances in the amount of pepper to be found. The call for more lanceros and other small ring gauges has been frequent from this site, and we have often been told that smaller ring gauges don't always equal better flavors, however in this case that is exactly what it does. The construction is perfect and helps deliver a consistent mouthful of flavors, all while maintaining perfect construction and smoke production. My only knock on this cigar is that it is a limited production: if you like full bodied cigars with a good amount of pepper and strength as I do, you'll want to pick some of these up, which means there will be fewer left for me.

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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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