Room101 Big Payback Connecticut Chavala

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In 2014, Room101 announced a regular release cigar called The Big Payback. The idea was that brand owner Matt Booth wanted to give back to the customers for their loyalty and getting the brand where it was. The Big Payback was the idea, coming in three sizes—two quite large—and all very reasonably priced.

Fast forward two years, and Booth has released a new blend in the series, this time featuring a Connecticut wrapper. Coming in the same three sizes the original blend launched with, prices are slightly higher than the MSRP of the original series, though marginally so and still much cheaper than you would expect to see these priced at.

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Room101 Big Payback Connecticut Vitolas

  • Room101 Big Payback Connecticut Chavala (5 x 50) — $5.50 (Boxes of 50, $275.00)
  • Room101 Big Payback Connecticut Hueso (6 x 60) — $6.50 (Boxes of 50, $325.00)
  • Room101 Big Connecticut Payback 7×70 (7 x 70) — $7.50 (Boxes of 30, $225.00)

Room101 Big Payback Connecticut Chavala 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Room101 Big Payback Chavala
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Factory: Agroindustria LAEPE S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Connecticut
  • Binder: Mexico
  • Filler: Dominican Republic
  • Length: 5
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: $5.50 (Boxes of 50, $275.00)
  • Release Date: February 15, 2016
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

It’s been quite a while since I’ve felt a wrapper this soft and delicate, but the Payback’s light tan Connecticut wrapper is silky smooth and an incredibly pleasing tactile experience. There is some universal give to the cigar, mostly even, though a couple spots seem to have a bit more than others. Fresh hay, dried strawberries, Christmas spices and a touch of watermelon rind make up a very interesting aroma coming off the wrapper. The cold draw is very similar, starting off mostly fruity—almost like the aroma coming out of box of Trix cereal—quickly followed by licorice, graham crackers and a touch of pepper on my lips.

The first third starts out with none of the fruity sweetness from the cold draw, though lots of nuttiness and spices dominate, with a sweet graham cracker following behind. Lighting the cigar in the wind, it wanted to start out with a very ragged burn, but it very quickly corrected itself and is now burning almost razor sharp within a quarter of an inch. The draw is good, slightly on the more open side of the ideal range, but produces plenty of smoke with each puff. As I continue, the big spice note starts to fade slightly, letting the graham cracker and a touch of pepper come forward slightly, while the whole thing is still being led by the nutty note.

Room101 Big Payback Connecticut Chavala 2

Shifting into the second third, the nutty note has died down some along with the sweetness. Instead a creaminess has shown up, mixing well with the spice, nuts, pepper and a generic cereal note all evenly mixing together. The burn has continued to be impressive, along with some good ash retention, holding on easily to around the inch mark. The creamy profile of spice, nuts, pepper and cereal persists, not really seeing much change or shifting of the flavors through the remaining part of the second third.

Room101 Big Payback Connecticut Chavala 3

After all the flavor shifts in the first half, I find myself expecting something different moving into the final third of The Big Payback Connecticut, but I’m content to taste the same profile. The pleasant mix of creamy, nutty spices, pepper and cereal makes me wish there was just a little bit more to the ciga as I get closer to the end. While the ash has become slightly flakey, the rest of the construction continues to be impressive with great ash retention and a solid burn line. With just a nub left and my fingers starting to get too warm, I’m pleased that there isn’t any harsh notes or bitter hot smoke, which allows the profile to end in a dignified manner.

Room101 Big Payback Connecticut Chavala 4

Final Notes

  • While you’ll hear a lot of people scoff at the larger ring gauge sizes, the fact of the matter is there is a market for them. Many people I’ve talked to at shops will jump to point out that they can smoke a La Flor Dominicana Digger for three hours and it only costs them $10, so why would they smoke two robusto size cigars for $8 each? I’m sure a 7 x 70 for under $8 bucks will be a very pleasing proposition for that audience.
  • Having said that—while they’re not my preferred size, I’m actually quite interested in trying the Heuso and the 7 x 70 just to see how the profile translates into a larger ring gauges. I very much enjoyed the size of the Chavala though, and don’t see myself smoking any of the rest of the sizes more than once.
  • All three samples were almost identical as far as the profile goes, and while the construction was almost the same across the board, one sample did have some burn problems in the second third.
  • With this release, both the original Big Payback and the Connecticut will also start coming in smaller 10-count boxes in addition to the larger cabs, and will now have cellophane with barcodes on them, making life slightly easier for retailers.
  • Room101 is distributed by Davidoff of Geneva USA, which advertises on halfwheel.
  • Cigars for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • Final smoking time averaged just under an hour and a half.
93 Overall Score

The Room101 The Big Payback Connecticut Chavala hooked me from the start. With a combination of a visually pleasing light wrapper and band combination, the extremely soft and luxurious wrapper and the intriguing aroma coming off the wrapper, I immediately was ready to like this cigar. I’m sure all those things put me in a good mindset to enjoy the cigar, but the fact is that it has to follow up with a good smoking experience. That’s exactly what the Big Payback Connecticut did however, with each sample consistently producing an enjoyable experience from the time I took it out of the cellophane to the time I set the final nub down in my ashtray. With the profile and construction being more than impressive, I can easily say that this is one of my favorite releases I’ve reviewed this year. The great news for you though is not only is this Room101 release going to be readily available all the time, but you’ll also pay a very reasonable price for it too. Consistently good, easily available, and reasonably priced—I think that’s a combination that should make any cigar smoker feel appreciated.

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Brian Burt
About the author

I have been smoking cigars since 2005 and reviewing them as a hobby since 2010. Initially I started out small with a 50-count humidor and only smoking one or two cigars a month. Not knowing anybody else that smoked cigars, it was only an occasional hobby that I took part in. In March of 2010 I joined Nublive and Cigar Asylum, connecting me with many people who also shared an interest in cigars. Reading what they had to say about brands I had never heard of, I quickly immersed myself in the boutique brands of the industry and it was then that cigars transformed from a hobby into a passion. Besides my cigar hobby and job in the IT industry, my wife and I love traveling, trying new restaurants and relaxing at home with our two dogs.

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