In January, Room101 announced a new line of cigars named Ichiban, which translates to first from Japanese. Eight retailers around the county will receive an exclusive vitola in the blend, which incorporates a Ecuadorian wrapper covering a Nicaraguan criollo 98 binder and corojo 99 filler tobacco from Nicaragua. Each of the releases is limited to 10,000 total cigars sold in boxes of 10, all of which are being rolled at Oettinger Davidoff AG’s Agroindustria LAEPE S.A. factory in Danlí, Honduras.
The second retailer in the series turned out to be Cigar Realm in Ashland, Va., who received the Ichiban Roxxo, a 4 x 48 petit robusto. The cigar was released on April 1 at an MSRP of $7.35 per cigar or $69.96 per box of 10 cigars.
“This will be my second visit to Cigar Realm in the last six months and based on what I saw, I don’t expect them to have the Room101 Ichiban Roxxo for long,” said Room101’s Matt Booth, in a press release. “Scott and team have been great partners of our brand for some time, it is an honor to be working with them on this project.”
So far, there have been five different releases in the Room101 Ichiban line.
- Room101 Ichiban Tiburon (6 x 44) — Smokin’ Joe’s & Old City Cigar, Knoxville, Tenn. — $8.69 (Boxes of 10, $86.90)
- Room101 Ichiban Roxxo (4 x 48) — Cigar Realm, Ashland, Va. — $7.35 (Boxes of 10, $69.96)
- Room101 Ichiban Ranfla (6 1/2 x 30/50/19) — Doc James Cigars, Mamaroneck and Shrub Oak, N.Y. — $10 (Boxes of 10, $89.99)
- Room101 Ichiban Mutante (7 x 38) — STOGIES World Class Cigars, Houston, Tx — $9 (Boxes of 10, $90)
- Room101 Ichiban Sucio (7 x 48) — Franklin Cigar, Franklin, Tenn. — $10 (Boxes of 10, $100)
- Cigar Reviewed: Room101 Ichiban Roxxo
- Country of Origin: Honduras
- Factory: Agroindustria LAEPE S.A.
- Wrapper: Ecuador
- Binder: Nicaraguan Criollo 98
- Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo 99
- Size: 4 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 48
- Vitola: Petit Robusto
- MSRP: $7.35 (Boxes of 10, $69.96)
- Date Released: April 1, 2015
- Number of Cigars Released: 1,000 Boxes of 10 Cigars (10,000 Total Cigars)
- Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3
After removing both the outer paper wrapping and the inner tissue wrapping covering the Room101 Ichiban Roxxo, I am left holding a cigar that features a milk chocolate brown wrapper that is smooth to the touch but devoid of any appreciable oil. There are bumps running up and down the length of the cigar, and it is just a tad more spongy than I expected. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of orange citrus, baker’s spices, cinnamon, dark chocolate and earth, while the cold draw brings flavors of the same orange citrus, leather, earth, nuts and cocoa.
The Room101 starts off immediately with a dominant leather note interspersed with other flavors of bitter espresso beans, anise, hay, red meat and slight nuts. The orange citrus from the predraw is easily identifiable, although it is more citric and less sweet on the retrohale, where it combines nicely with some white pepper. The burn is a bit wavy in the first third, and I am forced to relight once, but the draw is excellent with just the right amount of resistance. Smoke production is quite high for the vitola size, and the strength barely reaches a point halfway between mild and medium by the end of the first third.
An interesting vanilla sweetness begins to intrude on the profile during the second third of the Room101 Ichiban Roxxo, although it still has quite a ways to go before it becomes a dominant note. Speaking of dominant flavors, they are not hard to pick out, a combination of hay and creamy nuts that coats the tongue. The citrus note from the first third is still present, but fading fast, and other flavors of dark cocoa, leather, cinnamon, earth and baker’s spices flit in and out as well. Construction-wise, the burn on the Ichiban Roxxo continues to have issues, but the draw continues to impress, while the smoke production has actually increased slightly. The strength is still not a major player, and ends the second third still short of the medium point.
The citrus note is long gone by the start of the final third, and the vanilla sweetness has neither gained nor lost strength, but a new combination takes over the dominant spot, a combination of spice, mocha chocolate and pepper flavors that remind me of Mexican hot chocolate. There is still a fairly strong black pepper on the retorhale, and the other flavors in the profile remain close the same as the second third: hay, leather, cinnamon, earth and baker’s spices. Smoke production remains fairly constant, and the burn has evened up nicely, while the draw gives me no issues whatsoever. Strength-wise, the Room101 Ichiban Roxxo comes very close to the medium mark, but ultimately fails to push through before I put the nub down with less than an inch left.
- While the citrus note was not as strong as I tasted in the Room101 Daruma Mutante—nor is it even the same fruit—it was definitely present, and I find it interesting that I notice so many fruit notes in the Room101 blends.
- This is a fairly small vitola, and as such I had to take the bands right after the start of the second third.
- While I absolutely love the look of the outer paper and inner tissue wrapping on each cigar, I do wonder how much waste is produced by all of the extra packaging.
- I am sucker for cigars that have that Mexican hot chocolate combination in them, although I don’t taste it nearly as much as I would like.
- Cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by Cigar Realm. Room101 is distributed by Davidoff of Geneva USA who advertises on halfwheel.
- The final smoking time for all three samples averaged just over one hour.
- If you would like the purchase any of the Room101 Ichiban Roxxo, the only place you can get them is at Cigar Realm.
As a blend, the Room101 Ichiban Roxxo is easily one of the most flavorful cigars I have smoked recently, with different notes coming fast and furious seemingly around every curve. Unfortunately, while the cigar is not lacking in the flavor department, the overall balance is out of whack, and the burn was a constant issue in all three samples. I did not get much harshness out of the profile, but the black pepper on the retrohale is a constant companion, it is alleviated somewhat by the vanilla sweetness that crops up in the second third. Despite the aforementioned lack of balance, the Ichiban Roxxo is a flavor bomb in a great vitola that features excellent construction, and I am thinking a bit of time will take care of the issues that are present.