After somewhat of a rough start, the Room101 Uncle Lee is being formally released today at STOGIES World Class Cigars’ annual Christmas party. Matt Booth’s newest release, which was produced as a tribute to his uncle who introduced him to cigars, has a storied history, having had its packaging changed after complaints from retailers.

The original packaging was as unique as it was unconventional: a cereal box shell complete with nutrition info and an included toy of Booth himself. The actual box of cigars inside was made of wood and had the same depiction of Uncle Lee stamped on the front that is used on the bands. The cigars for the release were already rolled, so after the complaints forced a change in the packaging, the cereal box was removed leaving just the wooden box with the cigars inside. In addition, the decorative tissue paper that covers the cigars was changed to match the updated theme of the release.

Room101 Uncle Lee Box 1

Room101 Uncle Lee Box 2

Room101 Uncle Lee Box 3

In terms of blend, the Room101 Uncle Lee incorporates Dominican Piloto ligero and Honduran corojo filler tobaccos, a Nicaraguan corojo binder and is covered in a Ecuadorian habano wrapper. The 6 1/2 x 30 x 50 x 19 perfecto is rolled at the Agroindustria LAEPE S.A. factory in Danlí, Honduras and there were 50,000 cigars rolled. In addition, the pricing of the Uncle Lee is set at $10 each, and the cigars are sold in boxes of 10.

Room101 Uncle Lee 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Room101 Uncle Lee
  • Country of Origin: Honduras
  • Factory: Agroindustria LAEPE S.A.
  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
  • Binder: Nicaraguan Corojo
  • Filler: Dominican Piloto Ligero & Honduran Corojo
  • Size: 6 1/2 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 30 x 50 x 19
  • Vitola: Perfecto
  • MSRP: $10 (Boxes of 10, $100)
  • Date Released: Dec. 18, 2014
  • Number of Cigars Released: 5,000 Boxes of 10 (50,000 Total Cigars)
  • Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3

The Room101 Uncle Lee is covered in a mocha brown wrapper that is quite smooth to the touch and has some obvious signs of oil present. There are some obvious veins present and the cigars slightly spongy when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of baker’s spices, strong cedar, leather and manure, while the cold draw brings flavors of sweet fruit, leather, spice, licorice and cedar, along with a touch of pepper.

Starting out, the Room101 Uncle Lee exhibits dominant flavors of sweet cedar, creamy leather, clove and a bit of a floral note. I can taste a interesting—albeit slight—fruity sweetness on the finish that is similar to what I tasted on the cold draw, but it is just not that strong as of yet. There is an extremely aggressive black pepper on the retrohale that finally starts to recede about halfway through the first third and a touch of spice noticeable on the tongue as well. The burn and draw are wonderful so far, and the smoke production coming from the foot is massive. Strength-wise, the Uncle Lee easily hits a point close to the medium mark by the end of the first third, and seems to only be getting stronger.

Room101 Uncle Lee 2

The fruity sweetness on the finish increases in strength by leaps and bounds in the second third of the Uncle Lee, and hits its high note right around the halfway point, reminding me strongly of dark berries. The dominant flavor on the palate is a rich creamy cedar note that combines nicely with the sweetness, along with other notes of roasted coffee beans, nuts, leather and oats. The pepper on the retrohale has calmed down quite a bit, but is still a major part of the profile, while the burn and draw continue to be impressive. The smoke production stays constant, while overall strength has increased slightly past the medium mark by the end of these second third, and I can tell it is not done yet.

Room101 Uncle Lee 3

The final third of the Room101 Uncle Lee is much the same as the second third, although the berry sweetness on the finish has diminished slightly, and the creamy cedar note has increased a bit to fill in the gap. Other flavors of dark chocolate, bitter espresso, baker’s spices, leather and earth flit in and out, while the pepper on the retrohale remains steady. Construction-wise, but the burn and draw remain excellent until the end, and the smoke production has not let up even a little. The strength easily passes though the medium mark before ending a little more than halfway to full by the time I put the nub down with about an inch left.

Room101 Uncle Lee 4

Final Notes

  • I was honestly shocked that the original packaging was ever actually approved and was not very surprised when it was scrapped.
  • Having said the above, I love the overall theme of this release.
  • The cartoon-like depictions used on the band are not new, and in fact different versions were used extensively for the Room101 Big Delicious release to similar effect.
  • The artist for this release is Jimmy Rodriguez, who also did the font for Room101 Big Delicious.
  • This is the second year in a row Room101 has debuted a cigar at the STOGIES Christmas party. Last year it debuted the Namakubi Ecuador H-Town Lancero, an exclusive to the shop.
  • The Room101 brand is distributed by Davidoff of Geneva USA, who is an advertiser on halfwheel.
  • The final smoking time for all three cigars averaged one hour and 50 minutes.
  • The cigars for this review were sent to halfwheel by STOGIES World Class Cigars. You can reach them at 713.783.5100.
  • Booth told halfwheel that only 100 boxes will be available for sale at the launch party tonight in Houston, and the rest of the boxes will be shipped to accounts sometime after the new year.

Nordstrom is now carrying the Room101 Stainless line of accessories both online and in stores at select location

  • Galleria (Houston, Texas)
  • Garden State Mall (Paramus, N.J.)
  • Michigan Ave. (Chicago, Ill.)
  • North Park (Dallas, Texas)
  • Roosevelt Field Mall (Long Island, N.Y.)
  • South Coast Plaza (Orange County, Calif.)

Room101 is running a holiday promotion on all Room101 purchases made at Nordstrom. For any Room101 purchase made at Nordstrom, Room101 will offer consumers equivalent credit through its own online store. Customers who make a Room101 purchase at Nordstrom and send their receipt to [email protected] by Jan. 31, 2015 will be given a credit to be used at Room101’s online store.

As part of the promotion, we are giving away a Room101 Hermatite bracelet.

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90 Overall Score

I have always been a fan of Matt Booth's unconventional way of doing things, and the since redacted packaging for the Uncle Lee was one of the most original packaging for cigars I had ever seen. Everything works for this cigar: the unusual vitola, the rich berry sweetness on the finish, the strong creamy cedar base and even the aggressive black pepper on the retrohale.  A very good, complex blend that is a fitting tribute to the man Booth is commemorating.

Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.