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Finally released at this year’s trade show, the Aging Room Maduro has been in the works for the last 6 years. “It was actually the first blend that we wanted to release under the Boutique Blends project,” says Rafael Nodal, CEO of Boutique Blends Cigars, “but frankly we felt that the Nicaraguan Maduro wrapper that we were using was not ready and needed more time. Our main concern was blending the rich and flavorful wrapper with the selected Dominican Ligero Filler that we have been using on the Aging Room line. As any good match, it took time.” As a fan of both Aging Room cigars and good maduro cigars in general, I was among the many anticipating the release of this new line, and I wasted no time getting to the review of the Aging Room Maduro Rondo (5×50) when they arrived this week.
The cigar wore a fairly oily and rather burly-looking maduro wrap, loaded with tiny magnesium pimples. Construction looked to be up to the high standards that I’ve come to expect from the Aging Room brand. Pre-light draws gave off a taste of spicy-sweet tobacco and the wrapper itself tasted vividly of hot cinnamon, like Big Red chewing gum.
The smoke opened up to lots of red pepper and cocoa, reminding me very much of my early experiences with La Duena cigars. Ensuing draws revealed more depth, with ancillary notes of grass, earth, coffee, and leather, as the fiery red pepper slowly morphed into more of a sharp black pepper taste. Right off the bat, the cigar was burning straight and drawing easy.
A bit further in a background component of cream piped up, helping to deliver the cigar’s fierce flavors a little more smoothly. At this point I started to taste a new dimension of thick and syrupy anise. This was anise in a more pronounced way than I had ever tasted in any cigar previously. Overall the profile here was dark, earthy, and a little bit sweet with plenty of peppery spice still popping. A slightly wild, 2 1/2 inch ash now sat firmly in place at the business end of the cigar.
In the final third the complex and layered profile of robust flavors continued. Fun Fact- I hate the word “robust.” It is easily the most over-used word in cigars and I avoid using it whenever possible, but, if the shoe fits…. Anyway, this portion still had the cocoa and spice, but now paired with a vegetal and earthy base and an added note of white pepper. The strength level reached a solid full here, and, unlike most cigars, this stick’s richness and complexity endured until the final pull.
It almost feels unfair for me to evaluate this cigar as it had nearly every quality I look for in a good smoke. This stick had rich and complex flavors that showed lots of good transition and nuance, produced plenty of dense smoke, and had the maintenance-free burn that every cigar aspires to. Early on in this review I compared this cigar to La Duena, a great cigar with similar flavor characteristics. With that in mind, my recommendation is to obtain and smoke the Aging Room Maduro NOW, and not later. Rafael has already done the appropriate aging for you, and if my experience with the La Duena is any indicator of this cigar’s character, it will never be as good as it is in its current state. While still a good smoke, La Duena is now a different and far more mellow cigar than it was when I tucked it away in my humidor many moons ago. I believe that the experience I had today with the Aging Room Maduro is the one that the blenders intended: one of intensely rich flavor and deep complexity, and one that I can recommend whole-heartedly to anyone who appreciates full-flavored cigars. If I had a grade higher than A+ to give, the Aging Room Maduro would get it. Those who have been looking forward to it will not be disappointed.