Room 101 Daruma Monstro

Today Punch and Draw find success and good fortune in all their endeavors while smoking the Daruma Monstro cigar from Room 101.Room 101 Daruma Monstro cigar

Draw: Fruity aroma. Raisins, as dried fruit, like when you open a box, is the aroma. On the cold draw, it’s chewed raisins – the sweetness. And cinnamon or nutmeg. Nice looking bad boy – very inspiring. Several strong veins, seams are tight except where the veins lift them. I note there’s some void in the foot. These – okay, mine – came sans cellophane, so it’s quite possible this loss is simply due to travel and storage dings.

Punch: Yeah – a fruity foot, with some… maybe mango, on the cold draw. My draw is just right. The Daruma Monstro are made at the Camacho factory in Honduras, and are composed of Dominican and Honduran long-fillers, a Brazilian binder in an Ecuadorian habano wrapper. The suggested retail cost is $10.25, but we got ours in the VIP pack at the 2013 Rocky Mountain Cigar Fest in Bolder.

D: I’m looking forward to this Ecuadorian habano wrapper. I’m expecting raisin-y spice!

The voids in the foot have proven quite problematic. It was difficult to get a good consistent light, like I could get the wrapper, but not the filler. The tips of the tobacco ashed without any visible cherry extending into the stick. Ultimately, I had to light it while sucking flame into the end. I don’t like that, because… just because. It’ll be a moment now before I can really comment on flavor.

P: Upon lighting I’m getting a harshness or acridity on the attack. After a few puffs that has settled down into leather and woodiness, with mild spice on the finish. Nice balance.

D: I’m finally about a half inch in, and past the ugliness from lighting. What I’m tasting is serious leather (as opposed to comic leather, which would be just tragic), new and old, dominating, with some woodsiness and some baking spice and a hint of plum or raisin. I punched this monster with my larger punch, and regret that as the draw is so loose that Vice cops have started knocking on the door.

P: The last time the vice cops came here they took away half of the tools on my workbench – not just the vice. At an inch in I’m getting a mild fruity sweetness added to the profile. So far it is not super complex, but definitely enough to be interesting.

D: Agreed. I remember thinking, when I finally got into it, that this is a surprising medium-character. But burning toward the middle, it is definitely heading toward a stronger flavor. Part of that is an increase in general woodsiness… maybe in the pine and evergreens.

P: Starting the second-third I’m detecting the need to progress cautiously, as I’m starting to feel some strength. I’m picking up that pineness, now, too.

Daruma doll

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

All of Matt Booth’s branding of his Room 101 cigar lines have some sort of Japanese theme. This cigar’s name, “Daruma”, comes from a round, hollow, Japanese toy doll representing a Zen Buddhist priest. It’s design is rich in symbolism and is considered to be a type of good luck charm. More information on this distinctive example of Japanese culture can be found at this Wikipedia entry.

D: For some reason, that reminds me of the Australian reporter pulling the “pizza” joke on the Dalai Lama. So far, I really appreciate this Daruma Monstro. At 60 ring guage, there’s a lot more filler here which is diminishing the intensity of the Ecuadorian habano – disappointing – but the flavor characteristics are still there, no doubt. Commenting on flavor, the Katman reviewed this cigar and gave it a thumbs down. Aside from accusing complimentary reviewers of being afraid of Matt Booth, he blamed short aging. We’ve aged these for 4 months after getting them in August, and I think this has good flavor. And with just under three inches of cigar remaining, my ash finally left.

P: An interesting descriptive phrase. I hope it was a controlled “leaving”. Or does “my ash finally left” mean it didn’t land on your right?

D: Parting can be such bitter sorrow, but in this case, it missed my lap. Moving into the last third, I saw some drunkeness in the burn line, but nothing major, and it self-corrected fairly quickly. The attack has a mild tartness, with the pine woods middle and finish. Leather is still present throughout at a much lower proportion.

P: The insert which comes with a box of these Room 101 Daruma Monstro cigars tells about how the Daruma doll can be used as a personal goal setting aid. The user draws one eye on it upon setting a goal, starting a figurative timer of one year in which to accomplish this goal, acting as a motivator to persist in reaching the goal even if faced with repeated failures. The second eye is then filled in upon achieving the desired goal – only to be burned at the end of the designated year. The  complete text of this insert can be found in this Daruma review at Halfwheel.com.

In the final third the flavors have blended nicely, meaning they haven’t yet turned into a nasty amalgamated munge – still smokeable – with a touch of wood-fired smokiness and some pretzel. Mine isn’t idling so well anymore, and the smoke is starting to get warm so with an inch-and-a-half to go I’ll let it rest in peace.

D: Pretzel! Perfect! That’s exactly the flavor I’ve been trying to describe! Delicious. Yes, not idling well…I’m going to keep it going a bit longer. Yes, it has a nice clean finish – still plenty of flavor, without the munge. The heat is pronounced on the draw for me (still a fairly loose draw), but taking it slow and easy, this is quite enjoyable down to the nub.

Burn it or Spurn it?

Draw: Burn this. A somewhat complex flavor profile that moves from a mild-medium to medium-full without any signficant transitions – except maybe the pretzel at the end. Medium-to-full strength (I’m feelling more medium about it), smoke-able the full length for a good two-hour session. With the Ecuadorian habano wrapper, I believe it’s a “gimmie” that I’ll be smoking more of these. Namaste!

Punch: Absolutely! This is an enjoyable burner. Mine had a great draw with no burn issues. It is packed with a pleasant, smooth balance of leather, woodiness, and spice, with hints of fruity sweetness. If you are like me (and I know I am) you will find this Room 101 Daruma Monstro well worth smoking.

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