| STRENGTH: MEDIUM | BODY: MEDIUM | TASTING NOTES: CEDAR, WHITE PEPPER, HINT OF CITRUS |
In 2009 a former Marine turned Jeweler entered the cigar industry with a new perspective and unique flair that has echoed through the industry ever since. His name? Matt Booth of Room 101 brands. Now people seem to enter the industry all the time, coming in with what they believe is the hottest new thing, but few make it very far. The market soon realizes that it’s just the same thing they’ve seen time and time again and they eventually fizzle out and are quickly forgotten. But Matt Booth’s was not such a story.
Booth had received notoriety for his custom jewelry which was known to be sold to celebrities and the average Joe alike. Matt Booth’s cigars stood out due to their unique and modern packaging along with creative and unorthodox cigar names such as “One Shot One Kill” and “Chief Cool Arrow.” On top of that, the cigars themselves were much more than a marketing gimmick – they were good smokes! Room 101 cigars were initially produced and distributed by Camacho until they were acquired by Davidoff and remained quite successful for 8 years until Matt Booth announced his retirement from the industry on January 2017. That is until a few months later when it was announced that Matt Booth would return to release 2 new cigars, both collaborations. One collaboration was with Robert Caldwell and A.J. Fernandez called “Truth” which is to be a Nicaraguan Puro. The other is a direct collaboration with Robert Caldwell called “Hit & Run” which is what we will be reviewing today!
Vitola: Toro (6” x 52)
Manufacturer: Tabacelera William Ventura
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Appearance: It’s a cigar – why do we even write about the appearance? It literally looks like a tasty cigar.
Pre Light: Cold draw is open and provides traditional Dominican tobacco notes of cedar and hay.
First Third: The Caldwell Hit & Run starts off nice and mild with notes of tobacco, cedar, and a hint of citrus and salt on the lips. There is almost no spice during the first third but instead there are some really pleasant hints of toffee-like sweetness. The retrohale is rather bland at this point with only some notes of ammonia and grass coming through, which is likely due to this being a show sample and perhaps has not been aged long enough. The draw is perfect during the first third, allowing for plenty of cool smoke production and the cigar stands at a calm medium body while holding a perfect white ash and even burn line – displaying great construction.
Second Third: Things start to get exciting during the second third of the Caldwell Hit & Run as a bit of white pepper, (which is essentially black pepper with the skin removed, providing a milder spice), enters the profile along with a rich umami note that really rounds out the profile. There is a bit of a sugariness that seems to sneak in and out of the profile which is really interesting and certainly adds to the complexity of the smoke. The volume of smoke also seems to have increased during the second third proportional to the increase in strength and body. The draw remains perfect during the second third and the cigar moves just above medium in strength.
Final Third: As the Caldwell Hit & Run begins to come to a close, the profile begins to turn a bit more earthy and savory as opposed to the creamy and sweet/spicy balance from the first two thirds. Some spice does remain, however, on the retrohale to keep things interesting and the cigar finishes a bit more woody than it had been throughout. The smoke production begins to decrease a bit towards the end and the smoke does become a touch warm, signifying the end of the cigar. The cigar does remain just above medium in strength until the end and the construction remains excellent throughout.
In all, the Caldwell Hit & Run was very typically Caldwell. It was well balanced, well constructed, and displayed traditional flavors of Dominican tobacco in a new manner with a good story and great packaging. I am interested to see what role Matt Booth had in the blend, as it did seem to be a cigar very characteristic of Caldwell/Ventura’s blending styles – not a bad thing by any means, just interesting. I would definitely recommend aging this cigar for at least 6 months before smoking as the flavors sometimes seemed heterogeneous and there was a bit of a grassy note on the retrohale earlier on in the cigar. Aside from that, the Caldwell Hit & Run was a delight to enjoy on a beautiful Monday morning and I am excited to see what more comes from Matt Booth, Robert Caldwell, and Henderson Ventura.