Cigar Review- Room 101 Daruma Monstro

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Brazilian
Filler: Honduran and Dominican
Size: 5 x 60 “Monstro”
Body: Full
Price: $9.00


I have previously reviewed this blend but in a smaller size: The Roxxo at 4 x 48. It took only a few weeks and it was ready to smoke. So I delved into territory that is a no no for me….a big ring gauge cigar. I knew the Monstro would take longer, but it has been several months and the last one I smoked a month ago really didn’t impress.

The definition of Daruma is that it is the name of a Japanese Buddhist Monk. “Bodhidharma lived during the 5th/6th century ACE. He is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Ch’an (Sanskrit: Dhyāna, Japanese: Zen) to China, and regarded as its first Chinese patriarch. According to Chinese legend, he also began the physical training of the Shaolin monks that led to the creation of Shaolinquan.” (From Wikipedia)

So, I decided to wait a month, which is today, and review the Monstro. Let’s see if bigger is better.

The cigar is beautiful with the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. A medium brown with a slight reddish tint. Seams vary from cigar to cigar. Lots of little veins on all of them. The cap is superbly done and just disappears into the body of the stick. The wrapper has a nice oily sheen and it feels toothy. I’d like to note that a Brazilian binder is the first time the Room 101 blenders have used this leaf for this position of the cigar.
Only 20,000 sticks were made for each of the 5 sizes.

I sniff and detect spice, cocoa and some earthiness.

I clip the cap and light it up. I should add, that I have a hell of a time properly lighting a 60. I only use a single torch lighter so that my burn line is even. It takes a lot of patience.

The draw is a bit tight. These sticks are really solid. It should loosen up soon. The first puffs bring a spiciness to the table..a combo of black and red pepper. And it gets stronger with each puff. I also get a big of cocoa and coffee.
The problem with the last one I smoked a month ago was that the first half was all good. But the second half went blah on me. So I’m hoping that 4 months of resting is enough to bring this baby to life.

The char line is so so. I need a little more burn before we know. There is some cedar appearing now.

This is a big cigar so I shall only report what I find, when I find it. I expect this stick to take a good 90 minutes.
I’m an inch in and the main flavor is the pepper. The char line is close to perfect. The cocoa and coffee and cedar are still there but in the background. So far, this is the cigar I remember from a month ago. Nothing special.

But I plan to see it through to make sure that the first third is not just a tease of good things to come.

A sweetness pops up. The strong pepper subsides. I don’t think this cigar is going to win any awards or be rated anywhere close to the 90 mark.
I can sense the blah-ness approaching. The only thing I can figure is that this stick needs 9 months or longer of aging time in your humidor before you can taste the blender’s intent. Why Room 101 would choose to go Old School on this is beyond me.

I generally don’t do negative reviews and I really don’t consider this one negative. More disappointment than negative. These cigars are not cheap. And I can name off a dozen cigars in the $5-$7 range that are heads above this cigar’s flavor profile.

The cigar is well constructed. My char line is very close to perfect. The draw is flawless now. What’s going on? Where is the flavor?
I’m getting a musty room flavor now. The cocoa is barely there. The coffee is gone. A bit of citrus has shown up; which in my book is a good thing for this ailing cigar.
The spiciness has come close to disappearing. The sweetness is also in the background leaving an unimpressive flavor profile.

I’ve read other reviews and the reviewers are basically reporting the same thing I am but make it sound like a good cigar. They are afraid of Matt Booth. The point of reviewing is to be impartial. And if Booth and his people can’t take some criticism, they should get out of the cigar business. I don’t blame Booth for this, but rather, the reviewers who are afraid of being honest. The reviewers are projecting their feelings on this issue. You don’t do that. As Bodhidrama said, “You can’t know your real mind as long as you deceive yourself.”

I’ve made it to the end of the first third and nothing new to report.

A seam is beginning to unravel near the cap. This could mean disaster. I am vigilant about the humidification in my humidors and only use Boveda packets. I also employ two digital hygrometers per humidor so I have a failsafe that allows me to see how accurate each hygrometer is compared to the other. It’s a pretty good system. If there is a variation of more than 1.5+/-, I know something is wrong and we go to the salt test.

I hit the halfway point and there is absolutely no change to the flavor profile. It can be described in one word: Blah.
And stupid me, I bought an entire box.

Now I’m getting a real musty flavor that is not good. This is the same exact thing that happened a month ago.

I leave the second third and the spice begins to ramp up. I’ve never gotten this far before because I gave up on the cigar at the halfway point.
While it is nice to see the spiciness pop up again, this cigar is no flavor bomb. It continues on its blah journey.
I would really like to just put this cigar down and be done with it but it is out of respect for the blenders that I finish it.

The cigar is coming dangerously close to just not tasting good. I don’t get it. The Room 101 people put out consistently great cigars. But this ain’t one of them.
It’s now like sucking on a dust rag and I just can’t go on.

Addendum 1-31-2014: Because I was not impressed with the flavor profile of this cigar, I allowed them to marinate in my humidor for another 9 months. This time allowance did nothing to improve it. I’ve written many times that I am not a fan of giant ring cigars for the singular reason that many of them never meet the blender’s intent as regarding to the flavor profile. While a roubsto might hit that mark in only weeks or a month.



2 replies

  1. I try not to suppress comments that are critical of me. Which this one is if you click on the link and go back to their entire review of the same cigar…and to the point of making fun of me.
    That’s OK. I’m a big boy and can take it. Especially, since I dish it out so I better not have a thin skin.
    Thanks Gar Talk for your comments.


  1. Room 101 Daruma Monstro cigar review – Gar Talk