Room 101 The Big Payback | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 5 x 50 “Chavala”
Body: Medium
Price: $4.95



Today we take a look at the new Room 101-The Big Payback. It is so new that barely any information can be found on this blend. The Room 101 web site is more concerned with selling jewelry than expounding on its new blends.

Chavala: 5 x 50 $4.95
Hueso: 6 x 60 $5.95
Culero: 7 x 70 $6.95

The Chavala and Hueso are packaged in 50 count boxes while the Culero is packaged in 30 count boxes.

I don’t understand the trend to produce ginormous ring gauges. I just don’t get it. But it appears to be popular or they wouldn’t be manufactured. Yet, if you go to online stores, you find that the smaller ring gauges are out of stock but there are plenty of the 6 x 60 and bigger sticks.

The prior Room 101 cigars are a little pricier than this one and I wonder if Matt Booth is treading into the Hansotia/Patel territory of cranking out inexpensive cigars with a lot of flash and dazzle but with little substance.

I’m sure there is an absolutely incredible story behind this cigar but honestly, I don’t care. Another trend is to have a convoluted back story about the blender and the cigar’s roots which always bore me to death. No one cares except the blender. Some sort of “Look how interesting and creative I am” syndrome.

After my discount, I paid $4.50 per stick at Small Batch Cigar. $22.50 for a 5 pack. And who the hell is going to pay $300 for a box of 6 x 60 Huesos? What is Matt Booth thinking? Or $250 for the robustos? Or $210 for the giant red wood log? No one.

If the man had any thoughts about the smoking budgets of most smokers, instead of being wrapped up in his jewelry business, he could have been smart about this and sold the cigars in 10 count boxes. They’d sell like crazy. He is listening to the wrong people.

The cigar has the standard Room 101 cigar band but in addition has a large foot band declaring the name of the blend with the face logo.

To be blunt, the cigar looks like crap. It is very light in the hand. It is lumpy and bumpy. The double cap construction is atrocious and sloppy. There are giant veins. It’s only positive construction point is that seams are invisible.

I clip the cap and find aromas of sweetness, citrus, cocoa, spice, and some earthiness.
Time to light up.

The draw is good. Lots of smoke. And a sort of barnyard taste to start things off. But quickly saved by some cocoa elements. The citrus really pops and brings out other flavors: Wood, leather, spice, and sweetness.

Immediately, the char line makes a run for the border. Not a good sign, not a good sign. If the stick were jam packed instead of light in the loafers, this probably wouldn’t be happening. I fear I will be spending half my time typing and the other half fixing the char line. Drat!

And then Michael the Archangel swoops down to save this stick from being totally mediocre. A swath of creaminess is painted across my palate. And a huge dose of red pepper just appears out of nowhere. It is so spicy, the tip of my tongue burns.

Well, thank you baby Jesus! After 1-1/4” is burned the cigar begins to form some character. The burn line is still the shits, but the flavors improve exponentially. If I have to keep rectifying the char line, this will be my first 15 minute Robusto.

Here are the flavors of the Room 101 “The Big Payback”: Spice, creaminess, cocoa, citrus, espresso, cedar, sweetness, earthiness, and leather.

This is actually turning out to be a very nice cigar. So shame on me Uncle Katman for dissing it before smoking it. Although, the lack of enough tobacco and the burn issues remove it from being a cigar I can recommend. I did read a couple other reviews prior to starting mine and both said they had the same problems with burn issues. So it ain’t just me, babe.

The cigar does seem to be burning exceptionally fast. Burn issues or not….

I noticed that the foot band is made from some sort of cheap paper stock that is only visible in my photos. At first, it seemed to be cigar dust and then I thought the paper had little sparkles in it. But now, I just think it is crappy paper. You judge.

I passed the second third and find myself at the halfway point. I’ve only been smoking this stick for 20 minutes. A good robusto should give you a 90 minute smoke. That is…if there is tobacco in it.

Booth got the flavors right but skimped badly on the tobacco issue. In order to provide an inexpensive cigar, he cheated. Did he think no one would notice? God complex. He should have been a doctor.

The cigar is absolutely delicious. The strength has been classic medium bodied since the start. Right on the money.

It’s a shame that the Room 101 “The Big Payback” was so poorly constructed because it has lots of character and complexity. And a very long finish.

Caramel is the newest flavor.

I am nearing the start of the last third and the flavor profile is burning on all 6 cylinders.

The sun has been out from my very first photo. And it shows a nice mottling on the wrapper that isn’t evident in standard lighting.

Here are the flavors for the last time: Creaminess, citrus, caramel, sweetness, cocoa, cedar, espresso, spice, and leather. The red pepper has just about vanished.

The Room 101 “The Big Payback” shows the talent and skills of Matt Booth but lets me down on the flimsy construction. There is no way I would recommend this cigar. It’s a shame because it is a wonderfully flavorful cigar. But the constant fixing of the char line is annoying and uncalled for.

But then I must remember this is not a high premium cigar. Just a knock around stick.

With its discount, Small Batch Cigar seems to be the best place to buy from except for one thing: The selection. They only have two sizes; both the big ones. The robustos must be sold out. See, I told you.

But then again, based on this cigar’s construction, a 7 x 70 might only take an hour to smoke.
I finish up the smoke and I spent 45 minutes with it. Should have been twice as long.

The balance has been perfect. And no sign of nicotine.

The price point of $5 is on point. But would I purchase some? No. Again, this is just an attempt by Matt Booth to produce an inexpensive cigar that would impress experienced palates but piss off the smoker with its construction problems. Unless they tune it up and put more tobacco in the cigar, it won’t last long and you will see it in the close out aisles within a year.

Speaking of close outs….my dear Charlotte allowed me to dip into the kid’s wedding savings and I bought a box of the old Camacho Corojos from Holt’s Cigars. According to Holt’s, they bought up all the old Camachos. I checked around and other online stores may carry some but at twice the price of Holt’s. I paid $60 for 20 sticks. They also have the Coyolar which I plan to buy the first of the month.

So as the Room 101 “The Big Payback” fades into obscurity in my mind, I bid you dear readers, adieu.
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7 replies

  1. I prefer a toro size cigar but there are a few 60 rings I’ll smoke, El Rey del Mundo “Ronco” & the Muy Bueso for instance, but 70 RG is wayyy out there.
    I think the $300 + box of cigars is common now, no?… there’s more $$ selling 5 packs so what’s the incentive??
    My problem with lightly packed cigars is that I tend to smoke fast in the first place and that leads to a hot, bitter smoke in a loosely packed cigar.
    To be honest, I just don’t see how to spend $5/$6 on a smoke and justify it’s short-comings because it’s a “knock-around”… I’ll smoke Pinoleros or San Lotanos or Tres Reynas or OC Choppers, etc. at $4 a pop and die happy (and with a little $ left over for a party for friends).

  2. Thanks for the heads up on Holts Phil, grabbed the Corojo and Coyolar! 😀

    • I dry boxed my Corojos over night and just put them into my humidor. What a difference from the “Bold” Camacho cigars.
      These sticks have some real heft and the construction is perfect.
      Now all I need is patience.
      Thank God that most cigar smokers love the new bold Camacho and could care less about the good stuff. I’m not worried that they will be gone by the first of the month and I plan to snag the Coyolars. In a perfect world, I’d buy two boxes of each but then my wife would kill me.

  3. Looks like Room 101 are committing commercial suicide, or have decided the FDA is going to ban cigars entirely. My wife wants to know if you have any idea when Gucci are releasing their new Nicaraguan puro.