Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Dominican Habano (Aged 7 Years)
Filler: Dominican Habano (Aged 7 Years)
Size: 5.25 x 54 “C Major”
Price: $13.50 MSRP
Today we take a look at the Aging Room Bin No. 1.
I scored a 4 pack of these for next to nothing. BestCigarPrices.com has a deal going that if you buy a box of Aging Room M356 cigars; you get a 20 count sampler for another $14.99:
“Aging Room Quattro F55 Vibrato (6×54) – Rated 94
Aging Room Bin #1 B Minor (6 1/8×52) – Rated 91
Bella Torres Robusto (5×52) – Rated 92
La Bohéme Pittore (5 1/8×52) – Rated 91
Aging Room Small Batch M356 Paco (4 1/2×48) – Rated 94”
So for a total of $159.00, I got 40 Aging Room Cigars for $3.78 per stick. Can’t beat that with a stick.
Also, the photo incorrectly shows the original M356 blend. It has been replaced by the newer M356ii. I will explain that in a moment.
From the Aging Room Cigars web site:
“This is the cigar you get when you blend some of the best, oldest and most limited tobacco in the world. Top 25 Cigars of 2014 Cigar Snob.”
This is a 2014 release that debuted at that year’s IPCPR trade show along with 3 other blends: M20 Fortissimo, La Bohéme, and Swag Black.
I spoke via email to Hank Bischoff. Hank is Rafael Nodal’s partner. I asked him what is up with the change of branding for the M356 to the M356ii. Here is what he said:
“Basically Phillip, it’s the M356ii is the same blend as the original M356. The original was our first Aging Room line and our first “Small Batch” production as well. The limiting factor on that blend was one of the Dominican filler leafs was limited in supply. We’d originally planned that when that leaf was gone the line would be “retired”. However, the line sold very well and we had a dilemma … retire it as planned or find a way to continue the blend. That being said, having been just a cigar lover before getting into the industry, I used to get pretty upset when I’d find a “favorite” cigar, only to find that over time, the cigar changed. Despite denials from retailers and manufacturers, I KNEW that blend changed … something in it changed. We didn’t want to repeat that with our line. So we’ve made the blend as close is humanly possible, replacing the original leaf no longer in our inventory, with a leaf from the same seed, grown in the same area of the same farm in the Dominican Republic; just from a subsequent harvest year. That’s why we kept the M356 and added the “ii”. It’s as close as it gets to the M356 blend, but it’s not the SAME. There is a difference between the two. Most smokers might not even pick up on the difference, but some would.
“Hope that clears it up a bit for you. The blend is all Dominican. That explanation was probably more than you bargained for, but it helps put things in context.”
Also, Hank said this:
“Rafael and I have been partners in cigars since 1999 when we opened a little retail cigar site while still working in Healthcare. What a long, strange trip it’s been indeed.”
Now that’s a mensch as I didn’t know Hank and he reached out to me: a complete stranger to clear things up. A stand-up guy to take the time.
A manufacturer that tells it like it is? Unheard of. I’m going to wait a bit and then review the M356ii in order to compare it to the original blend. Hank gave me his blessing on doing this. Again, a real mensch.
Cigar Aficionado’s rated the Aging Room Quattro F55 #2 Cigar of the Year. The number one cigar that beat out the F55 from being number one was a Cuban stick.
Nodal and Bischoff have a healthy relationship with Jochi Blanco who owns Tabacalera La Palma farm and factory.
The Bin No. 1 refers to the fact that Blanco’s farm had tobacco going back to 1999 and 2011. The tobacco transferred ownership from Blanco to Boutique Blends Cigars.
And why the musical references for the three sizes? Because Nodal is a fellow musician. A keys player. I like him immediately.
Boutique Blends have not made public the amount of boxes produced. Can’t be a regular production number as it is a small batch blend.
The large outer band is true art. Reminds me of the parchment paper used during the American Revolution. There are water marks on the band that make this cigar band one of the most gorgeous I’ve seen. Once removed, a regular cigar band is in place.
Amazingly, the large parchment paper band comes off easily. It is not glued, but rather taped. The tape just peeled off and exposing one of the darkest, oiliest cigars I’ve seen in a long time. The inside cigar band merely states its purpose with the same flourish as the outside cigar band.
The stick is packed solid with the right amount of give. Just a few veins. Very nice triple cap. But then would expect this from a $13.00 cigar, wouldn’t we?
In perusing the internet, I noticed that some online stores either got it wrong or there are two different quantity boxes being sold. The BBC web site shows a 20 count box.
SIZES AND PRICING: ($$$ refers to what most online stores are charging)
52 X 6.125: $12.60 MSRP ($11.30)
54 X 5.25: $13.50 MSRP ($12.10)
63 X 6.25: $14.75 MSRP ($13.10)
All in 20 count boxes.
From Hank Bischoff:
“The new Bin No 1 D Major will be an exception. It will be a box of 18 individual “coffins”. It’s a delicious 6 x 54 box pressed beauty.”
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
The shaft gives of aromas of chocolate, spice, candy sweetness, wood, earthiness, and cream.
The clipped cap and foot provide aromas of dark chocolate, spice, espresso, earthy tobacco, and sweetness.
The cold draw is all about the tobacco. An earthy blend of so dense that you can taste the soil. There is also a crazy taste of Jewish rye bread. We keep it in the house all the time. Our favorite bread. If it is made right. Not off the super market shelves but rather from a real baker.
The draw is solid. The first flavors are that of the rich tobacco essence. Followed by a blast of red pepper, sweetness, hazelnut, coffee, and chocolate.
The strength begins at a heavy medium body.
Oak and cedar pop up next. A dash of cinnamon and nutmeg join in. The sweetness remains generic for the moment.
The Aging Room Bin No. 1 is unlike any other AR blend I’ve smoked. And I do believe I’ve smoked them all. This blend has a very mature, Cuban-esque quality.
Which reminds me of my promise for Cuban Week. I had to give up. I wasn’t able to verify the years that the balance of the cigars came from. Not even close. And I couldn’t verify or confirm the blend name. That makes it impossible to accurately describe a Cuban blend if you don’t have a clue about it. The sweetie that gifted this to me told me that the sticks were a gift to him back in 2010 or so.
I did some research and just gave up. Records of Cuban cigars that old are difficult at best.
So I took my punishment by smoking one of them. And it was a dud. Would have made for a very disappointing review. It had aged too long and was super mild with little, or no, taste left in it. So the Katman’s karma is just fine thank you.
The Aging Room Bin No. 1 is delivering an adult portion of grown up flavors. I’ve smoked a few Cubans in my ** years on the planet. And this reminds me of a very strong Cohiba I bought in 2005. A friend managed to smuggle some Cubans into the country and he sold them to me of course. For the life of me, I can’t remember the blend name. But it started out very powerful that first year.
The Aging Room Bin No. 1 has a Cinnabon flavor to it. The creaminess, cinnamon, breadiness, and sweetness are delicious. But there is a savory side of spice, earthy tobacco, and Worcestershire sauce (barley malt vinegar, spirit vinegar, molasses, sugar, salt, anchovies, tamarind extract, onions, and garlic). Now, not all those ingredients are in this blend. What is in this blend are nuances of: molasses, sugar, salt, anchovies, tamarind, and garlic.
This explains the double digit pricing. A cigar for grownups with extremely sensitive palates. The earthy tobacco is very heavy in its attack. It almost upsets the apple cart of the flavor profile. I mean that comment as a positive one. A great cigar should be pummeling you with the taste of the tobacco leaves.
The creation of this blend was super detail oriented right down to the presentation. When I removed the billboard sized parchment paper cigar band it was all curled up. But with a minute’s worth of manipulation, I was able to completely flatten it out without having to lay something heavy on it. That impresses me.
The char line is a tad bit wavy but no need for touch up.
The sweet spot hits with a vengeance at this point: Vanilla, chocolate, coffee, rich cream, molasses, earthy tobacco, Worcestershire sauce, oak, cedar, caramel, dried fruit, rye bread, and something new that is really powerful but I can’t describe it yet.
This is a magnificent cigar blend. Really. Nothing I’ve smoked and reviewed lately comes close enough to even kiss the hem of the Aging Room Bin No. 1’s skirt.
Honest to God…this is the first cigar I’ve ever smoked that is this expensive and worth every shekel. In the hands of another manufacturer, this would be a $20 cigar. Peruse your cigar catalogs next time you’re on the pot and look at all the $18-$20 cigars and I’m telling you I’ve reviewed them all and not one comes close to the flavor profile of the Aging Room Bin No. 1. No shit.
Smoke time has been 35 minutes.
Complexity has settled in.
It was a dark and stormy night last night and has continued into today. It is almost like sunset outside due to storm clouds. I’m using my lighting set up but pure unadulterated sun would have been better.
The strength has ratcheted back some and is now classic medium body. Not a lick of nicotine. (I’ve jinxed it, haven’t I?)
The long slow burn is wonderful.
Oh lawdy, lawdy, Miss Clawdy. Sweet Spot 2.0. Just an explosion of bold flavors.
I get a black licorice element. Small but not insignificant.
Man, I’d love to own a box of these cigars. I love the choice of sizes. Something for everyone. The cigar I am smoking is my favorite size. Yes, I do love Coronas for their intensity but they are over too quickly.
The Aging Room Bin No. 1 has all the components of a Corona’s flavor intensity in a slow roll smoke.
Gotta give props to Rafael Nodal and Hank Bischoff.
Smoke time has been 50 minutes.
The purchase of the 20 count M356ii with the add on of the 20 count sampler is probably the smartest purchase I’ve ever made. I know you are laughing at me.
I stupidly smoked an Aging Room Bin No. 1 too soon and completely wasted it. That left 3. Then today’s review leaves 2. I shall cherish them and allow them to suckle on Charlotte’s breast.
Still a kitchen sink blend but some of the myriad of flavors have disappeared.
The strength has changed to medium/full with a little bit of nicotine.
I perused other reviews and the description of the strength was all over the place. I believe the Aging Room web site says it is full bodied. But I saw reviews saying it is medium in body. Truth be told, it is an ever changing strength.
The Aging Room Bin No. 1 needs its first minor touch up.
I’ve used the term “Cigar Experience” a lot in prior reviews. Maybe with a touch of being too cavalier with that statement. The Aging Room Bin No. 1 is the pure definition of those two words.
AR makes a house blend for BCP called Bella Torres. It is a value priced cigar around $3.00 per stick. If you go to BCP, you will find that most are out of stock. So clearly, this is a popular cigar. I had one last night and found it to be very good but needs more humidor time.
Strength hits full body. No nicotine. Huzzah!
The spiciness returns and nearly moves to the front of the flavor profile list.
This may be a first for me. This is a brilliantly blended cigar by people obsessed with a passion for fine cigars. If you can afford them, well..God bless you. If you are like me and have a wife overseeing every cigar purchase, I highly recommend snagging the 20 count Aging Room Top Rated Sampler for $60.00.
I do believe a miracle has been performed. A very strong cigar with little, or no, nicotine.
Final smoke time is around 90 minutes.
Worth every dime. Can I afford paying $12.10? Hell no. But that 20 count sampler that came from BCP can also be had on its own for $60. That is crazy considering the list of cigars it contains. The price of the four Aging Room Bin No. 1 nearly makes the cost of the sampler. BCP hit one out of the park.
From the BCP web site about the Aging Room Top Rated Sampler:
“Treat yourself to 20 amazingly tasty; top-shelf smokes from Aging Room cigars at an unprecedented discount in our Aging Room Top Rated Sampler. Featuring highly rated Boutique Blends cigars including Bin No. 1, La Bohéme, and the Quattro F55, this fine assortment of Aging Room smokes is yours for only $59.99 ( a whopping $174.44 off MSRP!!), OR just $14.99 with any qualifying Aging Room box purchase!”
And now for something completely different:
Any of you old enough to remember the folk music phase in the 1950’s and 1960’s? As an old fart, I was there and played 5 string banjo.
My teacher was famed Nitty Gritty Dirt Band banjo player, John McEuen. At my last private class, he told me he was letting me go to join the Dirt Band. They were really big in the 60’s with a couple of hits. I went to high school with their blues harp player. He got kicked out of school in his senior year for sporting long hair.
OK. Meandering has a point. Do you remember the New Christy Minstrels? They were huge with lots of hits. The movie “A Mighty Wind”, by Christopher Guest, made fun of them in the flick. They were this huge, squeaky clean 9 piece band. A neuftet. LOL.
Will Teague was one of the original members of the NCM. And back in the early 80’s, he formed his own band called The Will Teague Band. His son and daughter were in it and one of the kid’s friends who played killer guitar. Will wrote a ton of beautiful, hooky songs. He decided to record an album in my studio. He was a bitter guy as he watched all of his compatriots move on to stardom in other big rock groups.
He insisted on doing everything his way. He had absolutely no idea of what the current music scene was. And hence, he was doing it back asswards.
The rhythm section was left out and to be recorded when they were done. You always record the rhythm section first and then layer on top of it. Otherwise, you have no time keepers.
They hired me to play bass. Will asked me to get them a good drummer.
Will almost shit a brick when he saw Hal Blaine walk in the door. I hired a good friend, Steve Hodges, to provide a drum kit for Hal to play on. Steve Hodges went on to play with everyone, including the Fabulous Thunderbirds.
I played all of the songs back to Hal. He made copious notes. We had 15 tunes. Hal read his charts as we recorded. He only needed to do it once.
And after the first three songs, he came into the booth and was blunt as hell. He told Will that their sense of rhythm was horrible and he would have to perform magic to bring the song together so it sounded cohesive. Will’s face fell. I reminded him that I told him not to do this; or at least use a click track so they would play in time. But noooooooo…..
Hal went back into the studio, put his cans on, and twirled his finger telling me to roll tape. Yes, back then we used 3” recording tape. No computers. All analog.
It took him less than an hour to play, and complete, three songs.
The Teague Family clapped like crazy when they listened to the play back. I just smiled. And Hal gave me a sly wink.
This went on for a week. Hal got paid $200. LOL. He did this as a favor to me. He turned down huge paying session work that week to do my project. What a pal!
The Teagues paid me $500 to play bass.
Owning your own studio has lots of perks. Like adding my bass lines when I was alone.
I would come into the studio around 9pm and sit in the booth with my bass and alone with the recording gear. I would plug my bass direct, meaning no amp was used. I got a really nice tone that way. No boom. And with a 24 track board, I could really manipulate my sound.
It took me a week to finish my parts. I would record into the wee hours of the night. Sometimes til 5am. I was focused big time. The songs were very complex with a ton of chord changes and it was up to me to come up with my own lines. I did some of my finest playing on that album. I pretended to be Joe Osborne….Hal’s partner in crime who was part of the famous L.A. Wrecking Crew. I was melodic and I was in the groove and I was in the pocket. And if I goofed up, I just ran the tape back and did it again.
It took a week because I was still running a recording studio 7 days a week. I had to sleep sometime.
I kept Hal’s charts as a collectible. They probably have no value to anyone else but me but it takes me back to a time when I was Hal’s partner. And the memory that the great Hal Blaine was my friend.
And as a final slap in the face to Will, I told him I would mix a song the way I thought it should be mixed. It was dynamite and the kids loved it. But not Will. He was stuck in a prehistoric time where the drums and bass were way in the background.
I provided a stunning example of what his music should sound like and he rejected it.
He mixed the whole album himself. I was so frustrated with his naïveté that I couldn’t be in the booth while he screwed up the sound. He even put the incredible Hal Blaine’s drums into the background.
I still have a cassette of all the songs. I did most of my recording with Hal doing sessions in L.A. and didn’t have copies.
Hal also did other projects for me. Always taking $200.
But the Will Teague project is the only proof of me playing with Hal that I still have almost 30 years after the fact. I’m very proud of that. One day, I will have that cassette transferred to CD. But first pay someone to tweak the sound so it sounded like it was modern sounding.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS