Room 101 Series Black Scale | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Honduran Maduro Corojo 2006
Binder: Nicaraguan 2009
Filler: Dominican, Honduran, Mexican, Brazilian
Size: 6 x 60 “Gordo”
Body: Full
Price: $9.00 MSRP (Big price reduction sale: 5 Pack $22.50/Single $6.00-Deal ends 12-31-2015 and then goes back to original $9.00 price point)

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Today we take a look at the Room101 Series Black Scale. Available only at Atlantic Cigar Co.

BACKGROUND:
From the Atlantic Cigar Co. web site:
“Room 101 Series Black Scale is another knockout from the daring minds at Davidoff and Camacho Cigars. The Black Scale is specially blended from mastermind Matt Booth; using specialty aged tobaccos delivering complexity and boldness from the huge Davidoff war chest of tobacco inventory. The wrapper was grown in 2006, and only top primings are used in this outstanding blend, then fermented using an uncommon “press-fermentation” process where additional weight is added to the aging piles. This raises the internal temperatures of the fermenting tobacco. The wrapper was then given extra time to rest and the result is a dark, sweet and rich leaf with a ton of oil. For the rest of the blend, a binder from 2009 and fillers from 2003, 2008 and 2009 were chosen to round out the complex and flavorful profile in this small batch production line. Grab your 5-pack today, additional sizes in the works, so don’t miss out on these killer cigars from one of the boldest cigar makers in the world.”

Sold only by Singles or Five Packs.
Factory: Agroindustria LAEPE S.A., Honduras

I found an interesting article on the Cigar.com forum. In a nutshell, the writer has proven to me that this is the Camacho Blackout re-packaged as the Room 101 Series Black Scale. Take a gander.

This too is from the Atlantic Cigar Co. web site about the Camacho Blackout:
“Camacho Blackout Limited Edition is another knockout from the daring minds at Camacho Cigars. The Blackout is what happens when you take Camacho’s signature complexity and boldness and add in a heap of super aged tobaccos. The wrapper was grown in 2006. It was picked from top primings and fermented using an uncommon “press-fermentation” process where additional weight is added to the aging piles. This raises the internal temperatures of the fermenting tobacco. The wrapper was then given extra time to rest and the result is a dark, sweet and rich leaf with a ton of oil. For the rest of the blend, a binder from 2009 and fillers from 2003, 2008 and 2009 were chosen to round out the complex and flavorful profile.

“On top of using all those aged tobaccos to roll the Blackout, these special stogies were rested an additional 2 years before going to market, a process that normally only lasts a few months. Camacho went all out on these cigars, and their hard work and patience is your reward. Don’t miss out on these killer cigars from one of the boldest cigar makers in the world.”

Notice any similarities? The leaf stats are exactly the same for both blends. The only difference is the price. The Camacho is $12.50 while the Room 101 is $9.00. Only $4.50 per stick if you buy them before the end of the year.
Man, that’s ballsy.

I reviewed the Camacho Blackout (February 22, 2014) and while I wasn’t rating cigars back then, based on my review, I would have only given it an 85.
So let’s see if the Room 101 Series Black Scale rings my bell.

DESCRIPTION:
A redwood tree…a log…a 300lb man’s turd. This is a big cigar. I’ve had them a couple months and have not smoked a single one. Smart, right? So this will be a surprise to me…no matter the outcome.
Half oily/half matte finish. All depending on how the light hits it. Seams are tight. Lots of veins; both big and small. The stick feels like a log. Sturdy and firm; yet gives a bit when squeezed.
The wrapper is the color of chocolate syrup.
The double cigar bands are meant to look menacing. All black and silver. (Go Raiders!).

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell cherries, spice, cocoa, coffee, cedar, strong raisins, and malt.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell strong spice, barnyard, dark chocolate, espresso, cherries, and cedar.
The cold draw presents flavors of spice, dark cocoa, coffee, raisins, floral notes, peppermint, licorice, and cedar.

FIRST THIRD:
Takes a couple minutes to toast the foot. Fortunately, I saw little, or none, imperfections so fingers crossed I have no burn issues. I let the cigar rest for a couple minutes.
The Camacho Blackout gave me a lot of construction problems. I really do hope this isn’t a re-packaging of that brand/blend.

For such a big cigar, the draw is a little too air for my taste.

Nice flavors to start: Chocolate, creaminess, malts, spice, black cherries, floral notes, and wood.
I expected a higher level of spice attack than the Room101 Series Black Scale allows.

The big foot needs a touch up so it doesn’t get away from me.
This is a big smoker. Filling the room with a deadly cloud of nicotine and black cherry.
While the flavors remain a subtle nuance profile, I’m happily surprised at the diversity of flavors it pours out from the start.

4

Strength is medium/full.

The Room101 Series Black Scale is on a path to annoy me with a constant wavy burn line that just won’t be corrected.

Cherries show up. So does the peppermint. The malts are screaming laughter. And the chocolate creaminess is downright delicious. Only thing missing is the proper balance of spiciness. Thankfully, the strength helps dispel the disappointment. I’m sure it will show up in the last half.

I’m getting a little burned out listening to only The Beatles. So I change it up. I find “The Best of Miles Davis” on Spotify. Smooth Daddy-O.

I played a lot of jazz in the late 80’s. Had a trio of drums, piano and me on bass. Strictly using my electric upright. We would spend Sundays playing all day. It was bliss. I think we even got a few gigs. Can’t remember.

Transitions are beginning. The Room101 Series Black Scale is becoming a very nice blend. Smooth but strong. Flavors full of boldness and subtlety. Beautiful balance. A wonderful finish.
I’m impressed. This reads nothing like my Camacho Blackout review that I wrote in February of 2014. Almost two years ago.

And to commemorate that review, I shall use the same 1970’s rock story as I did then. Loyal readers have seen this story a couple of times.
Damn. The Room101 Series Black Scale goes out.

I like the Room101 Series Black Scale. The spiciness is returning faster than expected and some of the nuanced flavors come out from hiding: caramel, marzipan, and a nice twist of root beer (Vanilla, wintergreen, cherry tree bark, licorice root, sarsaparilla root, nutmeg, acacia, anise, molasses, cinnamon, and honey.) The root beer seems to be the main flavor point this blend was heading towards from the start.

I’m a little flummoxed about the conspiracy theory that the Room101 Series Black Scale is merely a re-packaged Camacho Blackout. My experience with the Blackout wasn’t very good. But I have no idea how long I allowed it to humidor rest. Nor do I remember my humidification resources.

So far, this is nothing like the Camacho Blackout. So I now dismiss the conspiracy theory. The Room101 Series Black Scale stands on its own….like the cheese.

But the case made by the Cigar.com forum contributor is a strong one. So who really knows? Having made friends with a lot of cigar biz folks, I no longer put anything past them in terms of a sneak attack. Not my friends, of course. Or we wouldn’t be friends.

Technically, based on the leaf stats and the description of the Blackout, this is the same cigar.
I should go back and delete that foolishness but it makes for interesting reading. Maybe it was Professor Plum and Colonel Mustard, in the library, that shot JFK.

I don’t like Gordos. They just take forever to smoke. At least 2-1/2 hours if you smoke correctly and not huff it down like you would from a Whipped Cream can.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 40 minutes.
Lovely, lovely cigar blend. I was prepared not to like it because I’m not much of a Room 101 fan. The Johnny Tobacconaut was a disaster. The Master Collections should have been called the Newbie Collections. The Daruma line was OK.
The only blend I really like is the Room 101 Serie San Andrés.

I’ve reviewed 14 different Room 101 blends.
Things are picking up now. The pepper is very strong and satisfying now.

5third

The flavor profile is becoming very bold and out there: Chocolate, creaminess, spice, coffee, caramel, marzipan, root beer (Vanilla, wintergreen, cherry tree bark, licorice root, sarsaparilla root, nutmeg, acacia, anise, molasses, cinnamon, and honey.

The ingredients to root beer are all there and accounted for. I believe I reviewed one other cigar with heavy root beer influence but no idea what it was.

The only real annoyance is the constant need for correcting the burn line. I don’t know how much I am fixing it so I can give you a nice photo or how much is really needed when just peacefully smoking the thing.

Other than that, no construction issues. No cracks in the wrapper. No errant seams. Very nicely rolled…except for the rat bastard burn issues which I attribute to the level of rollers used.

Another thing. If Atlantic can afford to sell the Room101 Series Black Scale at half price for a month; to me it means they aren’t moving. Most experienced smokers don’t care for Gordos. They tend to go to the smaller cigar. I think the Corona Gorda is the most popular with robusto following right behind and the Toro after that.

I bet if the Room101 Series Black Scale were available in a robusto or corona gorda, I’d be seeing some very intense flavors. But I did read that if this blend took off, Matt Booth would add other sizes. I think it was a dumb move to start with a giant Gordo. Inexperienced smokers like the big cigars.

Halfway point. Smoke time is one hour 5 minutes.
The Room101 Series Black Scale is very complex now. It is also made the jump to full body.

6half

The Room101 Series Black Scale is a truly satisfying smoke. And now, I highly recommend it. But you better move fast if you choose to buy some. At $4.50 a piece, this is a steal. Way better than paying $9.00 per stick. So you have til December 31 to make your mind up. At this lower price, you can buy two 5 packs for the price of one until January 1.

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LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is one hour 40 minutes.

We are finally getting our first real winter snow fall since last winter. It started an hour ago. Charlotte has this deep fear of driving in the snow. But now that we have this behemoth Chevy Silverado with 4 wheel drive, she is fear-free. This was the first snowless Christmas since we moved to Wisconsin in 2007.

The Room101 Series Black Scale is super smooth. Especially for a full body smoke. So far, no nicotine.
Loads of transitions.
Each puff creates a festival of flavor.

If I had the dough, I would snag some at the currently low price. But since I didn’t smoke one prior to the review, I still have four sticks left. So I’m happy. The only thing harkens back to the size. This Gordo requires over 2 hours of your attention. And I have a short attention span. But the Room101 Series Black Scale never becomes boring. So that’s very cool.

Nicotine hits hard. Oy vay.

I watch through the dining room window as the snow falls and I think I’m beginning to hallucinate. Well, at least it didn’t start til about 1-1/2” left.

8third

The root beer qualities really make the cigar. But on top is the creaminess and chocolate. And the spice has its pedal to the metal. Black pepper.
I keep forgetting that when I am at the market to buy white pepper. I have no idea what that tastes like and so many reviewers refer to that spice.

I have only one criticism: the burn line. It never really takes off but I must attend to it every few minutes to make sure it doesn’t canoe on me.
You gotta try some. And make sure you tell Atlantic the Katman sent you.
Remember. For only the next 3+ days, you can snag these at half price.

RATING: 91

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And now for something completely different:
1974

I was at George Martin’s (The Beatles’ producer) recording studio, AIR Studios, in London participating in the mixing from the 1974 “Curved Air Live” album. For those of you who know, and for those that don’t….half the fun of recording an album is just hanging in the control booth watching and listening to the exciting mix of the music. It beats staying home and watching TV. You never know who you will run in to. Plus, they feed you.

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Since it was a live album, the recording was finished. Now it was just watching the producer and engineer mix it. At age 24, I didn’t have any producing experience yet; so this was pretty much Alice looking through the Looking Glass. I asked a lot of questions which annoyed the producer who was a real schmuck.

I kept telling him that he was mixing the bass line old school. In the background. He hadn’t caught up with the times, especially from the likes of the jazz fusion bands breaking through in America. I played well and I wanted to be able to hear it pounding away. He kept telling me to be patient which was his way of saying, “Get away from me boy, you’re bothering me.”

After the album had been released, I ran into our producer at some club. The first thing he said to me was: “You were right. I should have had the bass more upfront.”
I thought: “You rat bastard fuck face cock sucker.”

I am proud to say that while the others in the band had to come in, and spend hours, to overdub their mistakes, I had one single dub. One note. Just one note had to be fixed on a live recording. The others gave me the stink eye because I sat back and watched them struggle with placing new notes on an already recorded song. Timing had to be perfect. Sort of like lip syncing.

I was the new member. And I played some very complicated bass lines. So my near perfection caused some temporary jealousy. I had only been with the band two weeks before we took off on the road. And the live album was recorded over two gigs in the first week of the tour. I feared I’d become self-conscious and play a ton of clams. But the music took me away on a magic carpet ride and I lived in the moment…playing my ass off. I literally led the band during a couple songs where there were very long improv segments in the middle of the tunes.

Air Studio had two studios in the same location. Next to each other. While we were using Studio B, Pete Townshend was using Studio A to mix the movie soundtrack to the movie, “Tommy.”

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One late night, Sonja and I were sitting on the floor with our backs against one of the plush sofas. We had just smoked a doob and were conversing about life. The sofa was in the farthest location from the door. And the room was huge. George Martin spared no dough in making this booth a plush living room.

I noticed the door opening, about 20 feet away, and looked up. The studio was dimly lit. For mood, I guess. Helps with the artistry.

In walks a man who I can’t quite make out. As he looks our way, he heads toward us. The closer he came, the more my jaw dropped. It was Pete Townshend coming over for a visit with Sonja. Curved Air was a legendary band in Europe from the late 60’s to the late 70’s. And Pete and Sonja were good friends.
Pete was thin. Very thin. I later found out that this was the period in his life where he did a lot of heroin.

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He sat down next to Sonja making it a Sonja sandwich. They hugged and exchanged kisses. I was close to shitting myself. I didn’t blink or take a breath.

Now if you want to be taken seriously in any business, you must act natural at meeting anyone of note or your presence is ignored, so I did my best to be cool. Be a peer, not a fan.

A minute or two in, Sonja nodded in my direction and introduced me to Pete. We shook hands. I was literally shaking. I muttered something unintelligible. Clicks and whistles.

We sat there for a couple of hours, rolling and lighting one joint after another. I normally did not chain smoke joints. But in the presence of greatness, one did not say “Sorry. I’ve had enough.”
Before long, all three of us were laughing like idiots and Pete told Sonja that he thought I was an all-right chap. Before the Alzheimer’s took root, I was a very funny guy. Especially, when I was young.

Pete got to listen to my playing on the play back in the studio and when he felt it was time to leave, he stood above me, shook my hand, and asked if I wanted to jam tomorrow night?

Of course, I said yes and told him I would make sure our drummer, Stewart Copeland, was there.

I barely slept or ate in the next 24 hours in anticipation. Back then, long distance calls to America were really expensive. But I didn’t care and called every friend I could think of to tell them what was about to happen.

The night came and we played for countless hours. Time had no meaning except when we stopped to light one up. We were in their little side studio of Studio A (8 x 10) and I was touching distance to Keith Moon’s drums, John Entwistle’s basses, and a mic stand belonging to Roger Daltrey with a schmata/scarf wrapped around the shaft. But the band hadn’t even come into the studio that day. They were fabulously rich and didn’t need to hang out in the studio for fun.

We didn’t play one Who song. We just jammed. And because I was into the jazz fusion scene which really hadn’t made it the English shores quite yet, I had the responsibility of providing pounding Stanley Clarke-like riffs for us to woodshed on.

At one point, he teased us with the offer to produce our next album, which never happened. My only regret was that while tape was running the whole time, I never asked for a copy.

I was in the mode of: “I will always be in the music biz and this was only the start.”
The strange musings of a naïve 24 year old.

I’m no longer a minor rock star, but boy, do I cherish those memories!

ca label

CURVED-AIR-LIVE-BACK

That’s me on the far left with the cool fro:
curvedair use this one

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