Aging Room M19 Fortissimo | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Dominican Habano seed
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: 5.75 x 47 Preferido (Box Pressed)
Strength: Full
Price: $13.90 MSRP (As little as $4.40 on Cbid)



Today we take a look at the Aging Room M19 Fortissimo.
Aging Room spells it Ffortissimo…insisting this is the correct way. Wrong. The above spelling is correct. Ask any musician.

From Aging Rooms web site:
“Not for the novice smoker”. Tobacco aged over 14 years.
“The M19 is the 2015 Edition of the Aging Room Ffortissimo series – limited to 20,000 cigars.”

Only 20,000 cigars and released mid-2015 and they are still available everywhere online. This does not bode well for its popularity.

From Famous Smoke:
“Aging Room Small Batch M19 Fortissimo cigars are part of an annual limited edition release from Rafael Nodal’s Boutique Blends that debuted in 2013. This selection is the third installment from this small batch production series, which has been hailed for its outstanding, full-bodied flavor profile.

“The cigars are blended with Dominican long-filler tobaccos aged over 14 years and rolled to 5¾” x 47 perfectos that are box-pressed in high-priming Habano wrappers. Presented in boxes of 10 cigars, the total production for the Aging Room Small Batch M19 Fortissimo was 20,000 cigars for a total of only 2,000 boxes.

“You may notice that Fortissimo is spelled “ffortisimo” on the box, which is the musical term for “loud.”

The wrapper is a very oily chocolate/mocha tone.
The construction is most impressive with a sharp box press, smooth as silk to the touch, invisible seams, almost no veins showing, a snappy pig tail and nipple foot…and packed to the hilt beautifully without hard or soft spots.

From the shaft, I can smell a lovely floral note, milk chocolate, spice, caramel, raisins, cedar, creamy coffee, a slight touch of licorice, and roasted nuts.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell dark chocolate, strong coffee, red pepper, caramel, dried fruit, cinnamon, nuts, a touch of barnyard, and a stronger touch of licorice.

The cold draw presents flavors of salted roasted nuts, black pepper, dark chocolate, cinnamon, raisins, licorice, clove and cardamom, green bell pepper, and caramel.
Nice start.

I finally found the right words to describe the difference between seeking out flavors and aromas for a review cigar as opposed to just enjoying your first cigar of the day. With a good cigar, your duty is to enjoy it. With a review cigar, it is my duty to dissect it like an autopsy. If I am smoking a cigar for sheer enjoyment, I do it for the whole experience without becoming an archaeologist. I know this sounds crazy but when I review a cigar I find it very taxing and exhausting in the attempt to find the blender’s intent. After over 3 hours of writing, smoking, and taking photos, I’m fucking exhausted.
OK. Enough of this fol de rol. On with getting everything wrong…

Lighting a nipple is a real pain in the ass so I trim it back a bit. (I still fuck up the burn a bit but then…so what.)
Damn. I got it right for the first time in ages. Huzzah!

The draw begins a little tight due to the nipple formation…but as it burns away, the draw opens up nicely.
Flavors rush to the forefront elbowing each other like buyers do to each other on Black Friday after Thanksgiving.

Out of the gate first is the extremely potent black pepper. Here come the tears.
A swath of creaminess coats my palate like taking a bite of fine N.Y. cheesecake.
Chocolate and dark coffee move into a juxtaposition of perfect harmony. Spicy cinnamon enters and creates a conglomerate of spiciness.

Layers keep piling on like a flaky French pastry. Or baklava.
Sweetness appears the aegis of golden and black raisins. (Do you have a Trader Joe’s nearby? They have this most decadent combination of jumbo black, red, and golden raisins that is like pure manna to the senses.)

Ritz crackers. That salty, sweet, and buttery flavor amalgam came out of right field.

Strength starts out at medium/full. My head shall spin like Linda Blair before I’m done. Hold the guacamole.

The nuttiness is a little more forensic. I taste raw sweet cashews, marzipan, and hazelnuts. (I should have gotten a job in the county morgue weighing organs.)

I have no luck keeping a box press of any type on course. For some reason; the construction obviously, this little baby is burning perfectly.


Just before the second third begins, I get a blast of Suzy Creamcheese. The black pepper is really strong. I’m very impressed with the fact that these 20,000 cigars have been on the market for about 18 months and the flavor profile and strength have maintained their integrity.
I get my first burn issue so I correct it.

Smoke time is 25 minutes.

The Aging Room M19 Fortissimo is behaving nicely but something is missing. Transitions are not in sync with the universe as they should by now. Complexity is also a bit under the weather.

It seems that the blend has just barely missed the big picture of what a $14 cigar should be. Maybe that’s why I was able to get 3 sticks for $4.40 each on Cbid.
Word of mouth.

This cigar is everywhere online. For such a limited release, they should have been gone within 6 months at the most.

The Aging Room folks don’t say what part of the cigar’s tobacco is aged 14 years. Any time I read something like that it makes me very skeptical.

There is a slight harshness with each puff. It gains strength as the cigar choogles along.
It is getting in the way of the bright and sunny flavor profile.

Sure…advertising 14 years of age on some of the tobacco is a real PR selling point and the reason that Aging Room can sell this stick for $14.


All that aging should make this blend smooth…yet it’s not. I’ve had these sticks in my humidor for 2 months. So no excuses for insufficient rest.

I read other reviews that came out right after the cigar was released and they all loved it. What am I missing here?

Strength is very full at this point. Since the manufacturer provided no info on the leaf stats, it is impossible to detect the problem. Too much ligero? Not a perfect melding among the different tobaccos?
Or could it be that this is a Dominican puro…not my favorite.

I gave the Aging Room Small Batch Pelo De Oro an 85 rating. I gave the Aging Room Quattro F59 a 90 rating. I gave the Aging Room Bin No. 1 high marks. I gave the Aging Room Small Batch M21 high marks. And I gave the Aging Room Small Batch M356 just an OK rating.

It appears that over the years, as the Aging Room blends got more expensive, I liked them less…except for the $14 Bin No. 1.

I smoked an Aging Room M19 Fortissimo about a month ago and it smoked the same way so I figured more humidor time was in order. But it seems nothing has changed.

The stick goes out on me and when I put it to my mouth for relight, I can taste a mild bitterness.


I do believe I have solved the puzzle of why there are still plenty of limited edition Aging Room M19 Fortissimos are still on the market.
There are no transitions and zero complexity.
Flavors are hiding in a cave in Afghanistan.
This bums me out.

Clearly, the smoking community has spoken. The blend is overpriced and underqualified.
What a grand start it had. Only to disintegrate halfway through.

Bitterness joins the harshness.
I should have known something was up when I paid so little for this blend.

And then the Red Sea parts and the disingenuous roughness begins to dissipate and flavors start their long climb back to redemption.
What a conundrum. Over an inch of this blend was disappointing. It veered off the road and over the cliff.
Like a light switch, the blend is back to normal exhibiting its original flavor profile.
This incident will cost the Aging Room M19 Fortissimo points.

Smoke time is one hour 5 minutes.

Well, the blend is back on track.
I’m finally experiencing transitions and complexity begins.
Too little, too late?

Vitamin N kicks in on this very strong blend.
Those wonderful early flavors return. Black pepper is the dominant force.
I have no idea why the Aging Room M19 Fortissimo went off the tracks.

List of current flavors: Extreme spiciness, creaminess, chocolate, cinnamon, nuts, sweetness, dried fruit, and strong espresso.

All of the reviews I read listed just a tiny handful of flavors. No more than 5 or 6. Yet the stick was given high ratings. I must be pessimistic and wonder if the relationship between the reviewer and Rafael Nodal was at stake.

Even with the return of normalcy, the blend becomes a nonevent.
If you proceed to pay $13.00 or $14.00 for this cigar, I shall take you out of my will.


Consistency is everything. Especially for a stick in this price range.
Instead, I smoked a lackluster blend.
High hopes were dashed on the rocks.

Final smoke time is one hour 20 minutes.

I had a great story to add to this review but because of my disappointment, I will save it for a later review.

RATING: 84 Protection Status


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1 reply

  1. i bought 5 M19 for $19. Love the chili, hate the burn

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