Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Size: 5 x 50 Robusto
Price: $9.62 MSRP
Today we take a look at the Aging Room Quattro F55M Maduro.
Thanks to bud, Kellie, for the sticks.
Factory: Tabacalera Palma
Released January, 2017
I found zero information on this blend…not even from the Aging Room web site where they haven’t even added this cigar to their lineup. So all you need to know is it is an extension of the natural version of the F55.
SIZES AND PRICING:
Espressivo Robusto 5 x 50 $9.62
Vibrato Toro 6 x 54 $9.96
Concerto Churchill 7 x 50 $9.86
Maestro Torpedo 6 x 52 $10.07
The Aging Room Quattro F55M Maduro looks like a delicious chocolate bar. The box press creates perfect sharp corners. The hue is mottled looking like a brindle boxer. It’s oily, very toothy, invisible seams, hardly any veins, and a slightly sloppy triple cap.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW POINTS:
From the shaft, I can smell cinnamon, red pepper, cocoa, honey, floral notes, graham cracker, cedar, malt, fresh berries, and sweet nuttiness.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell strong red pepper, caramel, chocolate, espresso, fresh berries, honey, graham cracker, cedar, malts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and odiferous floral notes.
The cold draw presents flavors of pecan pie, brown sugar, red pepper, malt, graham cracker, cinnamon, cocoa, coffee, cedar, and honey.
The cigar is packed to the gullets with tobacco…maybe a bit too much as the draw is tight. Out comes my PerfecDraw cigar poker and I clean her gizzards out.
Immediately, I’m hit with luxurious flavors of sweet things that include honey, caramel, sweet nuts, graham cracker, sweet cream, and nutmeg.
Strength is a potent medium.
Complexity is on point for opening its doors early to the public. Transitions have already begun. And the finish is building nicely.
I love a cigar blend to start with a big flourish from the start. The trick is to stay in that forward trajectory throughout the entire experience and not turn to dog shit halfway through. But as Rafael Nodal simply makes some of the finest blends around, I doubt dog turd is in his customers’ vocabulary.
BTW- The stick has only 3 months of humidor time.
The wrapper brings a whole 3 ring circus to the flavor profile. The use of this Mexican wrapper is turning out to be one of my favorite ways to go into a cigar and know I have a great chance of truly liking it; especially, if it is hooked up to some nice Nic leaves. In this case, it wraps a binder and filler of Dominican leaves; my least favorite leaf country.
Construction is superb. Normally, I fight with any box press burn line. Not so here. And the wrapper shows no signs of discombobulation.
New flavors: cheesecake with blueberries, raisins, and baked apples. I know, I know…a little crazy in the eclectic balance of things.
Strength is now medium/full.
Loads of complex molecules doing the Time Warp against the backdrop of transitions flying by at supersonic speed. The finish is long and worthy from this uncontrollable lip smacking fool.
Aging Room straddles the fence between Old School and New Breed stations of blending. Some blends age quickly and perfectly in your humidor. Others take lots of time. No. I can’t pull those cigar blend names out of my ass and it’s too early in the morning to do the research I should have done yesterday.
Smoke time is 35 minutes.
Spiciness erupts with black pepper lava. It’s making my eyes water. There is a Marx Brothers line in their about “ice water” somewhere but I’m not going to chase it down.
“Doc. I woke up and there was an elephant in my pants.”
Hooray for Captain Spaulding.
We are now in the killer blend status of our three act play. Complexity reaches down my throat, lays an egg, an alien life form gestates inside of me, and then I turn into John Hurt. Now that’s a good cigar blend.
The Aging Room Quattro F55M Maduro is not a cheap stick. But as it’s been out for a year, there are plenty of deals if you look around and are patient. I’m aware of folks paying half price in auctions and flash deals. Or you can pay $10 a stick in from your favorite catalog.
There is an outpouring of exotic flavors along the lines of Indian and Jamaican spices. I taste cumin, cloves, spicy peppers, and sweet chili paste. That makes me hungry.
In England, during the mid-70’s, the only safe or interesting food on that Isle was Chinese, Indian, and Jamaican. Either you went that way or were content to eat cucumber and butter sandwiches on the thinnest imaginable bread slices.
I arrive at the halfway point after 50 minutes.
The Aging Room Quattro F55M Maduro is an excellent cigar but not a barn burner. I haven’t tasted anything out of the box or truly unique here. All good flavors. Nice complexity. Transitions? Check. Nice long finish.
Here is the rub…I am having Déjà vu. I can’t remember which ones exactly, but I’ve tasted this same flavor profile in lots of good cigar blends; some in the same price range and some less expensive. In other words, the Aging Room Quattro F55M Maduro doesn’t stand out as exceptional with a voice all its own.
Uniqueness makes all the difference between a cigar rated at 90 and a great blend rated at 95. As in measuring temblors, each digit represents a huge quantum leap.
At the moment, this blend is at a 90. And unless it pulls a hat trick in the last third, it will remain a 90.
I have a friend, Scott Pagenkopf, who has come up with a pretty cool gizmo cigar accessory. It’s called Centerfire Cigar Rest. Made of 100% 316 stainless steel machined from one piece of bar stock into a 1lb imitation of a .45 ACP casing. It allows you to rest your cigar, ash up, while smoking. It is so cool. The piece will be available soon and the price is not quite set but it’s worth every dime based on what I know. Here are some pics:
Back to the Aging Room Quattro F55M Maduro. The char line has been totally trouble free without a single touch up required. My only minimal criticism was that it needed a reaming at the start to open a clear pathway for even flow of air.
We have full strength. I’m sure nicotine is waiting for me in the last third. I recently purchased a horse’s feeding bag on Amazon and wear them in the morning when I write a review with no food in my stomach. Now I don’t have to race to the bathroom to vomit when nicotine overwhelms me.
I’ve been listening to the cable classic radio station and nothing but crap until Cream is playing “I’m So Glad.” Jack Bruce had an enormous impact on my thinking. One of the upsides of being old is that I got to be around in 1967 as a bassist when I first heard Cream. Their improvisation style, while considered bullshit by Clapton, had a huge impact on rock musicians everywhere. It taught us to let go. And with that letting go came chops no one thought they had…making them a better player.
Smoke time is one hour 10 minutes.
The Aging Room Quattro F55M Maduro takes off like a rocket. The entire atmosphere becomes damp with heavy flavors. As good as the stick was at the start, I wish it had begun its journey based on what I can taste now. More humidor time probably. Old School needing months and months of humidor time.
The heavy flavors: Malt, graham cracker, black pepper, cocoa, cappuccino, caramel, sweet nuts. nutmeg, exotic spices, fresh berries, and dried fruit.
Strength makes it full. But no nicotine. I shall live to vomit another day.
Van Halen is playing. Notice lately that the most current photos of Eddie make him look like Albert Einstein? Probably should have said no to his last case of Jack Daniels.
The Aging Room Quattro F55M Maduro is on a slow cruise exhibiting nice flavors. Not great but enticing and enjoyable. Aging Room is a pseudo boutique brand. Some qualify as extraordinary blends but others merely qualify as ordinary.
I wrote my review of the natural F55 almost 5 years ago to the month. I didn’t rate cigars back then but I did lose half an ounce of precious bodily fluids as a result of the quality.
Tastes change over time. It’s all natural. I get lots of emails referring me to deals on cigars I reviewed years ago. As time passed, my tastes changed and became more sophisticated. So a cigar I might have gone crazy about 6 years ago is merely a blip on the radar screen now and I’ve moved on to appreciating better blends.
I have a couple more sticks lying dormant in my humidor and I plan to really let them rest the way I believe Nodal had planned to reach that golden blender’s intent experience.
Bowie. “Rebel Rebel” from 1974’s “Diamond Dogs. Doesn’t get much better than this.
With a small way to the finish line, I don my feed bag. Nicotine is on the scene with extreme prejudice.
Bottom line…forget all those little flavors my palate reacted to. Is this a good cigar? Yeah, it is. Your palate might pick up different flavors but it is a very nice blend…regardless of the level of sophistication of your palate.
I definitely recommend the Aging Room Quattro F55M Maduro with the caveat you buy them, dump them into your humidor and forget about them.
Final smoke time is one hour 30 minutes.
And now for something completely different:
My downfall as the fixer….
The band had finished its second album, at the famous Island Studio in London…and since Miles Copeland was a cheap bastard, he picked an untried producer to ride herd on the biggest egos on the planet. Now, the guy had a distinguished career as an engineer, but a big goose egg as a producer. And the band ran all over him…Once, he was almost brought to tears because Darryl Way, the band leader, violinist and keys player yelled at him….because Darryl wasn’t getting his way.
I was the mediator of the group and we all know what happens to that guy. And it did.
Two camps sprung up…Mick, the guitarist, and Darryl. Then there was Sonja, the singer, and Stewart Copeland, the drummer. I was in between trying to make the peace. Both camps were constantly at odds with each other. I was looking out for myself. I finally hit the big time and I didn’t want to see it get flushed down the toilet over band squabbles.
Stew was a very good drummer but had no constraints. He was like Keith Moon and just soloed away during every song. I have cassettes of unreleased music with evidence of Copeland’s lack of control. But of course, we were all so young.
On stage, this was torture, because while Darryl and Mick were upfront trading lead riffs, Stewart was on some other planet soloing in all sorts of weird time signatures causing the boys up front to lose where “1” was.
That forced me to hit quarter notes hard and heavy so they would know where the hell they were. Quarter notes mean 1-2-3-4 in a single bar. The backbone of rock n roll.
It made me crazy to be an accomplished bassist playing quarter notes while Stew behaved like he was the star of the band. And this band was a very progressive band with lots of intricate chordal changes. Not a 1-4-5 blues band. Darryl was a trained classical musician and our music reflected his training and love.
During the close of recording of the Midnight Wire album, Jose Feliciano showed up for a couple nights and added his own style to our English progressive recordings. The only time his style meshed with ours was my tune: “I Broke My Leg in Yucca Valley, but My Heart Lies in Palm Springs.” Really, no bullshit. That was the name of the tune and of course, it was heavily bass oriented. I got to show off. The band hated it.
It was so intricate that they couldn’t figure it out. It was all American jazz fusion…the exact reason they hired me. So they went to the booth and sulked. My tune became a bass and drum solo with Feliciano playing guitar and legendary Brazilian percussionist, Paulhino De Costa playing every percussion instrument he had in his kit bag. And Stew was right on point. I tried teaching Sonja the two sentence lyrics but she didn’t have the range or the ability to hit the strange time signature or manage the scat-like approach to the tune…so we had our only instrumental on the album.
Top: Jose Feliciano enjoying a doob, Me with fro, Jose recording in studio, and the lead roadies enjoying my hospitality in my hotel room.
RCA had a big “Listening Party” in order to debut the release of the album.
It was a scene right out of “Spinal Tap.” The record was played on a continual loop throughout the party and each time Yucca Valley played, I could hear mutterings of, “What the fuck is that?”
My heart sank. Feliciano liked it so much that he bought licensing rights…but I waited and it never showed up on any of his albums.
RCA’s reaction to our album was a disaster. And not just because of “Yucca Valley.”
Behind closed doors, Miles Copeland and his henchmen figured out a new plan. They brought in two American hot shot producer brothers that had just finished producing Clapton’s latest album: “461 Ocean Boulevard.”
In Amsterdam, they came to watch us perform and we got word that we better go meet them at their hotel one afternoon. I went by myself because no one was interested. I felt it was very important but the band had no interest.
So I sat in their hotel room and listened to these two fuck heads tear the album apart…just ripped it.
And to my face, they told me my bass playing sucked. They said the vocals sucked. They said the arrangements sucked. They said the violin playing sucked. They said the guitar playing was out of place. Holy Bat Shit!
I raced back to our hotel and with my eyes as big as saucers, I told the band we are in big trouble. They just laughed at me while drinking beer and smoking dope.
The plan was to re-record the album but something needed to be fixed. The two camps were called for a meeting. I was not invited. They blamed each other for the album failure. And guess what? Yep. I got the phone call. I was gone. The album problems were laid right at the foot of the bassist. LOL.
They hired a session bassist to fill in the tracks. But when I listened to the finished album, I heard my bass playing on 75% of the tracks. So I wasn’t the problem. And I’ve never been paid royalties as, to this day, they refuse to admit they used my tracks.
The new album had no soul and was listless and sterile. No excitement, no verve. It was considered by the critics as the end of the band. And this band had a long life time. I believe they put out 14 albums. I was on 4.
There I was, stranded in England without a gig. It was so humiliating when the musical mags and rags started reporting that I had left the band because of differences inside the band. But I called these rags and told them the truth and they printed it. The band came down hard on me for doing this. I didn’t care. They fired me without any severance and I was dead broke 6000 miles from home with my girlfriend and her little girl.
The roadies took pity on me and delivered half of the equipment stored in the management’s warehouse so I could sell it and have money. Management made no stink over this. These were their best roadies and the roadies got in the face of Miles Copeland and shamed him for doing what he did to me. So I sold everything and finally had some money in the bank.
I spent another 6 months playing with several well-known English bands but it just didn’t click with me and I decided to go home with my tail between my legs.
To be continued….
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS
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