Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés Maduro
Binder: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Pennsylvanian, Connecticut Broadleaf, Nicaraguan
Size: 5.5 x 50 Robusto
Price: $10.90 (Can be had for a buck less online)
I’m in the strange place where I have review cigars cooking away in my humidors, but none are ready to write about. So, I’m scrounging through my boxes of illumination looking for unicorns that have been lying around not earning their keep.
This is how I came across this cigar. I’ve had it marinating naked for one year. This seemed like a good time to put pen to parchment. The few reviews I read all agree about the blend. Basically, a cigar whose attributes are coffee, chocolate, wood, pepper, and earth. I read this description over and over. No one was crazy about it but most still gave it a 90. (I make no judgments). I’m hoping that maybe a year playing kick the can will bring this cigar to life and deliver some uppercuts and jabs to my palate. Let us begin.
Released June 2019
From Matt Booth on the Room 101 website:
“Look at me. The visual of my decadent and oily wrapper triggers a salivary response within your mouth hole. A brilliant spring of neurotransmitters rushes from your midbrain and dives headfirst into your bloodstream at the nanosecond your eyes make contact with my succulent and inviting exterior. Can you only imagine what may happen once you taste me? Don’t think about it – be about it. FARCE Maduro is the taste grenade you have only dreamt could be real. Zzz”
From Cigars International:
“Back in early 2018, rumors were beginning to swirl that Matt Booth was done with cigars. The creator of Room101 and contributor to some of the best Camacho and Davidoff blends out there stepped away from blending, but the cigar industry barely had time to mourn before he was back, guns blazing, announcing the release of the FARCE series. Now, just in time to close out 2019 with a bang, the third installment of the FARCE is set to take its place in your collection.
“Enter Room101 FARCE Maduro. The first thing you’ll notice when you open the box is how well the new color scheme of the bands and box compliment the rich, deep, oily Mexican San Andres Maduro wrapper. This beautiful leaf covers a Sumatra binder grown in Ecuador, and a hand-selected filler blend composed of Pennsylvania & Connecticut Broadleaf and Nicaraguan leaves. Hearty is the word that best describes the FARCE Maduro, which will have your palate immediately captivated by medium-full bodied notes of leather, espresso, spice, and chocolate. The original FARCE earned a 94-point rating, and this third installment of the FARCE series is the best one yet, so secure your boxes while you still can!”
We mourned? Thank God he came back to rescue Davidoff and Camacho. I was so happy, and relieved, that Bootie returned to save the cigar industry.
Notice that the C.I. description is pretty much the entire flavor profile that the professional reviewers reported.
SIZES AND PRICING (MSRP):
Gordo 6 x 60 $12.90
Petite Corona 4 x 42 $6.90
Robusto 5.5 x 50 $10.90
Toro 6 x 52 $11.90
Not a pretty cigar. Lots of lumps and bumps up and down the pole. A visceral vein runs up the front of the cigar, and in several locations circumferentially, looking for Dr. Fronkensteen to rectify the issue.
Seams are clearly visible but tight. Look at my photos. Is it me or does the cigar taper down considerably by the time it reaches the cap? I measure it and the cigar tapers from a 50-ring gauge at the foot to a 45 at the cap. Odd. There is a considerable amount of oiliness on the deep, rich wrapper. An $11 cigar should look like a bit of care was taken when rolling it. The cigar looks cheap.
SMELL THE GLOVE:
Aromas are very faint, but here they are: floral, chocolate, espresso, cedar, a touch of spiciness, and some creaminess.
The cold draw presents flavors of bittersweet chocolate, espresso, black pepper, cedar, a slight hint of malt, and barnyard.
The draw is spot on…just how I like it…so I put my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool away.
First up is a blast of black pepper that supersedes any other flavor. There is a bit of cedar that breaks through. The back of my throat is scratchy from the spiciness.
Mustiness shows up. Nothing to do with the humidor time or its nakedness. My review of the Ilegal Habano was a year old and suffered no musty qualities.
Actually, the tobacco tastes old. A hint that maybe storing it naked for a year was not a good idea. It took the cigar blend down to downtown.
Saltiness appears. A bit of chocolate is hovering but making very little impression.
The Ilegal Habano spewed like a songbird. The year in hibernation only made that cigar better. Unless something changes dramatically, I believe I know where this cigar is heading…to Dr. Torquemada’s torture dungeon.
The char line is crisp.
Strength is a solid medium.
The spiciness relents for a moment and some creaminess appears taking the heat off the back of my throat.
Half an inch in and no signs of complexity or balance. Pretty much a $6 cigar lounge cigar…with no cigar band.
Man, I had really hoped that lightning would strike twice. It appears not to be the case.
The cigar has no character I would brag on. Black pepper returns with extreme prejudice. That’s all I can taste.
This was not a blend made to last. Bummer. I was hoping to finally write something positive about a Room 101 blend.
Maybe the cigar has a shelf life I wasn’t aware of. Lots of cigars follow that same road. A year later, instead of blossoming, they just die a horrible death. This Farce seems to be one of those. How am I going to write an entire review if this cigar remains in hellish stasis?
An $11 stick (Yes, I know my Commonwealth readers are laughing) should hold up beautifully. The blend seems to be trapped under a chamber pot left behind on the Titanic.
If the black pepper would just fucking stop crowding everyone out, there might be a decent cigar underneath.
But if experience tells me anything, it’s downhill from here.
The mustiness returns en masse. There is no way I will be able to finish this cigar. My throat wants to dial 9-1-1.
I’m gulping water. Not to see if it produces explosions of flavor, but rather, to calm my burnt throat.
Strength moves to medium/full. Great. Nicotine is not far behind.
And then as I am beginning to approach the second third, the spiciness backs off enough to let my palate accept a small dose of complexity. Transitions? Not a one. The finish…yes, an open bottle of black pepper.
There is no sweet v. savory equation. It is lying dead in an alley.
And then in one fell swoop, the complexity turns into mustiness like a bad magic trick.
I had prepared another “Almost Famous” story like I provided in the Ilegal Habano review. I believe I will save it for the next review.
Strictly a linear experience. It’s going nowhere fast. Believe me, I’d rather have written a fawning review of how a year underground made this blend excel.
“Feelin’ Alright” by Joe Cocker is playing. The Cosmic Muffin is a jokester.
The burn goes wonky on me. A fix up is required.
I am teased by short moments where the blender’s intent is released from its shackles and then it recedes back into its shell.
Maybe the second half will see redemption and resurrection.
More water…more water.
Underneath all the unflattering detritus is a blend dying to break free. It is a losing battle at this point. Now the reviews I read all took place shortly after the cigar was released. They aren’t much different than this review other than I don’t taste even the smallest amounts of flavor that they did.
The second half begins without a sign from the gods that it will reinvent itself.
Usually, the intense spiciness is weaned from a cigar over a long nap. Not this baby. It is the star of the show. It is beginning to get to me.
Even with the lukewarm early reviews of this cigar, it received a 90 pretty much across the board. One esteemed reviewer said all the things I’m thinking.
Flavors and character are playing peek-a-boo. They hang in long enough to frustrate the shit out of me.
Once I start a review, there is no going back. Too much prep work goes into a review and to just throw it away because I don’t like the cigar doesn’t happen.
Water really comes to the rescue taming the raw throat.
I take a drag and I get some nice flavors or two. But immediately in the middle of that, the cigar returns to musty and old tasting. The blend is on life support.
The stick tastes exactly how it started. Not a single improvement.
Red pepper shows up in tandem with the black pepper. Now my throat is raw while my tongue feels like I stuck it into an open fire.
I could wait this out to see if the last 1-1/2” shows life…but I know it won’t.
So why am I still reviewing it?
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS
Ouch. One of your shortest reviews I think. Sorry man. Are you planning to review the Southern Draw Fraternal Order Blue at some point? Really curious to see what you think about that one.
Wasn’t even aware of the blend. But then while C.I. was a partner in getting me new stuff, something changed. I’m sure I never went too far in my reviews to piss anyone off. Although, I’ve never said anything negative about either CI or SD. Go figure.
The bottom line is the cigar industry is one big boys club. They are all joined at the hip; for the most part.
I’m sure that CI and SD were embarrassed by my writing and had enough. After all, I was dissing some of their best buddies and clients…for good reason. Still, management doesn’t like that much. Plus, I believe I’m the prince of darkness when it comes to cigar porn. Guy’s wives don’t like me very much. I’m such a pig.
It’s no big deal. I’ve been dealing with the same issue since I started in 2010. No room for an outsider who doesn’t play by the rules. And an outsider that doesn’t give a shit what other people think. I do this for fun. Not to make lifelong alliances with pompous cigar industry folk. It’s their loss.
I just noticed something. This blend has been out since October 2020. I found only one written review. It was once an $8 stick but now it is only a $6 stick. I believe the writing, or non-writing, is on the wall about this blend.
What a shame. Like you said, their loss. Yours are the only reviews I read, the other reviewers usually bore me to tears! The entertainment value of your reviews is (usually – the above was lacking, though for good reason) off the charts and many days good for a big laugh. And guess what, I make purchase decisions based off your reviews. Hear that, CI?
* I have some Blues marinating (I bought them on release day last Fall, my humidor is at about 69/69 constantly), let me know if you want me to send you a few.
The Blue has never sold for $8. I paid $5. It’s a marketing trick. Everything has to seem like it’s a deal. Remember Kohls?
Thank you Dennis…
I appreciate your devotion and unrequited love for me.
Anyone can write a straight ahead review. Even me.
But be entertaining? Now, that’s hard. Especially, when it’s 100% off the cuff and in the moment.
There are a couple small reviewers imitating my style. I don’t get it.
How can they be me? You can try to copy me which is fun to watch. But so far, these reviewers just aren’t funny. They’re thinking what would Phil say? And then they get it wrong. I guess if you can’t be an individual, be someone else.
Only I can be me. Thank God is what Charlotte says all the time…and not in a good way.
The imitators don’t have my life experience. Drives them crazy that some old guy can live in the past and get away with it.
Although, Charlotte totally approves of me including her in my cigar porn. I love to make her laugh.
I’m an acquired taste. I know that. Plenty of cigar people don’t like me.
Lucky for me, I have readers like you in my corner that get it.
Generally speaking, a lot of manufacturers charge full MSRP at the beginning of a release.
I was just assuming that these were too.
Hand to God…Over the years, several well known manufacturers have changed the blends based on my reviews. They tell me this to make me feel guilty that their new expense is on me.
It is a continuing process.
My palate and bullshit meter are approved by most of the industry…in private. They tell me.
I’m 72 next birthday. We trust grandpa.
Lots of folks confirm my bullshit claims. Everyone has an opinion.
But I’m playing devil’s advocate because no one else seems to have the advantage I do. Experience and curiosity for half a century. So, I call a strike a strike and a ball a ball. I’m popular but I have no skin in the game like the big company/team reviewers. This is how popular reviewers make a living. I’m a buzzing gnat to some and someone listened to by others. So if you trust me, that’s all that matters. 50 years I’ve continually smoked premium cigars. More than that…when my grandfather visited and we took after lunch walks.
A music producer I did bass sessions for in the 1980’s, told me something annoying right from the get go as I was directed to sit in the recording area by myself laying down a bass line to a finished song. Everyone was in the control booth watching. It was rock. By the second time I had gone through the song, Gary Gladstone told me, “You’re approaching average.”
I did the song again and afterwards, Gladstone told me I was this close to approaching average.
I stopped everything and said what the fuck is approaching average? Is that bad? What?
“Average” is perfect. You want the piece of music to perfectly meld with the pre-recorded song.
You play exactly the right thing for that particular tune. Something everyone will like. Something that appeals to the average bear. Hey Boo Boo.
I’m approaching average.
I have a lot of love for Southern Draw, but I’ve found the CI exclusives to be pretty forgettable.
I agree. In fact, I steer clear of all online cigar shop joint ventures. The ones I tried were always a big letdown. So now, I don’t even bother…and of course, the price gets jacked up because the venture is so expensive.
SD had a three blends exclusive to Cigar Federation: Roses and Guns, Midnight Rose, & Oblivion. Did you try any of those? I wonder how much an influence Ezra Zion had on those blends? I say that because in Ezra Zion style, they only have 14 cigars produced and hence a limited edition. That’s not really SD’s style.
I did try Midnight Rose and Oblivion. To me they are aggressive tweaks of the cigars they share the name with. Midnight Rose is a really powerful version of Desert Rose, and Oblivion is a really powerful version of Jacob’s Ladder Brimstone. Brimstone was really tough to smoke the first time I tried it, but I really liked it after a few months. I really liked Midnight Rose at first smoke, but I’m betting that they will be far better after a few months.
I’ve had two Southern Draw blends from CI. They had the same flawless construction and burn that Southern Draw is known for, but the blends are just kinda boring. I’ve thrown them into my overflow container which holds cigars that are way down my list of cigars I want to smoke, but aren’t bad enough to throw out or give to someone with less discerning cigar tastes.