Aging Room M356 Mezzo

Michael's Cigar du Jour

small batch

The Aging Room M356 Mezzo I’m smoking today is an irreplaceable part of my collection.

Of course, that is exactly what a cigar collection is there for – smoking.

It’s not likely that I’ll ever again find another M356 to purchase.  This particular cigar is long ago sold out.

The M356 is what’s known as a small batch cigar.  The cigar’s component tobaccos are available in only limited quantities.  When the blend’s tobaccos are used up, production is complete.  It’s the cigar world’s version of a limited edition.

And yes, in case you were curious, knowing all that makes smoking this cigar that much sweeter.

When you blend a cigar you’re creating a profile of flavors. Not much different from creating music, where you take the musical notes and arrange them in different ways to create a melody and harmony that reflect your own feelings. It’s the same process really. If I’m using tobacco or using musical notes, I’m looking for the same thing in the end.

Rafael Nodal

wears the DR flag

The Aging Room M356 Mezzo is produced by Boutique Blends in the Dominican Republic.  The tobaccos used to create the M356 are themselves sourced from the Dominican Republic.

For the cigar aficionado, this means the cigar is a “puro”.  That’s a term used to indicate all of the component tobaccos in the cigar come from a single nation.

The Aging Room M356 actually goes well beyond the puro concept.  In fact, all the tobaccos used in this cigar come from a single farm.

We are not producing cigars for everyone. We are introducing new blends for educated consumers that are looking for cigars with complexity and character.

Rafael Nodal

getting to know you

The folks at Tabacalera La Palma, where this cigar is made, certainly know their craft.

This is a beautifully constructed cigar.  

Tight and seamless, the wrapper is a rich chocolate brown with a light oily sheen.  It doesn’t show in any of the pictures, but there is an ever so slight tooth to the wrapper’s texture.

The cigar’s aroma is dark and earthy.  It’s a difficult scent to place exactly.  But, it’s certainly rich and intoxicating.

I’m not sure I’ve ever felt this way about a cigar before.  It almost seemed a shame to actually light it up.

The toasted foot continues with the intoxicating effect.  Again, it’s a special aroma that is hard for me to properly describe.  Rich and heady, it’s like cigar incense.

Now I can’t wait to get started smoking this beauty…

the burn

As I mentioned in my previous cigar du jour, I’ll probably never be the type to pick out subtle hints of raspberry, or mango, flavors from a cigar.  (Unless it’s infused…)

But, I can say that this stick is full of wonderful flavors even I can taste.  It started off medium in flavor and body, but the Aging Room M356 Mezzo got subtly stronger over time.

The draw is dead-on perfect.  Smoke production is very satisfying.  The cigar’s flavor is rich, earthy, and nutty.  This may very well be the most complex (and satisfying) Dominican puro I’ve ever smoked.

2016 #14 Cigar of the Year – Rated 93
Cigar Aficionado nominated this line as one of the Top 25 Cigars of 2016 – the second time since 2011. It’s a testament to what a great cigar it is and highlights the skills of master blender Rafael Nodal. The Aging Room Small Batch M356 Mezzo Toro Habano is an outstanding medium to full-bodied cigar. This stunning M356 puro (named for the day the blend was created, Monday, the 356th day of the year) is expertly crafted with a rare blend of Habano-seed Dominican Ligero long fillers and binders wrapped in a light brown Habano wrapper. Because of the rare tobaccos used in their blends, Aging Room cigars are created in limited release small batches that sell out quickly.

Thompson Cigar

Description of M356ii

Aging Room M356 Mezzo – as good as advertised

If I were giving this cigar a score, it would easily rate in the low 90’s.  Perhaps as high as 93-95.

Yes, it really was that good.  Truly a cigar that lives up to the “hype”.

Perhaps I could describe this as the Goldilocks experience.  Not too strong, not too weak…  It was just right.  Flat out delicious.

It burned with an almost razor sharp edge.  The aroma was excellent.  This stick appealed to all my senses, and no issues with burn, etc., invaded the experience.

This was everything the cigar experience is supposed to be about.  Just an awesome smoke.

last dance?

I was just a little sad to see this cigar finish.  This was likely the last Aging Room M356 Mezzo I’ll ever smoke.  And, I’ve very much enjoyed every M356 I’ve had the privilege to try.

It’s not quite the end of an era.  My inventory shows another M356 tucked away waiting to be reviewed.  It’s in one of two large footlocker humidors that hold my cigars for review.

But, it’s a different vitola.  And, truth be told – size matters.  (Not just with cigars…)

A cigar’s filler-binder-wrapper ratio is altered with every different ring size it’s rolled in.  As much as a torcedor might try to keep a mix consistent, a smaller ring cigar cannot have as much filler as one rolled an inch around.

This is why cigars are produced in such a widely varying array of sizes.

tradition continues – M356ii

Truth be told, I do have a few of the Aging Room M356’s successor waiting around to be reviewed.  The M356ii is said to be a very worthy heir.

Once again, it was rated in the top 25.  This time it was for 2016.

Now I won’t lament smoking my last Aging Room M356 Mezzo.  I get to look forward to enjoying the M356ii…

Cohiba Red Dot Robusto

Michael's Cigar du Jour

what’s in a name?

Tonight’s cigar to savor is a Cohiba Red Dot Robusto.

Just so we are clear, it’s not the Cuban Cohiba.  Instead, it’s the one produced in the Dominican Republic.

Perhaps, you are wondering about the name confusion?  It’s a real concern for the makers of the original Cuban version.

There’s even a longstanding lawsuit regarding the duplication of names.  But, as long as the legalities are still being argued in court, this particular blend will continue to carry its iconic name.

Technically this cigar is simply named Cohiba.  But, it’s commonly known as the Cohiba Red Dot.

I’m smoking the 5 x 49 sized Robusto.

catalog description

Here is the listing for the Cohiba Red Dot via Famous Smoke Shop:

Cohiba cigars combine long-aged Dominican Cuban-seed fillers, rare Indonesian Jember binders and savory African Cameroon wrappers hand-rolled into a rich-tasting, perfectly-balanced and creamy-smooth smoke. It is not surprising that this luxurious red dot Dominican blend is often the one preferred by aficionados for their medium body, rich flavor, smooth taste, and redolent aroma. Cigar smokers of every experience can enjoy this icon of great cigars at much lower than Cuban cigar prices, too!

Famous Smoke Shop

Cohiba Red Dot Robusto – first impressions

This certainly isn’t my first dance with a ‘Red Dot’.

Although it’s not a regular in my everyday cigar rotation, the Cohiba has been a component in a number of different cigar samplers I’ve picked up through the years.

I also picked up a 5-pack of the Cohiba Red Dot Robusto at a cigar auction site a year or two ago.

In general, I prefer fuller flavor cigars with Nicaraguan leaf.  Dominican cigars (in general) do not have the powerhouse punch that many of their Nicaraguan cousins may pack.

But, they do have their charms.

I’ve been consciously working to expand my palate the last two years.  My tastes are certainly growing the more varieties I try.

As expected, construction is nearly flawless.  The cigar’s unlit aroma is pleasing, no barnyard smell here.  To my nose, it’s simply the rich aroma of well-aged tobacco.

Well, it’s time to do more than just admire this cigar…

light it up

My Cohiba Red Dot Robusto draws smooth and even.  Smoke production, while not what I’d categorize as copious, is certainly strong enough to satisfy.

Every Red Dot I’ve ever smoked has had a great aroma.  I usually get compliments when lighting one up in mixed company.  No exception to that tonight.

This particular sample has been in been in my humidor for more than two years.  The cigar’s already well-aged tobaccos have had more than enough time to blend.

The cigar’s flavor is quite good.  Honestly, I’ll probably never be the kind to finesse hints of raspberry or other exotic flavors from my cigars.  What I can tell you is that it’s a medium bodied and medium flavored smoke.  Quite nice.

My Cohiba was smoked down to a tiny nub.  It’s remained smooth until the end, picking up some strength to its body towards the finish.

It’s a good cigar.  It’s refined, smooth, and creamy.

The Red Dot is not quite as distinctive in flavor as my absolute favorites.  But, it’s still very good.

If I was giving a score, the Cohiba would probably rate somewhere in the high 80’s.

Happy Hump Day!

believe it or not, I used to smoke camels

It is said, that it’s best not to ignore an insistent camel…

I’d better play along.

I don’t know camel…

What day is it?

Happy Hump Day!

If you smoke cigars, enjoy a good one today!

(And please, don’t tell our humped friends, that when I smoked cigarettes, I smoked Camels!)

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