Back in 2017, Boutique Blends Cigars entered into a strategic agreement with Altadis U.S.A. where Altadis would handle the company’s distribution and co-owner Rafael Nodal would become the Director (now Vice President) of Product Capability at Altadis U.S.A. One could easily say this has been one of the most successful strategic partnerships in the cigar industry. Nodal’s impact at Altadis U.S.A. has seen many successful and quality releases, while at the same time, he has continued to work on projects under Boutique Blends. The Aging Room line has become the primary brand that has grown, particularly the Aging Room Quattro line, which has seen tremendous success. The accolades include Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua, a Top 20 Cigar on Cigar Coop, and a Cigar of the Year from Cigar Aficionado. Now it’s time for a sequel, and early this year, a new offshoot of Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua has come out called the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Sonata – which features a different blend. Today, we look closer at the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Sonata in the Vibrato (Toro) Size.
Like many Aging Room Cigars, the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Sonata is inspired by Nodal’s love of music. A Sonata is a classic music composition for an instrumental soloist, often with a piano accompaniment. Over the years, Nodal has been inspired by famous sonatas from the likes of Beethoven, Mozart, Schubert, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff. After the success of the original Aging Room Nicaragua Quattro, Nodal decided he wanted to compose his own interpretation of a sonata, but in the form of a cigar. When the Sonata was released, Nodal commented on how this concept was applied to a cigar.
“Not with notes or to be played on the piano, but with tobacco leaves to be enjoyed by adult consumers looking for something unique. The Aging Room (Quattro) Nicaragua Sonata is composed of leaves grown in the valleys and mountains of Nicaragua and nurtured by the dedicated people of Nicaragua.”
Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Sonata was announced around the time of the Total Products Expo (TPE) 2023 and would make its way to stores prior to the 2023 Premium Cigar Association (PCA) Trade Show (where it was also prominently showcased).
Without further ado, let’s break down the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Sonata Vibrato and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
To produce the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Sonata, Nodal once again teams up with AJ Fernandez, with whom he has worked on several blends for both Tabaalera USA and Aging Room, including the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua. Like the original Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua, the Sonata features 100% Nicaraguan tobaccos and is box-pressed.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera A.J. Fernandez Cigars de Nicaragua S.A.
The Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Sonata is offered in six sizes – each presented in 20-count boxes with the exception of the Impromptu (a Figurado), which will be in ten-count boxes. Each size has a music theme, as music is also one of Nodal’s passions.
Espressivo: 50 x 5
Maestro: 52 x 6 (
Vibrato: 54 x 6
Concerto: 50 x 7
Impromptu: 52 x 6 1/2
Grande: 60 x 6
The Vibrato, the size we are assessing today, refers to vibrato, a type of musical effect where a note changes pitch subtly and quickly.
The Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Sonata Vibrato had a dark wood color. Upon closer examination, there was a slight amount of mottling. There wasn’t much in the way of oils on this wrapper. There wasn’t much in terms of visible veins, but there were some visible wrapper seams. I would describe this box press as a firmer box press as opposed to the Cuban Press, which has more of a rounding effect.
A straight cut was used to commence the cigar experience of the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Sonata Vibrato. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw experience. The cold draw delivered a mix of sweet natural tobacco, hay, wood, and some touches of baker’s spice notes. It was a satisfactory pre-light draw experience. Then, it was time to toast up the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Sonata Vibrato and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Sonata Vibrato opened up with notes of cocoa, earth, wood, natural tobacco, and clove. The natural tobacco and wood notes settled in the forefront as the cigar moved through the first half. The cocoa, earth, and clove notes settled in the background and were joined by coffee, citrus, and black pepper notes. An additional layer of black pepper and clove was present on the retro-hale.
At the start of the second third of the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Sonata Vibrato, the natural tobacco and wood notes remained primary. The wood notes eventually receded into the background, leaving the natural tobacco notes behind. There was a lot going on flavorwise with this cigar. The wood, cocoa, earth, clove, coffee, citrus, and black pepper notes were all present – rounding out the flavor profile.
There wasn’t much change in the last third; the natural tobacco notes remained primary. The citrus and pepper notes had some more intensity than early on. Meanwhile, wood, cocoa, earth, clove, citrus, and coffee notes were still present.The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
The construction of the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Sonata Vibrato was excellent, and this was reflected in the burn. This cigar maintained a straight burn path and a relatively straight burn line, requiring minimal touch-ups. The cigar had a salt and pepper-colored ash skewed toward the firmer side. The burn rate and burn temperature maintained ideal levels.
The draw of the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Sonata Vibrato also performed excellently. It had a touch of resistance at just the right level. This is especially nice to see in a box press.
Strength and Body
Some people who smoked this cigar before me described this as much more dialed back than the original Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua. Regarding the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Sonata Vibrato, I thought this cigar still had plenty of boldness. It is a cigar that started out medium in strength and body, but things kicked up in the second half as both attributes moved to medium to full territory of the spectrum.
I gave a slight edge to the body in terms of strength versus body.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
The packaging is simple: A black and gold Aging Room primary band and a yellow secondary band that says Sonata. The primary band is the same found on the original Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua. The cigars are packaged in yellow boxes. Good job all around here.
It’s over a decade since Nodal founded Boutique Blends. When he launched the company, he said, “We are introducing new blends for educated consumers looking for cigars with complexity and character.” Nodal has kept to his promise on this, and the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Sonata is another example. This might be the most complex Aging Room cigar I’ve had to date. Delicious flavors complement this complexity. As the cigar was closing, the flavors got a little muddled but delivered for the lion’s share of this cigar. This is a cigar I would recommend to a seasoned cigar enthusiast, but I wouldn’t discourage a novice from trying. As for myself, this is a cigar I would buy and smoke again. Coming in at 90 points, it earns the difficult to achieve Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Wood, Earth, Cocoa, Coffee, Clove, Citrus, Pepper
Strength: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Body: Medium (1st Half), Medium to Full (2nd Half)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Buy One
Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence
The Smoking Syndicate Review
Ben Lee of the Smoking Syndicate also assessed this cigar and gave it a 90.
Note: Due to age restrictions, you may need to click Watch on YouTube below to view.
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted
Originally posted on October 25, 2023 @ 2:18 pm