As any relationship starts, there is always uncertainty—will the mixture of the two be beneficial to the overarching entity? With Room101 joining the Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG) last year, Matt Booth wanted to start the relationship off by bringing back one of the brand’s earliest lines: Daruma. Room101’s first release of Daruma was back in 2012, debuting as a follow up to Namakubi (which was also recently revived).
Daruma is a Japanese term for a small, egg-shaped papier-mâché figure that is used to set goals for the year. It starts with drawing an eye on the doll when an initial goal is set, and when achieved, the second eye is placed. The Daruma will then be lit on fire to celebrate the goal being met. This is very similar to cultures that light up a cigar after sports victories, weddings, graduations, or a baby’s birth.
“The return of Daruma is symbolic of the relationship with STG and Room101 moving forward. It represents the opportunity for Room101 to spread its wings which has always been our goal. And just as goals change and times change, Daruma has evolved. The Daruma of 2011 would not be the Daruma of today. The blend is correct and appropriate for now and begins a new chapter for both Daruma and Room101.”
Room101 Daruma (2023) Breakdown
Factory: Tabacalera Oliva de Nicaragua S.A. (Nicaragua)
Production: Limited Edition (2,000 boxes of 10 cigars)
Vitola: 6? × 50 (Toro)
Price: $12.99 (MSRP)
The Daruma (2023), although it has the same name, is very different from the Daruma of 2012. First, it will only be offered in one size—unlike its prior 2012 release, which had five different sizes. Next, only a very limited amount of the 2023 is being produced, making this a more limited cigar than in 2012. Finally, the make-up of the cigar differs greatly, with the 2023 being a Nicaraguan puro; compare this to the original recipe, which had an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, Brazilian Mata Fina binder, with Dominican and Honduran fillers. Daruma also had some other remixes through the years. One came in 2014 (Daruma Gold), where the wrapper was changed to Mexican San Andrés. There was also a single-store exclusive—Daruma Nappy B—which had a Mexican San Andrés wrapper and a binder change to a Honduran leaf.
The Daruma (2023) has elaborate packaging, and is wrapped like previous Room101 cigars. Before getting to examine the cigar itself, you will encounter a black and gold sleeve bearing the classic Daruma logo with the Room101 cherry blossom flower. Once the sleeve is removed, the cigar is tightly wrapped in white tissue paper. Remove this final layer, and you have reached the cigar, bearing two bands. The primary band is the classic black and gold Daruma band with “ROOM101” beneath, and the second band (gold and black rather than black and gold) has the letters “LTD/ASF.” The Daruma has a closed foot and a dark finish, with a mineral sparkle to it. It has very faint seams and veins. Overall, it has a fairly smooth finish to the touch, and is pretty dry.
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Before lighting, the Daruma has cedar and earthy aromas to it. With a straight cut, the cold draw produces mineral, salty, and earthy notes. After toasting and lighting the cigar, the initial flavors are very subtle. There is a slight sugary sweetness to the tip of the tongue, with a very clean and light finish to the rest of the palate. The main body of the smoke does not bring much flavor, but every so often there are notes of light caramel. The retrohale is slightly musty, with black pepper notes lingering on the palate.
Continuing the experience, the cigar does not change much. The flavor is very light and clean, not activating many taste buds. The retrohale carries a mineral-heavy black pepper note, which is a plus, reinforcing the reality to my senses that I am indeed smoking a cigar… Additionally, the mouthfeel of the Daruma is very light.
Ending the cigar, the flavors of slight sweetness and white sugar on the tip of the tongue continue. The body of the smoke carries a mild salted caramel note. The retrohale ends with the musty black pepper note. After finishing this cigar, I noticed that the light texture of the smoke left my palate nearly untouched, without any lingering notes found throughout the experience.
The burn on the Daruma did require a few touch-ups and re-lights—more than I would prefer. The burn was uneven three to four times. The ash was a layered black and gray that stayed on one cm at a time. The draw was slightly loose for me, maybe bringing too much air for the flavors to be appreciated.
Would I Smoke This Cigar Again?
With Daruma (2023) being the first limited Room101 since joining STG, I was hoping for it to be something unique, as I would expect from the Room101 of old. However, this cigar falls flat in the smoking department. The package and look of the cigar match Room101’s flair; however, the smoking experience does not. While smoking this cigar, I had to remind myself I was smoking it. The flavors were light and somewhat boring (for lack of a better term). I would not smoke this cigar again.
Smoke Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Pairing Recommendation: Choose something with minimal flavor to pair with this | Mineral water | Vodka tonic
Purchase Recommendation: Go with your second choice
Clean burn to the smoke won’t tarnish other cigars you smoke in that settingRetrohale, with a nice mineral musty black pepperClassic Room101 packaging
Not an exciting smoking experienceVery light smoking textureUneven burn with re-lights needed
Originally posted on July 26, 2023 @ 6:18 am