Cigar Review: Room 101 The Big Payback
A couple of weeks ago, we posted information on Room 101, The Big Payback and this morning when I walked into my base of operations they were sitting there begging to be opened. Matt Booth got his start in Jewelry, before moving into the cigar industry and launching Room 101 Cigars to compliment his Room 101 Silver brand. The Big Payback is his way of saying thanks for the support over the years with a value priced premium smoke. The Big Payback is available in 3 sizes. The Chavala which measures 5 x50 has an MSRP of $4.95, Hueso a 6 x60 at $5.95 and a mammoth 7 x 70 called Culero which is $6.95 before local taxes.
Cigar: Room 101 The Big Payback
Size: Chavala (Robusto/5 x 50)
Number Smoked: 2
Appearance & Construction: The chocolate-colored wrapper of The Big Payback is loaded with magnesium spots. These are little pimples that appear on some wrapper due to the high magnesium content of the soil in Nicaragua. This same element is very common in Cuba as well. It creates an almost braille like appearance to the leaf. In my experience cigars loaded with this are usually incredible so I am hopeful that the experience will be replicated here. There are some ultra fine veins present which is to be expected considering it is part of the leaf structure. I think sometimes we put to much weight into this as it generally only matters for looks most of the time. There is a two band system in place on this perfectly rolled cigar. Both black and silver as pictured below.
Flavor & Notes: There is a nice sweetness on the foot of the cigar that reminds me of a grapefruit and it takes me back to how my grandmother use to enjoy one at breakfast every morning. The cold draw is minty, with a subtle earth. For a Nicaraguan Puro I am rather surprised at this point at the lack of spice.
One the cigar is lit The Big Payback laughs in my face and says you wanted spice, here you go Chavala (a slang word that means punk), and while it isn’t over-powering it compliments a nice strong wood note with a compliment of a bitter coffee note, similar to Cuban coffee without enough sugar.
In the second third of the cigar the aroma becomes really enjoyable reminding me of coffee as well, which becomes the dominant note with a touch of leather and an increase in spice especially though the nose on the retrohale.
In the last third of the cigar the strength gets kicked up a notch, and the wood notes return and there is a sweetness that comes and goes that reminds me of figs, the leather notes are dominant though on this tasty cigar with a short finish.
Smoking Characteristics: Using a dual-flame lighter from Jet-Line the cigar lights up easy and there is an nice even burn to starts. Resting the cigar in the ashtray the ash fell on its own at 1″. In the second third the cigar begins to get a little wavy on the burn and the brindle like ash is holding on in 1″ increments. The draw of the cigar was perfect with an average smoke production.
Conclusion: I challenge anyone to find a better cigar at these prices on the market today. Especially if you like a medium-full strength cigar with bold flavors/notes. The Big Payback is a cigar that smokes bigger then it’s price and sis omething I could see becoming a part of my 6 cigar daily repertoire. In fact, when Cigar Aficionado releases its top value cigars early next year I expect this to be number 1.