Cigar Review: Aging Room Cigars M356 Rondo by Oliveros

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Aging Room M356

As a cigar smoker there are certain things I love about the industry, and things I hate about the industry. One of my love hate relationships stems with limited edition cigars. (Cigars that are only released in short numbers, and typically consist of tobacco that is very limited in production.) There are cigars that are released once a year, and released every year that I have no problem with, but there are some cigars that are released once and that is it. When cigars are released on a one time basis I almost hope not to enjoy the cigars, because once they are gone, they are gone. I would rather have a continuous amazing cigar, then a few awesome limited cigars. With that being said though, a great aspect to a cigar of this caliber, that is limited, is that you are able to make a cigar that you typically cannot. Sometimes a crop is experimental, or the yield is so small that you can only do so much. I can go back and forth on the strengths and weakness of cigars like this, but I am merely going to get right to the cigar. The cigar I am talking about is a cigar that at first did not impress me, but I went back to over and over again, and in the end I found myself thoroughly enjoying it.  

The Aging Room M356 is a blend that recently did well in Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 Cigars of 2011, and was created by Rafael Nodal of Oliveros. The line is made by Jochi Blanco of Tabacalera La Palma in Tamboril, Dominican Republic, and is a Dominican puro. More often than not, cigars by Oliveros consist of tobacco from several countries in Central America, but this cigar was something different. The tobacco was acquired from Jose Blanco, some years back, and the cigar gets its name from when it was blended. M stands for Monday, and 356 represents the 356th day of the year 2008, thus Monday, December 22nd, 2008. What is cool about the name is that you can see how many years were between prior blending and final release. As I mentioned before, the cigar consists of all Dominican tobacco, and has a Dominican Habano wrapper.

The tobacco for this cigar was originally meant to be incorporated into the SWAG line, but because of the scarcity of it, they could not use it in the blend and had this tobacco left over. The initial launch of the cigar was delayed because of the lack of tobacco, but when it was launched it was incredibly popular. For this review I smoked the Rondo vitola, which measures 5” with a 50 ring gauge. The wrapper is a definite marbled brown, and shows lots of light red brown coloring. It is definitely Colorado in terms of coloring, and it has shiny and toothy wrapper, with pronounced veins. The aroma of the cigar is that of peppery, hay, spices, leather and damp earth, and I am ready to light this cigar up.

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Great looking wrapper

As I light up the first third of the cigar I am immediately greeted with tons of black pepper notes. There is some definite spice to the cigar, but it is mostly pepper that I am getting. Eventually I begin to get some wood notes, that are damp, and I also get some leather hay and this salty characteristic. It really captures those qualities of a Dominican puro, and with the blending it is slightly Cubanesque as well. I would say the strength of the first third is that of medium full, and it has a fairly wavy burn line. It is leaving a charcoal gray ash color, and producing a nice amount of smoke with a long finish. I am getting a great amount of smoke rings which is enjoyable.  

When I get into the second third of the cigar there is a major change in the flavor profile, and the spice level from the first third has practically vanished. I am not getting as much pepper notes in this third, and the spice level has changed to a sweeter and milder spice level. There is a sugar cane flavor profile present in this third, and it is accompanied by those damp wood and earth flavors with a finish of salty wood and leather. I really like the change in the flavor profile in this third of the cigar, and along with the flavor profile change the strength of the cigar dissipated as well. I would say it is smoking more around the medium level in this third, and it was producing a thick amount of smoke. The burn line is still wavy, and the ash is still the same in coloring.

I am the final third of the cigar right now, and it is finishing similar to how it is in the second third. There is a return of some pepper notes, but it is very subtle, and I am getting more and more notes of earth, wood and sugar. It is not a very sweet cigar, and still fairly dry, but the wood and earth notes are slightly damp in flavor. Imagine being in a damp barn on a humid day, and that is what I am getting. The finish is of leather and spices, and it has a very long and satisfying finish. I would say the cigar finishes slightly above medium in body, but less than the medium-full.  The burn line was still wavy in the final third of the cigar, like it has been throughout, but nothing too drastic and presenting of problems. I smoke the cigar down to the nub where it is still cool, flavorful and enjoyable.

This is definitely a cigar that has grown on me, and I am glad I tried it again because it is definitely worth reviewing. I think it is one of the best releases by Oliveros, and I love that it is a Dominican puro. Dominican puros have really grown on me in the past year or so, and I love how they are turning out. This is a cigar that showed all those great qualities of being Dominican, and really showed some true Cubanesque flavor profiles as well. It is not a “rich” cigar, but it is very complex and unique, and that makes it special in my opinion. I give this cigar 91 points. It has some great flavor profiles throughout each third, shows nice balance and complexity, and though it had a wavy burn line it was constructed very well. A nice limited smoke by Oliveros, and a fine release from 2011.

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Aging Room M356 Rondo
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