Cigar ratings…whether we agree with them or not, often guide us in our pursuits of the perfect puro; and when Cigar Insider gives an entire cigar line high marks, my curiosity gets really piqued. Such was the case with the Aging Room Small Batch M356 cigar.
Being a fan of the “old school” robusto size, I chose to sample the Rondo vitola (5×50).[i] I figured the cigar would be strong as ALL Cigar Aficionado ratings are skewed that way, yet I was not prepared for what the M356 had in store. But first the usual review stuff:
The M356 Rondo is a perfectly constructed cigar. No soft spots, nice weight in the hand, and a perfect draw. The cap is tightly wound and keeps its shape long after the guillotine cut. Its burn is as good as it gets, with an ash that just doesn’t want to drop. I’ve never smoked a cigar with a better burn.
Color-wise, the M356 is unique. It’s a Colorado-Claro with an almost rust color wrapper, and its mottled appearance makes for an unusual presentation. I’ve never before seen a cigar with this coloration. Now down to what’s most important, its flavor:
At the very first puff, the M356 really grabs your attention. It produces an almost effervescent sensation on the tongue, unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. Some may describe this as spicy, but it’s not the typical tobacco spice. It’s more of a feeling not unlike a carbonated beverage. No, the cigar doesn’t taste like soda, but it has an almost bubbly intensity. But what impresses me the most is a taste I can only describe as “bright”. In a world where dark cigars have gained prominence, the M356 comes across as a beacon of light. There’s no earth or espresso tones in this stick, but rather aromatic flavors of wood and spearmint. Smoking it is a stimulating experience, one that begs you to keep smoking. So much so that the M356 has been the only cigar I’ve smoked all week.
The history behind the M356 is intriguing. Originally designed as a member of the Swag line, the outstanding tobaccos used in this stick were of insufficient supply for a general release cigar. As a result the line was classified as Small Batch and only a limited number of boxes were produced. Rafael Nodal, the creator of Oliveros Cigars explains the process here.
The Aging Room Small Batch M356 is the first truly outstanding cigar I’ve smoked in a long time. I was starting to get bored by all the maduros that have recently flooded the market. To find something with such a unique character has re-kindled my love of cigars. But with uniqueness comes polarization. If dark, earthy cigars are your thing, the M356 may not be appealing. For me, uniqueness is what I look for in a cigar, and this stick has it in spades. So love it or hate it, one thing is for sure, the M356 has a point of view, and I love what it has to say.
Brand: Aging Room Small Batch M356
Vitola: Rondo (robusto 5×50)
Wrapper: Habano (Dominican grown)
Flavors: Wood, Spearmint, “bright” tobacco.
Manufacturer: Oliveros Cigars – Dominican Republic
X Factor: 9.4
[i] I say “old school” because the robusto ring size has gotten fatter over the last few years. Cigars of 52 ring size and larger are now called robusto if they are 5 inches in length.
All DR grown Habano with ligero binder and filler.
Got my interest up and scored some at Atlantic Cigars.
Thanks as always Joe.
I have wanted to try this for a while but just have not had the opportunity. Will definitely try one soon. Thank you.
Spot on review, Joe. I have smoked a couple of these so far and I really enjoyed them. I was very impressed with the burn and the draw. Both perfect. The flavor was very good as well, different from what I’m used to smoking, but enjoyable nonetheless. Thanks for the review , Joe . I plan on gettin some more of these.
Great review! enjoyed your point of view!! thanks for letting the public know about our great cigars we really do it for the love of it! why else blow smoke!
Here we go again 🙂 you write about a cigar and it causes me to seek them out. and sample the cigar. i haven’t smoked one I dislike. I do recall seeing them in a catalog and didn’t givem em too much attn. at the time.
I purchased a box of the Rondo based on your review as I always seem to enjoy the same overall profile that you do. I was not disapointed. I have been smoking one a week for the last month or so. Your review was pretty spot on, I got the mint along with a wonderful spice. A winner all the way around. Well this past weekend I was given a box of the M56 Presto, a slightly smaller robusto, 4.5 X 48.
What I did not experience in the Rondo as you did was the evervesence, well let me tell you, when you put the Presto to your lips it is like an amazing combination of Poprocks and ligero. The dry draw just bubbles up. When you put a flame to it, the flavor just explodes on your palate. I love this cigar. I am buying up as many as i can afford.
For those of you who have yet to experience the Aging Room M356, make sure you are signed up for the Second Great Robusto Joe giveaway. You could win an M356 along with 4 other spectacular smokes and a 5 cigar hard shell Herf a Dor travel case. Sign up now.
Smoke em up. Bubbapuro