The Label Factor:
When I first gazed upon the Room 101 San Andres label, I was struck with déjà vu, but couldn’t quite put my finger on what it reminded me of. After a deep dive into the bowels of my childhood, I realized it reminded me of the half-cyborg Leslie Nielson character Colonel Chi from the film Surf Ninjas. I’m about 99% sure that this is not where Room 101 got it’s inspiration, but there’s always that 1% chance…
What We Liked:
Colonel Chi starts off laid back and chill with just a faint pepper and generic tobacco. The first half inch is smooth and tasty, getting me excited to see how the stick progresses. After an inch or so, a wood and powdered chocolate note appear. Now, I’m not saying I can tell the difference in tobacco flavor between chocolate and powdered chocolate (far from it!), but the stick has a dryness to it that gives it an overall powdery mouth feel…if that makes sense. If not, just pretend you didn’t read the previous couple sentences. You’re probably better off anyway.
The pepper stays at a consistently delicious level throughout; just enough to keep things interesting but never overpowering. The halfway point sees black coffee join the pepper to help balance the predominantly sweet and chocolatey profile. It doesn’t get a whole lot different through to tend, but it’s a simple and delicious combination of flavors that work well together.
On the afternoon of May 5th, otherwise known as Cinco de Mayo, I grabbed a cold Mexican Coke from my fridge and headed to the humidor to find a cigar. As luck would have it, due to the orientation of the Room 101 San Andres, the word “Mexico” on the label was staring me in the face. Almost as if to say, “Hey, I’m from Mexico too!” And, just like that, I was channeling my inner Mexican; drinking a delicious pure cane sugar Coke, smoking a fantastic Mexican San Andres cigar, and wearing my ridiculously large sombrero. Did you know that the word sombrero in Spanish refers to any hat, and not just the large hats the word is often used to describe? Now you do! I’m trying to make the world a better place here, one cultural misunderstanding at a time.
What We Didn’t Like:
Though you probably can’t tell from the photos, I had some significant burn issues several times throughout the slightly-over-an-hour smoking experience. The first de-ash may have been the problem, as I found myself touching up repeatedly afterwards. There also seemed to be an issue with the cigar burning on the inside but not the outside. It felt like abnormal amounts of time would go by without the wrapper burning down at all, leaving a charred tunnel on the inside.
The other problem I had, which could totally be related, is that occasionally I would take a puff and get what I can only describe as a mineral-like flavor that was not very pleasant. This wasn’t often, I’d say every 10 minutes or so, but it was enough for me to take notice and perhaps take a swig of Mexican Coke when I otherwise wouldn’t.
Should You Try/Buy It:
Even with the construction and mineral issues, the Room 101 San Andres is a stick worth trying. After finishing the smoke, I went to look up the price, only to find that it goes for a reasonable $6.25. At that MSRP, it’s ludicrous not to give this one a shot. If you don’t have any issues with build quality, you’ll find a whole lot of deliciousness bang for your buck. And, if you’ve got a friend you’re trying to introduce to the world of cigars, this would be a great choice. If they don’t like it, cigars probably aren’t for them.
Interested in trying the Room 101 San Andres? You can purchase it here.