In his description of Boutique Blend Cigars, co-owner Rafael Nodal states on their website, “We are not producing cigars for everyone. We are introducing new blends for educated consumers that are looking for cigars with complexity and character.” The first time I read this quote, it resonated with me, as I realized that I am a member of that target audience. I'm always seeking new blends, with bold character and complexity - and I certainly found it with the Aging Room Small Batch lines, particularly the Quattro F55.
As with Swag, one of Boutique Blends earlier releases, Nodal teamed up with renowned cigar master blender Jochi Blanco of Tabacalera La Palma to create the Aging Room Small Batch M356, and subsequently the Quattro F55 line. Being an accomplished violinist and having played since six years of age, the vitolas of the Quattro F55 line have been named in acknowledgement of Nodal's musical background: Concerto (7" x 50); Concerto S (6" x 50); Vibrato (6" x 54); Maestro (6" x 52 torpedo); Stretto (4½" x 46); and Espressivo, the subject of this review.
The Quattro F55 Espressivo is a box-pressed beauty with an even-toned, Colorado Claro-colored, nine-year aged Indonesian wrapper with relatively tiny veins running throughout from cap to foot. The wrapper is slightly oily and has a nice leathery texture. This firm and densely packed cigar has a triple cap and the seams are barely visible. There are two bands on this stick, which are almost identical to the M356 line. The primary band is brown with the Aging Room logo with gold and white accents, and "F55" prominently printed in blue. The secondary band is at the foot and is brown embossed with "Quattro" in ivory. The bold aroma emanating from the foot is of barnyard and musty leather.
The first time I tried the Quattro F55 Espressivo over a year ago, I smoked three; however, since then I've smoked several of these on various occasions and this is a solid and consistent smoke, from start to finish. Having smoked many of these, I've applied guillotine, punch, and v-cuts and the draw is quite easy, despite its density. Cold draw provides a great preview of a wonderful full-bodied smoke forthcoming, with the barnyard and musty leather notes detected from the aroma, but also some cedar. The cigar lights easily and burns evenly, always producing a tight ash.
The Quattro F55 Espressivo is a medium-strength cigar that is packed with savory goodness. It produces a great amount of thick smoke with a very smooth and creamy texture. There are no flavor transitions from each third of the smoke, but I found the flavors to just become progressively richer from start to finish. There is a sweet cedar flavor that dominates the palate, but the cigar keeps your attention with notes of roasted nuts, mild cinnamon spiciness (which is really pronounced on retrohale), and espresso which all seem to alternate with each draw in terms of their level of expression throughout the smoke, which will conclude with a very nice long cedar finish. I've smoked every Quattro F55 Espressivo to a nub which never has burned hot and remained full of flavor. Total burn time ~1 hour, 20 minutes.
This is one cigar that's really challenging to put down once lit, and I'll find it difficult to believe if you ever tell me that you haven't smoked it to a nub. The Quattro F55 Espressivo is a fantastic cigar - very enjoyable, and I'll continue to smoke them as long as they're available. In fact, if in stock, I've never walked out of a tobacco shop without them. This is a very well-constructed, balanced cigar with beautifuly aged tobacco that is a must-have for your humidor.