Search Content

Search form

Explore the World of Cigars
Staff Reviews

Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua Staff Review

Tom O. O's picture

Tom O.

I’m smoking an Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua in the Maestro size, a cigar blended by Aging Room brand founder Rafael Nodal and cigar-maker AJ Fernandez. The Maestro was awarded Cigar Aficionado’s ‘#1 Cigar of the Year’ title in 2019. The blend continues to collect impressive ratings from the critics, and when I pull this 6-by-52 box-pressed Torpedo from a fresh box, its oily wrapper piques my curiosity.

Rafael Nodal, a classically trained musician, arrived in the U.S. in 1980 from his native Cuba during the controversial Mariel boatlift. Nodal’s foray into the premium cigar industry began in the late 1990s when he started selling cigars online and eventually took over a fledgling company called Habana Cuba Cigars, changing its name to Boutique Blends. Today, the Aging Room brand is owned by Altadis U.S.A., the parent company of iconic Cuban-legacy brands Montecristo and Romeo y Julieta.

Aging Room cigars hail from a hodgepodge of various cigar factories besides the AJ Fernandez operation in Estelí, Nicaragua. While AJ Fernandez is well known for producing his own burgeoning portfolio of brands, he’s achieved recognition for a number of the small-batch projects he does for others, including Southern Draw and Aging Room. Rafael Nodal leans on his musical vocabulary to name the blends and sizes in the Aging Room collection. Let’s find out if Quattro Nicaragua is as sweet as the critics make it sound.

As the name suggests, the cigar is blended entirely from Nicaraguan tobaccos. The cigars come in bright orange boxes of twenty, and when I pluck a fresh Belicoso from the top row, it appears high quality-control standards were followed as each cigar exhibits a dark and consistent color. I’m generally skeptical when a brand owner contracts multiple factories to make one brand, but Nodal is probably in the best hands possible with AJ Fernandez because AJ possesses the infrastructure and tobacco inventory to make great cigars at scale.

When I clip the cap and take a few cold draws, notes of cocoa, nuts, and pepper arouse my taste buds with abundant airflow. Sweet and perky flavor coats my lips while the sharp corners of this box-pressed jewel fit nicely in my mouth. Belicoso and Torpedo cigars concentrate a cigar’s flavor directly onto the palate because the smoke is drawn through a smaller opening. It’s also easier to clamp down a pointy cigar with your teeth due to its tapering head, but you should never chomp a cigar, or it can canoe. Sometimes I prefer a Torpedo for more control over the cigar’s position in my mouth when I’m golfing.

After rotating the Maestro’s foot over my torch lighter a few times, the Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua pumps out hearty and spicy streams of dense smoke. It’s a bit abrasive at first, and I flinch to avoid getting smoke in my eyes. I’ve reviewed plenty of AJ Fernandez cigars, including Enclave, Bella Artes Maduro, and New World Cameroon, before, but I can’t say they started out quite as rough as the Quattro Nicaragua.

I smoke a little slower to give the binder, filler, and wrapper tobaccos more time to gel with one another as the cigar progresses. Hints of hickory and chestnut peek through, but the cigar’s underlying astringency has left an impression as it continues to sting my nostrils in the retrohale. Finally, heavy flavors of chocolate and wood offset the cigar’s pronounced spices, giving way to better balance, albeit subtly. I would have to pour something stiff, like a high-proof Scotch, to keep up with Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua.

The draw is better than average, but I’ve touched up the burn a couple times after tapping a strong ash into the ashtray over about fifty minutes of smoking. While the cigar’s initial coarseness has gone away by the time I’m powering through the final third, it’s fallen short of what I would anticipate from a former ‘#1 Cigar of the Year.’ Overall, Aging Room Quattro Nicaragua is decent, but the accolades it’s been afforded raised my expectations, and I’m left underwhelmed by the time the nub is smoldering. If the critics consider Quattro Nicaragua Rafael Nodal’s masterpiece, I propose putting it back in the practice room to age a little longer before it hits the stage.


Featured Products