EASTON, Pennsylvania — For those with their ear not as close to the cigar industry ground, it was recently reported that Room101 Cigars founder, Matt Booth, was departing the business. For the immediate future that seems to be the case. However, according to an anonymous source, it may just be a temporary hiatus. Rumors aside, Cigar Advisor’s “Master Blenders” podcast host, Gary Korb, had the opportunity to speak with Matt on the January installment of the program.
“I recorded the interview with Matt in early December of last year,” said Korb. “Matt’s contract with Davidoff of Geneva was coming to an end, yet he gave no indication that he would be moving on to pursue his jewelry full time. But that’s not even important now. The fact is, it was one of the best interviews we’ve ever done for the series.”
Matt’s natural candor runs throughout the show, as he talks about his service in the U.S. Marine Corps, his early, elementary school aspirations of becoming a rock musician (“I always wanted to play guitar, but my Mom said it would lead to bad stuff, so I ended up playing the saxophone because it was the coolest instrument in the school band.”), his starts in both the jewelry and cigars businesses, and much more, including the legend of Chief Cool Arrow.
“One of the things listeners will learn during the podcast is that, while smoking a Room101 Namakubi Ecuador cigar, they will very likely be inclined to remove their pants,” said Korb. “That’s just one example of Matt’s pithy sense of humor.”
With regard to his entry into the boutique cigar side of the business in 2009, Matt gives a nod to Dylan Austin for introducing him to Christian Eiroa – both of whom were with Camacho Cigars at the time – and he makes a very interesting observation:
“Although I loved cigars, I had no understanding of what was beginning to take form within the industry as far as the ’boutique movement.’ Some of the guys who’ve been in the business awhile would argue that Tony Borhani was the first face or brand owner-developer of a true boutique cigar brand and kind of sparked that change in direction.”
Matt goes on to say that he personally attributes most of the change in the boutique direction to Pete Johnson of Tatuaje Cigars.
“I like to remind Pete, this is all your fault,” adds Matt, who also acknowledges seminal boutique cigar makers such as Dion Giolito (Illusione Cigars) and George Rico of Gran Habano Cigars, and later, Jon Huber of Crowned Head Cigars, among others. It was Austin who told Matt that “the whole direction” of his Room101 jewelry brand, would make for “a great cigar brand.”
Later in the podcast, Matt opines on what he loves most about cigar smokers, describing them as a “higher caliber, higher quality of human being. You know, guys that would hold the door for a woman. . .Just little shreds of humanity that are so quickly evaporating, if not already disintegrated, from our culture in general.”
As the new father of a 17 month-old son whom he affectionately calls his “attorney,” when asked about the pleasures of fatherhood Matt says: “I want to run up every hill I drive by and just scream out ‘I love my son!’ to the world. He has empowered me in ways I could never describe.”
For those who want to understand the “logic” behind Room101 cigars, Matt says, “Although our cigars are what I like to consider a quality offering of fine product for consumers, everything means something.”
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