Cigar Aficionado

Room101 Releases Small-Batch Gin

Room101 Releases Small-Batch Gin
Photo/Dave Lauridsen (left)
“... Gin caters to cocktail culture and sophisticated drinks. Everyone’s doing Bourbon right now, but to be frank, Bourbon is dead.” - Matt Booth, Owner of Room101 Ltd.

Room101 Ltd. has entered the spirits industry. Known for its edgy jewelry and boutique cigars, the Los Angeles-based Room101 now has a gin label to round out its portfolio of luxury items—and it’s being launched tonight. The release party will take place this evening at Fox Cigar Bar in Gilbert, Arizona.

“I’ve wanted a craft spirit to accompany my line of products and further establish Room101 as a lifestyle collection,” said company owner Matt Booth to Cigar Aficionado.

When asked why he chose gin, Booth responded “A, because I enjoy it.  But B, because I feel it’s going to be the next boutique spirit. Gin caters to cocktail culture and sophisticated drinks. Everyone’s doing Bourbon right now, but to be frank, Bourbon is dead. With gin, the possibilities are infinite because of the botanical mix.”

Booth's Room101 gin is distilled with juniper and other botanicals. To achieve the type of gin he was looking for,  Booth partnered with a small Michigan-based distillery.

“The distillery, which shall remain nameless, was referred to me by a friend in the spirits business,” Booth explains. “Because of their boutique nature I thought there’d be a synergy and the correct fit for Room101.”

So far, 1,200 bottles of Room101 gin have been produced. A standard 750 ml bottle retails for $39.99.

Booth entered the cigar business in 2009 with his Room101 brand. He gained attention by packaging his Honduran cigars in unusual boxes designed with Japanese motifs that complemented his line of jewelry. Booth contracted Camacho Cigars to produce the inaugural batch of Room101 smokes, but when Davidoff of Geneva acquired Camacho cigars, it picked up distribution of the Room101 cigar brand in the process.

Earlier this year Booth and Davidoff ended their distribution agreement. Booth retired the cigar lines he created under Davidoff and returned in July with two new brands—Hit & Run, made in the Dominican Republic at the William Ventura factory with Robert Caldwell, and The T (formerly called The Truth), produced by AJ Fernandez in Nicaragua.

Room101 gin is distributed in Arizona through Action Wine & Spirits, but Booth plans to expand distribution to other states.

“I launched in Arizona because there are many cigar bars in this state,” Booth said. “It will pair very well side-by-side with my cigars.”

[UPDATE, Nov. 2, 2017: Price change.]