A Room101 brand from the past is getting a second life. Brand owner Matt Booth is reviving Room101 The Big Payback, a cigar line from 2014 that was manufactured and distributed by Davidoff. When Booth left Davidoff in 2017, he said that he gave the Swiss company the remaining inventory of Room101 cigars, but retained the rights to the brand names. One of those brands was The Big Payback. Now, Booth is debuting a new version of the cigar called The Big Payback Maduro at this weekend’s cigar trade show in Las Vegas.
The idea behind the original Big Payback was to make a premium cigar at an affordable price point for Room101 fans—a big thank you, or “payback,” to his most loyal supporters.
“The Big Payback was originally developed to reward fans of our brand for their years of supporting the premium side of our business with a premium cigar at a value price point,” Booth told Cigar Aficionado. “We wanted to continue to offer our supporters the same value—into perpetuity.”
The original version of Big Payback was a Nicaraguan puro made at Davidoff’s Camacho factory in Honduras. The new version is made at made at General Cigar’s Honduras American Tobacco S.A. (HATSA), and rolled with a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, Connecticut shade binder leaf with filler tobaccos from Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic. Room101 The Big Payback Maduro will come in three sizes: Robusto, at 5 1/4 inches by 50 ring gauge ($6.50); Toro, at 6 by 54 ($7.00); and Gordo, 6 by 60 ($7.50). The cigars come packaged in 20-count bundles and are also available in 40-count display boxes.
Fans of the original Big Payback may recall ultra-thick, 7 by 70 ring gauge and 8 by 80 sizes in the brand's lineup. Those sizes are not included in the launch of Big Payback Maduro.
Room101 also released a lightly-hued, Connecticut-seed offshoot of Big Payback in 2016. While there’s no official release date for a new Connecticut version just yet, Booth says more Big Payback blends are planned for the future.
“I will focus on the launch of the Maduro at the upcoming show,” Booth said. “I want to afford the necessary breathing room for the Maduro to take its place in the market—with extensions and additional blends coming on its heels.
“There are plans to develop the Big Payback brand franchise—Maduro, Connecticut, etc.—to include size and blend extensions that will ultimately round the brand into the full-bore value premium collection it is meant to be.”
In addition, Booth hinted that he might revisit other vintage Room101 brands in the future.
“I intend to revisit several staple sub-brand collections that have struck a chord with our fans and supporters over the years,” he said.