Published on September 23rd, 2013 | by Siz2
Romeo by Romeo y Julieta
Overall the flavors were very palatable on this Romeo by Romeo y Julieta, but the smoking experience brought the score down. There were some good flavors happening together. The blend of leather and earth, combined with some sweetness and spice made it fairly complex. However, the draw and burn issues took away from the overall experience.
- Made By:Altadis USA
- Wrapper:Ecuadorian Habano
- Average Price:$7.25
- Ring Gauge:54
You’ve probably seen this Romeo by Romeo y Julieta around your local shop, you’ve heard all the buzz surrounding it for the last year or two. The new release with the giant band, from a very traditional brand. It’s made quite a splash, it made an even bigger one last year when it found it’s way to the #3 on Cigar Aficionado’s coveted list! There was some outrage, some applauding, but mainly some head scratching. Personally, I couldn’t scratch my head because I had never smoked it, but I’m about to change all of that.
A couple of weeks ago while attending the big 1st year anniversary of one of our favorite shops(Big Star Cigar) I picked up this Romeo by Romeo y Julieta. I figured what the hell I’ve give it a go. Nothing else was really catching my eye and like I said this cigar had been talked about so much I figured it was worth a try. Scott, the co-owner of the shop said a lot of people really liked it. So might as well go with the masses right?
A little bit about this cigar, it’s an unusual blend for the Dominican company. Typically they use Indonesian wrappers which have a more mild flavor profile, but for this particular blend they went with a Ecuadorian Habano. It also has a unique Dominican filler and binder combination. So it’s a little outside of the norm for this brand and maybe that’s why it has caught everyone’s attention! Or maybe it’s the band that’s catching everyone by surprise. So let’s talk about that while we’re at it.
The band on this Romeo by Romeo y Julieta is big and bold. Some have referred to it as being gaudy. I don’t know if I would go that far. It is outside of the box for these guys though. Their traditional band is very, well traditional and this band speaks more to the current time and marketplace. So I’m sure that was part of the strategy behind this band’s design. It took me a while, but I finally came around on this band. At first I was with all the other critics and I was like what the hell is this? Now, I’ve gotten used to it and it’s definitely eye catching so I guess they achieved their goal.
The band has a nice mix of letter sizes that spells out the word “Romeo”. All the text is white with gold trimming set on a red background. It definitely pops off of the band. I’m assuming that’s what they were going for, and it seemed to work. The box containing all these Romeo’s isn’t nearly as complex. It’s a red and white painted box that has a nice rounded edges to it. Most of the time I go into these shops this cigar has it’s own stand to display all the boxes. I guess Altadis really wanted a nice presentation for these cigars. It makes sense, if you’re going to put a big marketing push behind them might as well make an attractive display at the same time.
The Ecuadorian-Habano wrapper on this Romeo by Romeo y Julieta looks perfect. It has a nice medium brown color to it with a few hints of red in the right light. No big veins or anything negative about it. I see a few hints of tooth, but that’s closer to the mouth than the foot of this particular stick. Not an incredibly smooth wrapper, but it’ll get the job done I’m sure.
When I picked up this stick at Big Star I made sure to give it a good roll between the fingers before I purchased it. The first one I picked up was good to go. It’s encased in some cellophane. So it was a little more difficult to perform the pinch test, but I persevered and made it through the struggle.
Before lighting I gave it a thorough inspection. The foot looked great, nicely stuffed with long filler leaf and ready to smoke. No exterior construction issues the wrapper looks good all the way up to the head. The head has a perfectly placed triple cap on it. The seams are fairly easy to see. The only blemish is one little spot on the seam of the cap and I included that in my picture just to point it out. Other than that it’s flawless.
After nipping the cap off of this Romeo by Romeo y Julieta and I’m ready to test the cold draw. It’s a little more snug than I prefer. I’m tempted to cut some more off, but I’m going to wait until I light it to see if I have any sort of issues. If I do then I’ll take some more off the top. Right now it’s just small struggle to draw some air through the barrel. Alright, after all the pre light festivities I think I’m ready to light this thing up!
When lighting this thing up I tried to not toast the foot like I did with the Padron Anniversary, but it didn’t work as well. Well it didn’t work at all. You have to have a pretty open draw to be able to do that lighting method effectively. So I ended up toasting the foot and then this Romeo by Romeo y Julieta took off!
The first third burned very even once I got it kicked off. It was a very slow burning cigar though. Obviously the draw has a lot to do with that, but I think the combustion rate on the wrapper is just slower than normal. This stick produced a decent amount of smoke while puffing on it, but while it’s resting in the ash tray it didn’t put off too much. It was kind of odd, because it’s like when it was resting it felt as if the cigar wasn’t burning. Each time I picked it back up and I had to give it a few puffs to make sure it was going strong. It never tarred up and tasted bitter, or anything, but it just wasn’t burning that well on it’s own.
The second third was very similar to the first. I started a little trouble with the ash as it started flaring out a bit. The burn line was growing somewhat uneven. The draw still wasn’t wide open either, but at this point I didn’t want to cut any more off of the head. I figured I’d just power through.
The final third was pretty much exactly the same as the second. The burn line stayed somewhat wavy and not laser straight, but that’s fine. The ash and draw were manageable, but not perfect. Overall the smoking experience was fine, not great or fantastic, it wasn’t awful, but it was manageable. I think that’s the best way to put it.
Mmm, the flavors. Let’s see what all that talk is about in terms of the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper! On the pre-light of this Romeo by Romeo y Julieta the first thing I picked up on was sense of Mocha / Chocolate an overlaying sweetness. There were also hints of leather and earth on the wrapper. In fact one spot of the wrapper went from leather to a very distinct earthy note. It was very interesting it’s like I was just moving through the wrapper and then it hit me and then it was gone. I pulled the cigar away for a second and gave it a confused look. Once I cut the cap off I picked up on the sweetness on the lips that followed with a tinge of spice on the backend. It reminded me of black pepper, nothing over the top, but a nice subtle spice.
The first few puffs I really picked up on the leathery notes. Then the meaty / savory notes began to build most of the way through the first third. There were hints of sweetness as well and that peppery note that always seems to hint on the backend showed up again.
During the second third of this Romeo by Romeo y Julieta the earthiness started to show again. I also picked up on some nutty notes to go along side it. However, the earthy notes are the dominant ones of this third. It feels that the leathery notes have dissipated now.
The final third was much more similar to the 2nd third. I found myself picking out that spice on the backend of the retrohale. Especially if the draw got hot that spice reared up like a dragon and almost brought me to tears. However, most of the time the spice wasn’t nearly that overpowering. Some interesting flavors here for sure, a decent amount of complexity overall.
Would I Buy It Again?
Potentially, I wasn’t blown away, but I enjoyed it.
Is It an Every Day Smoke?
Possibly, at $7.25 a stick it’s manageable, but maybe you can find a deal on them somewhere.
Would I Buy a Box?
If the price is right.
Overall, I give it an 8 / 10. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t blow me away. I think if I smoked it in the pyramid shape I might have a better experience. The flavors were pleasurable, but the overall smoking experience was a bit of a let down. I think that’s one of the things that kind of drew me away from loving this cigar. I’m not sure if I was completely hung up on the flavors, but they were good enough to enjoy. I would probably smoke it again, like I said though I’d prefer to try the pyramid size and see how the tapering of the barrel affects the flavor of the smoke.
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