|Romeo by Romeo y Juliet|
Romeo y Julieta is a line of cigars that is well-known to most cigar enthusiasts. It is right up there as far as being one of the best selling brands of cigars in the world. At the same time, with the rise of boutique blends, Romeo y Julieta cigars are probably not in the regular smoking rotation of many “next generation” cigar enthusiasts. In an attempt to capitalize on that segment of the cigar market, Altadis USA is introducing the “Romeo by Romeo y Julieta” cigar. This new blend is an attempt to move away from the milder smokes the line has become known for. At the same time, it integrates contemporary packaging for this cigar. The end result is very good, and it continues what has been a solid year for new products by Altadis USA.
On the 4/14/12 Cigar Dave Show, Cigar Dave mentioned this would be the featured cigar for his annual broadcast on 6/23 in Charlotte, North Carolina. However, while the previous three years featured world premieres by Altadis at that broadcast, word is the Romeo will hit the stores before this event.
I recently have had a chance to sample a pre-release cigar. As always, with pre-release cigars, we will use the “pre-review” format to provide thoughts and experiences with the cigar. In the future, when the cigar hits the market, we will do an assessment update.
The Romeo is made at Altadis’ famed Tabacalera de Garcia. The Romeo’s distinguishing factor is its Ecuadorian Habano-seed wrapper.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano-seed
In addition to the contemporary packaging, the Romeo will also capitalize on a trend toward larger ring gauge cigars.
Piramdes: 6 1/8 x 52
Robusto: 5 x 54
Toro: 6 x 54
Churchill: 7 x 56
For this cigar pre-review, I smoked the Toro sized vitola. The Ecuadorian Habano-seed wrapper is definitely a darker look for Romeo y Julieta. I would categorize it as medium brown in color and medium oil in complexion. There are a few dark spots on the wrapper. While there also are a few visible wrapper seams, I found the wrapper to be smooth to the touch.
The band reflects the contemporary packaging of the Romeo. It has a red, white, and gold color scheme. The band features the text “RO” in large white font with a gold trim Under that text is “ME”in larger white font with a gold trim. Finally, under that text and offset to the right (just under the “E”) is the text “O” in the smallest white font and gold trim. This text sits on a red rectangular field that is surrounded by a thick gold-colored trim.
The back of the band reflects features gold and red striping on a white background. The name “Romeo y Julieta” is in red font in the middle of the striping design.
The box is interesting as it combines the new contemporary packaging for Romeo with the classic packaging for the Romeo y Julieta line. The left side of the box is in red reflecting the contemporary Romeo logo. The right side is in white and features the classic Romeo y Julieta logo.
|Box of the Romeo by Romeo y Julieta|
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my Romeo Toro, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut. I proceeded to commence with the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes yielded more of a classic flavor profile of natural tobacco and cedar spice. Overall, I considered this to be a satisfactory pre-light draw on the Romeo. At this point, I was very curious to fire this cigar up and see what the flavor profile for the smoke would bring to the table,
The flavor profile to the Romeo continued where the pre-light draw left off, but with bolder notes of natural tobacco and cedar. One thing I liked about the Romeo was how even though it is positioned as contemporary, the flavor notes were very classic.
The natural tobacco notes became the primary flavor note early on. The cedar spice moved into the background and was balanced by notes of cinnamon and nut. This continued to provide what I considered to be a very classic flavor profile. By around the midway point of the smoke, the nut flavors moved up into the forefront with the natural tobacco. While the cedar spice remained in the background, the cinnamon notes had dissipated.
A little before the 2/3 point, the natural tobacco moved into the background and the spice increased, joining the nuts in the forefront. At this point, the spice had more of a pepper quality. As the Romeo approached the nub, the spice really kicked up a notch. This cigar had an extremely spicy finish. I wouldn’t categorize it as harsh, but one that is simply spicy. The resulting nub was outstanding – cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
The Romeo is definitely one of the best cigars this year in terms of its construction attributes for burn and draw. The burn was razor sharp from start to finish – and required very little in the way of touch-ups. The burn temperature and burn rate were ideal from start to finish.
|Burn of the Romeo by Romeo y Julieta|
The draw had just a touch of resistance – and I look at that as positive when assessing the draw. It still was what I consider an ideal draw and made the Romeo a real joy to smoke.
Strength and Body
I will agree that the Romeo is successful in moving away from the “milder” roots of the Romeo y Juliet brand for both strength and body. What I won’t say is that the Romeo is a “full” smoke in terms of strength and body. In my opinion, this cigar falls right in the middle and is a classic medium strength, medium-bodied cigar. There is nothing wrong with this – as I do believe this provides the perfect amount of strength balanced against just enough flavor depth.
As I mentioned up front, 2012 is proving to be a very good year for Altadis. The company has gone through some major changes at the top with the retirements of Jim Collucci and Jose Seijas – yet it is producing some very good cigars. The Romeo will join the Montecristo New York Connoisseur Edition and VegaFina Sumum 2010 as standout releases for 2012. This cigar can appeal to both new generation cigar enthusiasts as well as long time cigar enthusiasts. It’s a good cigar to graduate both the novice cigar enthusiast and classic Romeo y Julieta cigar enthusiast into. I also think some seasoned cigar enthusiasts will enjoy this cigar. It certainly is a cigar I look forward to smoking again.
Source: The cigar for this assessment were provided by Altadis USA . These samples were initiated by Altadis USA in order to provide feedback. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but in no way does this influence this review.