RyJ by Romeo y Julieta

The RyJ by Romeo y Julieta is the newest entry into Altadis USA’s Romeo y Julieta line.  The cigar is one of two Nicaraguan puros that have been launched in 2013 (the other is the re-release of the Juan Lopez).  This is a significant release for Romeo y Julieta in that it is the first Nicaraguan puro to be a part of that line.   Back in 2012, Altadis released the Romeo by Romeo y Julieta.  This marked a big change for the line because it was a move away from the line’s reputation for milder smokes. In addition the Romeo had some edgier packaged.  The RyJ is going to be more contemporary in terms of its packaging, but its another cigar that is going to move out of the milder range of smokes.  Recently I’ve had an opportunity to smoke a pre-release of the RyJ.  Overall, I found this to be an excellent addition to an iconic line.

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the RyJ by Romeo y Julieta and see what this cigar brings to the table.  This assessment is based on a single pre-release cigar.  Given a pre-release cigar was assessed, we will default to our “pre-review” format to share our thoughts and perspectives.  Once the RyJ hits the shelves, we will revisit this cigar and provide an assessment rating and score.

Blend Profile

As mentioned the cigar is a Nicaraguan puro.  The RyJ has a wrapper leaf that is exclusive to Altadis.  It also contains a double binder and filler from three regions.

Wrapper: Nicaraguan (Proprietary)
Binder: Esteli, Jalapa (Double Nicaraguan)
Filler: Jalapa, Esteli, La Mia (Nicaraguan)

Vitolas Available

The RyJ by Romeo y Julieta is being launched in three sizes:

Bully Grande: 5 x 54
Toro: 6 x 52
Primaide: 6 1/8 x 54


For this cigar experience, I went with the toro size of the RyJ.  The RyJ’s Nicaraguan wrapper has a caramel color to it.   There is a slight oily sheen on the surface of the wrapper.  There are a few visible wrapper seams and a few visible veins.

The RyJ features two bands.  As mentioned the Romeo cigar marked a radical change in packaging and this was reflected by on its band.  The primary band of the RyJ is more of a throwback to the style of bands found on other cigars in the Romeo y Julieta line.  The primary band has a white background with red trim.  On the center of the band is a gold scripted RyJ.  Two dotted gold ovals surround the RyJ logo. Above the inner oval is the text  “ROMEO Y JULIETA” in red font.  Below the inner oval is the text “NICARAGUA” in red font.  There are three gold medallions to the left and right of the oval pattern.   The lower half of the primary band has a simulated look of a secondary band.  It has another RyJ scripted logo in gold.  

The secondary band of the RyJ is on the footer.   It is also a white band with red and gold trim. The RyJ gold scripted logo is present three times.  Under two of the logos (on the front and band) is the text “ROMEO Y JULIETA” in red font.

Preparation of the Cigar Experience

Prior to lighting up the RyJ by Romeo y Julieta Toro, I went with my usual choice of a straight cut. Once the cap was removed, I proceeded with the pre-light draw.  The cold draw provided a mix of cocoa, some grapefruit-citrus flavors, and a touch of spice.  Overall I considered the pre-light draw to the RyJ to be satisfactory.  At this point, I was ready to remove the footer band of the RyJ and see what the smoking phase would deliver.

Flavor Profile

The start to the RyJ started off with a nice array of flavors.  In the forefront were notes of earth and red pepper.  In the background were notes of cocoa and citrus sweetness.  The retro-hale was multi-dimensional as it had a mix of citrus and pepper that could be detected through the nasal passages.

Around the five percent mark, the flavor profile switched to notes of chocolate and citrus sweetness as primary notes while the red pepper was a secondary note.  The red pepper was more prominent on the after-draw.  By the middle of the first third the retro-hale had switched up to more of a red pepper feel to it.

In the middle of the first third, the chocolate and pepper notes alternated being in the forefront. The citrus sweetness remained in the background.  This pattern continued throughout the first half of the RyJ.

In the second half, the chocolate notes became more earthy in flavor.  The citrus and pepper notes both ramped up.  The citrus notes lost some of its sweetness and took on more of an acidic quality.  This was a bit of a sign to me this pre-release could have used a little more aging.  The notes of earth, pepper, and citrus held until the end.  I found the close to the RyB a little harsh. The resulting nub was soft to the touch, but cool in temperature.

Burn and Draw

Overall I found the RyJ to score nicely when it came to the construction attributes of burn and draw.  For the most part the burn line required little in the way of touch-ups – making it a low maintenance cigar to burn on track.  The resulting ash was mostly firm with a salt and pepper color.  There were a few instances of some minor flaking, but nothing adverse to the overall cigar experience.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.

Burn of the RyJ by Romeo y Julieta

I found the draw to be very good on the RyJ.  There was no tightness and no looseness.  It made the RyJ an enjoyable cigar to puff on from start to finish.

Strength and Body

When I smoked the Romeo by Romeo y Julieta, I found that to be a medium strength, medium-bodied cigar – which was still somewhat of a departure from Romeo y Julieta’s milder reputation. As for the RyJ, I found a cigar that was even bolder in both strength and body.

The strength to the RyJ was just enough to qualify it to be a medium to full strength cigar in my book.  As for the depth of the flavors, they also start out medium to full-bodied, but become full-bodied by the second third.  When balancing strength versus body on the RyJ, I give a slight edge to the body.  I will say, I do think some aging might mellow both of these attributes a bit.

Final Thoughts

The RyJ by Romeo y Julieta was a very nice cigar.  It is one of these cigars that you can definitely sense has some excellent aging potential.  Some of the acidic and spice notes give me the impression that this blend can still settle down a bit.  I still found this cigar particularly flavorful, and I think it is going to be a nice release for Altadis.  No doubt this is one of the bolder Romeo y Julieta’s from a strength and body perspective.  I’d probably steer this cigar right now to a more seasoned cigar enthusiast.  As for myself, this cigar kept my interest and left a favorable impression.  It’s a cigar I definitely would reach for again and smoke.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Medium
Strength: Medium to Full
Body: Medium to Full (1st third), Full (Last two thirds)
Finish: Good

Source: This pre-release sample was gifted to Cigar Coop.