This blog may be mainly about whiskey, but from time to time I like to talk about the cigars that I personally enjoy pairing with my drink. This month, I’m diving back into the Romeo y Julieta line, one of the first cigars I ever smoked and the reason that I continue to this day.
There might not be a cigar more famous, or associated with Cuban history, than Romeo y Julieta. Founded in 1875 by Inocencio Alvarez and Manin Garcia, the brand really took off when it was acquired by Jose ‘Pepin’ Rodriguez Fernandez. Obsessed with the Shakespeare play of the same name, he attempted to purchase the Palazzo Capulet in Verona to turn it into a cigar lounge and, when that plan failed, he created a faithful copy in Havana for his customers to enjoy. Guarded by two dogs named (as you might guess) Romeo and Julieta.
Following the revolution in Cuba, the company moved to La Romana in the Dominican Republic, produced for Imperial Tobacco (a British company) and exported around the world. But the brand was so famous that Habanos SA refused to let it go and they still produce a Cuban version of Romeo y Julieta.
The favorite cigar brand of Winston Churchill, R&J produces a number of different expressions of their tobacco products. Winston’s cigar is still available, but there’s something in their line for every budget and taste.
Today we’re looking at their Reserve Robusto. The Reserve line are typically bolder in flavor than the more common red-banded, Connecticut-wrapped Reserva Real. It’s produced in Honduras using a blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran filler tobacco with a Honduran binder and wrapper.
The construction of the cigar is perfect. There are some minor cosmetic imperfections (as one might expect when using plant leaves for a product) but overall the stick looks well put-together and consistent. It’s easy to cut and stays together once the cap is cut.
There aren’t a lot of surprises in the pre-light smell of the cigar. I get the expected tobacco notes, but there’s also a bit of hay in there and some leather as well.
Lighting the cigar is easy and it draws well in my experience. From time to time I might need to touch up one of the sides to keep it from canoeing while smoking, but it’s significantly less of a problem than with many others (such as the Quorum cigars, for example).
Flavors in the smoke itself include the leather and the tobacco, but I also taste some nutty flavors too. Walnuts and pecans mainly are the items I can tease out, which are absolutely perfect when paired with my local Texas cuisine.
As for the richness, R&J ranks this on the richer side of a medium bodied cigar and I agree. It’s not the “punch you in your face” level of thick and heavy smoke that comes from, say… a Liga Privada T52, but it’s also not as light and unoffensive as the R&J Reserva Real line with their Connecticut shade wrapper. It’s a good middle ground that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Overall Rating: 5/5
It’s a great middle of the road cigar. Medium bodied, moderately priced, and the perfect companion to an afternoon of whiskey drinking.