Romeo y Julieta No 2 (Cuba)

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Name: Romeo y Julieta No 2 (Cuba)
Rating:  ★★★
Origin: Cuba
Cigar info: The Romeo y Julieta No 2 are machine made petit coronas with a ring gauge of 42.  Romeo y Julieta are perhaps one of the world’s most well-known Cuban cigar brands, with a “house” flavour commonly associated with wood and cedar. 
Draw: Good
Burn: Below average. The cigar had an uneven burn and it needed frequent puffing to stay alight. 
Construction: Average
Strength: Medium
Flavours: The Romeo y Julieta No 2 offers a lovely spectrum of flavours that are only let down by the below average burn of the cigar, which gives it harsh burning bonfire undertones that grind against the palate. Find wood, cloves, spice, campfire notes, burnt orange peel, lime, cracked pepper, curry powder  and a subtle toasted wood sappiness with wood vanillas. Towards the nub the cigar becomes harsher and more full flavoured with the spritz of lemon fresh dishwashing liquid and soap, entangled with denser tobacco and more flavours from the wrapper. 
Format: Petit Corona
Match with: Try this cigar with some dry wors or other peppery cured meats, or a spicy pot still Irish whiskey. 
Bottom line: Don’t bother. The No 2 in the range seems to be a hit and miss with consistency. The stick I last smoked had very impressive flavours,  but its construction and burn really let it down – the burn was uneven and the cigar needed a lot of frequent puffing to keep it alight. This resulted in a smoke that was marred by harshness and pronounced tar and bonfire flavours, though between those moments there was some really lovely spicy Cuban kick and complex flavours. That said, you could get that spicy Cuban kick of tobacco flavour in many other Cuban – or fuller flavoured Nicaraguan or Dominican – cigars, and not have to fret over the burn issues and inconsistent I have experienced with this cigar.  

Punch Petit Coronations (Cuba)

 Punch petit c

Name: Punch Petit Coronations
Rating:  ★★★
Origin: Cuba
Cigar details: Punch Petit Coronations are handmade Cuban cigars that are 5 inches in length and rolled to have a ring gauge of 42. This may feel quite thin between the lips if a normal size cigar is your normal smoke of choice, but make no mistake this little package – as its name suggests – packs quite the Cuban punch.
Draw: Excellent
Burn: Excellent
Construction: Excellent
Strength: Mild-medium
Flavours: Wood, wood, glorious wood! From the first puff the taste of wood and cedar dominates this cigar, accompanied by pepper, hints of bonfire, cocoa, bark, earth, dried muddy twigs, olive pips, and wood vanilla. The wrapper underpins the sprightly bite of spice infused tobacco smoke, to make for a stick that certainly punches above its weight. Do not underestimate this little fella, but do not expect much complexity either. 
Format: Petit Coronations
Match with: There are few things in this world as delightful as a good Cuban cigar paired alongside the right peaty whisky. Talisker Port Ruighe complimented the Punch Petit Coronations with impeccable form – the wood and spice from the cigar was amplified by the peat and port cask finish in the whisky. 
Bottom line:

Buy it, if you want a smooth and easy smoking cigar with heavy wood notes and some earthiness.  Though very enjoyable, there did not seem to be much depth or complexity to this cigar. It was simply – and I mean simply – a pleasure to smoke. Simple, smooth and flavoursome. 

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Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill (Cuba)

romeo WC

Name: Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill (Cuba)
Rating:  ★★★★
Origin: Cuba
Cigar info: The Romeo y Julieta Wide Chuchill is a stubby 13 centimeter long cigar with a 55 ring gauge so you can expect some complex, intense and sharp flavours to leap out of this rolled bunch of tobacco. Romeo y Julieta are perhaps one of the world’s most well-known Cuban cigar brands, with a “house” flavour commonly associated with wood and cedar. The Wide Churchill is an addition to the Romeo y Julieta family that seems to play on the wide ring gauge to differentiate itself from the rest of the familia. As the below tasting notes show, you can expect an interesting flavour packed experience with this cigar that surpasses what you might have tried in a Romeo y Julieta No 1, No 2 or No 3. This is a cigar for the serious cigar aficionado, not just the fellas who might puff a cigar once in a blue moon or for something to do on a bucks night.   
Draw: Excellent
Burn: Excellent
Construction: Excellent
Strength: Medium
Flavours: There is no mistake that this cigar is a Romeo y Julieta. With each puff the taste of wood and cedar dominates, and then fades into a spicy finish full of black pepper, cocoa, espresso and the bitter bite of chicory and rocket. With each puff memories of my grandfather’s Italian salad came to mind, which was made from more bitter and woody salads than you can poke a stick at and drizzled in olive oil. As the cigar progresses it becomes more intense and flavour packed, with notes of black Spanish olives, burning wood, burnt herb bread, oregano, charcoal, ash and more of the wrapper on the finish. Overall, this is a solid and rounded smoke of medium strength that maintains a consistent woody profile beneath some interesting fireworks of flavour.  
Format: Robusto
Match with: This cigar paired nicely with a fine sipping rum that had enough age and oak influence to accentuate the woody style of Romeo y Julieta, but at the same time cut through the tobacco smoke and dance in tandem with the spices. Try it with Pusser’s 15 year old, Appleton Estate 21 year old or Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros. This cigar would also pair nicely with a peaty malt, such as a Bowmore with its undertones of peppermint.  
Bottom line:

Buy it, if you are after a solid and balanced cigar with rounded flavours that are emblematic of Romeo y Julieta cigars but also push the boundaries with more kick, spice and complexity than the standard range of the Romeo y Julieta family. This cigar may not blow your head off with flavour, but it was an easy smoking bundle of Cuban joy.   

La Gloria Cubana (Dominican Republic)

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Name: La Gloria Cubana
Rating:  ★★★★
Origin: Dominican Republic
Cigar info: Almost a decade after Senator Ernesto Perez-Carrillo fled Cuba in 1959 he rekindled a bit of his homeland in Miami’s Little Havana in 1968, when he began to make La Gloria Cubana cigars. Needless to say, it seems they were a hit and production of these cigars continues to this very day in both Miami and the Dominican Republic.

La Gloria Cubana contains long filler tobacco from Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Nicaragua, which means that this 7 inch Churchill is a bunch of long full leaves all lovingly rolled together and wrapped in a dark Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper – that bad boy, as you will see from our tasting notes, is responsible for much of this cigar’s flavour. The ring gauge is a standard of 50.

Draw: Excellent
Burn: Excellent
Construction: Excellent
Strength: Mild-Medium
Flavours: The dark Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper clings against my lips, coating it with an oily film and a sour taste that is pleasant and offers hues of woodiness. Dark chocolate and unsweetened espresso accompany the oiliness, with notes of mild campfire, charred twigs and a bitter finish of chicory infused within the tobacco smoke. Mid-way the cigar becomes fuller, gaining soapy notes for a few puffs which then recede and are taken over by a consistent woodiness and earthy sourness – that chicory bitterness remains, though the chicory is wilder and reddened with an intensified sourness while a puckering red wine cask finish reminds me of the woody dimension of some Pinot Noir wines.  The filler tobacco seemed to balance out the bitterness and sourness of the wrapper, to create an enjoyable and imminently puff-able cigar. This is an elegant cigar that is mostly consistent throughout, though the sourness intensifies towards the end. Excellent.
Format:  Churchill
Match with: This cigar pairs nicely with a soft red wine, such as a light Pinot Noir, or a wine cask finish whisky – try it with Glenmorangie Companta or Benromach Sassicaia
Bottom line:

Buy it, if you are after a balanced cigar with a bitter chicory finish and shades of earthy woodiness that showcase the flavours of a lovely Ecuadorian Sumatran wrapper. These wrappers can sometimes be quite sour or bitter and thus overbearing on the palate, but La Gloria Cubana seem to have selected a wrapper that integrates nicely with the filler tobacco but which holds its own and becomes prominent on the finish. Superb.

*Thank you to cigarscity.com for the stick! 

Montecristo No 2 (Cuba)

Monti 2

Score: 94/100

Draw: Excellent.

Burn: Excellent.

Construction: Excellent, no complaints.

Consistency: Good, I’ve smoked 5 of these cigars and have enjoyed every one.

Flavours: On first puff there was a sudden realisation that this was a classic cigar – rich wood, cocoa and spice interlaced the smooth, almost creamy, tobacco smoke. Mid-way through the cigar, however, a slight harshness emerged that detracted from the experience a little.  I didn’t hear any angel’s singing as I puffed away, so I think the hype surrounding this cigar is overrated. It is very good, just not what all the hype might suggest in my view.

Origin: Cuba

Format: Torpedo

Matched with: I think this accentuates and matches very well with some mildly or medium smoky or spicy whiskies on the market, consider Label 5 Gold Heritage, Glenrothes 2001, 1998 or 1995 vintage, Cutty Sark 12 year old or even Johnnie Walker Black Label. Normandin Mercier Extra is also a cognac that I think would match the spice and cocoa notes, along with other old cognacs that project lots of menthol or eucalyptus rancio notes such as DEAU Louis Memory.

 

Romeo y Julieta No 1 (Cuba)

Romeo y Julieta No 1

 

Score: 90/100

Draw: Excellent.

Burn: Excellent.

Construction: Excellent, no complaints.

Consistency: Good, I’ve smoked 7 of these cigars and have enjoyed every one.

Flavours: In my opinion, the Romeo y Julieta No 1 is underrated by many given that is is so widely available in the market. I found it had a smooth smoke that offered notes of leather, wood and a hint of tang with a floral, almost earthy, hue.

Origin: Cuba

Format: Cremas 

Matched with: The Romey y Julieta matched well with whisky and cognac that had a sweet entry that refreshed the palate, but then dried into the finish with nutty or woody notes to accentuate and compliment – rather than clash with – the leathery and woody notes from the Romeo No 1. Try it with Mackmyra Special 07, Hennessy Paradis, DEAU Louis Memory, Glengoyne Teapot Dram and Aberlour a’Bunadh, or, a whisky matured or finished in oloroso sherry casks or wine casks.