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.   

Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve (Nicaragua)

Name:  Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve
Rating:  ★★★
Origin: Nicaragua  
Cigar details: The Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve line is comprised on Nicaraguan and Honduran long fillers encased in a dark Nicaraguan wrapper. They are hand made in the Flor de Copan factory in Honduras.
Draw: Excellent
Burn: Excellent
Construction: Excellent
Strength: Medium, gradually becoming fuller as the cigar is smoked
Flavours: The first few puffs are hugely disappointing – burning paper and bonfire burn the back palate with rigid embers, though notes of cedar, wood, citrus and pepper come through the smoky haze of harshness.Without warning, the harshness mellows about two centimeters or so into the stick. The bonfire taste mellows, to the point where it fades completely. Magic happens. The cigar becomes extremely integrated and smooth, with pronounced citrus, cocoa, ground coffee, mild creaminess, hints of honey, cedar, edamame, dried parsley and a sweet peppery heart – capsicum, crisp fresh peppers and bull horn chilies, not cracked pepper. The tobacco smoke is moderately dense, but no means overbearing. It is very puff-able. This is the sweet spot, and the cigar smokes impeccably from a few centimeters to around the half way point.  Just this part of the cigar would easily score into the 90’s – superb. The sharp contrast from the harsh beginning makes this part of the cigar especially pleasant, because the taste buds seem so relieved to finally sit back and enjoy the party.At half way, the harshness returns. Bonfire embers burn the back palate, and sit in the upper throat with the nagging taste of burning paper.

Two thirds into the cigar, the bonfire harshness recedes and the cigar now becomes much more noticeably fuller – find hazelnuts, coal fire, wood, dark cocoa and perfumed soap infused in the dense tobacco smoke. The cigar quickly becomes hot to draw, however, and the revival is short lived.

Format:  Toro
Match with: Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve is a medium to full cigar with lots of varying temperaments. Try it with something that can douse those occasional harsh embers, but which will compliment the impeccable “sweet spot” – a Corona with lemon and similar style crisp lager is recommended.
Bottom line: Seriously consider buying it.  Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve took me on a roller coaster ride of ups and downs – a harsh start was followed by a sensationally smooth and flavourful experience which lasted until the cigar’s half way point, at which some harshness re-emerged until the cigar regained some full flavoured magic only to stumble again towards the nub of the cigar and become a tad too hot to handle. The cigar’s “sweet spot” and subsequent stint of full flavoured magic is, in my opinion, well worth buying this cigar and the long filler tobacco leaf tells quite an entertaining story of ups and downs.*Thank you to cigarscity.com for the stick!