It seems like only yesterday that Inocencio Alvarez and Mannin Garcia set up shop and started rolling cigars named for a romantic tragedy called Romeo and Juliet. But in fact it has been about 132 years now. My how time flies.
An interesting bit of trivia about the Romeo y Julieta brand is that when the brand was purchased by Jose Fernandez Rodriguez around the turn of the century one of the marketing tricks that he used was to offer personalized bands to his regular clients, creating over 20,000 “vitolas.”
So with 20,000 different brands it seems fitting that Altadis USA would release another one for the 130th Anniversary of the label. Of course, the Romeo y Julieta Aniversario cigar is more than just a different band on the same old Romeo; it’s an entirely new blend.
The Aniversario is available in the five standard sizes, but here we have the 5 x 52 robusto. This line features an attractive and tasty Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, a Connecticut binder, and filler from the DR, Nicaragua and Peru.
It’s a handsome and well-made stick. The dark blond wrapper is smooth and the cap is carefully applied. A few veins from the binder are outlined throughout the wrapper, but they aren’t distracting. The roll is rock solid, and it feels fairly heavy. The overall impression is one of weight, gravity, and seriousness.
Despite inital impressions, this turns out to be a darling of a cigar. It opens up with a little pepper and a sweet aroma. The smoke texture is full and creamy smooth. After about an inch the base flavor is revealed as cedar, while gentle spice pours from the wrapper. By the mid point there are still some peppery overtones on the tongue, but they are fairly muted and blend well with the woody aspect of the smoke.
The ash is solid but the outer layer flakes a little: not enough to become a nuisance, just enough to look a bit messy. The burn is straight and the draw is firm. Loosen up the draw just a wee bit and I’d call this perfect construction.
The Romeo y Julieta Aniversario is a really nice medium-bodied cigar, clean tasting and sophisticated. It’s a great example of a cigar that is complex in terms of flavor, but not complicated.
There’s enough here to satisfy the veteran smoker and yet it won’t challenge a neophyte. The creamy texture and spicy overtones really won me over. On top of everything else, this is a great example of Ecuadorian wrapper, and the blend that plays behind it is right on the mark. The robustos run around 5 or 6 bucks a pop– a very reasonable asking price for a cigar of this quality.