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Cigar Face-Off: Montecristo Open Eagle vs. Romeo y Julieta Duke EL 2009 (Cubans)

26 Oct 2011

[Editor’s Note: “Cigar Face-Off” is a new feature where we compare and contrast cigars that share at least one important attributePlease let us know what you think about the new feature in the comments below, and feel free to suggest two cigars for a future Face-Off.]

Here’s a face-off between two thick Cuban cigars. Each has a ring gauge of 54 and sells for around $20. They both also happened to be featured in the September selection of the Diamond level of Canadian Cigar Company’s cigar-of-the-month club. (All their recent cigar club selections can be seen here.)

Montecristo Open Eagle

Montecristo Open Eagle and Romeo y Julieta Duke EL 2009

I didn’t have high expectations for this cigar, which was introduced a few years back as a premium Cuban for new cigar smokers. For that reason, I had avoided the entire Montecristo Open line until I smoked this 5.9-inch cigar.

What I found was pretty much as advertised: a mild smoke, with pleasant flavors and flawless construction that would probably suit a beginner nicely. Even though the flavors were a bit mild for my tastes, it had excellent balance and sweet cedar notes, and towards the end it added in some characteristic Cuban earthiness. Think of it as a tamer version of the Montecristo Edmundo.

Romeo y Julieta Duke EL 2009

Without a doubt, this is one of the best looking Cuban cigars I’ve seen in awhile. It has a dark, oily wrapper and perfectly squared triple cap. The 5.5-inch smoke was generally well-constructed,  except for needing multiple touch-ups to keep the burn even (which is disappointing for a cigar that can cost in excess of $20 each).

As for its flavors, the cigar reminded me of the 2007 Romeo y Julieta Escudos, with coffee, oak, and cocoa notes all apparent. Unfortunately, there was also a sourness that came and went throughout the cigar. Still, there was much to enjoy in this medium- to full-bodied Cuban.

Conclusion

The Montecristo Open Eagle was better than I thought, but ultimately I don’t like the Open blend as much as the regular Montecristos (the Petit Edmundo and classic Monte No. 2 both offer more flavor for less money). Meanwhile, the Romeo y Julieta Duke demonstrated some real potential and more interesting flavors, but was held back by the sour notes and inconsistent construction.

I fully expected to come out of this cigar face-off proclaiming the Duke the unanimous victor, but my ultimate conclusion isn’t so clear-cut. Ultimately, with some age, I think the Romeo y Julieta Duke will be the far superior cigar (particularly if you prefer a fuller-bodied smoke). Right now, though, the Montecristo Open is slightly better due to its balance.

Patrick S

photo credit: Stogie Guys

Drew Estate

6 Responses to “Cigar Face-Off: Montecristo Open Eagle vs. Romeo y Julieta Duke EL 2009 (Cubans)”

  1. pat Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 7:09 am #

    How 'bout a Cohiba Siglo VI vs Montecristo #2 (Cuban) Faceoff?

  2. Dave102 Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

    I do like the new feature. I'm not good at describing individual cigars, but I can compare-and-contrast OK, so I relate to this well. Good job!

  3. Marc E. Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    Love the new feature. How about a face off between cubans and similar non-cubans. Example:
    Partagas D vs. Don Pepin Black or Blue labels.

  4. Swede214 Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 4:16 pm #

    Not sure if I understand, a little new to smoking cigars, were do you get these Cubans? I thought that they are illegal to purchase in the U.S.

  5. mighty Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    So many people complain about the Open line. I think they did a fine job of making a well balanced cigar that you can enjoy at any time of the day. Yes, it;s not going to be fuller like a Bolivar or Partagas, but I don't think it was marketed that way.

    I like the Open because sometimes I just don't want a fuller bodied smoke.

  6. Kevin Friday, October 28, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    Partagas 898 vs bolivar gold medal