16 May 2012
The Dominican-made Romeo y Julieta brand has been a longtime staple in the portfolio of industry giant Altadis. But over the years, even as the brand grew to ten blends of varying strength, Romeo y Julieta always seemed to be associated with the milder spectrum.
The newest Romeo y Julieta blend, called simply Romeo, aims to change that. “A manly cigar, bold and robust, Romeo is an awesome smoke, rich in complex flavor sensations,” reads a marketing pamphlet from Altadis. “It is, quite likely, the finest Romeo y Julieta ever.”
Romeo is certainly the most modern-looking, sporting a unique band that breaks from the traditional motifs of its predecessors. The line’s sleek, curved boxes are definitely not traditional. And Romeo also adopts the contemporary mantra of “big and bold” with large ring gauges and a recipe of tobaccos that’s evidently built for power.
That recipe includes a dark Ecuadorian Habano-seed wrapper, a Dominican olor binder, and Dominican filler tobaccos of the piloto and olor varieties. The line is comprised of four vitolas that are crafted at the Tabacalera de Garcia in the Dominican Republic: Churchill (7 x 56), Toro (6 x 54), Robusto (5 x 54), and Piramide (6.1 x 52). I sampled three Toros for this review, each—in the interest of full disclosure—provided to me free of charge by Altadis.
The Toro is a clean-looking smoke with a hearty weight and a firm feel from head to toe. The foot confirms a tight cross-section of tobaccos. The pre-light aroma is musty and earthy and the draw is moderate.
After setting an even light, the introductory taste is bold yet stale. By this I mean there’s tons of strength from the smoke but very little in terms of identifiable flavor beyond pure heat. My strategy on cigars like this is to let them rest un-puffed for a few minutes to see if they settle into a more enjoyable profile as the foot cools.
Fortunately, the Romeo Toro does. Before crossing the half-inch mark, tastes of leather, dry wood, and espresso become dominant with a bit of nougat on the finish to add sweetness and balance. The resting smoke is quite sweet. Later, at the midway point, I find the body settles back toward the medium spectrum and some nutty notes take precedence over the leather. The final third features a reprise of power. All the while the construction is near perfect.
Altadis has made a considerable effort to get samples of Romeo in the hands of many internet reviewers, so I expect you’ll see much written about this cigar in the weeks to come. It will be interesting to read all the reviews. From my perspective, this is a fine smoke that will do well on the golf course. I would recommend picking up a Romeo as the blend hits the shelves of a tobacconist near you. I think cigar enthusiasts who typically stray away from Altadis smokes will be pleasantly surprised by the Toro, which is worthy of three and a half stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys