Stellar Stogies: Romeo y Julieta

The “Romeo y Julieta” above obviously refers to the famous Cuban cigar brand, not its unremarkable Dominican namesake. The brand is, of course, named after the star-crossed lovers of Shakespeare’s most famous play. Which I often take to mean that I should smoke a pair of them. I’m just romantic that way.

Romeo y Julieta Cigars was established in Cuba in 1875. And while it took awhile for Romeo y Julieta to become the worldwide star of the cigar industry it is today, the brand did win quite a few high-level cigar awards in its infancy. Among them were gold medals from exhibitions in Antwerp, Paris, and Brussels. Ever wondered about the gold medals on Romeo y Julieta bands? That’s where they came from.

The brand transformed into the Romeo y Julieta we would recognize today when it was purchased by the firm Rodriguez, Argüelles y Cia in 1903. The head of the company, Jose Rodriguez, really knew what he was doing when he decided to acquire the brand: he was formerly in charge of Havana’s famous Cabañas factory. He wanted to take a good brand and make it great. And he certainly did.

Though quality was always important to the brand, Rodriguez (who soon became sole owner of “Romeo y Julieta Cigar Factory”) was a sharp guy – he also knew how important increased production and great marketing would be to the success of the brand. So he started off by implementing a system of incentives that would increase the quantity of cigars the workers could produce. A very modern idea.

Rodriguez was a modern guy, and also used plenty of modern marketing techniques to get the brand name out there. A smooth salesman, he traveled the world marketing his cigars. He pulled lots of gimmicky (but very successful) marketing stunts, such as entering his racehorse (named, of course, Julieta) in races worldwide to bring attention to his cigars. Or making a public spectacle of opening up a Romeo y Julieta cigar shop in the Hotel Capulet in Verona, Italy. And if these place names don’t sound familiar to you (and hence you don’t get the gimmick), you need to go re-read your Shakespeare.

Because of Rodriguez’s smooth schmoozing, the brand exploded, becoming one of the most popular in the world. Just to keep things going, he began to offer personalized bands for the brand’s steady customers. At one point, 2000 different personalized bands were being made for the brand’s more affluent and famous patrons.

One of these famous patrons was, of course, good ol’ Winston Churchill. He was such a big fan of the brand that Romeo y Julieta is given credit for creating the “Churchill” shape that’s so popular today (the factory name is Julieta 2).

*Credit: Karen, Cigar Inspector

*Photo credits: Kevin Hammond, Miss Cleopatra

Casa Magna Magnus II Limited: Looks Aren’t Everything

Some cigars look impressive. This was my  thought when I purchased the Casa Magna Magnus II Limited. I was scanning the humidor at the Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge in West Los Angeles looking for a new cigar to review.  I have tried several Casa Magna smokes before but it has been many years since my last taste.

Brand/ Name of Cigar: Casa Magna/ D. Magnus II Limitada
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Wrapper: Nicaragua Jalapa Sungrown
Binder: Nicaragua 
Shape: Topedo
Price: $12.95 , Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge, 4/1/16

Where and when smoked: Los Angeles, Ca.  5/1/16

Appearance / Construction:

As I stated earlier I thought very highly of the look of the cigar. Dark chocolate wrapper with a band that creates a real eye grabber. Solid, no soft spots, with an oily feel to the touch. Small veins with no discernible flaws. Overall it was a very bold looking cigar.

Flavor/ Taste and Aroma:

The initial flavor had a combo of chocolate, coffee and a hint of maple. I was not expecting this as I was looking for spice and pepper. Yet, it was a strong taste and pretty bold but not overpowering. The aroma was pleasant, nutty and sweet.

Smoking Characteristics:

The burn was uneven with a dark ash and cool burn. Flavor stayed on course with the same profile I started out with. More spice and pepper flowed through but I liked the overall mix of the blend. No relights but needed to make a correction to even out the smoke.

Conclusion/Overall Impression:

This was a tale of two different cigars. The construction looked very solid. The flavor profile was good but also had bouts of bitter and harsh notes.  It was a respectable smoke but hoped for more.

Final Thoughts:

At $12.95 it needed to be the “bomb.” Too many issues to rate it as a must have cigar.  Here are the numbers.

Appearance/Construction: 4 out of 5
Flavor/ Taste and Aroma: 3 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics: 3 out of 5
Overall : 3 out of 5

*Credit: Frank “Bo” Gerechter, The Urban Fishing Pole

2017 Habanos S.A. Release List Leaks

It’s August and once the Habanos S.A. release list for the proceeding year has leaked.

The Brazilian website Conexão Tabaco has posted the list, which includes a handful of Montecristo additions amongst others.

According to Conexão Tabacothe 2017 releases are:

Duty Free Exclusives

  • Hoyo de Monterrey Petit Belicoso — 4 11/12 (125mm) x 52 — Boxes of 15

Edición Limitada 2017

  • Cohiba Talisman — 6 1/12 (154mm) X 54 — Boxes of 10
  • Partagás Serie No.1 — 5 5/12 (138mm) x 52 — Boxes of 25
  • Punch Regios de Punch — 4 3/4 (120mm) x 48 — Boxes of 25

Gran Reserva

  • H.Upmann Sir Winston — 7 (178mm) x 47 — 5,000 Boxes of 15

La Casa del Habano Exclusives

  • H.Upmann Connoisseur B — 5 11/12 (150mm) x 54 — Boxes of 25
  • Trinidad La Trova — 6 1/2 (166mm) x 52 — Boxes of 12

Regular Production

  • Montecristo Dumas — 5 1/8 (130mm) x 49 — Boxes of 20
  • Montecristo Leyenda — 6 1/2 (165mm) x 55 — Boxes of 20
  • Montecristo Maltes — 6 (153mm) x 53 — Boxes of 20
  • Romeo y Julieta Petit Royales — 3 3/4 (95mm) x 47 — Boxes of 20; Packs of 3
  • Quai D’Orsay Alma — 5 3/10 (135mm) x 54 — Boxes of 10; Boxes of 25
  • Quai D’Orsay Gourmet — 4 1/3 (110mm) x 50 — Boxes of 10; Boxes of 25
  • Quintero Favoritos — 4 1/2 (115mm) x 50 — Packs of 3

Special Release

  • Bolivar Mundiales — 6 1/3 (160mm) x 56 — Humidors of 115
  • El Rey del Mundo Imperio — 7 1/11 (180mm) x 54 — Humidors of 50
While the information has not been confirmed by Habanos S.A., over the past few years leaks around this time have proven to be highly accurate.
*Credit: Charlie Minato, Halfwheel

La Aurora 107: A powerful Cigar

Sitting at The Lone Wolf Lounge about to review the La Aurora 107 Toro, I got engaged in a conversation about cigar reviews. The question arose by a fellow cigar member who is a  relative newcomer to the world of cigars. He claimed that most of the reviews he has read have been “bullshit.” His point is all the descriptions of the smokes he has partaken in are not very accurate.
Language such as pepper, oak, blackberry really do tell an accurate story of what the cigar is really like. The descriptors are so vague they are not doing justice to the cigar experience. What is the difference between white pepper and black pepper?
The owner of the lounge was also involved in this discussion and commented that reviews should take into account how the cigar is indulged. Is it in a quiet lounge or with a group of friends? Is the cigar smoked with a beverage , and how the cigar was stored?
My answer was the descriptors are subjective but it gives you a base to judge it on. As for all other factors there are valid and perhaps the review should mention the surroundings of the experience.

Brand/Name of Cigar: Aurora 107 
Cigar shape: Toro
Length and Gauge: 5.5 x 5.4
Strength: Medium- full
Origin: Dominican Republic
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
Filler: Dominican
Binder: Dominican
Price: $ 7.13 a cigar , box of 21, $139. 87
Where and when smoked: Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge, Los Angeles, 3/13/17

aurora107

Appearance / Construction:

Dark chocolate brown wrapper with an oily feel, Had a very clean look with no obvious faults or imperfections. The band was also pleasing to the eye with a strong presentation.

Flavor/ Taste and Aroma:

Initial blast of strong pepper. Looking for other flavors such as chocolate or nuts but if they were there, the pepper was the predominant taste. It was a powerful start, gave the cigar a strong identity. Smooth though out so the taste while strong was not overpowering or unpleasant. Very rich blend.

Smoking Characteristics:

Uneven burn. Not a game changer because of this but hopefully won’t impact the enjoyment of the smoke. Burned steady and slow, with a grey ash.

As the cigar smoked down, the ash evened itself out a bit. Stayed full bodied, smooth to the palate with good, peppery flavor. If you like a strong smoke, you will like this blend. There are no subtle notes of other flavors. You are smoking a no nonsense cigar. The draw did correct itself a bit with one relight. I believe the uneven burn was a minor blip and not a real factor in the cigar.

Conclusion/Overall impression:

The Aurora 107 Toro made a statement for a rich, smooth full bodied blend. The audience for this type of cigar is a seasoned smoker who likes to sit down for an hour or so, and be challenged in a positive way.

aurora2107

Here are the numbers: 
Appearance/ Construction; 3.5 out of 5
Flavor/ Taste and Aroma; 4 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics: 4 out 5
Conclusion/ Overall Impression: 3.8 out of 5

Final thoughts:

Fell slightly flat for a smoke which is a must have for your humidor. Might be part of my cigar mix every so often. Good price point so it that is a big factor in your cigar mind, you would consider this. Worth trying and of course make your own judgement.

*Credit: Frank “Bo” Gerechter, The Urban Fishing Pole

New Cigar release: Camacho Check Six

camacho-check-six-box-450x332

Camacho is proud to announce the latest addition to its Brotherhood Series, the new Camacho Check Six.

Built with the impenetrable character of the Original Corojo, Camacho Check Six pays tribute to the unbreakable bond between those who watch their brother’s six no matter what. In honor of those bold individuals who stand side by side to protect our freedom, Camacho deploys its latest addition to the Brotherhood Series with a cigar built from the legendary tobacco we fought to defend.

Backed by integrity and bound by virtue, this is one cigar that yields to no other. Celebrating those who prove themselves through actions, not words. A rare breed of individuals who stop at nothing to lay everything on the line for what matters most. Always doing what’s right, never what’s easy. Confirming that there are no limits when it comes to solidarity.

camacho-check-six-single-450x450

“We are very excited about this second release under our Brotherhood Series. While the concept was inspired by a common bond shared amongst the military brotherhood, it is also aspirational for many. We all have those people in our lives that we know have our back. By extension, it is also understood that you have theirs as well. This is the cigar to share with those special individuals,” said Dylan Austin, Vice President of Marketing for Davidoff of Geneva USA.

At the core of the new Camacho Check Six is a tri-country blend of Original Corojo, San Vicente and Criollo tobaccos. These powerful filler tobaccos combine to add a depth of strength, complexity and flavor to the overall experience. The addition of a Criollo 98 binder from Nicaragua amps up the pepper notes, while the Habana 2000 wrapper from Ecuador adds roundness and excellent combustion to the blend.

*Credit: Cigar Inspector

La Gloria Cubana Launches Serie R Esteli Maduro

La Gloria Cubana is launching two new lines, one created solely for sale at brick and mortar cigar shops and the other developed for internet and catalog retailers.

Serie R Esteli made Cigar Aficionado’s list of the Top 25 Cigar of 2014. With a 91 rating, the magazine called the line “one of the best La Glorias in years.”  This outstanding collection is now being extended to include a new Maduro offering created exclusively for brick and mortar retailers. Made with the same Nicaraguan-forward blend that won the brand critical acclaim, the new expression is wrapped in rich Connecticut Broadleaf to deliver a cigar that’s medium in strength, deep in sweetness and brimming with leather notes and spice.

La_Gloria_serie_R_Black_Maduro_open_right_facing

With large ring vitolas, deep, rich flavor and a bold Nicaraguan blend, La Gloria Cubana `debuted Serie R Black as an unbeatable addition to the Serie R line. The trend continues with the addition of La Gloria Cubana Serie R Black Maduro. This deep and full-bodied smoke delivers a powerhouse of flavor, filled with pepper, earth and coffee notes and the slightly sweet, creamy taste that can only be found with an aged Maduro wrapper.  With an SRP of less than $8, Serie R Black Maduro has all the makings of a top-selling new smoke for cigar lovers who demand Nicaraguan flavor at an accessible price.

*Credit: Written by BigO from Cigar Weekly.

Lavida Habana: Age Before Beauty

What makes a great cigar? This issue has been debated I suspect since the first cigar was rolled. Still, some of the basic concepts are straightforward. Cigar construction, appearance, how the blend holds throughout the smoke. Three different folks can smoke the same cigar and come up with different thoughts in every aspect of the totality of the smoke.
The reason I (Frank) mention this is a new cigar and is more of a challenge. There is no track record so the first impression is very important. If you have a good experience more than likely the review will be better. So a reviewer needs to make careful considerations in describing what he smoked. Ideally, the cigar in question needs to be aged properly, and perhaps smoked again.

Brand/Name of Cigar : Lavida Habana / LH Premium Colorado 

Size: 6 x 60
Wrapper: Ecuador Habano
Filler: Nicaragua, Peru and Brazil
Shape: Gordo
Price: Single $ 8.24
When and where smoked: 2/21/16, Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge, West Los Angeles, Ca

lavida habana

Appearance/ Construction:

Densely packed and oily to the touch. Very classy looking smoke, like the red and black band. Several small veins were evident but would not consider this a flaw. No soft spots. This looks like a big smoke and looking forward to a long ride.

Smoking Characteristics:

First third got immediate hints of orange which I did not expect, a pleasant surprise. Burn was even, medium body. As I smoked further hints of mint? Chocolate? Not sure exactly. Whatever it was, very subtle, not overpowering. Smooth draw, no harshness, plenty of grey smoke and ash.

Two thirds into the smoke, some tunneling occurred yet did not find this a distraction or an impact on the blend. However, I was waiting for an additional pop of spice and this didn’t happen. Was thinking the smoke would crank up a bit.

Conclusion/ Overall Impression:

The flavor profile never really took off. I did not get any more complexity which was somewhat of a come down. Overall this was a good smoke but not a powerful one. I thought it would be more of a kick ass cigar.  This is not necessarily a bad thing for those cigar dudes who like a pleasant but not overpowering blend.

lavida habana2

Frank’s overall rating of this cigar:

Appearance/ Construction: 4 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics: 3 out of 5
Conclusion/ Overall Impression; 3.5 out of 5

Will try this cigar again down the road. I think another couple of months in the humidor will give it a more hearty blend.

*Credit: Frank “Bo” Gerechter,  The Urban Fishing Pole (http://theurbanfishingpole.blogspot.com/)