The Romeo y Julieta is a classic looking habano smoke. This is a cigar that needs a good hour, with uninterrupted time in your favorite chair. I smoked it on a pleasant cooler Los Angeles afternoon. Impressive looking with an attractive wrapper with an oily feel. Let’s do it and smoke away.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Price: $ 7.13 a cigar , box of 21, $139. 87
Where and when smoked: Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge, Los Angeles, 3/13/17
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
Price: Single $ 8.24
When and where smoked: 2/21/16, Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge, West Los Angeles, Ca
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.
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.
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/)
Reading my previous dispatches from California over the years, you know that I have consistently argued that finding a place to smoke a cigar in Los Angeles is not as difficult as everyone makes it out to be. Sure, you can’t smoke anywhere you want and you can’t smoke everywhere, but if you want a comfortable place to enjoy a robusto, there is plenty of choice. That, however, is not the case for Santa Monica. The antismoking sentiment is so strong that enjoying a cigar in a cigar shop is no longer possible. So, David Weiss, the owner of Lone Wolf Cigar Company, which has a shop in Santa Monica, opened up a cigar lounge and club in April 2014 just across the border in Los Angeles.