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Super Bowl or Super Cigar?

Heading to the Lone Wolf Cigar Lounge shortly to see the Pats hopefully win. Still not decided what cigars to bring to the event. However, here is a smoke that for many has Super Bowl winner all over it.

Brand/ Name of Cigar:

Monticristo/ #4
Country of Origin: Cuba
Size: 5.1 x 42
Wrapper: Cuban
Binder: Cuban
Filler: Cuban
Shape: Petit Corona

Where and when smoked: Long Wolf Cigar Lounge, 1/17

Appearance/ Construction:

Solid feel without any plugs, striking chocolate brown wrapper and depending on the light it has different hues. Small veins are noticeable but not really a fault.  The cigar band is simple and very classic looking.

Flavor/Taste and Aroma:

The first initial third was a smooth medium experience with a mix of pepper and earthy overtones. The description was similar to other Cuban cigars I have tasted. Experienced cigar smokers enjoy this, novices might not. Aroma is so subjective I rarely blog on this aspect but in this case, the aroma was very farm like.

Smoking Characteristics:

The burn was slow, methodical without any hot spots or large problems. However, I did notice an uneven burn in the second third of the smoke. It managed to self correct so overall, it did not cause much impact in the overall enjoyment of the cigar.

Conclusion/Overall Impression:

The Monti #4 is reputed to be the best selling Cuban cigar in it’s inventory. It has been a staple for many years and this is very understandable. For cigar smokers,  this is what is thought of when you think of Cuban cigars.  It never fails to bring satisfaction, but as a representative of a truly outstanding cigar it is not quite there. This is a lack of overall complexity which I think is the result of it’s small size, not of  any deficient quality. Otherwise this is a top line smoke.

Final Thoughts:

If this is available in your cigar world, always have them in your staple. Of course availability may hinder this but as Cuban cigars are somewhat more available, I think you can score them.

The numbers:

Appearance/ Construction: 4 out of 5
Flavor/ Taste and Aroma: 4. 2 out of 5
Smoking Characteristics : 3.5 out of 5
Conclusion/ Overall Impression: 4 out 5

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

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