Sometimes blogging brings about some interesting surprises. An employee of Cigars City, an online tobacco retailer, discovered my article, Danna ga Wakaranai and Smoking, and then contacted me to see if I would be willing to do a couple of cigar reviews. Who am I to turn down free cigars? I accepted immediately, even though my expectation was to be sent something along the lines of “Cuban Magic cigars” or “Papa Bubba’s stogies.” Instead, he sent me two fine cigars indeed: Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve and and Partagas 1845 Toro Grande. The former company is especially renown for being Winston Churchill’s favorite–the Cuban ones anyway. The Romeo y Julieta cigars sold in American come from Nicaragua, which happens to be my favorite cigar producing country. Partagas, having been established in 1845, also has a long history. It’s tobacco seems to primarily derive from the Dominican Republic, another country with prolific cigar production.
And so, I shall endeavor to write two reviews worthy of these cigars. Let’s start with my favorite of the two.
1) Romeo y Julieta Habana Reserve (toro size)
I recently wrote about the need to wait and ponder an anime series before coming to a well-founded opinion. Cigars differ not at all from that: the first part is called the bitter, which does not tell how good a cigar will be. Eventually, one hits the sweet spot, whose flavors will sometimes evolve over the course of a smoke. And most people will throw the cigar away upon reaching the label, though I often like to smoke a cigar to the point where I can only take two puffs before it gets too hot.
So, let me begin by saying that the bitter lived up to its name in this cigar. Still, many cigars have had worse bitters. My palate has not been as well formed for tasting cigars as for judging alcohol, but I discerned some white bread and cedar notes in the sweet spot. The aftertaste evinced white pepper notes alongside of a leathery sweetness. Overall, I thought that this was a great cigar. Once which I would hand out at a celebration or in meeting a friend I have not seen for a while.
While my initial light was somewhat uneven, the burn evened out somewhat through the sweet spot. The draw was very smooth until towards the end, where it tightened up a little.
Now for some suggested beverage pairings:
Scotch – Bowmore 12 or Glengoyne 17
Cognac – Courvoisier VSOP (Courvoisier happened to be Napoleon’s favorite cognac, by the way.)
Bourbon – Eagle Rare 10 Year Old
Wine – a slightly sweet and nutty amontillado (Hartley & Gibson’s Amontillado perhaps? I haven’t had it in a while, so I might be wrong.) or Sandeman’s Rainwater Madeira
Beer – Weyerbacher’s Blithering Idiot Barleywine (Barleywine goes very well with cigars. I might have also recommended Brooklyn Brewery’s Monster Ale, but they stopped producing it! Quel dommage!)
Unlike the Romeo y Julieta which features tobacco exclusively from one country, the Partagas features an Ecuadorian Habano Wrapper, Connecticut Broadleaf binder (Yes, some of the most famous tobacco is grown in Connecticut), and Dominican and Nicaraguan filler tobacco. A good smoke, but I cannot say that the cigar impressed me too much. It lacked the complexity of the Romeo y Julieta. I’m not sure whether I would buy it, but it does make for a good casual smoke.
To my surprise, the bitter was slightly sweet. The draw felt a little tight, but nothing to complain of or capable of marring the experience–at least, until I got toward the end of the cigar, where it tightens up considerably. It burned unevenly with the bottom burning faster than the top portion.
At any rate, the sweet spot revealed bread flavors like the kind made by mixing wheat and white flour. The smoke also included some leather flavor. The two flavors are not an unpleasant combination in a cigar. (Sort of like how iodine and seaweed can be found in a good Islay Scotch.) The aftertaste possessed a sweet walnut flavor–tasty, but not very complex. I would like to reiterate that the Partagas is a good cigar, just not one I would seek out.
Scotch – Macallan 12, Glenlivet 12, or a Glenfiddich 15
Cognac – Pierre Ferrand Ambre
Bourbon – Woodford Reserve
Wine – Alvear’s Cream Montilla (Very tasty stuff!)
Beer – I’m going to recommend Weyerbacher’s Blithering Idiot again. (It’s about time for me to get over the last unpleasantly chocolaty barleywine I had and to start drinking them again!)
Well, that’s my opinion of the cigars. I hope that you liked the reviews and that the cigar smokers among you will be on the lookout for the Romeo y Julieta. Will there be other cigar reviews on here in the future? That depends on whether any of my dear readers have found this interesting and whether Cigars City or other people find this review done well enough to warrant sending me more free stuff.