Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Cigar Review: Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill (ALT JUL-13)


Last week I reviewed the most notable vitola in the Romeo y Julieta brand and today I am smoking one of the newest offerings to the brand. It is not the newest vitola, it has been on the market for four years now, but it is the largest vitola in the brand if you look at the ring gauge that it has. One of the most interesting aspects to a lot of the new vitolas in the Romeo y Julieta brand is that the names have Churchill in it. They refer to their cigars as Short, Wide and Petit Churchills, and I believe the reason for that is how successful the Romeo y Julieta Churchill is and how that name can make smokers reach out to a lot of the different vitolas. A part of me thinks it shows a lack of creativity, but I also believe the intention of the naming is perfect. I have never been the largest fan of the Romeo y Julieta brand, and I am not a fan of large cigars, but I am coming into this cigar with no negative thoughts.

Introduced in 2010, the Wide Churchill was a release that was your standard parejo, but they took it up a huge notch with a 55 ring gauge. That same year they launched the Behike 56, but that is a very limited release compared with this smoke. The Wide Churchill is classified as a robusto to some, but the factory title is Montesco. Measuring 130mm (5.1") with a 55 ring gauge, the cigar possesses a wrapper that is light in coloring and I would say it is between a Natural and Colorado in coloring. There are some noticeable veins present in the wrapper and it is showing those stretch marks that Habanos are known for. There is a nice firmness to the cigar and the triple cap is placed wonderfully. The wide cigar produces an easy cool draw and I am getting some hay, earth wood and stone fruit notes on the draw. The wrapper produces an aroma of spices, wood and stone fruit, and the aroma at the foot is similar to the cold draw.

The first third begins by showing some terrific flavors and I am getting some notes of chocolate, cherries and tobacco. There is a nice amount of smoke being produced with the large ring gauge and it is a very smooth cigar. I am picking up some leather and wood notes with that, and it has a nice sweet spice finish. I am getting a great draw with the cigar and as I just said, a lot of smoke is being produced. It is showing a great burn line that is razor sharp, and there is a firm charcoal ash holding on to the end of the cigar. With such a large ring gauge, it smokes like no other Habanos I have had, but still has a lot of complexities to the blend. I would say the strength of the cigar is at a medium level and the body is right there as well. This really smokes like no other Romeo, and I a digging it right now. I say it does not smoke like another Romeo and the reason for that is because it is a larger ring gauge and very smooth and open on the draw.

I am in the second third of the cigar now and it is showing a continuation of those terrific flavors from the first third. I am getting some soft cocoa notes and it is pairing with those lovely stone fruit notes from earlier. I am getting some bits of tobacco, leather and wood as well. This is a wonderful cigar that is smooth and oh so enjoyable. The draw is effortless and with it is an abundance of smoke that dominates the palate. The draw is very cool and with that is a razor sharp burn line. The ash is holding on well and it is showing a lovely charcoal coloring that is beautiful against the wrapper. The cigar is smoking at a medium level in this third, same as before, and the body is right there as well. This is a cool and easy cigar that is great to sit back and enjoy with. I find this a cigar that many could smoke at many times of the day.  

When I get into the final third of the cigar I find that it is showing a continuation of the flavors from the second third and while it is tasty and enjoyable I wish there was a little bit more complexity and transitioning with the cigar. There is definitely some depth, a good amount for a 55 ring gauge, and it is a solid offering from Habanos. This is one of the better 54 plus ring gauge cigars I have had, and not many including non Cubans. I am picking up some solid tobacco, cherry, leather and wood notes, and there is a nice bit of cocoa present right on the finish which is making the cigar smoke like a Romoe y Julieta that it is. The construction as been nothing but terrific from beginning to end with this cigar and it has shown a nice solid burn line with a charcoal ash that has been holding on firmly throughout. The draw is very cool, with a lot of smoke produced, and it is an open draw but not surprising giving the 55 ring gauge. I would say that the strength of the cigar is at a medium level and the body is right there as well. The final draw to the cigar is cool and I love the finish.

Habanos did a solid job in blending this cigar and made a 55 ring gauge cigar complex and show the wonderful characteristics of the Romeo y Julieta brand. While I prefer the classic Churchill, I do find this a nice change of pace. The construction on the cigar was terrific from beginning to end and it was a cigar that produced an open draw that was smooth and fairly light from beginning to end. I would classify this cigar as a morning smoke for myself while the Churchill would be an evening cigar. It produced those classic RyJ flavors, but did it in a manner that softened the smoking experience. I think a lot of younger smokers would care for this version and if it was available on the American market it would do very well. I don't know how popular these are throughout the world, but the guys I know who are big RyJ fans prefer the Short Churchill and regular Churchill to this cigar. I do not see a lot of aging potential with the cigar and believe it will remain fairly similar for years to come. I am giving this a rating between 89 and 91 right now.

Young Rating: 89-91

With Age Rating: 90-92