Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Cigar Review: Romeo y Julieta Pirámides Añejados (SOA SEP08)

The new Romeo y Julieta Pirámides Añejados and Montecristo Churchill lines from Habanos SA seems to be a very polarizing release according to initial feedback.  When these were announced back in December, the whole Habanos world seemed to have an opinion on whether or not the line was legitimately aged, worth the predicted retail prices, and just what exactly Habanos was thinking with a release like this.  Tuna and I discussed the topic on one of our shows, and to me I felt it showed forward thinking from the Habanos team. Aging a cigar for 5-8 years, and planning to sit on capital that long is a serious investment. I was able to grab a few of the Romeo y Julieta Pirámides Añejados to see what all the fuss was about.  Thus far, I have seen mixed reviews of both releases, with some loving them, while others have issue with the price and value delivered in the smoking experience.

Dry Draw: Dried fruit sweetness

First Third: The introduction was surprising full, as the Romeo y Julieta Añejados met my palate with a full bodied retrohale, marked by dry cedar and pepper. Hints of musk swirled front of mouth, while a long finish grabbed my attention. I felt like the cigar was unbalanced at first, with too much power in the nose, and not enough flavor in the draw. Some strong coffee notes appeared as I worked my way thorugh the first inch, with hints of sweet cream on the tail end of the exhale. The strength seemed to creep up the tongue, and I have to wonder if this was purposely blended with a little extra ligero, as the release was planned on being aged for enough time to settle.

Second Third: Not much change took place for quite some time, as the dry cedar and pepper maintained dominance. Hints of toast hit about the midpoint, as well as the dried berries from the dry draw. I still had the ligero burn on the tongue, as well as the incredibly long finish. The draw became much richer as well, with notes of brown sugar hitting the tip of the tongue, and the balance became even between rich draw and full retrohale.

Final Third: Rich cocoa flavor began to show up, bean notes as well, further balancing the strength of the ligero and nose flavors with the draw. The brown sugar continued to increase, as well as the overall body.  With about an inch and a half left, I would say the Romeo y Julieta Añejados is one of the fuller releases from Habanos I have smoked. I cannot imagine what this was like fresh.  As I continued to the nub, the profile continued to grow in strength, moving back to the strong coffee notes mixed with the spices.

Construction: No issues, but man I got one hell of a nasty looking stick in this box.  This is disappointing given this was an initial release, and the boxes were supposedly inspected. Cuba being Cuba I suppose, and they put it on the bottom row, covered in green wrapper and a nasty black spot. I'd rather smoke a trashed wrapper tore up in shipping cigar personally. Guess this one will wait for a bourbon filled herf to go down. That being said, the rest of the box looked delicious.

Final Thoughts: I think they should have aged it even longer personally.  My guess is the Romeo y Julieta Pirámides Añejados was blended very strong initially, with the thought process that in 6-8 years the power would subside.  I would say this blend has plenty of legs, and will probably age extremely well, as weird as that sounds given the box is from 2008. However, I recently got some Magnum 50’s from 2008 that are still strong, and time will only bring out the nuances in either really. I commend Habanos on doing something new and exciting, even though the price is high. In comparison, Non-Cuban releases that employ high grade aged tobacco are just as expensive, as it takes capital to sit on product that long with no return. For my money, the first third was incredibly unbalanced in terms of power in the nose to flavor on the draw, which turned me off. The one redeeming quality of the Romeo y Julieta Pirámides Añejados, was the length of the finish. The finish was incredibly long from the start, and by midpoint as the complexity increased, so did my enjoyment. I highly recommend this for smokers that prefer a fuller bodied Habanos.