In March, word came down that there would be a new ROMEO by Romeo y Julieta release from Altadis U.S.A., but with a twist. The newest cigar would be a collaboration with Boutique Blends, most notably known for its Aging Room cigars.
Appropriately named ROMEO by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room, the new release is a Dominican puro that incorporates habano tobacco sourced from the Cibao Valley in the Dominican Republic. The cigars bear the name of one of Boutique Blends’ lines, are blended by brand owner Rafael Nodal and rolled at Tabacalera La Palma—the factory Boutique Blends uses—but are being distributed by Altadis U.S.A. The three sizes are priced between $11.50-12.50 per cigar packaged in boxes of 20, and the total number of cigars that will be produced between all three vitolas is being capped at 250,000.
The ROMEO by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room Small Batch F25 is available in three different vitolas at launch.
- ROMEO by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room Small Batch F25 Copla (5 x 48)
- ROMEO by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room Small Batch F25 Capriccio (6 x 54)
- ROMEO by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room Small Batch F25 Cantaor (6 x 52)
- Cigar Reviewed: ROMEO by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room Small Batch F25 Capriccio
- Country of Origin: Dominican Republic
- Factory: Tabacalera La Palma
- Wrapper: Dominican Republic
- Binder: Dominican Republic
- Filler: Dominican Republic
- Size: 6 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 54
- Vitola: Toro Extra
- Est. Price: $12 (Boxes of 20, $240)
- Release Date: 2015[ref]The cigar was scheduled to ship on May 20, 2015.[/ref]
- Number of Cigars Released: 250,000 Total Cigars[ref]Split between each of the vitolas.[/ref]
- Number of Cigars Smoked for Review: 3
After removing both the large wrapping and the foot band that is attached to it, I find a gorgeous mocha brown wrapper underneath that is silky smooth to the touch and features a touch of oil. There are some veins present running up and down the length, but none of them are overtly obvious, and the cigar has very little give when squeezed. Aroma from the wrapper is a combination of strong manure, hay, leather and sourness while the cold draw brings flavors of oak, dark chocolate, barnyard and a slight sweetness.
The ROMEO by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room starts off the first third with a dominant coffee bean core, along with other notes of earth, leather, grass, oak and a touch of cinnamon. There is a very nice vanilla sweetness evident on the retrohale from the first puff, but there is also a very strong black pepper note that does not seem to be getting any lighter as the first third burns down. Construction-wise, both the burn and draw are fantastic so far, and there is an enormous amount of smoke coming from the foot that shows no sign of waning anytime soon. The overall strength is not a major factor this early on, and falls far short of the medium mark as the first third ends.
An interesting but all too fleeting jalapeño note begins to creep into the profile around the start of the second third of the Small Batch F25 Capriccio, but it is gone almost before I can register it, leaving behind more coffee bean and creamy oak flavors. Other notes of leather, hay, anise, bread and cinnamon flit in and out, while the pepper on the retrohale remains fairly consistent with the first third. The vanilla sweetness remains, but is receding with each puff, and is cut in half by the time the halfway point rolls around. Both the burn and the draw continue to impress, and the smoke production has actually increased slightly, while the strength comes very close to medium right around the end of the second third.
The final third of the ROMEO by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room Small Batch F25 Capriccio loses the jalapeño note, but retains most of the other flavors from the second third: dominant coffee bean and creamy oak notes, with underlying flavors of leather, hay, cinnamon, spices and tobacco. The sweetness on the retrohale has gained a bit of strength and morphed into more of a floral note, while the pepper on the retohale has decreased noticeably, a trend that continues until the end of the cigar. The burn and draw remain excellent, and the strength finally makes it over the medium line by the time I put the nub down with a little more than an inch left.
- This has to be the longest name on a cigar I have seen in quite a while.
- I know it is a fairly obvious thing, but the bands on this release are overwhelming, and cover up more than 80 percent of the entire cigar, all the way to the foot. In fact, to fit all of it onto the cigar, the main band is about a half-inch closer to the cap than normal. Honestly, I wish they had left the main covering off of the cigar, as the wrapper on the cigar is really quite attractive.
- Having said the above, the there are actually three different parts to the bands: the main band close to the cap, the large wrapping covering the bulk of the cigar and a separate foot band on the bottom.
- I can not say enough about the construction of these cigars. Each of the three samples I smoked had an excellent draw from the first puff to the last, and featured a burn that — while not razor sharp — needed to be touched up very infrequently.
- If you could not tell from the photos, these reflective bands are extremely difficult to photograph.
- The final smoking time for all three samples averaged one hour and 50 minutes.
- The cigars smoked for this review were supplied to halfwheel by Altadis U.S.A.
Like Steve Saka, I find these type of "collaborations" in the cigar world extremely interesting, and I do wonder if they will become more common in the future, if only because they are something relatively new to the majority of the cigar community. As for the ROMEO by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room Small Batch F25 Capriccio, it is extremely well constructed, and while the profile is not knock-your-pants-off exciting, it does have some very distinct flavors and a clean finish that made it consistently enjoyable to smoke. A success for both parties involved, and well worth the time and effort to track down.