At least one other country has gotten the Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchills Gran Reserva Cosecha 2009, a flagship release from Habanos S.A., but there’s no word when the cigar will begin to show up at stores around the world.
Hunters & Frankau, the distributor for Habanos S.A. in the United Kingdom, has confirmed to halfwheel that the new Gran Reserva has begun shipping to stores in the region. This appears to be the third market the cigar has been released in following Canada and the Beirut Duty Free.
Like the rest of the Gran Reserva series, the 5 1/8 x 55 parejo is based on a regular production cigar by a similar name. Gran Reservas and Reservas are flagship releases for the Cuban cigar company, based on regular releases from Habanos S.A.’s global brands: Cohiba, H. Upmann, Hoyo de Monterrey, Montecristo, Partagás, Romeo y Julieta and technically, José L. Piedra.
For Gran Reservas, all tobacco is from the Vuleta Abajo region of Pinar del Río and then aged for five years. In the case the tobacco is all from the 2009 harvest, hence Cosecha 2009 in the name.
The cigar was first shown in 2015 at the Festival del Habano, but it took nearly two-and-a-half years for the Romeo to show up at retailers. Even now, nearly three years later only three distributors have confirmed the release.
Jimmy McGhee, head of communications & training for Hunters & Frankau, declined to comment specifically about the size of the release, though it appears the cigar went out to a wide range of British retailers. That’s notable given the last Reserva release, the H. Upmann No.2 seemed extremely limited.
Like Canada, taxes and exchange rates make the U.K. one of the most expensive places to buy Cuban cigars. Pricing is set at £932.50 per box of 15 or $87.80 per cigar based on current exchange rates. Pricing in Canada is even higher at $143.68 USD. The Beirut Duty Free is said to be selling the Romeo y Julieta Gran Reserva for around $50 per cigar.
Distributors in France, Germany, Italy and Switzerland all confirmed in the last week the cigar had not arrived in their markets.