Romeo Y Julieta 8 Maravillas. With this release, Habanos is joining the Chinese Zodiac bandwagon. Since Asia is becoming more and more important for Habanos and the Cuban cigar industry, it was a matter of time before this happened. And with the rumored sale of Habanos to a Chinese party, this will be the first in many Chinese New Year cigars from the island of Cuba. Habanos tested the waters last year. The Spanish distributor of Habanos released regular production Cohiba Robusto cigars with additional ‘year of the pig’ foot bands and different packaging. And these were so popular that Habanos decided to capitalize on that.
This year they released a special, limited edition, cigar for Chinese New Year. The cigar was released in Hong Kong but is available for sale globally except for the USA. That’s due to the embargo, which has been in place since the early 1960s. Habanos picked the Romeo Y Julieta brand for the Year of the Rat release. And in a Maravillas size, 6⅒x55. A box of these cigars, red in color, of course, holds 8 cigars. And the retail price? 60 Euros in The Netherlands. That’s more expensive than the Cohiba Talisman when they were first released.
The cigar looks impressive, way thicker than the 55 ring gauge. But after checking, it really is a ring 55. The wrapper is quite dark for a Cuban cigar. The triple cap is flawless. The wrapper does have visible veins and color differences. The ring is the regular production Romeo y Jylueta ring. There is an additional ring with a rat and the year 2020 on the foot. Red with golden print, just to fit in with the CNY theme. The aroma is quite strong, there is no ammonia but it’s barnyard, vegetal and hay.
The cold draw is good. There is a flavor of hay with spices, quite rough. The tobacco is young. After lighting, the flavors are latte with cinnamon. There’s also some young wood and pepper. After a few puffs, there’s a fruity sweetness and acidity. Then there is coffee with leather and that fruity sweetness. The flavors are subtle. Pepper, fresh wood, cinnamon, a little leather, some pepper. And all with a mild creamy mouthfeel. When the ash breaks, I taste more of a salty flavor. In the second third, the cigar gets a little rough. More pepper, more wood, but rough. Now the lack of age will start to measure in. In the final third, the roughness disappears. It’s all leather, wood, pepper, and grass now.
The draw is great. The smoke is decent, both in thickness and volume. Not good but also not bad. The light-colored ash is beautiful and firm. The burn is oke, a few minor touch-ups were needed. Construction-wise, the Cubans have stepped up in the last few years and it’s paying off. There is some evolution, but overall this cigar lacks character. It’s not a bad cigar though. Construction is good, flavors are there. But it’s not a great cigar, it’s decent. Medium-bodied, medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours and fifteen minutes.
Would I buy this cigar again? No, maybe if it was a 10th of the price every once in a while, but for these prices? Hell no.