A few months ago I invited some friends over for a few cigars and one of them had actually never been to my new home, with man cave & walk in humidor, he had been to my previous apartment though. He is an avid Cuban smoker, but not snobbish about it and always willing to try non Cuban cigars. As a thank you for the invite he brought me a Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill Grand Reserve. He knows that I’m not the biggest Cuban fan to say the least and he wanted to give me something he knew I would never buy for myself. And he was right. Tonight I’m going to review that 5×55 cigar, which is thick for a Cuban and thick for me.
The Grand Reserve series was first seen in 2009 and Habanos claims that they select special tobacco for the Grand Reserve series and that the tobacco ages a minimum of 5 years before being rolled. Now that might impress Cuban smokers, it doesn’t impress me nor does it impress anybody with knowledge about non Cubans as 5 years isn’t very long. The tobacco for this Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill Grand Reserve is from the 2009 crop and was released in 2015. 5000 boxes of 15 cigars were released worldwide, so they are pretty rare.
The cigar has a brown reddish glow and a few veins. The construction feels good and the head of the cigar is very flat. The rings, Habanos have specific rings for special releases and use the same rings on whatever brand the release is and often those rings don’t combine very well. This is not the case with the Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill Grand Reserve, the three rings match. On top there is the classic red Romeo y Julieta ring with the white line, white letters and golden decorations, the second ring is the “old Romeo style” ring that is always used on the wide churchill as a nod to the original rings, golden with black letters and then there is what looks like a third ring but is actually still the second ring, the Grand Reserve ring, that is black with golden lining and golden lettering Habana Cuba and the Grand Reserve logo. The aroma is classic Cuban, barnyard with a hint of ammonia, mild to medium strong.
Due to the size I decided to punch instead of cut. Recently I prefer to punch anyway. The cold draw is tight, I might have to cut after all or worse, use my draw poker. I taste a mild bitter taste that I can’t describe, but it’s not unpleasant. The usual vintage Ronson is used to light the cigar. The first taste is bitterness on the tip of my tongue. The bitterness quickly fades and changes to some chocolate with some herbs. After a centimeter I taste some wood with a little bit of herbs. The chocolate is gone. After a third I taste a very mild pepper on the background. The cigar has a wood undertone but all the flavors are medium at max. After two thirds i taste some nice dark chocolate which i like. Slowly I discover some nuts too with some licorice.
The draw is on the tight side and that causes the smoke to be medium thick at most and not too big in volume. The burn is crooked and the ash is silver gray and firm. The cigar is medium bodied and mild to medium flavored. The smoke time is two hours.
Would I buy this cigar again? That’s impossible within my budget, the cigars were priced crazy high when they were released and that price only has gone up. And even then, this cigar isn’t made for my palate. With a better draw the score would have been 2 points higher though.