Tasting Notes: Romeo y Julieta #2

It is a great and glorious future that we live in.  A few weeks ago I made a purchase of fine Cuban cigars via a gray-market international distributor who shall remain nameless. It arrived today and it’s exactly everything I’d hoped it would be. Being a first time clandestine internet cigar buyer I felt I should post regarding my experience. What makes this all the more sweeter is that this transaction was fully carried out in bitcoin. A brave new world we live in my brothers and sisters…

So headlining the hat-trick of market-anarchist awesomeness is that the tax-man is none the wiser, I made out like a bandit. It’s all about execution in the crypto-currency game, and while some might opt for Lambos, give me a well-aged Habanos Puro, a fully hand-made, masterpiece of whole-leaf, Vuelta Abajo tobacco. Finished on the thighs of Cuban virgins. The leaf is just as ruddy red as the soil of that enchanted valley of Criollo. My mouth is watering just thinking about it…

So the cigars are only illicit due to the fact that they have twice been shipped transatlantic in a great dance that evades the dragnets of the authorities, not that they aren’t some of the very best tobacco you could ever smoke, cause they certainly are. Romeo y Julieta is the third most venerable Cuban marca, since 1875, many of the most famous of men have smoked a Romeo. the #2 consistently scores in the 90’s in all of the major publications. In all fairness I should rightfully be considered a little bit biased in my review, but it was also the reason that when I decided to splash out on some melt your face off good Cubans I decided to get a box of these…

I had heard horror stories of 3x duties, and moldy sticks, but when I saw that the site accepted bitcoins and had a box of the cigars I would like to buried with, I just had to chance it. Having been recently in Cuba, I knew that such a box runs for 135 pesos, at the time that I bought them the price that I paid in bitcoin was equivalent to $180 Canadian by the time I actually had them in my hands that same amount of bitcoin is now worth $130, timing is everything…

$5 a stick, all day long, any day of the week…

So after three visits to the post office(I was a tad eager), I finally had a beautiful box of cigars, the box codes had all been meticulously removed, but even a cursory inspection left little doubt as to the authenticity. The date code reads Feb 2017, a mite young…but all premium Cuban tobacco is aged 1-3 years before rolling(depending on whether it’s binder, filler, or wrapper), so I just couldn’t help but smoke one…

The pre-light sniff brought a dusty Spanish cedar from being packaged in the cedar-lined tube, but there is also a cultured and refined tobacco smell that just reminds me of the smell of some of the very best walk-in humidors that I have been in. The dry-draw added a hint of golden straw. As I fired it up I could easily taste the twang of a cigar that has not yet reached it’s maturity, the barely perceptible ammonia note presented as citrus, there was also a baking powder feel overlaying the beautiful Cuban tobacco taste. I’ve had some Romeos that tasted like black forest cake(cherry, vanilla, dark chocolate) but the first third of this particular one tasted like a lemon meringue pie.

The lemon-pie feel soon gave way to a spring-time forest milieu, aromatic cedar, flowers, dusty earth, and hay. The smell of the smoke was even pleasant, I found myself just wafting it under my nose and marveling at it’s beauty. The smoke was multi-layered with such a complexity, some random notes popped up here and there as the second-third moved into the bottom, hot-buttered popcorn, and very strangely a note of the powdered bubble-gum you used to get in packs of baseball cards. The bottom third brought on some spice, not just the black-pepper you get from tar accumulation, but cinnamon, and cracked coriander. The floral notes made a curtain-call and the buttered popcorn morphed into buttered toast.

It stayed a solid-medium strength throughout, or maybe I’ve just been smoking more on the heavier side of medium lately(Quintero FTW). This cigar was super satisfying all the same. I kept repeatedly telling my wife that I’d be in in five more minutes, because I just had to smoke it until it was the nubbiest of nubs. It certainly stands the test of time as my official all-time favourite. This cigar was exceptional, even with the base astringent tones of a young Cuban, another year and a half of aging on it and it will elevate to nigh-untouchable heights. I can easily envision that I will have one of these tubos in my pocket to celebrate every special occasion I have for years to come…

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