Romeo y Julieta Reserve Rare 11 Years Old | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Honduran Havana 2000
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan
Size: 5.75 x 48 Short Churchill
Body: Mild/Medium
Price: $11.00 MSRP
Humidor time: 7 Weeks
Number of cigars smoked prior to review: 1

2a

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4a

Today we take a look at the Romeo y Julieta Reserve Rare 11 Years Old.
Thanks to a reader for sending a few sticks.

BACKGROUND:
From Cigar Aficionado:
“What’s been aged for 11 years, comes in an 11-count box and costs $11? The answer is the Romeo y Julieta Reserve Rare 11 Years Old. The name is a mouthful, but according to Altadis USA, the makers and distributors of the brand, these cigars have been aging for 11 years. That’s distinctly different than a cigar made with 11-year-old tobacco. In this case, the tobaccos have been rolled into a finished cigar and allowed to marry in an aging room for more than a decade. Now that the 11-year nap is over, the cigars are ready to be smoked.

“The blend is made up of a Havana 2000 wrapper from Honduras, Honduran binder and a filler combination of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobacco. The cigars were produced in Honduras at Altadis’s Flor de Copan factory and come in only one size: a 5 3/4 inch by 48 ring gauge corona gorda.

“Continuing on the theme of 11, only 11,000 cigars were made, or 1,000 boxes total. One might think, given the theme, that these cigars will be released on November 11 (11/11), but that’s not the case. While the cigars are available now in a few retail shops, the major shipments are slated to hit most retailers in mid-September.

“As for any mystical connotations regarding the number 11, Altadis doesn’t recommend reading too much into it. They’re cigar makers and distributors, not numerologists.”

DESCRIPTION:
The kind of a stick that Dr. Frankenstein would invent…big stitch marks made by huge veins.
The wrapper is a semi-oily medium brown color.
The caps are beautifully done so I must assume it is a triple cap. The stick is firm but a little too firm in places.
The secondary cigar band looks like a billboard and takes a little class away from the appearance.

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I smell coconut, red pepper, chocolate, malts, cream, cinnamon, cherry cordials, cedar, raisins, some curry spices, coffee, and black licorice. That is damn impressive.
From the clipped cap and foot, I smell coconut, chocolate, red pepper, malts, creamy cup of coffee, curry spices, and dried fruit.
The cold draw presents flavors of extreme creaminess, chocolate, malts, caramel, curry, cedar, and coconut.

FIRST THIRD:
Oh no.
Not a single review. Not one. Please, baby Jesus…make this a really good blend.

The PR is that this stick contains 11 year old aged tobacco. I would have guessed it would be ready to go ROTT. It wasn’t. So I waited. Here goes nuttin’ honey.
The draw is a bit tight.

But I do get rewarded with a big blast of pepper! Followed by a panoply of flavors: malt, roasted nuts, exotic spice, coffee, deliciously aged tobacco, caramel, vanilla, raisins, and strong cedar.
Great start.

I’m not a fan of RyJ blends. Too pedestrian for my tastes. Take forever to mature in the humidor, etc.
I like the Romeo y Julieta Reserve Rare 11 Years Old…wasn’t expecting to.

There is a little bit of prune danish lurking about deep in the bowels of the flavor profile.
If you look around you can find deals. I found a couple sites selling an 11 count box for $95 and singles for $8-$10. Every bit helps.

5a

Strength is a pleasant mild/medium.
Normally, most tobaccos lose their oomph around a year after humidor time. I know this for a fact as I’ve been care packaged cigars that were 2-3 years old. Had no taste left.
Others excel. A dicey proposition. But it seems to work for the Romeo y Julieta Reserve Rare 11 Years Old.

There is a plug behind the main cigar band. I try to clear it but stop as soon as I hear a crackling noise. Smoking this cigar will give my cheeks a good work out.

Complexity settles in about 3/8” before the first third ends.
Not a fan of weak cigar blends. Very few have great flavor profiles. I have no idea what this 11 year old tobacco started out at; strength wise.

The PR says the sticks were put to bed in the warehouse for 11 years. Methinks they were just forgotten. And someone wandering through the warehouse found 1000 of them that could be sold with a lot of PR exclaiming perfection.
Shit gets lost in big warehouses all the time. They accidentally stumble upon stuff and cook up a scheme to sell them with some considerable fanfare.

The char line is spot on. No construction problems; except for the plug which seems to have opened up on its own.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is only 20-25 minutes. The stick is smoking quicker than expected.

There is a lovely balance among the flavors, character, complexity, mild transitions, and strength. The only thing missing is a healthy dose of pepper. It only appeared for a few moments at the start of the burn. It disappeared quickly. I must have my spiciness so I guess the extended aging has ripped the pepper from the heart of the blend.

Smooth is an understatement. Flavors are well-rounded and delicious.
Nothing new to add. What it had at the beginning is all still there but have now meshed together in a “We Are the World” environment.

6a

The Romeo y Julieta Reserve Rare 11 Years Old is not a blend with big bold flavors. To the contrary, they are subtle, nuanced, and gratifying.
Strength reaches medium body.

I love the malts, creaminess, chocolate, raisins, sweetness, spices, salted cashews, and caramel.

I was watching, again, the 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival and the last half of the 5.5 hour concert is the best part. Clapton had Steve Winwood on who got to do 4 songs. No one else got to do more than 2 songs.
Here is the odd part. These guys broke out at the same time…the mid/late 1960’s. They did a legendary album together: “Blind Faith.” And Clapton says, “I’ve wanted to play with Steve for 25 years!”
What?

When Winwood hit the stage, there was no eye contact from either. No hugs as is perfunctory in this sort of setting…and then they played. Around the 3rd song, they loosened up and smiles appeared on faces. Best part was that they only played tunes from the Blind Faith album. It was said that the band split up due to differences caused by playing live; an explanation that went no further.

Have they held a grudge for over 25 years? It was like Martin and Lewis brought together again for the first time in decades during a telethon in the 70’s that Sinatra orchestrated.

Enough of that.

I am amazed that no one else chose to review this cigar. It’s a decent stick. The price is a bit of a gouge. You accidentally find old cigars and hype it and charge way too much.
While the aged tobacco plays an important part, is it really worth $11 a stick. Nope.
$8.00? Sure.

I’m also amazed that the 1000 boxes have been out for 4 months and they are still in play. Google it to find your poison.

The Romeo y Julieta Reserve Rare 11 Years Old is an aficionado’s blend. The flavors are so subtle that it takes focus and concentration to get the most out of them. They dance on your palate like a little fairy. No not me. I’m a big fairy. 33 years of being with the same woman has turned me into one.
The plug healed and the draw is difficult.
Halfway point exhibits some fine flavors.
Smoke time has slowed down. 40 minutes to this point.

7a

This blend isn’t going to appeal to everyone. It has slipped back to mild/medium body.
There are some mild/medium body sticks that are killer like the My Father Connecticut and the New World Connecticut. Bigger flavors…more complex.

The Romeo y Julieta Reserve Rare 11 Years Old takes a different mindset that must be implanted prior to putting torch to foot. One must understand that this is a fully aged stick with both the upsides and the downsides to that proposition.

The upside is the smoothness. The delicious aged tobacco flavor. And nuance and subtlety.
The downside is no spice. Maybe flavors are too subtle for most. And the weak strength.

It is like Marvin Shanken describing one of those ancient blends he chooses to review at the end of the cigar review section of Cigar Aficionado.
It most certainly takes a sensitive palate to appreciate what the Romeo y Julieta Reserve Rare 11 Years Old brings to the table.
The char line has not required a single touch up.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is one hour.
Strength is only touching the hem of medium body.

But I like it. Yet everything I enjoy will disappear after the second cigar of the day. The Romeo y Julieta Reserve Rare 11 Years Old will tolerate nothing less than being the first cigar of your day. It is just too fragile of a flavor profile to make it past a crispy palate.

This is the first RyJ I’ve really liked.

Goddamit. They are doing all kinds of road work outside and they have a fucking pile driver hammering away 75 feet away. This shit has been going on and off for about a week. This is a child’s dream of big and loud construction machines.

8a

Even with the big PR push of tobaccos aged 11 years, this blend still needs its humidor time. I don’t get that. But it does.

This is the perfect cigar for newbies even though it ain’t cheap. A good blend for your palate to learn a thing or two.

I really don’t understand why no one has reviewed this blend. It is a very decent blend. Not very sexy. Not a kitchen sink blend. But it is a solid blend worth your time. Maybe the other reviewers are waiting for something bold to happen so they keep waiting. Nothing bold will happen to this cigar over time. It has had its day in court and all it needs is a few weeks of rest time in your humidor.

Then again, the big guys have a shit load of new cigars to review which I don’t have access to. The FDA prohibits dispersal of samples now. So the manufacturers are getting away with doling them out to their favorite reviewers by saying it either comes from their own stash or just plain fucking lie about it. The reviewer says he bought them but in actuality come from the manufacturer in a hush hush transaction.

The stick finishes out medium body. And with a small surge of flavors. The crypt keeper has allowed them out during the last minutes of its life.
Good cigar.
Final smoke time is one hour 20 minutes.

RATING: 90

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3 replies

  1. Hi Phil,

    Excellent review as always. You know what every cigar smoker would love is an excel spreadsheet listing all of the cigar stats including strength, recommended humidor time, flavors, size, price, etc. It would be worth so much to each us that it maybe would be the biggest hit on any cigar site in the internet.It would probably take several months of work, but I think it will be worth every second of time spent. It definitely would make your site the “go to” site for cigar smokers. Just a thought.

    Thanks for all the reviews. I always enjoy reading themy while I am smoking one.

    Jim

    • I get $85 an hour. I am to be paid weekly in cash. I should be done in about 3.75 months.
      Or, James, you start it using my data and I will edit and correct as required.
      lol

    • I created a simple spreadsheet for my own use when the inventory overflowed into a coolerdor. Now, at a glance and without having to open a lid, I know what I have, what the original quantity was, when I got it and from whom, and how much I payed for it. The entries are listed by date — oldest to newest — so if I’m looking for something older than, say, 6 months, it’s a snap to find it. Best of all, the software was free from Open Office. Highly recommended for anyone with a large and diverse inventory of sticks.