Romeo 505 Nicaragua | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Nicaraguan Habano Seed
Binder: Nicaraguan (Jalapa)
Filler: Nicaraguan (Jalapa, Estelí and Condega)
Size: 6 x 52 Toro
Strength: Medium
Price: $9.25 ($10.00 MSRP)

Today we take a look at the new Romeo 505 Nicaragua.
I bought a few sticks at my local B&M.

BACKGROUND:
From Cigar Aficionado (Rated 91):
“Altadis U.S.A. is dialing up the famed Placencia (sic) cigar family to produce its first-ever, Nicaraguan-made Romeo y Julieta cigar. Romeo 505 Nicaragua, named after Nicaragua’s calling code, will join the Romeo by Romeo y Julieta line, an incarnation of the main non-Cuban Romeo y Julieta brand.

“The new blend, made at Plasencia Tobacco S.A. and composed of tobaccos from three of Nicaragua’s well-known growing regions, includes a Habano-seed wrapper and binder from Jalapa and a mix of fillers from Jalapa, Estelí and Condega. Romeo 505 Nicaragua is offered in four sizes, all of which are box pressed: robusto, measuring 5 1/2 inches by 50 ring gauge; toro, 6 by 52; Churchill, 7 by 50; and piramides, 6 1/2 by 54. Each cigar will cost around $10, depending on the size, and come packaged in boxes of 20.

“Astute observers of the Romeo y Julieta portfolio may remember the RyJ by Romeo y Julieta, which debuted in 2013. It consisted of only Nicaraguan tobaccos, but it was produced in Honduras, making Romeo 505 the first all-Nicaraguan Romeo y Julieta produced in Nicaragua.

“The Romeo by Romeo y Julieta line was created by Altadis in 2013 as a fuller-bodied offering to the mild Romeo y Julieta brand. Romeo 505 Nicaragua is the third offshoot of the Romeo line, following Romeo Añejo, which showcased a Connecticut broadleaf wrapper, and Romeo by Romeo y Julieta Aging Room, a collaboration cigar between Altadis and Rafael Nodal of Boutique Blends.

“This is third time in recent years that Altadis has called upon the Placencias (sic) for its Nicaraguan tobacco. First was for the Montecristo Espada in 2014 and then Espada by Montecristo Estoque, which debuted at last year’s IPCPR trade show in New Orleans.

“Romeo 505 Nicaragua has already shipped to select retailers and will begin a full-scale rollout in September.”

CA spelled Plasencia incorrectly in the first and next to last sentence. Guess they had to let go of Spell Check in their Word program to pay for lavish PR parties.

DESCRIPTION:
A nice squarely pressed stick. The wrapper is gorgeous with hints of pumpkin, hickory, and espresso. Added to that a perfectly mottled brindle texture that is smooth as glass. Seams are invisible. Lots of tiny veins that don’t intrude. And the cigar appears to be perfectly packed without a single hard or soft spot.

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW POINTS:
From the shaft, I can smell super dark cocoa, cream, cinnamon, red pepper, a thick coating of honey, floral notes, espresso, cedar, smoked meat, chocolate covered cherries, lime citrus, and black tea. Wow.
Oh wait…of course I cannot forget leather, wood, and earth.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell…what he said…

The cold draw presents flavors of salted caramel, cedar, dark cocoa, cinnamon, red pepper, cream, fruit, honey, and roasted nuts.

FIRST THIRD:
The draw is a bit tight so out comes my PerfecDraw cigar poker and 30 seconds later…a perfect draw. (Promo code: Katman gets you 15% off).

Right from the start, that huge bevy of aromas turns into flavors. Almost all of them. First up is dark chocolate followed by red pepper, creaminess, caramel, mocha java, baking spices, cherries, nuts, honey, tea, smokiness, and cedar.

Now this is how a cigar should begin its journey across the Gobi. None of this bland shit waiting for somewhere in the first third to kick into gear. We are the gear. We are the ball.

Malts make an early welcomed appearance. I love my malts.

I have zero luck with box pressed cigars’ char lines. Huzzah! A perfect burn line requiring no touch up or loud cursing by me that forces the neighbors to dial 911 once again because they fear my wife is screaming.
It’s very nutty now. Like sticking your puss into a large can of mixed nuts while giving them the raspberries.

Strength is a placid medium…but it is tickling the back of my throat in a warning gesture that either aliens will be taking over my body within the next calendar millennium or that soon this cigar is going to kick my ass.

Yeah we got ‘em…complexity of a thousand subtle flavors, transitions that only occur in your head while the anesthesiologist is pumping Propofol into you as you ready for your colonoscopy…and a mile long finish.

Last year, I had 3 colonoscopies along with the accompanying endoscopy. The first two times they couldn’t knock me out. They attempted to stick the local fire hose with a Nikon camera duct taped to the end down my throat and into my stomach while I was wide awake. I didn’t like that much.

They finally got it right on the third time is a charm scenario when they brought in an anesthesiologist and he gave me the good stuff. First time I had Propofol. Fucking Michael Jackson used this shit every night to go to sleep. What a schmuck.

Flavors continue on their journey to Oz. With each puff, it gets better. The Romeo 505 Nicaragua is a wonderful surprise. Not a big fan of RyJ. But this baby is the bomb…da’ bomb? Or Duh bomb? Or DeBarge?

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is over 35 minutes.
Strength hits medium/full.

The Romeo 505 Nicaragua is a damn fine example of New Breed blending. The 6,000 year old firm of RyJ is definitely Old School in that most of their blends need several light years of humidor time. Work it out right and you can be your great grandson when the RyJ is ready to smoke. This will take advanced parabolic ring theory in conjunction with harmonic analysis…and some Twizzlers. (The black ones, not the red).

The blend is full of heartwarming (not heart worming) collections of flavors. The whole lot is firing on all 6 cylinders. Remember the Slant 6?

And then the big push begins. Flavors erupt like Krakatoa. We are in over drive. And the natives are quick fucking before they become covered in hot ash.
Big wallops of malt, black pepper, coffee, dark chocolate, creaminess, cinnamon, baking spices, cedar, smokiness, nuts, fruit, caramel, and tea.

Every couple minutes, the aforementioned list of flavors juxtaposes itself into a new formation of top dogs. One minute, the creaminess is the head lemming. The next moment, it’s spice and chocolate…almost a mole sauce.
The balance is spot on. Everyone’s lunch bag is in the right cubicle and the fat kid is tied up in the corner of the room.

Construction is first rate. No touch ups required to the burn line. And the smoke draws easily and evenly. The cigar remains firm with no sponginess…like me.

It takes a leisurely 45 minutes to get to the halfway point. Strength is at the Hulk level. My testes are shrinking by the second. Yes it’s true. Once men reach my age, their ball sacks begin to hang on Sloopy. Which is fine as I like sitting at the laptop writing my reviews while Sammy the cat licks my balls; which are lying on the floor. Wait. Sammy is a male cat…does that make me gay?

I’m having a super time. The Romeo 505 Nicaragua is definitely box worthy. I can’t afford it but you can.

A plume of toxic nicotine creeps into the recesses of my brain pan. It’s looking for something but can’t find it.

I’m glad I got the Toro. It will be a long smoke but it is doing the tickle me Elmo on my palate to the Dylan song, “Everybody Must Get Stoned.” I remember riding in the car with my mother when I was 16 in 1966 when the song came out. She looked at me in horror and said, “What is this crap?” I just smiled. She was more of an Andrew Sisters kind of gal.

LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is one hour 10 minutes.

OK…I say it too often but this blend is killer. But for $10 a pop, it should.

Cigars International has a sale on a ten pack of Toros for $50. That’s half price.
Snag some.

The Romeo 505 Nicaragua has hit the high premium water mark now. Flavors are screaming laughter. The complexity is more than my puny brain can handle…I begin to convulse from too much serotonin being released but I am awakened by Sammy licking my balls. Good ol’ Sammy. I just wish he wouldn’t smoke a cigarette afterwards. The smell fucks up my palate.

No kidding. I mean, really. The last third is the big sweet spot in this blend. Flavors are so wild and complex that it is virtually impossible to pick them apart. The whole is now greater than its parts.

I find myself smacking my lips. The finish is so decadent that I’ve morphed into a dog.

Strength is nuclear. But the nicotine isn’t as strong as I expected. (Warning. Spoiler Alert).

The most heartfelt flavors are malt, chocolate, creaminess, espresso, caramel, smokiness, baking spices, and black pepper. While not a kitchen sink list, these flavors all have little remora fishies attached to them to create a beautiful flow chart of indescribable complexity.

I’m listening to classic rock on the cable music station. Black Sabbath is playing. I saw them many times as a young man but nothing tops touring with them in England back in the 70’s. Ozzy was at his most insane and I was always scared. Mostly because I couldn’t understand a word he said.

Nicotine has set my toupee on fire. Sammy grabs the fire extinguisher and drops it at my feet. He shakes his head as he walks away with a cigarette in his mouth.

It’s a shame that RyJ couldn’t have made this fine cigar a little less expensive. It causes this blend to go from a good go to cigar to one you hide from your mooch friends.

Holy shit. Nicotine. I am forced to don my yarmulke and give my Bar Mitzvah speech to the oven in the kitchen. I won’t mention this to anyone.

Grab a 10 pack of Toros from CI and you will send your Grandpa Katman bags of testicle retrievers. It allows you to tie your ball sack to your waist with a slip knot. I wonder if you get free steak knives with this?
Final smoke time is one hour 45 minutes.

RATING: 92

And now for something completely different:

An old trusted musical partner from the 90’s lives in Naples, FL. He and I played together in a power blues trio in Phoenix. The Todd Hart Band (Website).
Todd is a brilliant vocalist and even became lead vocalist for the British blues band Savoy Brown for a while.

I saw him on MSNBC in that photo op that Trump did showing him and Pence feeding the homeless. They showed Todd being civil and accepting a banana from the VP. Melania wasn’t as kind.
He is OK but continue reading:

“Hey Phil, great to hear from you, pal…

“Yeah it’s pretty rough here at Ground Zero for Irma, and you’re never ready even though you think you are. It was real crazy yesterday, I met the whole Chelou: Trump, Melania (wouldn’t shake hands), Pence, his wife, Governor Scott, and his wife. I shook hands with Trump and he said “man you got a hell of a grip there”, I said “I know.”

“Just there for the 20 minute photo op. Trump handed me a sandwich and Pence handed me a banana, and they were gone. Very surreal to meet the whole crew especially like that, and especially since I loathe (redacted) and always have publicly.

“Anyway my girlfriend and I are doing fine, sorta. This park that I live in is all pre-fab or what’s called manufactured homes, or site built homes. People call it a trailer park but there’s no trailers in here – my house is 1400 ft.² and there’s a lot bigger ones too.

“Most houses around me are devastated, but my house just got a couple little bumps from flying crap. We’re on a generator since the storm hit, no electric, no water, and one gas station in the whole town with a 6 mile line behind it because everybody’s running on a generator. I have a really cool rain barrel that I rigged up for just such an occasion and we have plenty-o-flushes and we do shower-can showers and stay delightfully fresh. I literally smell “rain water fresh” while I’m dictating this email to you, and will soon be going for “confident and secure”! Forecast the same again today: 92° – 100% humidity – there is a price for paradise.

OK so it’s great that you were thinking of me, and hope we get to see each other again someday. Take care and I’ll try and stay in touch a little bit better after the cleanup. I do read your cigar page every once in a while though. My favorite cigar is an A. Fuente “short story”. I like them very mild. All the best old friend, stay safe.”


PS. My street the day after the storm. My house is the one on the left with the crunched top corner.

One of my favorite Todd Hart stories is about the time we became the official blues band for the Arizona Hell’s Angels:
I was playing bass in the Todd Hart Band. A power blues trio. It was the mid/late 1990’s. Todd’s claim to fame was that he sang with the legendary English blues band, Savoy Brown.

Todd’s main income was the music so we played out a lot…3-5 times per week. Forcing me to go to work the next morning bleary eyed. I would drive like a maniac after gigs to get home, shower (smoking was OK back then in bars), try to calm down, and then sleep for a solid 2-1/2 hours before I had to be at work at 6am. Lovely.

We had moved to Arizona in 1991 when California experienced a recession and construction went into the toilet. We stayed in Arizona until 2000 when I got a great job in the bay area of northern California.

I was working 3 jobs: my main gig as a construction project manager, my music gigs, and a contractor as a structural draftsman working out of my house. I was in my 40’s so I was healthy and fit, and while this was tiring, it kept my wallet filled and my stamina seemed unstoppable. Plus it allowed my daughter and wife to steal from my wallet without abandon.

I played with Todd for a little over 2 years. We went through drummers like Spinal Tap. I believe one or two disappeared from spontaneous combustion. And one died choking on vomit…Not his.

Todd had a neighbor that was high up in the chain of the “board of directors” with the Hells Angels. He often came to see us play.
Soon thereafter, we were hired to play Hell’s Angels gigs. They loved us. But I didn’t love them. These were some nasty fellas. They scared the hell out of me. No pun intended.

Within a couple of months, we became the official Hells Angels band of Arizona. Just great. Something I always dreamed of.
They had moved into Arizona in the mid 90’s. Other outlaw biker clubs were given the opportunity to join or disappear.

This was truly an outlaw gang of thugs. Selling drugs and guns and making sure no one got in their way.
Now as you probably know, Arizona is the Wild West when it comes to guns. You can carry openly and you can carry concealed. A young kid can carry a gun as long as a parent is with them.

For the gigs, I always wore a Blues Brothers-type black coat. In the small of my back, I carried an IWB holster with a .45 caliber Glock 30. A subcompact. 13 +1 Rounds.

Whatever club we played, the Angels would take over the club for the night and the parking lot saw hundreds of bikes.

A coterie of Angels took turns guarding them…with guns in plain sight. It became horrifyingly apparent that none of these guys knew anything about guns. They just liked carrying them, looking badass. A lot of them wore the “Miami Vice” Don Johnson-type shoulder holster.

One night, during a break, I walked outside and began talking to a few of them; each with the Miami shoulder-holster-carry. I asked them to show me how they would draw the gun. And every one of them did it wrong.

If you pull the gun from the holster horizontally, you sweep the area in a partial arc as you bring the gun around towards your target. Not good. Studies have shown that in an adrenaline situation, you pull the trigger 2.5 times before it is aimed at the target. So sweeping the gun means you shoot innocent bystanders in that 90 degree circle sweep.

So I showed them how to do it properly by pulling the gun out, immediately dropping the nose; first to the ground, then in a twisting motion, bring it up to the aiming position without sweeping it.
They all slapped me on the back and thanked me.

And then it hit me.
These guys are famous for drug and gun running. There had to be at least one undercover ATF agent in the bunch. And he had just watched me show the Angels how to shoot their adversaries properly.

Christmas came around and we played their annual event in which they supposedly collected toys for disadvantaged kids. They rented an upscale restaurant in Scottsdale.

There was a huge box for the members to place their new toys. I took a look into the box and there was nothing in there that cost more than $2. So much for taking the drive seriously.

I made the mistake of bringing along my wife, Charlotte, and our 12 year old daughter, Katie. I don’t know what I was thinking. Stupid me…I thought it would be a semi-wholesome atmosphere with all the families there.

We came early to set up and do a sound check. I remember as huge hordes of bikes arrived shaking the ground with a rumble equal to 6.7 Godzillas wiping out thousands of Japanese civilians. Mothra picked up the pieces.

The kid started crying from the noise, holding on to my leg with dear life, and begged for us to leave. Great.

We had to sit through the entire meal and then the giving away of gifts through the use of lottery tickets bought by the folks arriving.

The MC had the foulest mouth I had ever heard. There were a ton of kids at the event but this mattered not.
His language would have made Richard Pryor blush.

I don’t remember what we were paid, but it wasn’t enough.

This went on for well over an hour. We had now been in this place for hours and hours and all we wanted to do was play and get the hell out of there.

We sat at a table with 8 other Angels. I swear not a single one had an I.Q. over 40. And having teeth in their mouths was strictly optional.

We played a set and then took a break and oh my lord, they started doling out more gifts which sidelined us another hour.

It may have been the longest day in my musical career. Of course, the best part was all the biker chicks taking their tops off while we played in front of all the kids.

That was enough for Charlotte and she took the car and left for home; with the kid in tow.
We had a lot of Angels gigs booked but I just couldn’t do this anymore.
A week later, I quit the band.

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