The Romeo y Julieta Linea de Oro has finally arrived!
Whenever a new Cuban cigar is announced by Habanos SA it provokes 2 reactions among aficionados. The first is to become excited by the opportunity to sample a new expression or vitola from their favourite brands. The second is to question when these new additions will actually become available to buy, and whether they will actually arrive in the official year of their release. Things were no different when, at the Habanos Festival of February 2020, the 145th anniversary of Romeo y Julieta was officially commemorated by the introduction of 3 new vitolas comprising an all-new collection: The Romeo y Julieta Linea de Oro.
145 years is a pretty impressive run, even when stood in comparison with the other ancient Cuban brands. Only a handful are older, and even fewer have built as strong a following within the cigar community. Over the years fans have equally enjoyed sticks of all sizes; from smaller formats like the Sports Largo all the way up to the statuesque Churchills, named for their most famous devotee. As well as being linked by the fact they are all rolled using premium tobacco from the Vuelta Abajo region, every cigar in the range has, so far, been medium-strength. The three new releases are the first to break that tradition.
The scarlet lacquered boxes are exquisite
The Romeo y Julieta Linea de Oro comprises 3 medium-to-full strength cigars, presented in three fairly thick vitolas: the Dianas (52 ring gauge by 5 ¾ inches), the Nobles (56 by 5 ⅜”) and the Hidalgos (57 by 4 ⅞”). As well as the new, stronger blend, each cigar will wear a special Linea de Oro band, bearing the name of the cigar in embossed gold, and a second gold band to protect the foot. The cigars are presented in boxes of 20, with each box crafted in sycamore with a lacquer finish in the scarlet red of the brand. The final touch is an embossed golden badge on the rounded lid of each box, making them a beautiful addition to any collection.
Each cigar has an additional gold band to protect the foot
Creating a line to sit within a brand’s portfolio, but offer a different strength, is unusual, but not unique. The most famous is the Siglo line, announced by Cohiba in 1992 and offering slightly milder cigars than the Classic range. The Behike line, released in 2010, offer full-strength smokes thanks to the medio tiempo leaves used in the blend, meaning Cohiba now can offer medium, medium-to-full and full strength cigars under their name. The biggest-selling Cuban brand in the world, Montecristo, also has commemorative ranges offering different strengths: while the regular production is classified as medium-to-full, the 1935 line – which honours the date of the brand’s inception – is full strength, and the golf-inspired Open series drops down to a medium.
One thing is for certain: these cigars will be enjoyed all the more for their delayed appearance, and will be immediately collectable thanks to their premium presentation. The addition of a second band to the foot of a cigar is becoming more and more popular these days and, as well as serving the practical purpose of protecting a vulnerable part of the wrapper from tears, adds a slightly more grand sense of occasion to each smoke. These bonuses, though, do not fully compensate for the frustration of the long delays between announcement and release.
The commemorative gold band dresses each stich and bears its name
Much has been written in recent months, including here at EGM Cigars, about some of the reasons for these delays; their unavoidable nature and the frustration felt by all involved that the cigars we are promised do rarely arrive on time. It is true that the pandemic and other acts of nature have had, and will continue to have, significant effects on how quickly cigars can be produced. No-one can be justifiably blamed for the slowdown these events have caused, and we must accept the annoyance just as we accept the rest of the fallout from circumstances beyond our control: with humility and patience. Where we may feel rightly aggrieved is in the delays caused not by nature, but by errors of planning. Making announcements too soon, well in advance of the cigars being ready or the harvest statistics even confirming they will be possible, leaves observers cynical and exasperated both about the announcement itself, and the credibility of any which come after.
Thankfully, and after 2 long years of anticipation, the Romeo y Julieta Linea de Oro is now here, and ready to be enjoyed. The boxes do indeed look as magnificent as promised, and the collection seems a fitting tribute to the now 147-year history of the brand. Best we enjoy them now that we can, as opposed to focussing too sharply on their late arrival.