Whenever I visit my family in the UK, I’ll always take the opportunity to enjoy a cigar with my grandfather. After all, it’s largely his influence that launched my cigar journey when I was just a boy. We first tried the Ramon Allones Superiores, which he declared as one of the best cigars he had ever smoked.
A challenge! The next day, I headed to Gauntley’s of Nottingham, my favourite cigar shop that I often visited as a young man. After a wonderful chat with Eann, the manager, I walked out with two Romeo & Julieta Añejados to sample with my grandfather.
Given the occasion, I couldn’t resist writing up a review of the Romeo & Julieta Añejados, where I’ll be touching on the following points:
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- Brand: Romeo & Julieta
- Range: Añejados
- Reviewed Vitola: 6 x 52 Pirámides
- Filler: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Factory: La Corona [Havana]
- Handmade: Yes
- Body: Medium
- Estimated Smoking Time: 90 – 100 Minutes
- Pricing: £33 / single [UK]
A concept first launched by Habanos S.A. for Padrón, rumour has it that the Añejados project was initially for the American market when relations were thawing. However, the embargo was never lifted. Following its success, Habanos S.A. released Añejados blends for both Montecristo and Romeo & Julieta.
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Romeo y Julieta Añejados Look & Feel
- Wrapper Hue: Panela Sugar
- Rolling Consistency: Some Soft Spots
- Spring: Supple
- Aromas: Cinnamon, Brioche, Caramel
The Añejados features a tan chestnut wrapper with a few slight sheen of oil, which is overall reminiscent of Panela sugar. Furthermore, the wrapper consists of a few veins and the construction has a very slight inconsistent soft spots.
Similarly, the spring is quite supple without being loose, which is surprising for a Cuban cigar. As for the aromas, it was subtle yet enriching with notes of yeasty and buttery brioche, caramel, and cinnamon.
Romeo y Julieta Añejados Review
Usually, we smoke several cigars when writing a review in order to account for any anomalies and inconsistencies. However, on this rare occasion, only two were smoked between my grandfather and I.
- Draw: Mild Resistance
- Aromas: Cedar, Brioche, Hay
Using my new Xikar MTX, which is one of our favourite cutters at Bespoke Unit, a snipped off the head at a slight angle to provide a comfortable draw. There was only a slight resistance in the cold draw, which revealed some unsurprising notes of cedar as well as more creamy brioche and musty hay.
1st Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Cedar, Eucalyptus, Buttercream
Given that the cigars are aged in cedar boxes for between 5 and 8 years, it comes as no real surprise that it would be a dominant note for the first third. What did surprise me, however, is the presence of refreshing eucalyptus that is particularly noticeable in the retrohale.
Easily mistaken for pepper at first, the eucalyptus has a similar bracing character but with a greater aromatic emphasis. Meanwhile, a touch of buttercream offers a smooth and refined finish to the initial experience that lingers on the palate.
2nd Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Beech, Liquorice, Dry Earth
By the second third, I’m honestly asking myself what the ageing process brought to the overall smoking experience. Although far from an unpleasant cigar, I’m struggling to identify elements of its character that genuinely indicate the length that it has spent maturing.
This could be found in the smoothness and subtlety of its aromas. Rather than a dizzying tableau of robust flavour, the Añejados arguably provides a more serene and polished adventure. I suppose you could more-or-less describe the experience as “mellower”.
At this point, I’ve noticed a gradual transition in the woody note from cedar to beech that’s reminiscent of the smoked wood for curing fish. Similarly, the eucalyptus has developed a potent character that is more akin to liquorice.
Again, the liquorice could be described as peppery. However, it has a particular vinous texture that actually has more in common with molasses. The wood and aromatic pair both accord nicely over a bed of dry earth that evokes the quintessentially Cuban musty note that I often liken to terracotta.
Final Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Charred Oak, Star Anise, Dried Earth
The aforementioned earthy texture persists throughout the final third while offering a certain astringency to the palate. Meanwhile, the wood and aromatic accord have once again evolved to reveal a change of flavour.
From the beech, the wood has retained its smokiness while transitioning to what could be easily described as a hearty meal of charred oak. With this comes a distinctive aroma of star anise that provides both a nutty and peppery savouriness.
Compared to the first two, the final third is considerably more robust yet it achieves this without becoming particularly harsh. In fact, I found it to be surprisingly balanced all the way until the nub. Indeed, both my grandfather and I didn’t hesitate to enjoy them until our fingers began to burn!
- Ash Backbone: Some Resistance
- Burn Angle: Slightly Wavy
- Temperature: Cool
- Draw: Light Resistance
- Final Smoking Time: 105 Minutes
I was overall impressed with the Añajedo’s delivery despite a few concerns with its construction. Indeed, the cigar provided a healthy albeit flaky ash that held well throughout its burn.
As for the burn angle, it became wavy on occasion with just a few minor runners. However, it rarely needed any touching up, which is always a relief when smoking a premium Cuban! Similarly, the dry was somewhat loose but not in a way that negatively impacted the smoke.
You’ll certainly find this cigar to be more rewarding if it’s smoked gently. Not only will it remain very cool but I get the impression that over-zealous puffing would be very detrimental to the delicately balanced flavour profile.
Finally, smoking at an even pace will guarantee a pleasantly drawn-out experience. Both my grandfather and I enjoyed these for an hour and forty-five minutes.
Ideal Pairings With An Romeo y Julieta Añejados
Normally, I’d have a few cigars to test and I would experiment with different pairings in order to give an overview of the best options. As you know, however, my grandfather and I only had one each and I haven’t yet had an opportunity to acquire more.
On this occasion, we were at an English pub where we had just consumed a hearty lunch of steak and ale pie with a few pints of Bombardier ale.
When I asked my grandfather whether he wanted a whisky or a rum with his cigar, he opted for the latter. Although there were a few possibilities, the overall options were limited.
Out of those available, the most premium was the Zacapa Solera 23 and while it wasn’t the most refined option, it was still a great accompaniment.
If sampling another Romeo y Julieta Añejados in the future, I would probably again lean towards rum given its delicate flavours. After all, the notes of molasses and liquorice would pair well.
Otherwise, I would probably consider a coffee consisting of a mild espresso blend. Meanwhile, only a few whiskies would be and I’d likely consider a floral bourbon or a refreshing Speyside Single Malt.
Finally, if you’re wondering about snacks, I would keep it relatively simple. Some salted peanuts or French fries would be ideal. Alternatively, you could opt for some smooth milk chocolate, which will help extend those buttery and mellow notes.
Given that I only bought two cigars, I won’t be able to say much about the box and its presentation. However, I did get a peak, which was interesting to see. As they’re aged for several years in the same box, they’re all individually stamped with the production date.
Once the ageing process has finished, they are then given a stamp of Revisado to say that they have been checked. At this moment, the bands are applied and the cigars are shipped.
As for the bands, each cigar features the classic and easily recognisable “Romeo y Julieta” band. Meanwhile, a second band featuring the “Añejados” label is added just underneath.
In terms of value for money, you can’t hide from the fast that the Romeo y Julieta Añejados is a pretty pricey cigar! In London, I spotted it in several cigar shops where singles were sold for around £33, which is what I essentially paid at Gauntley’s in Nottingham.
On Uk-based online retailers, it was only sold for a fraction less at just under £27. To get some perspective, I checked the prices on some European sites and saw that it was often sold for around 25€, which is actually about the same.
Given the ageing process involved in producing this cigar, I suppose that the price is more-or-less justifiable. Although the opportunity to enjoy one with my grandfather was truly wonderful, I’m trying not to let that sway my opinion. Nevertheless, I didn’t necessarily find the result to be quite worth the price.
When Should You Smoke An Añejados?
As an elaborate and premium cigar, the Romeo y Julieta Añejados is indeed one that is best reserved for special occasions. However, I would refrain from dishing them out for a party or a major event given that their flavour profile is quite delicate and may be undermined by hustle and bustle.
Instead, I would only bring them out for a special moment that is quietly shared either alone or with other people. For me, I would consider these as an ideal companion for some quite contemplation or to share with a friend when talking the night away.
If you’re looking for a luxurious cigar that has been aged for a number of years, the Romeo y Julieta Añejados is certainly worth considering. However, you may honestly garner better value by storing your own cigars for a similar period of time. In fact, serious collectors often do this with astonishing results.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed it, there is a chance of being disappointed by this cigar given the initial investment. Indeed, my 94 year-old grandfather did turn to me at one point and said “this is very nice, but I still preferred the last one.”
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, that was the Ramon Allones Superiores and given that it was half the price, I’d actually be inclined to agree with him.
"A mellow and polished smoking experience. While it may not be quite worth the price tag, the Añejados is by no means a failed experiment. In any case, it'll be a cigar that holds a special place in my heart."Rating: 4.0 ★★★★
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