Review: Romeo y Julieta Perfectos (1968)
I recently purchased a 4 pack of Romeo y Julieta Perfectos from 1968 to see what they would smoke like over 40 years after they were rolled.
There is not a bunch of historic info on these specific cigars. According to various websites, these were released pre-1960s (nobody knows an exact year, apparently) and were discontinued in 2003. These cigars were made with all Cuban Tobacco (unlike Clear Havanas, some of which will be reviewed soon) from the Pinar del Río region of Cuba.
A machine-made cigar (as most were back then), the price of each stick was approximatly $.25 (or 100 for $25), which was quite a bit, considering that most cigars cost between $.05 and $.10 each or so. Here is a price list from a cigar store named Park & Tilford which details some of the most popular imported brands of sticks and their prices. The Romeo y Julieta Perfectos price can be found about 3/4 of the way down the page on the left hand side. (image credit Gotham Cigar Museum):
Enough chitchat, let’s get down to business, shall we?
- Cigar Reviewed: Romeo y Julieta Perfectos (1968)
- Country of Origin: Cuba
- Wrapper: Cuba
- Binder: Cuba
- Filler: Cuba
- Size: 5 Inches
- Ring Gauge: 44
- Vitola: Petit Perfecto
- Est. Price: Varies Wildly
- Date Produced: 1968
The first thing I noticed when I picked up this cigar was the wrapper. While obviously well made, age seems to have turned the silky wrapper (or at least I assume it was silky at one point) into a material almost like parchment; dry (albeit not fragile) and a bit rough. The color is a light brown, and while the cigar is quite bumpy in places, I am impressed that the it has held together as long as it has without any major issues, although perhaps I should not be, considering the source. The cigar itself is quite spongy when squeezed, and the wrapper does have much of a smell at all besides a VERY light cinnamon scent.
As an aside, I have also been a bit surprised at how small most of the cigars from this age, and older, are. They look almost more like cigarettes then cigars, but I DO love the perfecto shape of this one. After cutting it, I took a few predraws, and the only thing I noticed was a VERY old musty tobacco flavor. Not unpleasant at all, but if someone gave you this cigar blind, you would know immediately it was an aged stick. After lighting it, I got a little bit of spice in the first few puffs, along with notes of woodsy cedar and that very aged tobacco flavor again.
The cigar turned totally mild in the second third, with any and all spice departing for parts unknown. There was still that aged tobacco flavor and some cedar, but I also picked up some floral notes as well, albeit faint.
The last third held a bit of a surprise. Honestly, I was expecting it to continue as it had for the first two thirds, but out of the blue, I tasted what I can only describe as peppermint oil (if you have ever tasted any, you will know what I am talking about). NOT sweet peppermint, but like the taste and tartness of peppermint without the sweetness that is usually associated with it. The woodsy and tobacco flavors were still there, but the peppermint note stuck around until the end. The stick did get hot at the end, but I was able to get close to the nub.
Some Final Notes:
- The draw was great for the entire stick, but the burn was VERY up and down; I had to relight 5 times total.
- After reading various reviews of other older sticks I was prepared for a mild cigar, and I was not disappointed. Other then the first few puffs, there was little to no pepper or spice for the entire smoke.
- This cigar produced an astounding amount of smoke for something so old and so small.
- The final smoking time was 1 hour and 10 minutes.
The Bottom Line: While it was VERY cool to be smoking a 40 year-old stick, the flavors and burn were really nothing to write home about. As I said earlier, anyone who picked up this stick and started smoking it would know it was an aged cigar. It was not a waste of time or money by any means, but I am hoping that my next vintage stick is better.