The Cigar Advisors go boutique: the Review Panel takes on the HVC Edicion Especial 2018 Corona, a limited-edition Nicaraguan cigar that beams with promise. So, did it deliver? Watch our review now, and see for yourself…
CA Review Panel: Romeo y Julieta Capulet 80th Anniversary Cigar Review (Video)
The Romeo y Julieta House of Capulet 80th Anniversary Back Story
It’s both seemingly, and quite literally, a lifetime ago when Rose & David Zaretsky opened the doors of Famous Smoke Shop, a quaint, 350 square-foot cigar shop & luncheonette on Broadway in midtown New York City. Since then, Famous has become the oldest family-owned American cigar retailer in the United States. And after 80 years in business, it’s hard to think of a brand more iconic than Romeo y Julieta to celebrate their success.
Arguably the most famous of love stories, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet has captured the imagination of millions for four centuries. The beloved tragedy became muse for the original Cuban Romeo y Julieta brand, as well as numerous blends made for the American market, including three that were handcrafted exclusively for Famous Smoke Shop: Verona, House of Montague, and House of Capulet. For their 80th anniversary at Famous Smoke Shop, the spotlight was cast on House of Capulet.
With a penchant for flawless construction and presentation, this Capulet 80th was specifically crafted to be a medium-bodied affair brimming with poignant flavors and primed to spark a star-crossed romance with your palate at a seductive price.
The House of Capulet 80th was crafted at Diadema Cigars de Honduras S.A in La Flor de Copan, Honduras in a limited-edition run of 2,000 10-count boxes. Adding to its rarity, the cigar was released in a single 6″ x 52 Toro format with one distinctive difference – it’s the only Capulet to be given a soft, box-pressed treatment. Moreover, a gold 80th anniversary band has been added to the foot. Those who gravitate toward medium-bodied cigars with full, standout flavor will be pleased by a well-balanced tobacco blend that includes hand-selected Nicaraguan and Honduran long-fillers at the core, and finished with a plush Connecticut Shade wrapper grown in Ecuador.
Romeo y Julieta House of Capulet 80th Anniversary Cigar Review – Toro
Country of Origin/Factory: Diadema Cigars de Honduras S.A.
Size: 6″ x 52 (Soft-press)
Wrapper: Connecticut (Ecuador)
Filler: Honduras, Nicaragua
John Pullo’s Tasting Notes…
Construction and Overall Appearance: A smooth and silky Ecuador Connecticut, maybe a bit darker than the wrapper on the regular Capulet; this one’s more of a caramel color. Nice oval press, too.
Draw: Clear and easy.
Pre-light flavor: Natural tobacco, green herbs and sweet.
Toasting & Light: Wood, grains and pepper.
Base flavors: Cream, wood, zest and earth.
Retrohale: There’s some pepper in there at the start, for sure; later it’s much more smooth, helping to bring out that creamy base flavor.
Aroma: Subtle – nutty, toasty, and a faint hint of sweet.
Burn / Ash Quality: Ash is the darker side of grey; burn line opens with a bit of a wave, but evens out cleanly.
Balance of flavors: More flavor, less strength.
Summary: You SAY you’re not a fan of box-pressed cigars – but let me show you something in a Romeo…
Being a Connecticut, and being a RyJ, no – we’re not going to be getting a ton of complexity or an outrageous show of strength. But we are going to get a noticeable amount of pepper out of the first few hits – which transitions to a warm and buttery-sweet profile mixed with a bit of citrusy zest on the finish. If you drink vodka tonics, you’ll recognize it: where you take a sip and get a taste of the lime and tonic lingering on your taste buds. Very fresh, very crisp.
Already I could tell that, even though this is the same blend as the RyJ Capulet, my taste buds were going down a far different path…previously, I had reviewed the Capulet and said, “The flavors are not heady – they are subtle. If I had to sum it up in two words, I’d say wood and toast – making the Capulet a great contender to go with a cup of coffee.” But we now have a totally different taste going with this box-pressed Romeo, and I’ll throw down cash money that if you’re familiar with the everyday edition, you’ll find it’s noticeably different than the Capulet you know, too. And just throwing back a cup of coffee with it undervalues this cigar’s potential.
This is an expression of how box-pressing a cigar – even a modest and more comfortable oval press like this – makes a difference.
Overall, the flavors lean dry…a bit of leather, more than a bit of earth. The Capulet 80th Toro eventually adds a more savory quality – a little sweet, a little salty. It’s more of that little hint of mineral (again, like tonic water), but the sensation is fuller, which got my mind on the taste of white wine. Think Sauvignon Blanc.
A little bit of spice peeks out into the mix for the second half; and again checking my old notes on the original Capulet, I picked up a sweet spice that got me thinking of cinnamon toast. Here, it’s more cinnamon than toast.
There’s not a ton of smoke pouring off the end – but each rip is pretty productive on its own, letting go of a chewy smoke that’s woody and a bit creamy.
So, is it better than the original Romeo y Julieta Capulet? No. It’s just very different…and that is either good or bad for you, depending on how you feel about our original exclusive blend. This 80th is still barely medium in strength – but the flavors are much more forward, like how a smaller ring gauge cigar smokes. That is, this may be a Toro, but smokes with the taste impact of a Corona. So if you prefer smaller cigars for their flavor, but you’re willing to get outside your vitola comfort zone for a good smoke, then yes – try this.
Gary Korb’s Tasting Notes…
Construction: An attractive, soft-box-pressed Parejo that’s firmly rolled and comfortable in the hand. The wrapper is an even shade of blonde, with a couple of dilated veins.
Pre-light flavor: Salty, leathery.
Toasting & Light: Foot required little attention from the flame to achieve full coverage. Initial flavors are mellow, nutty, sweet and salty.
Base flavors: Salted nuts, graham cracker, toffee, oak, light earth.
Retrohale: Earthy, salty, and creamy.
Burn & Ash Quality: Burn was even with a slightly wavy carbon line. The cigar produced plenty of dense smoke, which revealed firm, gravity-defying grey & black marble ash.
Balance of flavors: Perfect harmony with some impressive complexity.
Summary: I’m going to cut right to the chase . . . This Romeo 80th Anniversary Toro hit the mark in every bracket from the expert construction, to the open draw, to its balance of mostly sweet-nutty-oaky flavors, which held fast down to the last puff of the nub.
Right out of the starting gate the Romeo House of Capulet offered a dense salvo of mellow, creamy smoke. I picked up notes of salted nuts, sweet tobacco and a hint of salt on a long finish. As the ash began to form it revealed an even burn with a grey & black marbled ash. When it came time to tap it, it was impressively resistant. When it finally did drop it left a perfect cone behind.
The second act revealed additional flavors of graham cracker, toffee, and oak. It was also at this juncture that the cigar began to impart much more body than its Romeo House of Capulet cousins. Could it be the soft box-pressing? Odds are that may have had something to do with it. Moreover, the smoke remained creamy, mellow, and well-balanced.
Even in the final inches the cigar remained creamy and mellow with a straight medium body. Oak and toffee flavors continued to flow as some earthiness entered the mix. I laid-off the cigar a bit, but the earthiness eventually bumped-off some of the sweeter elements. That said, I was down to the last inch-and-a-half; and having smoked it for close to two hours, I was quite satisfied.
The best way I would sum-up the Romeo y Julieta House of Capulet 80th Anniversary Toro is. . . a creamy, nutty, and oaky cigar seasoned with sugar & spice.
Jared Gulick’s Tasting Notes…
Construction: Box-pressed and golden brown in color, the cigar is silky and smooth with consistency in hue and construction.
Pre-light flavor: Sweet and light with a barnyard aroma.
Toasting & Light: Toasty and nutty.
Base flavors: Sweet cream, leather, dry nuts, and earth.
Retrohale: Smooth and buttery.
Aroma: Nutty and pleasant.
Burn & Ash Quality: Firm, grey ash and a very cool, thin burn line.
Balance of flavors: There’s a great mix of flavors here.
Summary: In an age where fly-by-night companies are upstarted and gone before the ink from their press releases has dried on the page, 80th anniversaries are few and far between. And among the blends that commemorate this Famous Smoke Shop milestone is Romeo y Julieta House of Capulet 80th Anniversary, a new take on an old Famous-exclusive favorite. Does this new format exceed the allure of the original? Let’s find out!
It’s important to note something straight away; the cigar is not a re-blend of House of Capulet. This 80th Anniversary’s distinction is that it is gently box-pressed.
The aroma of the cigar unlit is reminiscent of barnyard and, after cutting, its flavors are light and sweet on the draw test. Lighting it unearths more sweetness and I find it creamier than most of the Connecticut-wrapped fare I’ve smoked. One notable difference between this cigar and its Parejo counterpart is that it seems to smoke slightly cooler and does a better job of marrying its flavors together. There are two pluses right off the bat!
After the first third, the cigar really hits its sweet spot, both figuratively and literally. While it isn’t exactly complex, there are slight changes that occur throughout its length. Flavors at that point were especially prominent, and I began to take note of dry nuts and more savory leather nuances. As I made my way through the second and final thirds, the sweet creaminess never subsided, even to the nub, but the saltier sensations continued to build through the end. Mellow-to-medium bodied, House of Capulet 80th Anniversary was easy to smoke but never boring and I think it’s more than deserving of the golden 80th foot band that was bestowed upon it. If you were a fan of previous House of Capulet iterations, you’ll likely find this box-pressed gem to be slightly tastier and with a broader scope of flavor thanks to its shape. If you’ve never had it before, I think you’ll be pleasantly satisfied by its aromatic and relentlessly sweet appeal.
Tommy Zman’s Tasting Notes…
Construction: Expertly rolled.
Draw: Perfect draw.
Pre-light flavor: Cedary.
First Few Puffs: Creamy sweet tobacco flavor.
Base flavors: Nuts, cream, sweet crisp fruit, caramel, cedar.
Aroma: Sweet, woody aroma.
Burn & Ash Quality: Perfect burn and solid long ash.
Balance of flavors: Absolute perfect balance of flavors.
Summary: I’ve been a longtime fan of the RyJ House of Capulet, and so have those who shop Famous, as it is consistently one of their top selling and well-rated brands. So, when the 80th Anniversary version hit the shelves, I immediately wondered what difference there was from the original blend. I was then told by those who know, that it is the same exact blend. Well, I smoked it a couple of weeks ago and it knocked me for the proverbial loop because the flavor profile is ramped up considerably higher than in the original – I mean wow, this stick is crazy-ash delicious.
Upon finishing, the first words from my mouth were, “NO WAY this is the same blend – this beauty has a lot more oomph!” And it wasn’t just me, as my fellow Cigar Advisors basically thought the same thing. But we then came to the conclusion that there actually is one small change in the cigar that has made all the difference in the world: The 80th is box-pressed. Box-pressing opens up the air flow of a cigar, so it smokes cooler and smoother, and in this case, the flavor intensified, without question.
While this is classified as a mellow to medium smoke, it is very full-flavored with a nice bit of complexity that you don’t always find in a Connecticut wrapped cigar. The first few puffs are nutty and creamy with a natural sweetness that lingered in the middle of my palate. I’d say about a third the way through it began to open up, where some amazingly natural sweet flavors appeared like caramel and crisp apple (and for the record, may I state that I have NEVER tasted apple in a cigar, but I’m telling you, it was there.) There’s also a nice underlying note of cedar as well. And wait until you retrohale because that sweet flavor climbs up into the WOW category. Hey, I even had this after dinner – which I rarely do with a Connecticut – and all the flavor was still there.
The 80th is also one of the most aromatic cigars I’ve had in a long time. A delectable cedary wood sweetness fills the air as this stick emits a hell of a lot of smoke. And it puffs like a dream as big pulls of tasty thick smoke billow from your mouth. Guys, this is one of the tastier and more complex Connecticut shade cigars you will enjoy, and at the price point of a little over $6 each, it is value times ten.