Origin : Cuba
Format : Grand Robusto
Size : 140 x 21.43 mm (5.5 x 54)
Ring : 54
Price : ~13€ each
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Romeo y Julieta Duke is the biggest of 2009 edicion limitadas. It is a 5.5 x 54 grand robusto, slightly shorter than Montecristo Sublimes that I recently reviewed. This is not the first limited edition from the brand, far from that - Romeo y Julieta have released 7 LEs (more than any other brand), including this one. I cannot say anything about the older releases, but the most recent Escudo seems to be a decent smoke. I smoked two cigars for this review and they were pretty consistent in terms of flavor and construction.
The looks are there. Duke sports an extremely attractive shiny brown wrapper with several water spots and moderate veining. The sour intense smell has become a standard for any high quality Cuban. The cigar is well-packed without any soft spots. I easily removed the bands, cut the cigar and discovered a very easy, round pre-draw with notes of cedar.
Although in terms of draw there is nothing to complain about, I was not totally satisfied by the burn on this stick - I needed to correct it several times to avoid funneling. Perhaps the wrapper was too moist and I should have dry-boxed it for a day.
It took some time to properly light the Duke but in the end I was rewarded with respectful portions of fresh, spicy smoke. The cedary flavors are not very powerful and provoke a pleasant tingling in the back of the throat. Little evolution until the end of the second third where I detect the addition of leather flavors. Until the very end (I let it rest when the burn arrived to the main band) there is also a faint taste of ammonia which indicates that this cigar might need a few additional years of aging.
Ranging from $10 to $20 depending on the country and/or the retailer, it's hard to judge the value of this stick. Is it a box purchase? Not for me, for several reasons - I will outline them below.
Overall Rating :
I have written several times that I have never been impressed with a single smoke from Romeo y Julieta. Well, sorry to repeat, but it's again the case here - whereas the Duke unquestionably has great looks and an acceptable construction, it doesn't deliver in terms of flavor, especially if you paid over $15 for the smoke. Furthermore, a 54 ring gauge is almost ridiculous. On the other hand, this cigar has some ageing potential unlike the 2008 Cuaba. Although I enjoyed the Duke less than the Magnum 48, it might be a good idea to try at least one of these fat babies.