Origin : Cuba
Format : Robusto
Size : 124 x 19.84 mm
Ring : 50
Box code : April 2012
Price : ~$9 each
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Please welcome DrFever, our newest contributor. He starts with a review of the Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill, a well-known Cuban robusto.
This Cuban cigar comes in at just under 5 inches in length (4.8” to be exact) with a ring gauge of 50. One of my preferred cigar sizes.
This particular sample came from one of my 25 count boxes with a box code of April 2012. It is a fairly young cigar but I have found that these cigars do smoke well fairly young. I have been smoking these cigars since 2007, a year after their official 2006 release. In the past I have picked up some single tubes of these but this box was brought back to me by a vacationing neighbour while travelling to Cuba.
I didn’t want to rate the appearance so low but given the fact that 25 count boxes are box pressed (or semi box pressed given the inconsistent appearance from cigar to cigar), I must be objective here. Had I been rating one of the tubos then Appearance would certainly be a 5 but I’m not. I am rating one of the smokes from the box of 25 and in all honesty appearance ranges from 3 to 4 depending on the cigar pulled from the box which is an indication of just how inconsistent the box pressed versions of these smokes are. I sure hope that Cuban quality isn’t fading again (I recently opened a box of Monte Petit Edmundos and found very inconsistent construction). I found some of these Short Churchills to be rectangular at the foot but perfectly round at the cap. Some others were semi pressed at the foot and fully pressed at the cap. The sample I smoked was round from the cap down to the centre of the cigar where it then morphed into a semi-box pressed cigar meaning that the top was round but the sides and bottom were pressed. I have found that just 3 months out of their box in my humidor they are ‘springing back to life’ with fewer odd shapes. The fact that they were young when I unboxed them perhaps helped them spring back a tad to less box pressed appearances.
Other than this, the cigar looks beautiful with a double band (golden Short Churchill Band below the RyJ company band) and a nice deep brown wrapper with visible but non distracting veins. The triple cap on my sample was nicely applied.
The wrapper stayed intact during the entire smoke. I had no issues with cutting the cigar and had no problems with the draw. The cigar held a beautiful ash that reached a full inch at times. The draw of the cigar was fantastic up until the final inch or so of the cigar, just under the area of where the RyJ band would be before I removed it. Perhaps a bit too much vegetable gum on the band as it did offer resistance in taking it off.
The burn only wavered occasionally but this was minor and the cigar self-corrected itself. No need for any touch-ups. The only re-light needed was in the final inch. It did go out again after that re-light but by that time I had figured I had enjoyed this cigar enough and didn’t want to ruin my experience by re-lighting it so close to the nub.
The pre-light aroma was very woodsy with a very pleasant tobacco flavour. The unlit draw yielded some nice Cuban tobacco aroma typical of the Romeo & Julieta line. Hints of cedar, wood and spice.
The lighting of the cigar yielded a woodsy tone with a touch of salt on the lips and palate. By the time the first 3rd was complete, the smoke was velvety and thick giving off a peppery display of woodsy earthiness that was satisfying to the palate. Hints of pepper remained throughout the entire first 3rd of the cigar but not too much spice to detract from the flavour.
By the second third, the velvety smoke had given way to a nice thick white smoke. The cigar did not exhibit any more salty tones as it did in the first third but the cigar did settle into a medium bodied woodsy tasting cigar with hints of pepper and leather. The mild peppery finish was medium to long. At times, I picked up hints of earth and hay and a little bitter coffee flavour around the halfway point came into the picture however of note was that the bitterness didn’t last long but the mild undertone of coffee lingered until the final third.
I would not say that this cigar is overly complex but the mild changes in flavour throughout the smoke kept me interested for the entire duration of the smoke. The final third for me is where the cigar really opened up offering some hints of dark chocolate with a touch of spice with that familiar woodsy undertone. It was a nice mix.
I have smoked these on an empty stomach before and did not find the nicotine to be overwhelming. This is not a strong smoke in that respect. The lush, thick smoke that it exhumes is enjoyable and the experience was an enjoyable one with the uneven look of the cigar never becoming a factor once the first third burned off. Overall the smoke was consistent in that it was not harsh at all.
I have sampled better robustos for similar prices and worse ones in this price range. You can't go wrong with one of these. Personally I have always wanted to keep a few of these in my humidor and if robustos are your thing, you won't go wrong by having a few of these laying around when you want to change up your flavours a little bit.
Overall Rating :
I’ve smoked this cigar in the past out of the tubes and never had a bad one. The discrepancies of the appearance of the box pressed versions threw me off but thankfully did not hamper the taste of the cigar. If appearance is what you are after, grab a tubed sample or two. However, the cigar from the box burned flawlessly for me and had great construction. I have read in other reviews that many smokers of the Short Churchills prefer to smoke them young. I have never experienced an older Short Churchill so half my box of 25 will certainly go into the aging humidor to be reviewed again at 6 months and then again at a year at which point I will compare my notes.
If your preferred size is the Robusto (as is mine) then you will do yourself well by trying one of these. You won’t go wrong by having a few in your Humidor.