Cigar Review – RyJ Romeo No. 2 tubos, Ago 2008 “MAS” box code; Final Score – 86

So, here’s my second cigar review to start off this blog.  Since I decided to get this blog off the ground and running, I’ve was thinking over what cigars I’d like to review first.  My initial three?  Romeo y Julieta Coronitas en Cedros (done yesterday), RyJ Romeo No. 2 tubos (this review here), and Montecristo No. 4.

The Coronitas en Cedros that I had yesterday was damn good.  I was very happy with the end result on that one.  Can the Romeo No. 2 fare as well?  Let’s see how it rolls along…

On to the review:

Reviewed Cigar:  Romeo y Julieta Romeo No. 2 tubos

Box Date:  Ago 2008

Factory / Manufacture Code:  MAS

Packaging:  25-box, standard dress box, tubos

Price per cigar:  $4.68 USD (online vendor, 2008)

Length:  5 1/8″, or 129 mm

Ring Gauge:  42

Format:  Petit Corona

Weight:  9 grams / 0.3 oz (out of tube)

Construction/Appearance & Pre-Light:  This is another cigar that comes from a box I bought in 2008, and is from one those same first orders that I started keeping a log with of my purchases to track box codes, prices, retailers, etc.  As I mentioned with the Coronitas en Cedros review, while I don’t smoke a lot of these RyJ’s anymore due to changes in my tastes, I still will keep (good, hand-picked) boxes of these in my humidors.  These are always good for a good core hit of RyJ flavours for me, and the presentation of these are always nice, especially with the RyJ artwork and the tubos.

These were machine made up until 2002, and this particular box was the first one that I got after they started doing a painted tubos – previous to these in 2008, the tubos were a simple unpainted brushed aluminum, with some red text printed on it with a bit of golden yellow.  I do like the painted tubos with some of the other lines (Cohiba, Montecristo, etc.), but with RyJ, part of me wishes they’d have stayed with the unpainted brushed aluminum with the red and yellow printing on it.

The construction on this particular smoked cigar was decent enough.  Slightly rustic and rough looking wrapper to it, but lovely colours again of a reddish-tinged Colorado maduro.  No soft- or hard-spots.  The triple cap on this was PERFECT – I love when a cigar’s triple cap slightly curves down the curves of the head itself.  This lends it a decent anchor for when the head is cut – I hate when it’s a fairly shallow triple-cap, and if you cut too much of it, the edges of the triple starts to unravel as it gets wet from saliva as you smoke.

After clipping, the draw on this one was fairly restrictive, but passible.  Tasting it at cold, I was getting cherry tones, damp old leather, and loads of brown sugar.  Almost of “demerara” sugar, that really dark, damp, dark brown sugar that has quite a measure of molasses in it.  Wonderful.

Opening Impressions:  After lighting up and initial draws, the draw was just perfect when lit.  The body/density of the smoke was too thin though, barely present honestly.  Hits of wet, old leather and dome damp wood.

First Third:  Into the first third, it didn’t perform too well.  After about the first 1/8 of an inch into the cigar, the draw bogged right now.  Horribly restrained draw.  Minimal amounts of smoke, and just the leather tone, surrounded by some dark cedar wood.  The sugar sweetness and cherry tinge disappeared – the excitement was waning for me.  Thankfully – I had a big glass of rum and was yet again sitting in the hot tub!  Coulda been worse…

Second Third:  Into the second third…it got worse.  Paper.  Cedar scented paper.  That’s what I seemed to be smoking.  Overly restrictive draw continued.  To add on to it, I started daydreaming heavily – I honestly don’t even remember anything from the start of the 2nd third, all the way into the opening of the final third.

I started thinking about some close co-workers – they’re in a tough, scary, sandy spot right now.  Though we haven’t heard too much, I know it’s hard going for them.  All my best thoughts and best wishes are travelling their way.

So, I tried to clear my mind of other thoughts.  Next thing I knew…

Final Third:  Into the last third, and where the hell did this come from?!  Suddenly, as I was literally just about to pitch this damn thing, the draw seemed to open up, and thus the flavour flood came a flowin’.  DAMN!!!!  Dense, lush puffs of smoke.  Huge intermingling hits of dark cherries, cedar wood, mild chocolate, and almost an unsalty pistachios tone.  Brown sugar goodness.  Some leather tones too.

This final third – damn, if only the whole cigar had been like this.  Nubbed it, and savoured this last chunk slowly.

Finishing Comments / Overall Impression:  I really wished this cigar had been throughout what the final third ended up being.  Wow.  Such a turnaround for this cigar.  I was so close to chucking it and giving it a 77-80 or so.  But this final third really redeemed it.  And that’s unfortunate, because had it not been as restrictive as it was earlier, I have no doubt it would have been stellar.  Likely a plug / tight spot of some sort that I ended up suffering through and smoking through when I was daydreaming through the second third.

Final Score:  86

Total Smoking Time:  1 hr and 15 minutes

Paired Beverage:  Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos and Coke Zero

Last Meal:  Roasted-garlic-and-red-pepper Kraft dinner, 2-1/4 hrs previous

Date & Time Smoked:  September 23rd, 2014; lit up at 3:10 pm, done at 4:25 pm

Smoking Conditions:  Sunny, light wind at 22 km/h, 19 degrees Celsius, 57% RH

Thanks for reading my review. Hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers all.

Cigar Review – RyJ Coronitas en Cedros, Nov 2007 “URO” box code; Final Score – 91

So, I’ve got my first review here for this blog.  Since I decided to get this blog off the ground and running, I’ve been thinking over what cigars I’d like to review first.  No pretentiousness, no pressure, minimal bells-and-whistles, and just about the cigars themselves.  Well, I picked my initial three that I’m going to do, and it’s all about simplicity and roots for me – Romeo y Julieta Coronitas en Cedros, RyJ Romeo No. 2 tubos, and Montecristo No. 4.

These three cigars were among my main introduction to cigars back in ’97 when I first got into fine Habanos.  I didn’t know or care enough at that time to make any detailed notes or whatnot on what I was smoking, so I’m not 100% sure exactly what were my actual first cigars.  But I do remember that these three were always in there for me at the start, with the two RyJ sticks being my main ones at the time.  Then, after stepping away from cigars in 2002 when I quit smoking cigarettes, and once I got back into cigars in 2004/2005 or so, these three were my main ones to get started with again.  They were my comfort smokes.  Inexpensive and not overbearing, these RyJ cigars were my first box purchases in the late 90’s, and again in 2005.  And, as I’ve said before to people, these three varieties of cigars will always have a place in my humidor.  That cherry element with the RyJ profile, and the light chocolate and coffee-with-cream elements in Montecristo, just worked so well for me and my palate at the time.  But, it’s actually been a while since I smoked any of these particular RyJ, so let’s see how it rolls along…

On to the review:

Reviewed Cigar:  Romeo y Julieta Coronitas en Cedros

Box Date:  Nov 2007

Factory / Manufacture Code:  URO

Packaging:  25-box, standard dress box

Price per cigar:  $3.95 USD (online vendor, 2008)

Length:  5 1/8″, or 129 mm

Ring Gauge:  40

Format:  Petit Corona

Weight:  Forgot to weigh this one particular cigar first, but they average about 7.5 to 7.6 grams

Construction/Appearance & Pre-Light:  This cigar comes from a box I bought in 2008, and is from one of the first orders that I started keeping a log of my purchases to track box codes, prices, retailers, etc.  As I mentioned earlier, while I don’t smoke a lot of these anymore due to changes in my tastes over the years, I still will keep (good, hand-picked) boxes of these in my humidors.  These are always good for a core hit of RyJ flavours for me, and the presentation of these are always nice.

A cedar-wrapped cigar always has an added bit of presentation appeal to it.  Up until 2002, these Coronitas en Cedros cigars were machine made (along with many others in the cheaper end of the RyJ lineup) so I have no doubt that the decision to cedar-wrap them was to both help with the visual appeal of usually-unappealing-looking machine-made sticks, and to also impart additional cedar aromas and flavour.  I also remember these being cellophane sleeved back in the late 90’s when I had them then, and part of me is nostalgic for that too.

This particular smoked cigar was very nice.  Quite stellar looking honestly, when you consider the inexpensive nature of the cigar, and the crap that can come out from the RyJ lineup as well.  One decently annoying vein down the one side though.  This cigar’s wrapper was a very lush reddish-tinged Colorado maduro – my pictures hopefully illustrate that well (no photo trickery in my pictures, as I’ve stated here in the About My Reviews page).  Slightly veiny and bumpy, the triple-cap and construction was quite nice overall.  The cigar is decently firm as well, with nice bunching and construction showing at the foot.

After clipping the head, the draw was just a bit more free-flowing than I like to see for a petit corona.  Almost too wind tunnel-like.  Taste at cold?  DAMN!  Huge hits of a sweet cinnamon, lots of rich cedar wood, and a light fruity sweetness (not quite cherries, but a sweet bite of a juicy red apple perhaps?)

Opening Impressions:  After a lighting up and initial draws, the draw was actually just perfect when lit.  As soon as the flame and heat hit the tobacco, it firmed up enough to let the draw restriction be just spot on for smoking.  As it was a cool and damp night, and I was stepping into the hot tub to enjoy this, I’ve got no doubt that the heat combined with the high humidity in the air to slow the restriction up on it.  The body / density of the smoke wasn’t as thick and viscous as I usually like, but there was a light silky wispiness to it on the mouth-feel.

First Third:  Into the first third, this thing started to hit its stride right off the bat.  BAM!  Flavours of sweet cinnamon candy, with some sugary butter cookies there on the edges as well.  Rich, dense cedar wood, with a core fruity sweetness.  Still not getting my cherry tinge though…

No relights needed in this third; burn was going very well.  Smoke was getting a bit lighter almost in its density, but just right in the volume of the smoke itself.

Second Third:  Into the second third, and got what I was looking for – cherries.  Although, not the usual “stewed-fruit” cherries that I usually get (think of cooked cherries in a saucepan – cherry pie filling, but without all the sugar and fake stuff).  I was getting more of a spicy cherry, with that cinnamon edge and woody sweetness.  Almost like…hmmm…

Needed a slight cosmetic relight at the start of the second third.  Burning well.  Very humid in the air, especially sitting in the hot tub.  Trying to figure out the “what is that flavour peeking around the corner” aspect, while laying back and watching the night sky, the jetliners and satellites floating by on a crisp and super-clear starry night.  Kids in bed, soaking a severely injured leg since the stitches are all now out (stupid mistake on my part just over two weeks ago), and enjoying a nice strong drink.  Past the midway point on the cigar, needed an actual full-on relight.  A few more puffs, hitting the middle stride of the second third, when…

WHAMMO!!!!

Full-on flavour, and it was a winner – dark, bittersweet chocolate, cedar smokiness, and all highlighted by a strong, unsweetened cherry aspect with a brandy richness to it.  Think…chocolate brandy beans, those Christmastime chocolate goodies filled with booze.  But filled with cherry brandy instead!  That’s what I was getting – a smoked cherry-brandy-filled chocolate brandy bean candy.  Not overly complex – very bold, in-your-face flavours.  But a great profile for this cigar for me, and very enjoyable.

Last Third:  Into the last third – the chocolate pulled back a bit.  Still had the faint cherry brandy aspect there, but mixed with more of a rich old leather tone, in there with the cedar aspect, and some fragrant but light toasted tobacco tones.

Now, I will state here that usually a laugh to myself a little whenever anyone, or myself for that matter, uses “toasted tobacco tones” in describing a cigar’s flavour (LOL – seriously dumbass?  “Toasted tobacco tones” on a lit cigar?!?!  Fucking DUH!!!).  But it really was in play here.  Kind of how actual toasted-bread smells one way, but tastes another, and how that’s different from plain untoasted-bread – how toast has that sweet, lightly charred, baking flour simplicity that warms your belly.  Well, this “toasted tobacco” was letting me know it was nearing the end, that the sweeter tones were leaving the mix, but that it had been an enjoyable experience.  Well worth the smoke.

Finishing Comments / Overall Impression:  This is how I remember and think of these.  Cedar, unsweetened stewed cherries, and light leather, with hints of candy / chocolate goodness.  The cherry brandy and chocolate brandy bean flavours were a bit surprising, but very welcome as well.

This was great.  Aside from a few relights into the final third as well, which I definitely attribute to the excess humidity, this was great.  Didn’t nub it exactly, but came pretty close for this cigar…

I was a bit back and forth on the score for this, as it’s not an overly complex flavour profile, but it brought a lot to the table for what it is, and showed the marca’s blend characteristics in spades.  Very happy with this smoke, all things considered.

Final Score:  91

Total Smoking Time:  1 hr and 1 minute

Paired Beverage:  Havana Club Anejo 7 Anos and Coke Zero

Last Meal:  Three-cheese lasagna Hamburger Helper, 4 hrs previous

Date & Time Smoked:  September 22nd, 2014; lit up at 9:27 pm, done at 10:28 pm

Smoking Conditions:  Cool, clear night, faint breeze, 7 degrees Celsius, 89% RH

Thanks for reading my review.  Hope you enjoyed it.

Cheers all.