Monday, June 22, 2015

Romeo y Julieta Medallas de oro 1875 Reserve - Cigar Review

The Cigar:
Romeo y Julieta
Medallas de oro 1875 Reserve
Habano, Nicaraguan wrapper
Nicaraguan binder
Honduran, Nicaraguan filler

Pre-light: The singular first thing I notice about this RyJ offering is not its surprising dryness of feel given its Habano wrapper. Nor is it that I expected a much headier bouquet than, well, almost none whatsoever. What I first notice, is its oddly flimsy band. Too, its look is somewhat gruff -- but also somehow refined.

I note also its top layer of cushion does eventually, quickly really, meet my fingering with resistance. Its pack is consistent all around.

I sniff it again. It's all vague hints that I'm unsure exist or are expectations given the ingredients at hand. Earth, leather, tobacco. All carried along on a note of unsweetened cream. All nice enough, except I do detect a slight tinny note.

On a cold pull, my expectations are all met. There is no further metallic dalliance. 

The light: is not stubborn, not problematic, but stiff. A brusque maitre d'. I feel a catch in my throat at the second inhale. On the third, I exhale through my nose and I won't be doing that again too soon. I am hit with a stiff black pepper. Still, there are nuances to be found, although no flights of fancy. There is a coffee bordering on espresso, a dark tobacco with no chocolate... perhaps yet, and a sweetness, not molasses, but inherently Nicaraguan.

1/3: The burn is slow but uneven, although to be fair, it is quite windy here on my porch. The ash appears flakier than I would have guessed, and it lilts toward the speedier side of the burn. A leather backing says hello.

I move to a more protected corner of my porch. 

This 1875 gives off a full smoke of whole wheat toast that wants to be admired on its own accord, not to conform to your tastes. It strikes me this stick is a curmudgeon, but it tells a story worth listening to, if not calmly enjoyed. Some things need heard no matter how they fall on our ears.

The burn does its will, and the ash clumps off at around an inch -- we remember again the wind.

I don't recall a windier stretch of time, in fact. The Romeo y Julieta, in fact, does not care what I recall. I know this cigar. Like other RyJ offerings, it is as old school and stiff as meticulously ironed underwear. It does not care for my use of the term old school. It would not tolerate the company of last night's Fuente Candela. I do not volunteer my Jewishness.

I sense a mellowing although that is most definitely the wrong word choice. I exhale via my nostrils once more and a cedar note nicely, warmly, protrudes.

2/3: I cross my legs and the cigar knocks them apart. Tells me to sit like a man and take up some damned space. I again cross my legs and it chokes me with tobacco TOBACCO and tells me a story (WWII) It is an old man of a previous generation, not of this era's Alan Aldas and Henry Winklers. 

I don't get green. I get attentive. I find my bearings in the heavy cream of a strong coffee note. 

During The Big One, American GIs wanted their familiar cup of joe. Italy had only its espresso. The Caffe Americano was born -- espresso with water added. This cigar was the soldier who requested less water than did his more timid platoon members.

The cedar becomes wood. The earthiness, leather. Above all else, there is a darkest of tobacco with a hint of dry sweetness. It all lays something like strongly subtle on my palate. A cigar's cigar, a full-bodied one. Not over-bearing, as long as you let it talk. Your part is to listen.

The draw is somewhat slow at first, then tests what you can handle. I fix the light -- it feels like I am helping an old man to his feet so that he might better kick my ass.

The wind calms. I want to listen to NPR, but do not want this stogie to tell me to turn that shit off. I sit transfixed instead, as it speaks its tobacco tales. Yarns of Japs and Krauts and broads. I imagine dark wood paneling all around me and a ballgame played low on a table top static-filled radio. From under a layer of dust, Feller and DiMaggio go to a full count.

3/3: Black pepper returns, but only through my nose and only so that I don't drift away. An inch or a little more of ash clumps heavy to the ground. He tells me that his wife used to tend to that. I pretend not to see a tear well up in his eye. I lay my head back to exhale and he tells me to sit up straight. It leans forward to tell me in a loud whisper that the Jamaican bitch the agency sends out keeps stealing from him.

I do as I'm told and watch my posture. Black pepper lays on the roof of my mouth. There is dark and heavy tobacco on my tongue and all around us. Bob Sheppard's smooth, precise baritone plays in my ear.

It finishes before I do. It's tired but still strong, yet above all, needs its rest. The wrapper becomes weary and over-heated. I tell it I'm tired, and I am. I leave shaking its heavy hand with strong albeit arthritic knuckles. It points me toward the door and tells me to hit the lights on the way out. 

I step outside and take a deep breath of fresh air. I feel like crying. I do not. Much.

Pairings: It needs nothing. It might be coaxed into Scotch, neat. 

Final Grade: I respectfully refuse, sir.