Late last year, Altadis U.S.A. announced a new limited edition offering under its Romeo y Julieta brand, Romeo y Julieta Envy. Since Rafael Nodal has come on board as Altadis U.S.A.’s Director of Product Capability, he has done an excellent job at keeping innovation going while preserving the brand’s history. This couldn’t be more apparent in the case of Romeo y Julieta’s Envy. The presentation of the cigars is in a bold, bright green packaging – something that has not been seen on the Romeo y Julieta brand in the past. In addition, if you know the story of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, you know that envy and jealousy are a part of that story. Today, we take a closer look at the Romeo y Julieta Envy in the one size in which it was released – a 6 x 55 Toro known as the Amulet.
While there is a branding story to the Romeo y Julieta Envy Amulet, there also is a central tobacco story. According to Nodal, the blend was a project that had been worked on for some time. This is another project where Altadis U.S.A. has teamed up with the Plasencia family to produce the cigar. The cigar was subject to an aging process intended to bring out the best flavors, and 6 x 55 is what Nodal said was an ideal size.
Let’s break down the Romeo y Julieta Envy Amulet and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Romeo y Julieta Envy Amulet features 100% Nicaraguan tobaccos. Production comes from the Plasencia factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Plasencia S.A.
The Amulet size of the Romeo y Julieta Envy is a 6 x 55 Toro. The cigars are presented in 11-count boxes. The 11-count boxes are unusual but have been seen on Romeo y Julieta limited releases such as the Romeo y Julieta Reserve Rare 11 Years Old and last year’s limited edition by Romeo y Julieta, the Romeo y Julieta Eternal.
Altadis U.S.A. has reported a production of 100,000 cigars, which comes out to somewhere over 9,000 boxes.
Highlighted by its Nicaraguan wrapper, the Romeo y Julieta Envy Amulet is an impressive-looking cigar. The wrapper is medium to dark brown with a slight rosado tint. There was a light sheen of oil on the surface. Upon closer examination, some subtle mottling can be seen on the surface. There are some visible veins, but the darker color of the wrapper mostly hides them.
A straight cut was used to remove the Romeo y Julieta Envy Amulet cap. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw stage. The cold draw delivered notes of cedar, earth, and a slight natural tobacco note. All in all, this was a satisfactory pre-light draw experience. Next, it was time to toast up the footer of the Romeo y Julieta Envy Amulet and move to the smoking phase.
The Romeo y Julieta Envy Amulet opened with notes of coffee, earth, natural tobacco, hay, and a mixed exotic pepper spice. The exotic spice was also something that could be detected on the retro-hale. Early on, the combination of coffee and natural tobacco moved into the forefront. There were notes of earth, natural tobacco, hay, and exotic pepper seed in the background.
The coffee notes remained in the forefront as the Romeo y Julieta Envy Amulet moved into the second third. The natural tobacco notes regressed into the background, and the earth notes replaced these. The exotic pepper notes increased in intensity but remained in the background with the natural tobacco and hay notes.
By the final third, the exotic spice notes joined the earth notes in the forefront. While there was more in the way of spice here, the flavors were still rounded out nicely by the natural tobacco, coffee, and hay notes. As the Romeo y Julieta Envy Amulet came to a close, it finished with a soft and slightly lukewarm nub.
While the Romeo y Julieta Envy Amulet maintained a straight burn path, it did require touch-ups to do so. Overall, the touch-ups were more frequent than I prefer. The burn line got slightly jagged from time to time, but that was more cosmetic than anything. The resulting ash was silver-gray. This was an ash that was on the firmer side. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both maintained ideal levels.
The draw to the Romeo y Julieta Envy Amulet was on the open side, but it wasn’t a loose draw either. I usually like a touch more resistance on the draw. Ultimately, the open draw didn’t affect the cigar’s performance.
Strength and Body
The Romeo y Julieta Envy Amulet started out as a medium-strength and medium-bodied smoke. Along the way, there was an increase in the strength and body. Both attributes came close to reaching the medium to full mark, but I assessed them as being just a little short to fall into that range.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
The expression “it’s not easy being green” is appropriate regarding cigar packaging. I find this to be a tough color to pull off with both a cigar band and a cigar box. In the case of the Romeo y Julieta Envy Amulet, the Altadis U.S.A. team made it work and made it work well. I loved how the green was incorporated into the classic band design of the Romeo y Julieta. The secondary band features an “eye amulet,” meant to keep “evil energy” away – something associated with Envy.
The Romeo y Julieta Envy Amulet had medium strength and was medium-bodied, but was full-flavored. This is undoubtedly one of the bolder expressions I’ve seen from the Romeo y Julieta brand. The first two-thirds of this cigar delivered fantastic but not overly complex flavors. Things came back down to earth with the final third. While the final third wasn’t deficient, it wasn’t quite up to the first two-thirds. In the end, the $17.50 price point is a bit steep. While certainly I’m inclined to pick one of these up to smoke again, my rating here is if you can try one first – that would be my recommendation.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Earth, Natural Tobacco, Hay, Exotic Spice
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Finish: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted