Barber-pole cigars have always been a popular offering in the cigar industry. A barber-pole cigar takes two different wrappers and intertwines them somewhat like a barber-pole. In many cases, the wrappers have contrasting colors and this results in a striking effect on the cigar. In 2022, Altadis U.S.A. decided to bring a barber-pole offering to one of its most iconic lines, the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real. The company would take two popular sizes that currently existed in the Reserva Real line and give it the “Barber Pole” effect: the Toro and Love Story. The result was these two cigars were dubbed “Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Twisted”. Today we take a closer look at the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Twisted in the Toro size.
Altadis U.S.A. has always tried to bring a contemporary spin to its brands. Ten years ago, the company launched the “Romeo by Romeo y Julieta” series in that vein. In the past few years, Altadis U.S.A has brought contemporary spins to existing lines in Romeo y Julieta. In 2020, the company launched the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Nicaragua and that has proven to be successful. Now the Twisted line extensions bring a modern “twist” (no pun intended) to the line.
Barber-poles are something Altadis has begun to expand to other parts of the portfolio. Recently Altadis has released an extension to its H. Upmann 1844 brand called the Barbier.
Without further ado, let’s turn our attention back to the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Twisted Toro and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
The Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Twisted Toro features an Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper as the lighter wrapper and an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper as the darker wrapper. There is a Nicaraguan binder and a combination of Nicaraguan and Dominican tobaccos used for the filler. Production comes out of the Dominican Republic at the famed Tabacalera de Garcia – this is where the original Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real line is produced.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano/Ecuadorian Connecticut
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican
Country of Origin Dominican Republic
Factory: Tabacalera de Garcia
There are two sizes Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Twisted series. Both are presented in 25-count boxes.
Twisted Love story: 46 x 4 1/4
Twisted Toro: 54 x 6
The Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Twisted Toro is as classic-looking a barber-pole cigar as they come. There is a wonderful contrast between the light brown Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade wrapper and the roasted-coffee bean look of the Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The seams are quite clean on this cigar. There wasn’t much in the way of oil on the surface. The surface had a slight amount of toothiness present. There were some visible veins on the wrappers.
Prior to lighting up the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Twisted Toro, a straight cut was used to remove the cap. Once the cap was clipped off, it was on to the pre-light draw stage. The cold draw delivered notes of cream and wood along with a slight cedar note. The flavors of the cold draw were on the milder side. At the same time, the pre-light draw still delivered a satisfying pre-light experience. At this point, it was time to toast up the footer of the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Twisted Toro and see what the smoking phase would have in store.
The Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Twisted Toro opened up with notes of coffee, cedar, wood, and cream. Early on the coffee and cream notes moved into the forefront. The wood and cedar notes settled into the background. At the same time, the retro-hale delivered an extra layer of cedar.
During the second third of the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Twisted Toro, the coffee notes remained grounded in the forefront. The cream notes diminished while the combination of cedar and wood went on the increase. Concurrently, natural tobacco and black pepper notes were introduced. The pepper was also on the retro-hale. By the time the second third came to a conclusion, the cream notes had dissipated.
The last third saw the natural tobacco and wood notes displace the coffee notes. The coffee notes receded into the background, joining the black pepper and cedar. The black pepper was slightly more prominent in the background compared to the other notes. As the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Twisted Toro came to a close, it finished with a firm and cool nub.
Overall the performance of the burn for the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Twisted Toro was excellent. This is a cigar that required minimal touch-ups to maintain a straight burn path and straight burn line. The resulting ash was mostly silver-gray with some dark streaks. This was an ash that was skewed toward the firmer side. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both were ideal.
The draw of the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Twisted Toro also gets some high marks. This was a draw that had a touch of resistance – making for an ideal smoking experience. At the same time, this was a cigar that was low maintenance to derive flavor from.
Strength and Body
The use of a barber-pole wrapper gives the Twisted Toro a little more in the way of boldness when compared to the original Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real. The Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Twisted Toro starts out with medium strength and medium-bodied flavors. There is a nominal increase in intensity for both the strength and body. In the second half, the flavors of the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Twisted Toro come very close to reaching medium to full-bodied territory, but fall a fraction short.
BANDING AND PACKAGING NOTES
The banding and packaging for the most part keep to the red-dominated design of the original Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real (the boxes do say “TWISTED TORO” and “TWISTED LOVE STORY” on it. There isn’t any use of a secondary band on the Twisted line extensions – and I think that works. The barber pole itself makes this cigar identifiable as such – and the original bands of the Reserva Real show this is still a part of the Reserva Real collection.
While in many cases, I would say Barber Pole cigars are overrated, I really liked what Altadis USA did with the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Twisted Toro. This Twisted Toro did a nice job building on the foundational elements of the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real. It delivers a little more boldness, a little more complexity, and some richer flavors. It made for a fun smoke and I sincerely hope we see more “Twisted” vitolas of the Reserva Real line. At $9.00, I would also say the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Twisted Toro has a fair price point. In the end, the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Twisted Toro is a cigar I could recommend to any cigar enthusiast. It’s certainly a cigar I would buy multiples of and smoke again.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Natural Tobacco, Wood, Cedar, Cream, Pepper
Complexity: Medium Plus
Value: Buy One
News: Altadis to Release Pair of Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Barber Poles
Source: Altadis U.S.A., additional purchased
Brand Reference: Romeo y Julieta
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop