Review: Romeo Y Julieta Reserva Real Corona

Altadis USA, the purveyor of the Romeo Y Julieta brand in the United States, claims that RYJ “has remained one of the choicest cigars crafted, and one of the most often requested brands by connoisseurs” and that the Reserva Real line “is an expertly crafted handmade smoke with a woodsy flavor and a tender aroma that will arouse the desires of even the most demanding cigar connoisseur.”

Such are the glories of marketing materials that the promise often exceeds the delivery.

The RYJ Reserva Real Corona is a solid smoke, and a decent selection, but it was marred by several problems with construction that irritated more than delighted.

Here are the stats:

  • Romeo Y Julieta Reserva Real Corona (5.5″ x 44)
  • Purchased for $7.85 on 3/11/11 from Buffalo Tobacco Traders
  • Smoked 3/11/11 (paired with a gin and tonic)
  • Nicaraguan binder, Nicaraguan/Dominican filler, Ecuadorian wrapper of Connecticut Shade origins

The initial appearance and presentation were solid. The dry, smooth wrapper was a lovely shade of golden brown, and the stick presented with a subtle, earthy aroma. The single red R&J band had a bit too much glue on it, so the wrapper peeled a bit as the band was removed. The cap cut cleanly, but the wrapper at the cap was a bit off and one side peeled and frayed despite my use of a a razor-sharp double-guillotine cutter.

The initial light was easy and even, with a consistent burn at a rate of about 1 inch every 12 minutes. The solid/compact ash was a dark grey color, and the resting smoke was light blue and fragrant. No relights or other maintenance was required.

The draw was still throughout the 60 percent of the cigar I smoked. I enjoy a firm draw, so this was a pleasing aspect of the Reserva Real.

The tobacco had a light/mild intensity with a smooth smoke but a fairly bland flavor. Altadis says the cigar has a medium body and a slightly sweet flavor, although my experience was that it was more on the mild side and more bland than sweet.

Apart from the wrapper issues, it appears that the binder and filler burned at different rates — at ashing, a hot nub protruded from the middle of the cigar.

At the 60 percent mark, the cigar became substantially more acrid, but not hot. The flavor went from bland-but-pleasant to disgustingly harsh in a manner of minutes, and it had nothing to do with the heat of the burn.

In all, I spent about 40 minutes with this cigar. I do like RYJ cigars and would smoke another without hesitation.


  • Appearance & Presentation: 16/20
  • Lighting & Burning: 12/15
  • Construction: 20/25
  • Taste: 25/30
  • Consistency: 5/10

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