Cigars

3 Best Romeo y Julieta Cigars to Fall in Love With in 2022

My relationship with Romeo y Julieta cigars is a love story in its own right. I love Cuban cigars – and luckily, because I’m a Brit, I can usually get hold of them. But when I’m in the States, Romeo y Julieta is my go-to brand for that iconic Cuban taste. 

Their second factory in the Dominican Republic was founded after the 1962 Cuban embargo and produces some of the finest Cuba-inspired smokes I’ve ever come across. These blends are the next best thing and a no-brainer for American cigar fans.

For my rundown of the best Romeo y Julieta, I’ll be covering my overall top pick – an authentic Cuban – as well as a couple of USA-safe variants that are worthy substitutes.

Best overall
romeo y julieta petit single

Julieta Petit Real

famous smoke shop: $12.82

Best budget pick
romeo y julieta 1875 single

Romeo y Julieta 1875

famous smoke shop: $12.00

Best for summer
romeo y julieta real toro single

Reserva Real Toro

Famous smoke shop: $9.25


Romeo y Julieta – Julieta Petit Real 

romeo y julieta julieta petit

Julieta Petit Real

famous smoke shop: $12.82

Pros

A bonafide Cuban cigar that hits all the classic notes. Hay and earthiness abound, pickled by light white pepper.

Small enough to smoke over a glass of whiskey. Very convenient to have as an option for an abridged catch-up.

A premium quality Cuban for pocket money prices. Low barrier to entry for beginners.

Cons

Difficult to get hold of for US citizens. This is for people outside of the States (or Americans willing to travel)

The flavor is pretty linear, which may not suit you if you prefer a more complex smoke.

First Impressions

The Julieta is certainly on the smaller side at just 3.9 inches and has a 30-ring gauge.

The simple band is a regal red, gold, and white. It’s beautifully embossed, reading Romeo y Julieta with a satisfying reminder that this is a cigar from Habana, Cuba.

The caramel wrapper has a slight sheen, but it’s not oily by any stretch. It’s got a lowkey barnyard scent of hay and wheat, coupled with a touch of prickly pepper.

On a quick squeeze, the cigar feels firm and springs back nicely.

Flavor Profile

When you light up the Julieta Petit, you’ll get that peppery sense straight away. It quietens down throughout the 20-minute lifetime, but it’s the first major note you meet.

The main body of the smoke is defined by classic earthy notes of hay and wood, with perhaps a touch of dark chocolate as the richness of the Cuban tobacco shines through.

It’s a classic Cuban that’s not trying to reinvent the wheel. The flavors are not overly complicated or pronounced. It’s a well-balanced and classic effort that just wants to prove that good things can come in small packages.

Smoke Experience

Small cigars can have an inconsistent draw, so I was pleased to find that the Romeo y Julieta Petit performed above my expectations. The build quality is incredibly high, with a perfect density of filler.

The burn was even and straight throughout the smoke, with no need for relighting or maintenance. This was an easy, stress-free smoke from start to finish. 

Strength:5/10
Length:3.9 Inches
Ring Guage:30
Filler:Cuba
Wrapper:Cuba
Julieta Petit Real at a Glance

Are all Romeo y Julieta’s Cuban cigars? 

Now, if you can’t get hold of Romeo y Julieta’s Cuban options – firstly, my condolences. I hope that either you get around to taking a trip to Cuba, or the President gets around to lifting the trade embargo. 

Nevertheless, there are still plenty of options that will give you a sense of the Cuban Romeo y Julieta experience. When the embargo was enforced in 1962, Romeo y Julieta split into two main operations – one to maintain the production in Cuba, and another based out of Nicaragua to provide cigars for their American audience.

Now, obviously, they’re not exactly the same as Cuban cigars  – but they’re pretty darn close. Check out my top 2 picks for Romeo y Julieta in the US.


Romeo y Julieta 1875

romeo y julieta 1875

Romeo y Julieta 1875

famous smoke shop: $12

Pros

A tried and tested formula, crafted by 150 years of experience.

Gorgeous creamy profile. Touches of spice give it the feel of an after-dinner liqueur.

Takes around 45 minutes to smoke.

Cons

It has a sweetened tip, which may put off the purists.

Sometimes difficult to get a hold of, particularly if you’re outside of the US

The flavor is not linear, which may not suit you if you like a predictable smoke.

This medium-bodied, Indonesian-wrapped beauty is Romeo y Julieta’s oldest offering, named after the year they were founded. They’ve been perfecting them for almost 150 years, so as you can imagine, they’re excellent.

The scent of the cigar is in the classic Cuban mold of earthy hay, but this time it’s a little creamier than with the Julieta Petit. 

This buttery sense does a great job of balancing out the pleasant prickle of pepper that appears halfway through the smoke. It’s joined by a masculine leather accord that feels deep and slightly primal. 

Folded into these main accords are hints of revivifying cedar wood and a little spicy nuttiness. 

It’s a heftier cigar than the Julieta Petit, so the burn took a little more care and attention to keep even. After a few touch-ups in the first third, it burned nice and consistently for the rest of the smoke, with a hefty output of fragrant, rich smoke.

Strength:6.5/10
Length:5 inches
Ring Guage:48
Filler:Dominican Republic and Brazil
Wrapper:Indonesia
Romeo y Julieta 1875 at a Glance

Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Toro

romeo y julieta real toro

Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Toro

famous smoke shop: $9.25

Pros

A medium-bodied cigar that packs plenty of flavor without being aggressive.

Ideal for people ready to move on from mild beginner cigars to something more substantial.

Takes around 45 minutes to smoke, which is a convenient session time.

Cons

It has a sweetened tip, which may put off the purists.

Sometimes difficult to get a hold of, particularly if you’re outside of the US

The flavor is not linear, which may not suit you if you like a predictable smoke.

This stogie looks smooth and spotless in its clean-cut Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. The excellent construction no doubt accounts for the consistent draw and burn. I didn’t have to relight, maintain or worry about the Reserva Real at all for the 45-minute duration of the smoke. 

The nuttiness is out here in force, coupled with earthy cedar wood and fragrant spices. I’m a big fan of the touches of white pepper – they really keep you engaged.

I found the strength overall to be a solid medium, which will neither overwhelm beginners nor leave regular smokers feeling shortchanged.

It’s a very well-balanced smoke that, while not the most complex in the world, offers enough in the way of creamy, nutty texture to qualify as “delicious”. 

I’d pitch it as a perfect morning smoke; something simple and straightforward, but warm and comforting enough to ease you into the day. Like a nice Pain au Chocolat, this smoke is a little treat to set you up for a big day.

Strength:7/10
Length:6 inches
Ring Guage:54
Filler:Dominican Republic and Nicaragua
Wrapper:Ecuadorian Connecticut
Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Toro

Romeo y Julieta: Final Thoughts

So to summarise, here are my top picks for Romeo and Julietas

  • If you’re outside the US – go for the Julieta Petit for an authentic Cuban experience
  • If you value tradition – pick the tried and test 1875 for a taste of history
  • For a comforting flavorful smoke – try the Real Toro to take your morning coffee to unprecedented levels

Where to Buy Romeo y Julieta Cigars

I recommend buying Romeo y Julieta cigars through Famous Smoke Shop. They’ve got the best prices I’ve been able to find online and are pretty much always in stock.

They also offer a pretty generous returns policy, so you can send your smokes back if you try one and decide they aren’t for you.


About Romeo y Julieta Cigars

Where could this brand have possibly gotten the idea for its name from? Yep, no prizes for guessing – Romeo y Julieta’s founders Inocencio Alvarez and Manin García were big fans of the Shakespeare play of the same name. 

They even tried to buy the property in Verona that inspired the famous balcony scene and turn it into a cigar lounge!

The brand truly exploded when it was acquired by Spanish businessman Jose Rodriguez Fernandez in 1903. He was a marketing savant and was able to convince the public to associate Romeo y Julieta cigars with high society and sophistication. 

There’s no greater signifier of his success in this regard than R&J’s association with Winston Churchill. They were the British Prim Ministers’ favorite cigar brand, and their relationship was so strong that the company even came out with a cigar in his honor – the Churchill.

If you enjoyed this review, check out our other cigar guides to help you find your perfect smoke:

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