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Connoisseur's Corner

Connoisseur's Corner: Pre-Boom Cubans

(From the April 2015 issue of Cigar Aficionado) The year 1991 was a fine one for Cuban cigars. Cigars were still being wrapped in tobacco leaves grown from rich Corojo seed, and the pre-boom industry was still in a calmer, unhurried state. Cigars from this year are wonderful smokes, as was the case with this splendid Cohiba Robusto (which sports an old Cohiba band, decorated with dots instead of squares). Despite its age of 24 years, it was full of life and vibrant flavor. Putting it down was nearly impossible. It was a classic, and quite nearly perfect. A second classic was a much younger smoke, a special cigar made exclusively for La Casa del Habano franchises when it was first released. We also took a look at three very different vitolas from the exceptionally large Romeo y Julieta portfolio ranging in age from nine to 24 years.

 

Cohiba Robusto (1991)

98

Cohiba Robusto (1991)

This dark robusto has a near effortless draw. It opens up with some warm wood notes, a touch of licorice and herbs. As the cigar burns, it sweetens, and becomes very rich and nutty, with a hint of salted almonds and a long, luxurious finish. A cigar that gets better with every puff, and forbids you to put it down.

— David Savona

San Cristóbal de la Habana Muralla (2007)

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San Cristóbal de la Habana Muralla (2007)

This Casa del Habano exclusive is a perfect young Cuban, with lots of time left to age beautifully. Spicy and elegant, with great balance and a light note of leather and earthiness on the palate. It has a long, balanced finish.

— Gordon Mott

Romeo y Julieta Prince of Wales (1997)

94

Romeo y Julieta Prince of Wales (1997)

One look at this reddish, slightly pressed Churchill, and you can see all the noble construction of a classic Cuban cigar. Its dense and ample smoke reverberates with nougat, hazelnuts and sweet, floral undertones

— Gregory Mottola

Romeo y Julieta Cazadores (1991)

93

Romeo y Julieta Cazadores (1991)

What was once a rustic and full-bodied cigar has mellowed to an elegantly sweet smoke. Though still a bit craggy in appearance, its character has matured over the years to show an unexpected cider quality balanced by notes of marzipan and ground vanilla bean.

— Gregory Mottola

Romeo y Julieta Corona (2006)

93

Romeo y Julieta Corona (2006)

A pleasant small cigar with an even burn and draw. It delivers strong coffee notes, and has a light dustiness on the long finish, reminiscent of the traditional RyJ profile. A cigar that is easy to smoke, and probably at its peak.

— Gordon Mott

Ramon Allones Gigantes (1993)

90

Ramon Allones Gigantes (1993)

This large, lovely, and box-pressed double corona has a few veins, but is otherwise well made. It’s toasty and somewhat mellow, with a light note of salty green olives, faint cedar and some dry, dusty wood. The finish is surprisingly short, and the cigar lacks intensity.

— David Savona

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