Cuba has a brand new Romeo. A preview version of the Romeo y Julieta Línea de Oro series was passed out to guests at the 2020 Habanos Festival in Havana. It was the festival’s final night, and all who attended the formal gala got the first sneak preview of these cigars. Anyone who’s remotely familiar with Cuban cigar distributor Habanos S.A. knows that most products shown at the February festival don’t typically come out until the end of the year. Few probably expected that it would take nearly two years to hit the market. They finally began appearing in shops last December.
'Made in celebration of the brand’s 145th anniversary, the three-cigar Línea de Oro (or “gold line”) was proclaimed by Habanos to be the “most exclusive and elegant of the Romeo y Julieta lines” touting its increased strength over the core line and emphasizing the fact that this is the first time Romeo has received a new brand extension.
The Línea de Oro is Romeo’s Gran Cru of sorts, in much the same way Behike is to Cohiba or the Montecristo Línea 1935 is to standard Montecristos. The message from Habanos was clear—the Romeo Línea de Oro is to join the ranks of Cuba’s unofficial super premium category. Three unique sizes were created just for this lofty release: Hidalgos, measuring 4 7/8 inches long by 57 ring gauge; Dianas, at 5 3/4 by 52 and a short, fat belicoso called Nobles at 5 3/8 inches long with a hefty ring gauge of 56. Of course, the cigars are not at all cheap. In London, the new Romeos retail for £30.80 (about $40.15), £35.20 ($45.88) and £32.60 ($42.50), respectively. They are not as expensive as the vaunted Cohiba Behike line, but they’ll certainly set you back more than Romeos from the normal range.
The bands are different too, incorporating the sophisticated anti-counterfeit holographic elements similar to those found on Cohiba labels. To further emphasize the brand’s exclusivity over regular Romeos, Línea de Oro cigars also come in glossy red sycamore boxes far more lavish than typical Romeo packaging. The lids of each box are adorned with embossed medallions and, like Behikes, come not only in a protective felt bag, but also an additional outer cardboard shell. Pageantry aside, the cigars turned out to be more than just arbitrarily pricey upgrades. Two out of the three sizes proved quite exceptional in our blind tastings in Cigar Aficionado and Cigar Insider, our twice-monthly newsletter.
The standout is the Nobles, which scored 93 points in this issue. (Turn to page 104 for more details.) Considering how the oldest boxes in the market only have 2021 factory codes, the whole line shows encouraging potential for long-term aging, but if you don’t have the patience to lay them down, the Romeo y Julieta Línea de Oros are smoking pretty well right now too.