Romeo y Julieta Wide Churchill

(Size: 5 1/8″ x 55  —  Time: 1hr 25mins)

Last year Habanos SA released the RyJ Wide Churchill.  They were, seemingly jumping on two band-wagons at once: the jaw-breaker trend from the States (unfortunately still going strong) and the RyJ ‘Churchill’ brand…  The original RyJ Churchill is regarded in almost all circles as a true classic in the Cuban line-up, a fine example of the vitola, and the favourite of Sir Winston Churchill himself.  Indeed, it was Pepin Fernandez Rodriguez, the then owner of the RyJ marque, who originally named the vitola after Britain’s war-time leader.  What, then, does the Wide Churchill have to do with the Churchill, or indeed Churchill… (You can stop thinking of nodding dogs now!)  As far as anyone can work out, not much at all.  The Short Churchill is at least roughly the same RG as the Churchill, and is indeed somewhat shorter than the majestic smoke.  The Wide Churchill is not, however, a wider version of the Churchill…  So what on earth is it called such for?  Marketing, as far as anyone can tell.  Perhaps they should have called it the ‘Wide Short Churchill’, just to be safe…

The cigar has received quite a mixed collection of reviews.  The initial release seemed particularly prone to marmite syndrome.  Now, a year on, they seem to have settled down, and many believe that they have done so as decent smokes, if not necessarily spectacular.  Despite being none too keen on the massive ring gauge I felt that it was my duty to smoke a couple for review.  The one which this review focuses on was smoked alongside a bottle of Blue Moon beer and a glass of water whilst watching Men of Honour – a naval film I had somehow neglected to watch until this point.  For the record, both the beer and the film were very good.

Appearance /15

The wrapper on the WC (yes, a rather unfortunate acronym…) was generally very nice.  It was a milk chocolate hue and had only a few small veins.  The wrapper was wound around the cigar neatly, with only a feintly visible seam – the cap had been equally neatly applied.  There were no marks or dicolourations to the wrapper.  When squeezed, the cigar showed a good firm (but not hard) quality, with no soft spots.  There was a nice amount of spring in the foot.  The aroma was fairly dull (toast with a hint of cedar).  Aside from the comedy ring gauge, this is a good looking cigar.  14

Smoking Characteristics /25

The cigar was surprisingly easy to get lit, though the initial burn was a little uneven.  In-fact, the burn throughout this cigar was a little wavey, although it only required occasional touching-up.  The early draws were loose and easy, perhaps a little too loose; it would stay this way throughout the cigar.  The smoke production was fairly good; however, the cigar was not keen on being left for too long, this led to smoke production dropping off considerably (though it would pick up again after a couple of puffs).  The ash which formed was a mid-grey in colour, with a few darker specks.  The fairly consistent rings formed along the ash were a sign of it’s strength, holding on for well over an inch at a time.  22

Flavour /25

On lighting, the WC produced some nice toast notes (both flavour and aroma).  Shortly this toastiness was joined by some sweeter layers, provided by floral and honey aspects.  Gradually the floral elements of the flavour became more pronounced as the toastiness receded.  The floral element persisted beyond the half-way point, however, there developed a marshmallow flavour, alongside an almond dimension and just a touch of licquorice (though not a lot of the latter).  As the cigar progressed through the final third, the floral and nutty flavours diminished, to be replaced by something more cedary.  At the back of the draw, as the cedar lightened, there was a peppery finish.  This cedar and pepper was a short lived section of the cigar, with the original toast and nuts returning for the final few minutes.  22

Overall Impression /35

I still don’t like the ring gauge of this cigar…  It’s too big: being both uncomfortable and rather gaudy.  Despite this, I will say that the Wide Churchill is developing into a very decent smoke of light-to-medium strength and mild-to-medium flavours.  There are many things I would pick over it in terms of complexity and intensity of flavours; but if you want something a little different and a bit more relaxed then this is definitely a cigar to consider.  The development from start to finish was achieved nicely with flavours which work together.  Whilst the construction was not fantastic, and it’s not a cigar to put down for more than a couple of minutes, the draw was acceptable (if a little too easy) and the smoke was fairly aromatic.  Give it a go – it’s a fairly good RyJ, but it doesn’t deserve to wear the Churchill name. 32

Grand total… 90/100

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