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Swiss Cuban Cigars reviews the Romeo y Julieta Short Churchill

When you think about famous cigar smokers, the chances are Sir Winston Churchill is high on the list. Frequently pictured with a cigar in hand, Churchill lived life in a way that didn’t preclude his love of alcohol and smoking. And his favourite brand of Cuban cigars was Romeo y Julieta.

This led to the brand decided name a cigar after the great man himself. This turned into a whole range of Churchills, and the latest to be added to the range in 2006 was the Short Churchill.

Since hitting the market, Short Churchills have become one of the most popular cigars with aficionados. Let’s take a deep dive into the Short Churchill and find out why smokers love it so much.

Swiss Cuban Cigars Reviews | Short Churchill from Romeo y Julieta

While the Short Churchill was launched in 2006, the Romeo y Julieta Cigars brand has been around for far longer.

The brand began in 1875 when Manin Garcia and Inocencio Alverez decided to launch a bid for the Cuban cigar market. Named after Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy, the Romeo y Julieta cigar brand started off strongly.

Up until 1900, the brand won loads of awards – you can see this represented in its logo showing gold medals. It was the acquisition by Jose Rodriguez Fernandez in 1903 that really sent the brand stratospheric within the market.

Utilising his experience as the former head of the Cabanas factory in Havana, Cuba, Fernandez took the brand on the road across the Americas and Europe. This led to it becoming very popular everywhere around the world, appealing to wealthy smokers.

Romeo y Julieta | the Churchill connection

Sir Winston Churchill became the brand’s most famous fan, leading eventually to the naming of the most popular vitola after him. He acquired his love of cigars after serving in Cuba, after which he refused to smoke any other kind.

So important were Cuban cigars to his daily life, he set aside a dedicated room to store up to 4,000 cigars at Chartwell, his home in Kent.

As a lover of cigars, Churchill smoked a number of different brands but Romeo Y Julieta remained his favourite. According to historians, he smoked up to ten a day during WW2, and some say he credited his strong and steadfast leadership during the war to smoking regularly.

Over the years, Churchill and his cigar became synonymous. Rarely pictured in any memorabilia without one, Churchill waves lyrical about smoking Cuban cigars in a collection of essays in 1932.

Flavours and depth of the Short Churchill

Today, there is a cigar on display in the Cabinet War Rooms in London. The cigar is part smoked by Sir Winston himself, and is a classic Romeo y Julieta Churchills. Had the Short Churchill been around at the time, we have no doubt that he would have smoked these as well as the classic.

Romeo y Julieta Short Churchills have a ring gauge of 50 and are 4.9 inches (or 124 mm) long. Ranked consistently high smokers, Short Churchills are medium strength and are packed full of flavours – the kinds of flavours you might expect someone like Sir Winston to enjoy!

Expect flavour notes that include earth, leather and honey that belie the relatively new status this cigar holds in the market. Short Churchills are one of the newest in the range of Romeo y Juliete cigars, and has become exceptionally popular in the 17 years since it hit the market.

How does the Short Churchill smoke?

Well known for its smooth and rich flavour, the Short Churchill has hints of herbs and grass in the first and third parts of the smoke. The middle has more earthy tones, and a hint of spice.

When you first light a Short Churchill, you get an immediate combination of earthiness, a touch of pepper and an undercurrent of woodiness. You’ll find that the pepper cuts through the smoke, which is produced in creamy clouds.

The middle of the smoking experience will leave a hint of saltiness on your palate, with some darker hints of espresso and a minerally leather tone. And finally, the last section of the smoke is by far the richest, moving into a more full bodied smoke.

An accessible and enjoyable choice

The Short Churchill provides an easy, relaxing but medium to full bodied cigar smoking experience. And, thanks to their relatively good value when compared with other cigars in the Romeo y Juliete range, they’re a consistent best seller.

We estimate the smoking experience as around 60 minutes – possibly around 45 minutes – making it an accessible cigar for just about any occasion.

And if you’re wondering how Sir Winston Churchill managed to smoke 10 cigars a day with no ill effects, it’s at least partly down to the fact that he didn’t smoke them to the end. In fact, he would smoke a cigar for only a few minutes, before allowing it to burn out.

Later on, he would pick up the cigar to chew it rather than smoke. He always left around two inches on each cigar, and in later life discarded so many that his staff at Chartwells would collect the ends to regift to a gardener on the Estate.

Short Churchills represent excellent value and a great smoke

The Romeo y Julieta Churchill range now includes a regular Churchill, the Short Churchill which we are reviewing here, the Petit Churchill and the Wide Churchill.

Ideal for the casual or new smoker, the Short Churchill has a clear flavour profile that remains pronounced throughout the smoke. However, the flavours never dominate or compete in the mouth. Instead, it’s a balanced and mellow, yet rich, smoking experience.

Whether you choose to smoke a Short Churchill like the man himself – and end up with lots of cigar ends at the end of the day – or you want to find the ideal cigar for a special occasion, you can’t go far wrong with this choice.

Accessible enough for occasional smokers, but well crafted and flavourful enough for the cigar expert, the Short Churchill has a lot to offer for just about anyone who likes cigars. We highly recommend it, particularly for its good value price point.

How good is the Hoyo De Monterrey Epicure No 2? Swiss Cuban Cigars reviews the best seller

One of the iconic Robusto cigars, the Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 2 is complex yet smooth and offers a sophisticated smoke without too much heaviness.

Before we go through the details in our review of the Epicure No 2, here’s a bit of background on this much loved brand of Cubans.

Swiss Cuban Cigars reviews | the Epicure No 2 from Hoyo de Monterrey

Hoyo de Monterrey is a Cuban cigar brand synonymous with quality and the finest tobacco. Owned by Habanos SA, which is the state-owned tobacco company in Cuba, the Hoyo de Monterrey brand is consistently up there among the favourites for cigar smokers.

All the way back in 1831, a young Spanish boy called Don Jose Gener y Batet landed in Cuba. At the age of 13, he started work on a tobacco plantation in Vuelta Abajo, which is one of the five tobacco regions in the country.

By the 1850s, Jose Gener had decided his future lay in Cuban cigars and he started his own factory in Havana. The first line of cigars produced was called La Escepcion, and he was immediately successful.

Using the profits from his Havana factory, Jose Gener acquired one of the finest farms in the best growing area – Vuelta Abajo.

The birth of Hoyo de Monterrey as a brand

That’s the background leading up to Jose Gener giving his brand a name: Hoyo de Monterrey. This translates as “the hole of Monterrey”, which derives from the kind of terrain that premium tobacco farmers prefer.

Very quickly, the Hoyo de Monterrey brand of cigars became very popular, particularly with the well off customers in Great Britain. Their patronage helped the factory to become of the biggest in Cuba.

Jose Gener died in 1900, but the family remained under his daughter’s leadership for the next 30 years.

Growing in popularity during the 1950s in pre revolutionary Cuba

In 1931, Fernandez, Palicio y Cia bought the brand from the Geners. They also bought the original La Escepcion brand from the family and brought them into their existing range.

By the 1940s, demand was increasing and the factory produced the Le Hoyo series of Cuban cigars specifically for the Swiss Cuban Cigar distributor A. Durr Co. And while half of the partnership, Ramon Fernandez, died soon after, the remaining owner Fernando Palicio continued to grow the brand. By 1958,13% of all Havana cigar exports came from his lines.

It wasn’t to last much longer as Palicio fled the country when the Revolution broke out. Safely ensconced in Florida, he then sold all of his cigar brands to the Villazon family, who continued to make the same high quality Hoyo de Monterrey specifically for the American market.

Back in revolutionary Cuba, the Government nationalised all the manufacturers of Cuban cigars in 1959. Hoyo de Monterrey continued to be produced in Cuba as well, and today is one of the best known and most loved Cuban cigar brands in the world.

The Epicure No 2 is very popular with cigar aficionados

Cigar connoisseurs regularly tout the Epicure No 2 as a big favourite. It has a ring gauge of 50 and is 124mm (4.7 inches) and is part of the Epicure line of cigars from Hoyo de Monterrey.

The other cigars in this range are the Epicure Delux (Petit Robusto), the Epicure Especial (Toro) and the Epicure No 1 (Toro). And when it comes to flavour and smokability, there are a number of reasons why the Epicure No 2 consistently ranks as one of the most popular Cuban cigars around the world.

Hand rolled using the finest tobacco that can be found in the best growing region in Cuba, perhaps it’s not surprising to find out how much it’s liked. Flawless construction with a double band also adds to its elegance, and hits the mark for aesthetics.

But it’s all in the flavour. When you smoke a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 2 you can expect a very smooth and pleasantly enjoyable smoke undercut with a robust taste.

While the flavour is stronger than some other Cuban cigars, it’s not at all over powering, instead finding a very balanced flavour profile. You can definitely taste the notes of dried fruit, cinnamon and cocoa through the creamy smoke.

A quick but satisfying smoking experience

The Epicure No 2 can be smoked well straight away, even when the tobacco leaves are young. However, we’d always suggest storing it in your humidor at least for a while.

It’s a popular choice with aficionados, and is great for cigar novices to give a fine cigar a go. They will quickly discover just how complex a Cuban cigar can be, when made from the finest leaves.

Even when the leaves are young it has an even combustion – although it’s best left stored in a humidor for a while. The Hoyo de Monterrey is a cigar for seasoned smokers, however, novices are encouraged to give it a try to see just how complex and flavoursome a fine cigar can be.

As we’ve seen the Epicure No 2 remains one of the most popular Robustos from Cuba. The variety of flavours and relative accessibility of the flavour profile work in its favour.

It takes around 45 minutes to smoke a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No 2, making it a fast yet very smooth smoke. If you’ve never tried an Epicure No 2, you should give it a try. You may be surprised how delicately complex a fine cigar can be. As it’s a wider ring gauge than lots of other Cuban cigars, when you draw in the smoke it’s cooler and smoother than those with smaller gauges.

Of course, because it’s a wide Cuban, it also feels great in the hand and is ideal for special occasions as well as quick but sophisticated smoke breaks. Ideal, in fact, when you need a bit of headspace and are looking for a way to relax.