Romeo y Julieta was founded in Cuba in 1875 and was named after one of Shakespeare’s literary masterpieces, Romeo and Juliet. During the mid-20th century, Romeo y Julieta was becoming increasingly popular, but due to the Cuban Embargo they decided to set up shop in the Dominican Republic. Today, Romeo y Julieta cigars are produced and distributed by Altadis USA, which started a revamp of the brand by introducing the Romeo line that focuses on fuller-bodied alternatives to the milder Romeo y Julieta. Expertly crafted at the famed Tabacalera de García factory in the Dominican Republic, the Romeo utilizes the rarest and finest tobaccos that are carefully selected and aged. Inside is a bevy of Dominican Piloto and Olor tobaccos that are secured with a Dominican Piloto binder and finished with a rich and dark Ecuadorian Habano wrapper leaf that was hand-picked. Medium to full in body, the complex smoke will lend notes of chewy leather, black and red pepper spice, and dried fruit. Balanced down to the nub, enjoy this Cigar Aficionado 94-rated smoke with a full-bodied cabernet sauvignon.
Though tobacco is indigenous to Hispaniola, the tobacco industry in the Dominican Republic existed in the shadow of Cuba’s dominance through the 1960s. When the exodus of Cuban cigar makers began in the wake of the revolution, many decided the Dominican Republic would be ideal for the resumption of their livelihoods. Unrest in Nicaragua in the 1980s fueled the Dominican cigar industry further. The country now makes more than half of the premium cigars imported into the U.S.
The Cibao Valley and the nearby city of Santiago are the center of cigar production in the Dominican Republic. Three main varieties are grown here: the mild and native Olor Dominicano; the intense Piloto Cubano, brought from the Vuelta Abajo of Cuba; and San Vicente, a milder and more acidic Piloto hybrid. Dominican puros were once unheard of as it was widely thought impossible to grow quality wrapper leaf on the island, but new growing techniques are now allowing some exceptional puros to be produced.
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