Romeo y Julieta is a brand of premium hand made Cuban cigars produced by Habanos SA. Romeo y Julieta came into being in 1875. Inocencio Alvarez and Mannin Garcia started Romeo y Julieta.
For the next twenty-five years Alvarez and Garcia produced award winning cigars under the Romeo y Julieta brand. In 1903, Jose “Pepin” Rodriguez Fernandez purchased the Romeo y Julieta brand.
Rodriguez’s expertise took the Romeo y Julieta brand from a regional award winner to an internationally renowned brand in a matter of years. One of Rodriguez’s strokes of customer service genius was to create personalized bands for his wealthy and influential customers.
At one time it is estimated that Romeo y Julieta had produced two thousand different cigar bands at the Romeo y Julieta factory. Romeo y Julieta was one of the pioneers of the figurado cigar trend, creating many new and different vitolas along the way.
Cuban Revolution and Embargo
Rodriguez passed away in 1954. Shortly thereafter, the Cuban government was overthrown by Fidel Castro and his communist regime. The new government took over the Cuban cigar industry and commandeered the cigar brands including Romeo y Julieta.
The Cuban government runs Habanos SA to this day. Romeo y Julieta is still one of the top selling brands of Cuban cigars in the world. They are not sold in the United States due to the trade embargo placed on Cuban goods.
It is illegal for an American to purchase or possess a Romeo y Julieta Cuban cigar. This is significant given the American consumption of cigars as compared to the rest of the world market. Romeo y Julieta is able to remain at the top of the international cigar sales list, even without the vast American market.
There are many famous Romeo y Julieta smokers throughout history. The most legendary is Sir Winston Churchill. Churchill loved his Romeo y Julieta cigars and was apt to smoke the largest vitolas they produced because he liked to smoke them literally all day long.
Today, in honor of their most famous devotee, Romeo y Julieta manufactures a 7 x 47 vitola known as the Romeo y Julieta Churchill. This honor has been mimicked by many other cigar manufacturers and the Churchill is now a commonly held vitola specification.
Romeo y Julieta cigars are full flavored cigars made with premium Cuban tobacco grown in Pinar del Rio. There is a Dominican brand by the same name that is sold in the American market. Both brands come from the same historical roots.