Reviewed by Joe Gellman ( 24th January 2004)
After 30 years in Beverly Hills, I recently moved my office to Westwood, the home of UCLA, young women, and cheaper rent. A two storied English Tudor building, my office has a fireplace, kitchen, media room, and indoor plumbing.
The weather in Los Angeles has been somewhat irregular, of late. Though the middle of winter, the temperature has been in the high 60's to low 70's. On a particularly chilly morning, I decided to light up a Romeo y Julieta Cazadores, sit before the fire, freshly brewed coffee in hand, and prepare a tasting review.
The Cazadores is not a cigar to be taken lightly nor smoked indoors, at least where there are nonsmokers skulking about. Since the only other person in the office is Lee Albert, aka Havana Lee, there were no problems (other than his trying to mooch a Cazadores from me).
One must understand that the Cazadores is a much maligned and misunderstood cigar. I hope this tasting review will set the record straight, and the reader will appreciate the wonder of the cigar.
The Cazadores is in a class by itself. It is 44 x 6 7/16, and ofttimes described as an ugly, veiny, cigar. As a matter of fact, I am used to opening boxes of these cigars and, upon unwrapping the foil which the cigars are in, marvel at how ugly they are, but how heavenly the initial aroma of the tobacco, is. Surprisingly, then, this last box, purchased in Paris, stamped October 02, contained fairly pleasant looking cigars.
The cigars were lighter in shade, perhaps a medium Colorado, and smooth to the touch, with only a hint of oil on the leaf. Upon close inspection, I noticed a light dusting of bloom on all the cigars. I could not say anything negative about the manner in which the cigars were prepared, in fact, they were all perfectly rolled, capped exactingly, and the feet well manicured (ok, give me a break, I have to at least try to be funny).
A cazadore is a hunter and, thus, the cigars are "hunters." One need not hunt for anything, in this cigar, however. It is an "in-your-face" cigar. Nothing is subtle or hidden. While several well-known writers have described the Cazadores as "violent," such label is unfair. Perhaps they just have not had the opportunity to smoke all types of cigars, or they are timid or just Poofsters in the guise of an intelligentsia vis-a-vis cigars. Whatever they are, they simply do not understand that many of us need the kick of a full-bodied cigar.
Certainly, the cigar is spicy, but not so much so that it burns your lips or tongue. There are hints of burnt espresso beans and even a subtle and dancing sweetness to the wrapper, throughout the smoke. In fact, about half through the cigar I noticed a slight taste akin to winter berries, a little tart, a dash of sugar, and full of spice.
The cigar never gives up trying to satisfy you, building to an explosive end. Without a doubt, this is a fantastic cigar, bearing all the delights one could desire in a full-bodied Cuban. If you are adventurous, I suggest opting for some aged Cazadores; they tend to be a bit milder, yet fulfilling the need for a 'real' smoke. In fact, the Cazadores is a throwback to the early Halcyon Days when Cuban cigars were for men, not made to please anyone but the smoker. And pleasing this cigar is, have no doubts about it.
If you have never tried a Cazadores, I can flatly state that you do not know about Cubans. Just remember that this cigar is for the well-heeled smoker. It is worth the price of admission.