As I’ve complained about in earlier reviews, it’s getting pretty cold here in New York, especially for guys like me who are without an indoor smoking space. As such, it’s the perfect time to pick out a good cigarillo to minimize the time you have to sit in the freezing cold. By some bizarre coincidence, I just happened to pick out a cigar that’s on sale this week! Today, I was lucky enough to crack open a tin of the Romeo y Julieta Reserva Real Minutos Petites.

I usually have a few problems with cigarillos—for one, because of their size, they tend to smoke very hot. This happens when they’re rolled too loosely, which is another common problem. Also, a lot of cigarillos I’ve had burned crookedly, which is baffling considering most of them are not much wider than a cigarette. To my surprise, this little stogie had none of these problems—a tight but manageable draw kept the smoke from getting too hot, and also kept it from burning erratically. It also had the firmest construction I’ve ever seen in a small cigar, and there were literally no detectable soft spots from cap to foot. After careful inspection, it was time to light up.

The first few draws were very creamy and sweet with a little bit of cashew nuttiness mixed in. I was surprised at how much smoke came through the little cigar, despite the fact that the draw took a bit of effort. On the aftertaste was a little bit of cinnamon spice with a faint hint of black pepper, which made this a pretty apt pre-holiday smoke.

As the stogie burned (straight as a razor, I might add), it got a bit stronger but never became overpowering. I started getting a little more pepper about halfway through, probably due to the Nicaraguan binder and filler. Around that point I got more of a traditional Connecticut-wrapped taste with more cream and some more caramel sweetness, though it was on the toasty, nicely-burnt side of caramel.

When it got to the one-inch mark, I was expecting to get a blast of pepper; instead, I got a little bit of a pepper flurry with subtle floral notes. This cigarillo was truly one of the most relaxing smokes I’ve ever had. It was smooth, mellow, easygoing, and maintenance-free all the way to the nub, at which point most small cigars start pouring out smoke that’s too hot to taste.

Romeo Y Julieta Reserva Real Minutos Petites could easily become a staple winter smoke for me—they were smooth, sweet, and mellow from start to finish and required no maintenance. I’ll be picking up a few more of these to last me through the cold months, and hell, maybe when it gets warmer I’ll pick up some in a larger vitola. Thanks to Paul from marketing for letting me smoke in his car—my un-frostbitten fingers are grateful.

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