Romeo y Julieta, Inspiration and Love in the Balconies of Havana
Smoke, great colors and cheering words of appraisal mark the dramatic road built by playwright William Shakespeare for the Italian city of Verona, and point as well to the equally poetic balconies of a dazzling Havana, a bright city in motion full of bold smokers and lovers of the Romeo & Juliet habanos.
Verona is a thriving city of northern Italy, a place that usually lures young couples and weddings for being the village of Romeo and Juliet, the love drama per se regardless of its tragic end due to a rift between the lovers’ families.
Next to the Museum of Castelvecchio, old Verona boasts Juliet’s house, and even though there’s no evidence that the Capulet family ever lived there, it does attract lots of visitors. Shakespeare wrote that tragedy in 1597 in an effort to extol the story of two young lovers that despite their families’ opposition and rivalry, decided to fight for their love till the end of time.
The Other Story
Far from Verona, the legend of these young lovers gave birth in Cuba to a habano brand –now turning 135 years- because that was the desire of its founder, Asturian Jose Rodriguez Arguelles, Don Pepin, a diehard admirer of the English playwright. This admiration grew to such an extent that the main markets for his new product at the very beginning were the United Kingdom and the U.S.
A city that continues to be a well-reasoned catalog of architecture, featuring a beautiful historic center that was declared World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, has never stopped being an allegory to those early moments when the abovementioned brand hit the market with the image of a lovely girl leaning on a beautiful balcony and a young man declaiming from the street.
That allegory to Romeo and Juliet, coupled with the young lovers from Verona on the one hand, and the ultimate smoke of this cigar brand on the other hand, have become quite a mystery for any traveler arriving in Havana.
It’s all about a brand with a wide array of tastes and possibilities, featuring vitolas that range from strong to mild, with good burning and long draw. A standout in this category is the Romeo & Juliet’s Churchill, reaching out to Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.
Its vitola collection includes, among other names, the Romeos, the Shakespeares or the Cedros de Luxe.
It’s good to keep in mind that as many as 20,000 different rings were used in the making of these cigars and that former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was one of its staunchest advocates. That led to the creation of a vitola named after Mr. Churchill.
Even today, the building where the making of these cigars once started still houses the Romeo & Juliet store, welcoming people from all around the world who come searching for a romance-scented habano that gives out the aroma of the original tragedy and the legend of a genuine Caribbean product.