When the reviews you hear in the grapevine about a particular cigar isn’t favourable, it can do one of two things to a cigar smoker who hasn’t tried it yet: it can turn him off the cigar completely (a waste of money) or it can make him so curious about it, he just needs to smoke it for himself to see whether it deserves its negative press. I’m one of the latter kind of people, so when the reviews of the RyJ Wide Churchill came onto my radar, it certainly piqued my interest.

The Wide Churchill is a new addition to the RyJ stable of vitolas – a Montesco, its a giant of a cigar girth wise with a 55RG, and at exactly 5.1 inches of length, its not that short either. Compared to its diminutive brothers and sisters of Romeo y Julieta, it is certainly a break from tradition.

It feels quite hefty in the hand, and intimidating to slide between the fingers. However, the wrapper is perfect, and quite a departure from what we’ve seen in many regular production Habanos of recent times. Little to no veining, silky to the touch, a lovely claro tone. Outstanding. The pre-light draw is excellent to my tastes, not loose at all (as i’ve heard some report) and not too firm, just right. The scent of the cigar is quite interesting, a metallic tingle to the nose, a delightful play of floral perfume at the foot. The tobacco seems quite special, for a regular production cigar.

After taking it to the fire, the cigar lights up easily, though not without some effort; it takes a few long seconds to get an even burn going due to so much tobacco needing to be lit. The first few draws are a mesh of intersecting salty and tangy cuts to the tongue. A mild hint of some nuttiness and beanie flavours tag along for the right all through the first couple of inches. Very nice.

However, the large ring gauge doesn’t do much for me — it feels uncomfortable in the mouth, and awkward to hold between draws. When you have to think about a cigar in this way, it distracts from your enjoyment of it; a great cigar reminds you of its strengths with each draw, and doesn’t try to grab your attention when you’re holding it at rest. Perhaps, its just my lack of favour for such girthy offerings.

But flavour wise, it really is quite good. As it took me into the second half, it really showed some of its complexities, opening up of flavours, and the beanie hints i spotted earlier became more and more pronounced, giving it a nice roasted coffee bean burst of class. All throughout, the aroma, and smoke volume are gorgeous distractions; very light, airy and ticklish to the nose.

The final third explores the bean and coffee approaches further, with a final touch of raw pistachios to close. Really, really tasty and a real pain to have to put down for the first time.

Verdict: 89/100. Its not often that you can say a Cuban cigar is ready to smoke right now, but the Wide Churchills certainly are. Bare several months old, they exhibit a complex flavour profile to entice the seasoned veteran of the leaf, yet remaining floral and airy enough to please the new or occasional smokers. Just short of excellent for me due to its size and the comfort in hand and in mouth.

Thank you to Cigarone.com for supplying the cigars for this review.