The Romeo y Julieta marque was established in 1875 by Inocencio Alvarez and Manin Garcia. The brand is named for Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, Romeo and Juliet.
Between 1885 and 1900, the brand won numerous awards at different tasting exhibitions (as still evidenced by the gold medals on the brand’s logo). However, the brand truly bloomed after it was acquired by Jose “Pepin” Rodriguez Fernandez, former head of the Cabañas factory in Havana, and his firm, Rodríguez, Argüelles y Cia, in 1903.
As a result of his salesmanship, the brand became exceptionally popular around the world among wealthy customers, many of whom demanded personalized bands for their cigars. At its height, as many as 2000 personalized cigar bands were produced for customers. The branded was also known at this time for specializing in figurado cigars, such as perfectos and pirámides, with over a thousand such shapes believed to have been in production.
Sir Winston Churchill was perhaps the brand’s most famous devotee. The flagship vitola of the brand is named in his honor, a long 7″ by 47 ring gauge cigar known as the Churchill. Nellie Tayloe Ross, the first woman to serve as governor of a state in the U.S., also frequently smoked them.