26 Dec 2006
Not long ago, Total Wine & More opened a new store not far from me. Now I don’t care much about wine, but the “& More” part is a winner. This chain – at least the shops near me – has excellent cigar prices and a good selection of mainline brands.
Checking out the cigars, I noticed two boxes of Saint Luis Rey Rothschilds (five inches by 54 ring gauge) side-by-side: natural and maduro. I seemed to recollect smoking a few in the past and finding them agreeable. And at $1.99 apiece, how could I resist? I picked up one of each, thinking it would be interesting to compare the experience of each wrapper.
I started with the maduro. It was thick and felt tight to the touch. I clipped it and the band popped off easily. That was about the last easy part of the smoke. It was difficult to get lit evenly, and even more difficult to draw.
Within a quarter of an inch, I was operating with my tool of choice, a paperclip, to try to open it up. That seemed to work for a while, but I was soon sucking hard again just to draw any smoke. So, back to the paper clip. Several more times. In between those operations, I was tending to the burn.
The taste? I hardly had time to notice. It began with a touch of spice, then a bit of toast, but by the first inch they were replaced more or less by harshness and a bitter finish. By the time I put it down, it had become virtually tasteless.
Now, it’s possible the problems were my fault. But I put the two cigars in my box nearly a month ago, and my humidity is in the 65 percent range, so I find it difficult to believe there was too much moisture. We’ll see how the natural performs when I review it in a future article.
Overall, I think my memory of the Saint Luis Rey failed me, as did this cigar itself. I’m afraid I can only give this one out of five stogies.
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