13 May 2013
One year ago I reviewed the Toro vitola of Romeo, a new blend that aimed to bring a bolder, more modern feel to the Romeo y Julieta brand.
This Ecuadorian Habano-wrapped line sported a contemporary band that broke from the traditional motifs of its Romeo y Julieta predecessors. It came packaged in sleek, curved boxes. And it strove to capitalize on two pervasive industry trends: larger ring gauges and more powerful flavor profiles.
So when I saw the new Saint Luis Rey Gen2 blend, also made by tobacco giant Altadis, I couldn’t help but compare it to Romeo. It seems like Altadis is following the same formula: revive and/or diversify an older brand that has been in the U.S. market for decades by launching a new, fuller-bodied line with modern marketing and large ring gauges. “We wanted to…launch an innovative new concept with SLR Gen2 to attract a wide range of different consumers not only with the unique blend but also with the attractive price positioning,” reads a recent press release from Altadis.
SLR Gen2 employs a beautiful, reddish Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper with a Nicaraguan binder and a filler blend of Nicaraguan and Honduran tobaccos. It comes in three sizes: Robusto (4.5 x 54), Toro (6 x 54), and Titan (6 x 60).
Once lit, the Toro’s pre-light notes of sweet earth and leather give way to a bready taste with a sharp, lingering cedar spice that covers the palate. After an inch, the sharpness rounds off, leaving more of an earthy profile. Coffee creamer comes and goes. The midway point is characterized by more leather, bread, and espresso. The finale witnesses a reduction in spice and an increase of mustiness. Traces of meaty notes are peppered throughout.
As far as construction goes, the burn is by no means perfect, but it tends to be straight enough to avoid the need for touch-ups. Each puff produces thick, ample smoke that smells earthy and a little sweet. The draw is easy and the ash is very flaky.
The Saint Luis Rey Gen2 retails for $5.75-6.75 apiece. That’s a fair price for a suitable cigar. I will say, however, that the flavor leaves something to be desired, especially in today’s crowded marketplace of fine cigars. Truthfully, I have a hard time seeing how the Toro will work its way into my rotation. Taking all this into consideration, I’m settling on a rating of three stogies out of five.
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photo credit: Stogie Guys