|Saint Luis Rey SLR Gen² (Toro)|
The SLR Gen² is a new addition to the Saint Luis Rey brand by Altadis USA. This marks the seventh brand in the Altadis USA to bring in a more contemporary / boutique-esque cigar into its line as the SLR Gen² fills that role for Saint Luis Rey. One of our Top 12 Cigar Stories/Themes from 2012 was the movement by Altadis USA to reinvigorate some of their existing brands. As a part of this process, Altadis has been “jazzing”up their blends and has been providing some very modern-like packaging on these brands. This approach had already been done on the VegaFina, Montecristo, Trinidad, Romeo y Julieta, Te-Amo, and H. Upmann brands. Now, Altadis turns to its Saint Luis Rey brand. In addition to a very different look, the SLR Gen² brings a very different smoke to the Saint Luis Rey brand – and overall provides a nice smoking experience.
A recent press release by Altadis USA provided some good background on the Saint Luis Rey brand:
Saint Luis Rey is one of the well-known and trusted heritage brands in the US Market. Originated in Cuba after WW2, and was named after the town of San Luis in the Vuelta Abajo tobacco growing region in Cuba – one of the best tobacco growing regions – where these cigars were originally rolled.
The brand has been in the US Market since 1982 and according to the recent consumer research that is conducted in January 2013, it is in the top 15 most recognized brands list. It is also one of Altadis USA’s biggest potential brands, selling over 1 million cigars per year.
With a slew of boutique brands and companies surfacing, it sometimes is easy to forget that Saint Luis Rey is an old brand and it sells very well. In a way, this is a bold move by Altadis USA “jazzing” up one of its old standby lines.
Without further adieu, let’s take a look at the SLR Gen² and see what this particular cigar brings to the table.
The SLR Gen² adds an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper offering into the Saint Luis Rey line. The blend also features Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos – staples of the Saint Luis Rey line.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan
The SLR Gen² is being launched in three sizes – all of which are skewed toward larger ring gauges. The cigars are packaged 21per box.
Robusto: 4 1/2 x 54
Toro: 6 x 54
Titan: 6 x 60
|Packaging of the SLR Gen 2 (Photo courtesy of
For this cigar experience, I smoked the Toro vitola of the SLR Gen². The press release described the wrapper of the SLR Gen² as a “dark Ecuadorian Sumatra”. I categorized the wrapper as more of a medium brown with a light reddish clay look to it. The wrapper has a fair amount of oil to it. There are some visible veins and visible wrapper seams. Upon closer examination, there is a barnyard aroma from the wrapper.
There are two bands on the SLR Gen². The first band is the classic Saint Luis Rey band consisting of a mostly silver, red, and orange color scheme. The center of that band contains a silver shield with some blue and white sitting on a red circular background. Over the shield it says “SAINT LUIS REY” in white font arranged in semi-circular style. Below the shield it says “Hecho en Mano” in white font – also in a semi-circular style. There is some silver, red, orange, and white designs to the left and right. The trim of the band is silver in color.
Below the main Saint Luis Rey band is a secondary band that is a more contemporary design. It is mostly black in color, but has silver trim as well as some orange and red striping. Prominently on the front it says “Gen” in large silver font. To the right of that text is an reddish/orange “2” positioned exponential style. Just below that text it says “SLR” – also in a reddish/orange font. On the left and right side of the band it says “SAINT LUIS REY” in silver font.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the SLR Gen² Toro, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap. After clipping the cap, I moved on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw notes provided a nice mix of flavors at the start as I detected subtle notes of pepper, baker’s spice, and natural tobacco. To a lesser extent, I also picked up a touch of cinnamon and dried fruit. Overall, there actually was quite a bit going on with this pre-light draw – and it was very satisfying. At this point, I was ready to light up the SLR Gen² and see what the smoking experience would deliver.
The start to the SLR Gen² continued the flavors of the pre-light draw. In the early stages, it seemed as though the natural tobacco had an edge early on. At the same time, the pepper notes definitely were more prominent on the after-draw. The baker’s spice was a background note and could definitely be detected on the retro-hale. From an aroma standpoint, I found the SLR Gen² to be outstanding. It had a nice combination of baker’s spice and natural tobacco that I found to be one of the better aromas I had this year on a cigar.
As the SLR Gen² moved through the first third, some cream notes emerged in the background. These cream noes increased and soon joined the natural tobacco notes in the forefront. Meanwhile the baker’s spice and cinnamon continued in the background. The dried fruit meandered between being a primary and secondary flavor. The pepper notes had pretty much dissipated by this point.
At the start of the second half, the baker’s spice increased and joined the cream and natural tobacco notes in the forefront. Meanwhile the dried fruit continued to vary – moving between a primary and secondary note.
In the last third of the SLR Gen², the natural tobacco and baker’s spice were the primary flavors. The cream dialed back and became a background note joining the cinnamon notes. Meanwhile the dried fruit settled as secondary note. The end of the cigar had some nice flavor, but did have a slight bit of harshness. The resulting nub was soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
From both a burn and draw perspective, the SLR Gen² does score nicely. The burn line remained relatively straight from start to finish – requiring little in the way of touch-ups. The resulting ash had salt and pepper color, but did tend to be on the darker side. I’d categorize the ash as firm, but not tight. The ash had some occasional flaking, but nothing to really have an adverse effect ont he smoking experience. The burn temperature and burn rate were ideal.
|Burn of the SLR Gen 2|
The draw performed very well on the SLR Gen². It was the kind of draw that was low maintenance – and made the SLR Gen² an easy cigar to smoke.
Strength and Body
While there are other smokes in the Saint Luis Rey line, today when I think Saint Luis Rey – I still think of the Serie G – which is a full strength, full-bodied maduro. The SLR Gen² is not going to have the power of the Serie G Maduro. It definitely is dialed back and I categorized it as a medium strength cigar from start to finish. As for the body, the flavors also start off dialed back. I assessed the flavors to be medium-bodied at the start. Later in the first third, the flavors progressed to medium to full-bodied and by the second half they moved into full-bodied territory. This is definitely a cigar that is going to have a moderate edge over flavor over body for most of the smoking experience – especially toward the second half.
Overall I found the SLR Gen² to be a pretty good smoke. There actually was quite a bit in terms of flavor nuances throughout the smoking experience. I’m not sure this is going to be the kind of smoke where the Serie G Maduro fans (who I find are pretty passionate about that cigar) will migrate to. However, the edgier packaging might attract younger cigar enthusiasts to this line and this particular cigar. While I think some of Altadis’ “next generation” releases with Montecristo (Epic) and H. Upmann (Legacy) were better overall releases, the SLR Gen² is still not a bad cigar. It’s a cigar I would definitely recommend to a novice cigar enthusiast looking for something not overpowering, yet full of flavor. Experienced cigar enthusiasts should appreciate the flavor nuances that are in this cigar. As for myself, this is a cigar I would consider as an occasional smoke in my rotation.
Body: Medium (1st third), Medium to Full (Early 2nd third), Full (2nd Half)
Assessment: Nice to Have <
Source: The cigars for this assessment were provided by Altadis USA. The samples were initiated by Altadis USA in order to provide feedback. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the samples, but in no way does this influence this review.