Origin : Cuba
Format : Robusto Extra / Geniales
Size : 150 mm (5 7/8) x 54
Box code : SGA OCT 16
Price : 15 CUC each in Cuba
More info about purchasing Saint Luis Rey cigars...
I was fortunate enough to smoke few of the Marquez already but never in Cuba. Just landed and I got welcomed with one of them. To be fully honest the first two I smoked were powerful and heavy. But as they say: “every cigars taste different in Cuba” and you will see.
I believe the choice of Saint Luis Rey is a great move from Habanos S.A. to revive the slowly dying brand that tends to disappear from our Shelves. 7500 numbered boxes of 10 in today’s very trendy vitola.
The wrapper of the Marquez really pleases me. I am very old school in my choice of cigars and tend to find the light colored wrappers more elegant and subtle. This claro wrapper has a great texture and feeling, extremely smooth and pleases my eyes. Everything you would expect from a high quality wrapper leaf from Cuba.
Out of the three I have smoked this one is the tightest one. The draw requires some energy and makes it slightly complex to smoke. The burn is therefore extremely slow but strangely enough developing a large amount of smoke and stays lit for long.
I always say, life isn’t like a box of chocolate but more like a box of Cuban cigars: you never know what draw you will get. Sadly this one gives some resistance. The first two SLR Marquez I had were totally fine with an incredible construction.
The first third of the cigar is extremely complex and every puff is a new experience. The strength varies from medium to full with some very powerful areas. As explained before the draw is tight and requires some effort. The complexity of strength is reflected in the complexity of flavors and aromas. And this is clearly an unusual first third to me, but I enjoyed its complexity a lot. From strong freshness feeling of bitterness to very harmonious vegetal notes and a dark and intense coffee finish this start of the smoke is… interesting.
Talking about the second third of the cigar reminds me of the lesson I had recently by one of the world’s best sommeliers. It was about the fact that the acidity level of a wine doesn’t influence the sweetness of it. Some very sweet wines, like in Alsace or Germany, have an extremely high acidity level but they are true sweet wines. The acidity will create a mouthwatering effect generating a lot of saliva and will therefore enhance the flavor and the highest the acidity is, the longer the flavors will linger in the palate as the saliva brings them back to the palate. Long story short, the acidity level of the Marquez is very high and its finish is extremely long leaving a strong vegetal and fresh feeling on the palate that is very enjoyable.
The aroma of the smoke is a true delight. From far away you would recognize this smell as a high quality Cuban, the notes of roasted almonds and hazelnut in the air is truly magic!!!!
As we get closer to the end the draw gets way better and makes the cigar more enjoyable with less effort to puff. The burn is still consistent and the density of smoke remains high. Not surprised with the inconsistency of strength, that happens a lot with new Cuban cigars. Navigating from full bodied to medium to full requires a control of the draw not to feel overwhelmed.
However the flavors are completely different than the middle of the smoke as the cigar turned into a pure dark chocolate bar. The acidity is still very high, combined with the strength of the cigar is because a very masculine and “heavy weight boxer” smoke with lots of character.
As the draw was resistant it took me an hour and twenty minutes to smoke to big ring gauge cigar but the other ones I smoke took me a bit more than an hour.
You may be able to get it in Cuba if you are traveling there and therefore its value is great as I strongly believe that all this complexity is hiding a phenomenal smoke in few years. It is already smoking very well if you like “muscled cigars” that constantly changes.
I believe few shops in Europe have them for a fairly reasonable price especially for the size and the smoking time.
Overall Rating :
The Saint Luis Rey – Marquez will definitely bring back the Marca into my humidor as I like powerful smokes with complexity. You never get bored which is to me very important with a big cigar. It can be a bit too complex for some people. The high acidity and the strength of the cigar may overwhelm you if you are not used to fresh cigars but it is a great experience. And let’s be honest, when was the last Saint Luis Rey cigar you smoked? Mine was a vintage Lonsdale found in a small cigar shop of Covent Garden few years ago.