Here is another experiment. From time to time, I manage to dig up some vintage cigars. When I saw a batch of Saint Luis Rey Serie A dating from before 2000 (i.e. no box code) in La Casa del Habano Dubai, I couldn't resist and picked up a few. As I feel it is not proper to base a full review on this experience, I have created a separate category called Vintage Reviews. Enjoy.
From the looks, it was impossible to say how aged the cigar was. The wrapper seemed in perfect condition and there was almost no plume to be seen. What worried me was that the cigar didn't smell. At all. Without further inspections, I unsheathed my cutter and had quite a hard time cutting the stick. I used two wooden matches to properly light it.
The draw was very tight in the beginning, I puffed desperately to get a meagre cloudlet of smoke. Just a hint of spice in this first third which left me unimpressed because of the difficult draw. As I approached the second third, the draw opened up a bit and I was able to distinguish a mix of woody flavors, mostly oak and maple. The smoke was very dry and I needed to regularly moisten my throat with Australian Shiraz (very fruity red wine). The ash was unstable and fell off at about one inch. The finish was very leathery and since I'm not fond of leather flavors, I let it rest in the middle of the last third.
I don't know whether this poor performance was due to bad storage conditions (other cigars that I purchased at the same place were perfect) or just because this particular box had quality issues. Anyway, what I learnt is that an aged cigar does not necessarily mean a great cigar.
Saint Luis Rey Serie A has received a lot of praise recently in European press and I am definitely going to purchase some more sticks, less aged of course, and make a proper review. Meanwhile, you can read Kevin's take on SLRSA that is dated FEB 07.