Saint Luis Rey Carenas (New) | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Nicaraguan
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Honduran
Size: 6 x 52 Toro
Strength: Medium
Price: $8.50 (Paid nearly a buck less online)

From Cigar Aficionado (3-11-2021):
“It’s been a few years since we’ve seen anything new from the Honduran Saint Luis Rey brand, but Altadis U.S.A. has decided to give it some attention. Next month, the company is releasing the Saint Luis Rey Carenas, a four-size line named after the Puerto de Carenas, now known as the Port of Havana.

“The historic Puerto de Carenas…was a place to seek repairs,” the company said, referring to 16th century mariners sailing to the West Indies. “But it also served as a departure port for many important exports, including the tobacco leaves destined for the world’s first tobacco factory in Seville, Spain.”

“Made in Honduras at the Flor de Copan factory, Saint Luis Rey Carenas is blended to be medium bodied, and consists of a Nicaraguan wrapper, Honduran broadleaf binder and Honduran filler. The upcoming brand will come in four sizes: Robusto, measuring 5 inches by 50 ring gauge; Toro, at 6 by 52; Belicoso, 6 1/8 by 54 and Magnum, 6 by 60. They’re set to retail from $8.25 to $9.15, and are packaged in 20-count boxes, each with an illustration of a 16th century Spanish galleon on the inner lid.
“Altadis anticipates launching the new line in mid-April.”

Robusto 5 x 50 $8.25
Toro 6 x 52 $8.50
Belicoso 6.125 x 54 $8.95
Magnum 6 x 60 $9.15

First thing I look for is the feel of the cigar. This one feels packed without soft or hard spots. Still, a bit light in the hand. Seams are very tight. Lots of veins but the orange wrapper hides them. The cigar is only slightly oily. A bit of toothiness. The triple cap is nicely applied. Not a bad looking wallet friendly premium cigar.

Equal amounts of floral and dark chocolate. Nose pleasing decadency. Adding to that is berries, creaminess, potent dried apricot, black pepper, cedar, Hawaiian bread, baking spices, and a touch of peppermint.
The cold draw presents flavors of cedar, black pepper, creaminess, baking spices, licorice, tangerine, and barnyard.

Air flow is wide open. I won’t need to go to work with my PerfecDraw draw adjustment tool.
Nice start.

A small complex grouping of apricot, black pepper, heavy malt, brioche bread, caramel, cedar, and something very savory.
Medium in strength.

Huge plumes of smoke fill the air around me. At this early point, the sweetness factors outweigh the savory points. The black pepper is a little too much, but here’s hoping that it calms down soon.

The burn is spot on.

Just like the review yesterday of the Aganorsa Leaf Rare Leaf Reserve, I’ve only had the cigar for a couple of months. I tried one a couple weeks ago and thought it was a turd. Time heals all wounds. The blend will do very well with some extensive aging. 4 months will see the cigar shine even more.

Some very nice complexity is joined by the start of slow-moving transitions. The finish is redolent with graham cracker, dried fruit, spiciness, and caramel.

An inch in and I redact the strength profile. It is closer to mild/medium now. A very delicate blend. Additional humi aging should bring the stick closer to the blender’s intent.

The savory is now defined by carne asada and avocado. Never tasted avocado before in a cigar blend.

This is a beautiful morning cigar. Very pleasant and mood softening.
And at the price I paid of just over $7 makes it a wow.

The Saint Luis Rey Carenas is a nice surprise. I hesitated before pulling the trigger on this cigar. Not a big fan of SLR but the PR hit me just right. If I didn’t like the blend, I know some guys that enjoy blunts using something other than liquor store cigars.

Citrus from both limes and lemons appear giving the street taco enterprise a nod and a wink. The avocado becomes full on guacamole. Creaminess jumps on board and the only thing missing is the cilantro.

The only bummer is that this cigar is not as fully packed as I thought at the start. The burn is quick. I’m nearly at the second third after only 20 minutes. If this was a $20 cigar, I’d be pounding my shoe on the desk at the United Nations.

The flavor profile is unique. Not something I expected from an inexpensive blend.

A touch of Margaritaville climbs on board. A touch of salt, lime, sweet, and balance give this blend a marvelous impression.

Now this ain’t no mid 90’s cigar blend. But from my early impressions, I’d buy a box under the right circumstances. Another fiver at least…which I did in early June.

The burn is immaculate. Like my conception.
My first sip of water and goodness is excreted. Nice complexity. Transitions are on the weak side but still tasty. The finish turns out to be the constant.
Some surprising intensity kicks in. The strength is now a solid medium.

25 minutes to get here.
And the cigar gets upped. My palate is bathed in multiple flavors. It coats my mouth with immunity. The stick has been on a slow roll in impressing, but it is doing just that. As long as it continues to climb, I’m happy. It gets stuck in neutral, and I’m an unhappy katman.

New flavors supplant some of the others already mentioned…in fact, they become cohesive and form camps. There is the street taco camp. A nice lemon crème pie camp. A nutty chocolate bar camp. And a corned beef on rye camp. The sweet v. savory is slightly out of balance as the sweetness dominates. But it does contain the black pepper nicely.

I believe that a few months more of humi time will see this cigar improve exponentially.

We are hanging tight at medium strength. Construction is behaving. Nice char line.
No hint of nicotine.

Just an easy-going tasty tobacco blend. Newbies and sophisticates alike will enjoy this stick.
The burn line becomes a bit wonky but nothing serious a blow torch can’t fix.

The blend seems to be happy with itself as is. The growth of complexity is in stasis, but still very acceptable.

While the rest of the country is burning to the ground with excessive heat, the Midwest is in the 70’s…but with a boatload of humidity. My fro has returned.

Another sip of water and the flavor profile spreads its wings.
I’d categorize this blend as a more than pleasant journey. While additional aging will improve your experience, the stick provides a very nice morning smoke.

July is a month of mixed emotions for me. It is a happy month due to my grandsons’ birthdays. But July is also the month both my parents passed. My dad will be gone 18 years and my mother will be gone 53 years. My dad liked that I smoked cigars like he and his father did. My mother would not approve. The strange thing to grasp is my folks were married for 20 years. I’ve been married to Charlotte for 36. You get older and the past becomes a big part of you.

OK. The cigar. The forward momentum has slowed. Nothing has been removed but it seems to have found its place in the universe.
And the moment I finish the above description, the cigar makes a leap. Intensity is reinvigorated. The transitions become bolder. The sweet v. savory is pretty much in lockstep now. But strength remains at a pleasant medium.

I’m looking for the sweet spot in this section of the cigar.
The price point gives me nothing to piss and moan about.

The blend will be nice after dinner with some whiskey by its side. Gonna’ try that.
Creaminess rules the day. The spiciness has relented and is perfect for my palate.

The blend is well rounded now. Balance is exemplary. Nuances and subtleties add to the stronger flavors. The cigar is super smooth.
And as hoped, I’ve hit the sweet spot.
I conjecture that with more humidor time, the sweet spot will occur earlier.

Since I’m not hallucinating from this blend, I plan on lighting up a Viaje Skull and Bones Frank Castle this afternoon. That should take me to Oz.

“Red House” by Jimi. You couldn’t be in a cover band in the 70’s if you didn’t play this tune.

Complexity heightens. This could have been a different review if the stick started this way.

The blend never got caught being bland. Being pleasant is not a criticism.
As this cigar was just released, it will be a while before you see any deals. Still, I will be on the lookout for sales.

I wasn’t inappropriate or profane in this review. I just made a doctor appointment. Some days I feel clever and witty. And then there is today.

Maybe this review will garner me a reviewer’s license.
The cigar never became harsh or hot.
If you snag some, be very patient.
(Mic drop).



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6 replies

  1. So, it burns super fast. Overwhelms you with smoke. No signature flavor, just a bunch of random things including avocado apparently hidden in there somewhere. You need another cigar after this one. And worst of all, the blend is going to need some HitorMiss aging to ever make it minimally decent. This is a Flor De Baloney if I ever heard of one.


  2. It’s Flor de Bologna please.
    As far as the comment I supposedly made. And I’m paraphrasing: “…being overwhelmed by smoke.”
    This is what I actually wrote: “Huge plumes of smoke fill the air around me.”
    English your second language?
    To quote you: “And worst of all, the blend is going to need some HitorMiss aging to ever make it minimally decent.”
    You don’t age your cigars on your planet? Plus, I never said anything about making it minimally decent.
    So, Forrest, I hope you can find the time, while in Cell Block D, and comment again.
    I consult my crystal ball and it tells me to suggest that you not purchase one.
    I love angry readers with ulterior motives.
    Thanks for your comment,

  3. Legend! Best comeback ever.

  4. Are you and halfwheel now in cahoots?
    Ok, not sure what a cahoot is, but – same gar/same day review? I smell Altadis at work.

  5. Yes Dave.
    We are.
    The truth is that we have formed a large cabal of the top 30 reviewers who confide in each other as to how they will proceed with cigar reviews.
    To become a member of this cabal, a chosen reviewer must take out a smaller reviewer that might have promise. It is done through a secret ceremony, not unlike a human sacrifice.
    Each member of the cabal is given hedge shears and must cut off a finger of the sacrificial lamb.
    Once that is complete, the Poobah will snip his lips off as well.
    The rest is too graphic to put into print.
    But kudos to you Dave…you have finally uncovered our dirty little cigar industry secret.
    You’re not a new reviewer, are you?
    I forgot to mention that there is a secret handshake not dissimilar to the Three Stooges scene, “Moe, Larry, Cheese!!!!”
    Thank you for blowing our cover…all the best,
    Phil (Cabal Member A-896504)

  6. Thought so.

    Btw, the H&S Curamus: really diggin one this am. Thanks again for you (and the cabal) finding hidden gems!

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