Its been said that “serious” cigar aficionados prefer churchill vitolas. With impressive lengths and ring gauge, churchills, provide an opportunity for the full flavour and character of a cigar to come forward. Smaller cigars tend to finish too soon, burning out before their tobacco has a chance to reveal its true nature.

Made from Honduran and Nicaraguan Cuban-seed filler, Honduran binder and a luxuriously dark Nicaraguan wrapper, the Saint Luis Rey Reserva Especial churchill is a fine representation of the vitola.

Of the classic churchill shape and length (7 inch, 52 ring gauge), the SLR Reserva is very well constructed. A quick inspection of the wrapper will reveal that its incredibly smooth; hardly any veins or blemishes in consistency. Supple and oily to the touch, its isn’t too hard or soft (unlike quite a number of cigars out there nowadays, including certain batches of Cubans). Choice leaves have been used to roll this cigar, and based on a pinch test, the bunching is pretty good too. No soft spots or knots throughout its length.

(Image lost) Fine white ash, even burn through a very smooth wrapper

A few licks of the torch, and this cigar was brought to life. Nice and even burn which lasted the length of the cigar; this cigar doesn’t burn too slowly, but perhaps a tad bit too fast for my liking. Still, it lasted a good 70 minutes.

Initial taste tests found this cigar remarkable in one very interesting aspect: it tastes very similar to one of my favourites, the Montecristo #4. An accurate description of this cigar’s taste would be to remove an inch of a Montecristo #4’s spiciness and add a yard of the distinct Honduran creaminess. Put that together and you’ve got the SLR Reserva, right on the money! As i reached the end of this cigar (last third or so), i encountered this strange herbal woodiness — never tasted something like this before. Quite strange; i didn’t mind it at all (it added to the character of this cigar), but it was quite strange nonetheless.

(Image lost) A smoke-to-the-stub cigar!

Verdict: A good-to-the-stub cigar! Put aside at least 60 good minutes for this baby, have a nice cool sweet drink in one hand, and kick back. This cigar proves that attempts at recreating that distinctive Cuban-taste with non-Cuban tobacco is getting closer and closer to some semblance of success. A good smoke, well worth the time. Well recommended.