Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary

Rocky Patel Fifteenth Anniversary

Fatal Halo Rating

Dimensions: 6.5” x 52 (Toro)
Price:  $10.00
Burn Time:  2.5 Hours
Wrapper: Equadorian (grown from Habano seeds)
Binder: Nicaraguan (2 binders)
Tobacco: Special Nicaraguan blend (grown especially for this cigar)
Purchased at:  Montecristo House of Cigar (Powell, Ohio –

I’ve seen a lot of Rocky Patel cigars in the store that I purchase most of my cigars from, but I’ve never really had the desire to try one.  However, I decided to try this specific blend after seeing it listed among the top 25 cigars of 2011.  It has a very interesting box-press shape (which I later found out is called “trunk-pressed”) and from what reviews I read about it, I was intrigued enough to give it a try.  For a $10 stick, I am expecting a lot, but from the construction and presentation, I’m confident that it will deliver.  I really like trying cigars that are unique from anything else on the market, and after seeing that the filler tobacco blend was grown on a farm especially dedicated to this line, my interest was piqued.

Pre-Smoke Analysis
This cigar has some amazing aromas that really just relax the senses and create a “hum” of buttery flavor with each inhale.  The wrapper is a bit veiny, but smooth and silky to the touch.  The shape itself is interesting and it feels comfortable in the hand and between the fingers.  The aroma intensifies at the foot and has the distinct smells of hazelnut and chocolate – almost as if this cigar was sold from Starbucks!  It is a soft and alluring aroma that has me anxious to clip and toast.  The head is triple-capped and the gun-metal double bands on the body really compliment the overall appearance of an undeniably fine cigar.  The chocolate/cocoa aroma kicks up a bit on the cold draw and seems to have an easy pull.  No cap fraying after the clip.  I’m already impressed and I haven’t even pulled out my lighter yet.

The First Third
Well, the new butane torch I bought didn’t make it through lighting even one cigar, so I guess the search continues to find  good one of those, but the cigar took the flame very well as I torched the foot and got a decent cherry burning.  I really like how the shape of this cigar contours to my lips when I take a draw - and it’s almost effortless to pull rich, creamy smoke off of it.  Not at all over-powering and just the right balance of spice that is only noticeable on the back of the palate.  There is a dusty, nutty aroma complemented by roasted undertones to dull the sweetness still present on the lips.  This cigar smokes like a dream and puts me to ease almost immediately.  The burn was a little uneven, but nothing so severe that it required any manual correction.  The ash is a flaky, marbled gray, holds strong beyond an inch and a half and maintains the shape almost flawlessly - all indicative of a well-constructed and finely-blended cigar.

The Second Third
The spiciness kicks up a bit during the second third but the rich, creamy smoke stays very consistent.  I’m also picking up on a bit of vanilla under the expanded nutty aroma.  The burn needed a little correction at this point, but I attribute that to how frequently I’m drawing off of it to savor the taste.  The overall flavor remains pretty consistent yet picks up on strength and balances out to a fairly medium-bodied cigar.  I typically like to wait until this point to truly judge the body of a cigar as this is where the real concentration of the flavor/aroma mix tends to reveal itself.

Burning Out
As with the second third of the burn, the cigar retains its flavor and aroma, but intensifies in strength with a notable increase in pepper that tingles the palate.  The burn has evened out and the smoke draws heavier.  Uncommon to cigars I have smoked previously, this one seems to adopt a more full-bodied status than was present earlier in the burn.  I am pleasantly surprised, though it is almost a bit overpowering.  Each draw leaves a cool, menthol-like burn on the lips.

Final Thoughts
This cigar was one of the more interesting ones I’ve had.  As an introduction to the Rocky Patel line, I think it has convinced me to explore more of what they have to offer.  A superbly crafted smoke rich with flavor and aroma, it had an excellent burn and though it had a little bite at the end, it was enjoyable down to the last draw.  I can see why it ranked as it did among Cigar Aficionado’s top 25 of last year and I am almost a little regretful that I did not try one sooner!

Liked It?:  Indeed

Buy It Again?:  Absolutely

Recommend It?:  Yes – but more so for seasoned cigar smokers who will appreciate its strength.

Pairing(s):  I enjoyed a “Java Head Stout” from the Tröegs Brothers Brewery to compliment this cigar.  Very appropriate.

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