Rocky Patel is a fairly well known name in the cigar community, despite being a fairly new one. He has developed a reputation of fuller bodied cigars that offer a nice range of complexity and flavor. His start in the industry is a unique one. Rather than being an established tobacco producer or maker from Cuba, R. Patel started out as a lawyer in Hollywood. His exposure to the world of cigars from actors is what eventually led him to leave being an attorney and become a cigar maker. Through hard work, perseverance, and luck, he would eventually create the Vintage series that would really break him into the cigar market and establish him as a high quality maker. His Vintage cigars, whether it be the 1990, 1992, or 1999 are all well made, fuller bodied, and a unique blend that is distinct to his label. In this review I’ve chosen a Vintage 1992 in a robusto size. The wrapper is an Ecuadorian Sumatran leaf, the binder is Nicaraguan, and the filler is a Dominican and Nicaraguan blend. The smooth well rolled cigar was a nice slow smoke, with a nice flavorful complexity, leaving me with one regret: that I didn’t have another to smoke right after.
This evening kicked off with a cool breeze, warm mug of light coffee, and a good cigar. I set up my chair on the front porch and looked out over at the field where the breeze made the grasses sway and dance while the creek burbled in the distance. I picked up the cigar and started to look it over… Firstly, the wrapper is quite smooth, almost like silk. There are mild veins, no more than what you’d see in any tobacco leaf, and unnoticeable to the touch. The cigar feels firm, only a slight bit of give, and no soft spots that I could feel. The only imperfection that I saw was a small sunspot towards the head of the cigar. As far as construction goes, the spot didn’t affect a thing, though aesthetically it wasn’t the most pleasing. But it’s just a minor flaw, and easily overlooked. I closed my eyes and slowly take in the scent of the cigar… It’s sweet, reminding me of my grandmother’s rose petal jam, very floral and fragrant, with hints of oak and cedar.
After looking over the cigar and getting a feel for it I start to light it up. Two matches toasted the foot of the cigar, getting it smoldering. Once I saw that the foot was well toasted, just starting to glow, I cut the head of the cigar and finished lighting with a third match. The first few puffs drew sweet medium-full bodied notes of earthy espresso with a touch of cocoa, oak, and a pleasant toasty sweet finish. As I kept smoking the flavors started to develop more. There was a touch of pepper to begin with that becomes a rich espresso and cocoa with a little oak mixed in with it. The finish is sweet, reminding me of a hard caramelized sugar. The whole experience reminds me a lot of being out by a bonfire. There’s the peppery bite of the sweet smoke from the fire, drinking dark percolated coffee and using bits of cocoa to flavor it, and the charred shell of a marshmallow finishing it. The espresso/cocoa and earthy woody flavors mingle well together, never really overpowering one or the other, going back and forth between which one comes to the fore. The start is always a mild pepper and the finish is always that sweet glazed sugar that coats the palette.
Overall I enjoyed this cigar a lot. I found that it was a cigar that I needed to sit back and enjoy slowly to pick up the different flavors and really appreciate them. No single flavor dominated the flavor profile: sometimes the espresso would be stronger, sometimes the cocoa would come to the fore, and sometimes the woodsy notes would be more prominent. The burn was fairly even, and considering the crosswind hitting me, did extremely well. Looking around online I found a box of 20 to sell for around $135. At $6.75 per cigar, I’d say you get a pretty decent deal there. Construction is excellent, flavor is great, and the cigar is priced well for what you get.
I enjoy Rocky Patel’s cigars. I prefer Romeo y Julieta or Padrons more, but I’ll give credit to RP in their Vintage lines. The only reason I don’t enjoy these more often is because they’re a more full bodied cigar than I normally smoke, and unless I really sit back and smoke this slowly it would be a little overpowering. The burn was even, the flavors are consistent between the 1992 series cigars that I’ve smoked, and the construction has been good between all of them. The overall experience was very pleasant and I’d have no issue buying more of these cigars again. I’d have no problem recommending these to a friend who likes more full bodied cigars, and have on a few occasions already.
Things to note are that this cigar has been in my humidor for just over 3 years. The flavors have mellowed out some and gotten smoother. Some rest time in the humidor isn’t a prerequisite to enjoying these, but it definitely makes it a smoother cigar. I paired this cigar with a mug of medium roast coffee and only a little bit of cream added in. The coffee mixed well with the notes of espresso, cocoa, and oak, and the sweet caramel finish really complimented the coffee as well.