If you have never had a Rocky Patel cigar, you must be fairly new to cigars or living in a cave. Rocky Patel has been making cigars from mild to full body, with everything in between, for quite some time now; all at a fairly reasonable price. I have enjoyed quite a few Rocky Patel cigars over my many years of cigar smoking. But there is still quite a few I haven’t tried yet. Recently Holt’s Cigars offered me the chance to try a few of those I haven’t tried yet for a few reviews via their Rocky Patel Luxury Collection Toro Sampler. This sampler has 2 each of the toro size of “Ocean Club”, “Velvet Edition”, “Renaissance”, “Decade 10th Anniversary” and “Vintage 1990.” I had never tried the Ocean Club nor the Velvet, so I was looking forward to them as the others are good solid smokes. The sampler sells for less than $30 and for 10 cigars, that’s a great price. Where else can you get a toro for $3? Not to mention the sampler comes in a wooden box and not a cellophaned bundle like some samplers do.
I did a previous review of the Velvet which you can read it here. This time I will be taking a look at the Decade 10th Anniversary, which has been one of my go-to Rocky Patels. I usually enjoy it with a cup of black coffee and this time will be no different. This time I will pair it with some Buddy Brew Cubano coffee. A small back story on how I found Buddy Brew Coffee: For the last year or better, my 5yo daughter has been obsessed with going to Legoland Hotel and Resort in Winterhaven, FL. She has been watching numerous YouTube videos of the place and I decided to bite the bullet, and take the family down there (my wallet is still burning) this past July. Visiting Florida in July is something I don’t recommend, but she had a blast and was worth every penny. After a few days there, we went to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium to see Winter the dolphin who has a prosthetic tail who she is obsessed with as well. On the way home I wanted to do something simple for me and ended up at one of my favorite breweries, Cigar City Brewing in Tampa for a tour. They have a Cubano Espresso beer that I fell in love with and ended up bootlegging a few cases back to MS. While waiting for the tour, a Buddy Brew van pulls up to deliver their coffee that goes into the beer. As luck would have it, I purchased a bag of fresh roasted whole bean Cubano Espresso coffee there. This said coffee is what I will be pairing the Decade with.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Price: $3 (In sampler). $11.40 (Single)
The Decade has one of my favorite wrappers, the Equadorian Sumatra. Its got some decent sized veins on it, deeply applied double cap all in a slightly box pressed shape. The foot has an aroma of lightly charred wood, nuts and hints of nutmeg with a slight spice kick. A straight cut gives off a very easy draw with flavors of a slight vegetal taste with some woodiness to it. Note: I did dry box this cigar some before the review.
The draw did stiffen up some once into the cigar, which actually was a good thing. The cold draw was almost too easy for me. The main drawback I have with a boxpressed cigar is the burn. Just about every boxpress cigar I’ve ever had has had some sort of burn issue. This one was no exception and its burn issues showed from the start. I don’t mind keeping an eye on a burn line, but sometimes it can become a chore and that can take away from the enjoyment of the cigar. There was a bit of a burn issue in the middle section of the cigar that I had to touch it up. After letting it try to work out its course that did not work. The cigar produced a nice amount of ambient smoke, but the drawn smoke output was tenfold more with an decent, yet sometimes pungent room note. The ashes were a bit on the flaky side with hues of white, medium gray and some darker grays. Each ash lasted every bit of an inch and a half. They could have gone more, but I didn’t want to christen my new smoking shirt with ash and burn holes just yet.
The first handful of draws I get a nice spice kick with hints of a dark charred oak on the back half of the draw. The body is a solid medium to full right off the bat and the flavor strength is around the same. Once a bit into the cigar, a chalky dark chocolate, with a accompanied bitterness, flavor arose. This is one of the key flavors that I have always enjoyed in the Decade. Taking a sip of the coffee eases off the bitterness left on my palate and makes the flavors a bit rounded and not as in your face bold. Getting out of the first third, some of the vegetal notes I got in the cold draw show up. They aren’t as bold as in the cold draw, but its an odd introduction to the flavors. A sip of coffee eases that off and gets the smoke a little more back to where it was previously.
Getting into the middle portion, the chalkiness of the dark chocolate is pretty much dissipated by the sips of coffee. I don’t like nor hate the chalkiness but I am not sad to see it go. Soon there after, a roasted peanut flavor comes up in equal strength to the dark chocolate that’s simmered down some. The vegetal tone transitions into a grass and dried straw note. The straw part helps offset the vegetal twang of the grass note and a sip of the coffee eases it down even more. Around the mid point of the cigar, the dark chocolate starts to ramp up some in strength. There is also a hint of a sweetness shining through which was exposed by the bit of sugar I put in the coffee. This is sweet spot of the cigar in my eyes. All the flavors seem to flow well together and no one out shines the other. Not too much change in the last part of the middle portion of the cigar. Still has the dark chocolate with slight sweetness, roasted peanuts and some vegetal & straw tones.
Starting off the final leg of the cigar, the flavors are pretty much the same. The dark chocolate, roasted peanuts, and straw notes are still present. The vegetal grass note meanders off into the sunset as its not too noticeable anymore. The sweetness is not as sweet as it was before; more like a graham cracker type of sweetness. My coffee is pretty much cooled off now and I wish I wouldn’t have babied it and made up another cup. But two cups before bed & work at 5am is not a great idea. A new and interesting flavor shows up in the final third, salt. Yes, I said salt. It tastes like its coming from the roasted peanut side of the flavor profile. Its pretty distinct and almost takes away from the dark chocolate notes. The saltiness leads me to get a sip or two of the now cold coffee to lessen it to a better showing. With about an inch to go, the flavors start to dwindle down in strength. Shortly there after I lay the nub to down as it was time to rest. The cigar ends well with no outbursts of foul/off flavors or bitterness. It didn’t get hot or need a purge like some cigars of similar strength would. A nice way to end a good smoke.
I have come to the conclusion that my huge coffee mug is great for holding mass amounts of coffee. Yet, it doesn’t keep that amount hot/warm for very long. I suppose I’ll have to keep using my work stainless Yeti-Like tumbler for mass amounts of hot coffee. Yes, I paid $8 for one at Wal-Mart instead of a $40 Yeti and it works just as good! The coffee helped round out and mellow down some of the flavors. I think it worked out quite well and next time I think I will grind it finer and make some Cuban style coffee and try the pairing out. I still like this cigar as I remember. Its still got a nice strength, good somewhat dark but smooth flavors and pretty decent construction. The burn issues of the last two thirds did get a little out of hand. It was aggravating eventually and I didn’t want it to start to affect the flavors of uneven burning (or not burning) tobacco so I had to touch them up.
Is the cigar worth the $11+ price tag? Eh… To be honest I’ve had quite a few better in that price range. But, when bought in the Luxury Sampler for around $3 its a great bargain! For the price of two or three cigars, you can get a boxed sampler of 10. In my eyes, that’s one heck of a deal and would make a good Christmas gift for a fellow cigar smoker.
The coffee is one of my favorites so far. I usually drink it on days I’m off so I can really enjoy it. I leave the K-Cup style coffee to go to work with. The Buddy Brew whole beans bag runs you about $16/bag. Not the most expensive bag I’ve ever bought, but no where near the cheapest. Its a pretty strong coffee, but not enough to give one the jitters. Its better with a teaspoon of sugar than not. I am looking forward to it made “Cuban Style.”
*This cigar was provided to me, unsolicited, from Holt’s Cigars for this review (prior to any FDA regulations). Many thanks to those great people for the opportunity to review this cigar!