Late Tuesday night I receive an email from Havana Phil telling me that Rocky Patel is going to make a quick stop at Havana Phil's on his way to an event later that evening somewhere in North Carolina. Havana Phil's has a Rocky Patel Cigar Lounge, and what a gorgeous lounge it is too! I was very pleased to hear this, and awaited to hear the time of his arrival. If you have never met Rocky Patel then you have missed out in meeting one of the greatest guys in the business. To say it plainly, he is a great guy! Before Rocky showed up I lit up a 15th Anniversary Corona Gorda in his honor only to be presented with the new Rocky Patel 50 moments later by Rocky himself. I didn't want to put down a great cigar like the 15th so I was going to wait and smoke the 50 that evening. Well, I lacked the patience and lit it up directly after finishing my 15th. The vitola he brought was the robusto, and it is the first box of production displaying 0 of 2000 on the box. I will say that the box is gorgeous to look at, and is definitely a great sign of tribute to Rocky Patel's 50th birthday. Before I get into the review I would like to thank Rocky Patel for his time and kindness, and wish him the best!
Rocky Patel 50
The 50 is made to honor the 50th birthday of Rocky Patel, and is due to be released in October. The cigar will have three vitolas, and each vitola is limited to 2000 boxes. Like all of his new cigars, the 50 is made in Rocky's newest factory in Esteli, Nicaragua, Tabacalera Tavicusa Sociedad. This is the factory where the 15th, Xen, and Thunderer are being made, and where the rest of his lines will eventually be moved. The cigar features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, and has a Nicaraguan binder and fillers. Like the 15th, the cigar is made in the traditional Cuban fashion and is gorgeous to look at. I am not sure of the breakdown of tobacco, but it probably has some very special tobacco in it that Rocky is keeping secret. The robusto measures 5 1/2" and has a 50 ring gauge. The band near the head has the infamous RP logo, and around the foot is a second band displaying the number 50.
The box-pressed foot
Holding the cigar in hand it is really incredible. The box-pressed cigar is a very tight press, and it reminds me of his I-Press. The wrapper is very dark with some minor oils on it and very few veins present. Like all of his cigars coming out of his new factory it has a great triple cap and is very firm to touch. Rocky Patel tends to make box-pressed cigars on his ultra premium lines, and I love that about them. I think box-pressed cigar smoke great and you can really get lots of flavor with them. I hold the foot of the cigar up to my nose, and I get lovely aromas of roasted nuts, rich earth, leather and dark spices. I get right to it and light up the stick. The first third is very lovely showing lots of chocolate, nuts and spice notes. The spices I am picking up are close to that of curry and chili peppers and it is very lovely and complex. I had no burn issues through the first third, and the smoke it is producing is very thick. I would say the cigar is smoking between medium and full, and would be great for me anytime of the day.
I have smoked the cigar into the second third now, and there is a big change in flavors. The chocolate sweetness from the first third has died now, and is replaced with lovely cedar and oak notes. There is still the leather and spice present, and it has a great nutty finish. The change in flavors really showed in this cigar and it is truly remarkable. You can usually pick up a change in flavors from thirds in good cigars, but this cigar really was at the top of the heap. The cigar still burned incredibly well in the second third, and was producing thick clouds of smoke. The ash at this point has been a dark gray and has been very firm. When I get into the final third of the cigar the flavors from the first third begin to return and it is very elegant. I am picking up some new stoned-fruit flavors with chocolate up front, and it has a lovely spicy and nutty finish. There was a minor burn issue in the final third, but it corrected itself in a short amount of time and presented no problems for me. I put the cigar down and let it extinguish itself right at the nub.
What an amazing cigar, and easily worth a 95 rating. I thought the flavors were impeccable, and the cigar was made incredibly well. The cigar to me showed both the greatest qualities from the Decade and 15th Anniversary, and I consider it to be one of Rocky's great cigars. I really loved that this cigar was made at his new factory, and this factory is making great cigars. Rocky Patel has definitely come a long way in the cigar industry and has overcome many challenges along the way. He is making amazing smokes right now and I think he is the Top Five for most recognized names in the industry. This will be a great cigar for those special occasions, and a great gift for those friends of yours who enjoy only the best. I know I will definitely stockpile these sticks in my humidor and pull them out when only the best is called for. I found this cigar to be one of the most flavorful sticks I have had recently, and very balanced the whole way through. The 2011 IPCPR has definitely showcased great new cigars, and the 50 by Rocky Patel is in the Top Five. With ratings in mind I foresee this cigar being in my Top 25 for 2011. This was truly a great gift to all of us who were present, and I know that I speak for all of us when I say that we were incredibly impressed. Thank you once again Rocky, and I wish you the best!
* This cigar was gifted to me by Rocky Patel on his quick stop to Havana Phil's
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