Rocky Patel Decade Cigar Review
When you think of the major cigar brands at play in the US, generally your mind goes to those long-lasting, heritage brands. Brands like Montecristo, Padron, or Arturo Fuente, essentially manufacturers that have been around for the better part of a century. However, in the midst of the cigar boom, several new players began to emerge that today have become, themselves, icons of the industry. Names like Alec Bradley, Perdomo, and of course Rocky Patel all made their bones in the 90s and are now considered top tier manufacturers.
Rocky Patel, who started out as a Hollywood lawyer, has made a tremendous impact during his time in the industry. He has a number of highly-rated lines, several of which have been named to the best cigar of the year lists. Today we are going to focus on one of his most iconic brands, a cigar that elevated him from a solid company to the phenomenon he is now.
The Rocky Patel Decade was first released back in 2007, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the company. Almost immediately, it was being hailed as one of the best cigars of the year. It was even named to the Cigar Aficionado Top 15 Cigars of the Year list, achieving a 95 rating. Since then, this cigar has been one of the cornerstones of the company is still one of their best sellers.
The Decade is hand-rolled at the El Paraiso factory in Honduras by the legendary Plasencia family. It uses aged Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos for the filler, along with a Nicaraguan binder and a stunning Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. Visually this cigar is stunning. The wrapper is nearly flawless, with just one thicker vein. I love the band presentation and the cigar has a solid amount of spongy give to indicate great humidification.
For the cold draw, I am getting a great amount of airflow as well as slight touches of nuts and earth, indicative of the flavors that Honduras and Sumatra are famous for.
In the first third, I am greeted with a great bevy of rich and enticing flavors. Peanuts and coffee mix with an underlying hint of leather with just a dash of spice. The smoke output is great as is the overall draw. Seeing as this was a box-press I was expecting a nice even burn, which it had. The ash remained white and tight, showing great age and high quality rolling. So far, this cigar is everything it was foretold to be.
As we enter the second third, what I call the crux of the cigar, we do get to see some flavor transitions, which shows complexity. Coffee and earth become more prominent, with the spicy slightly dissipating. The smoke output has kicked up a notch as has the overall strength, but nothing that would be classified as too intense. The burn is still solid and the ash is staying on like a champion.
The final third, in my opinion, can make or break a cigar. Much like dessert at the end of a meal, if this stinks it can ruin the entire experience. Luckily, this cigar stays true to form. The Coffee notes are met with a rich, chocolate undertone as well as an accelerated leather quality. The spice has returned, but still as more of a background character. I did have to fix the burn once, but that was more personal preference and OCD. I was surprised by how smooth this cigar stayed, even as we reached the nubbing stage.
Overall, this is an amazing smoke and I think one of the best of the Rocky core line offerings. It has all the complexity one could ask for along with top-notch construction from the Plasencia factory. There is a reason this has become such an iconic line, and I see it remaining popular for years to come.