Cigar Reviews

Rocky Patel Vintage 1990

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So today is the last day to donate to my Movember Campaign and win some awesome cigars from either the Maldonado Dynasty or my Personal Humidor! There are a total of 5 Prizes up for grabs. Check out my post from last week for the details. The winners will be announced on Friday! Good luck to everyone who donated and thanks for the support!

Today’s review comes courtesy of Lou B. who you can find in the comments section every now and then. I met Lou at a herf a little while back and he’s been holding some awesome Cigar-B-Cue’s where we eat, smoke, drink and talk. At the last little gathering, Lou handed me a Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 and said that I had to try it and squeeze in a review if possible. We chatted a little about how my history with most Rocky Patel sticks is a little shaky but I would give it a shot.

So here I am today about to light up this cigar. I have had a few Vintage 1990’s a while ago but it’s been a rather long time so other than a few notes I made for myself I don’t have much to go on. I actually decided to ignore my old notes and go at this one blindly!

The Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 is the oldest cigar in his vintage line. This particular blend is made with Maduro Broadleaf wrapper dating back to 1990. So the wrapper on these cigars is near 12 Years old and apparently the filler is at least 5 years old before being rolled. That makes for a very well aged cigar right out of the box so let’s hope it has the smoothness you would expect on such a well aged smoke.

It seems that the Vintage 1990 line is also available in a wide variety of vitolas that come boxed in quantities of 20. I even stumbled upon some being sold as bundles so you can save a few dollars there too. The vitola Lou gifted me with happens to be their Churchill which also has a box-pressed look to it. The cigar also seems a lot smaller than the claimed 48 ring gauge, possibly due to the pressing. I’d say this cigar is almost around 42 or 44 ring gauge from a quick glance.

Now this cigar also has quite the reputation which can sometimes hinder a cigar. It’s been given a 92 rating by Cigar Aficionado and even been named to the Top 25 Cigars of the year twice. So this sets the bar fairly high when you read something like that before lighting up. But regardless of that, I’m going into this review with a clear mind and hoping for a good smoke. This one’s for you Lou!

Cigar: Rocky Patel Vintage 1990
Drink: Innis & Gunn Winter Beer 2011
Vitola: Churchill (7 x 48)
Wrapper: Honduran Maduro Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Dominican/Nicaraguan
Price: About $8.00
Burn Time: Just short of 2 hours

Construction:
• The wrapper on this cigar is velvety smooth and has the color of milk chocolate bar, it’s actually quite appealing to look at
• There are some veins and seams running along it’s length but none of them look large enough to pose any problems
• The vitola on this cigar is pretty interesting, but despite that the single cap looks to be expertly applied and clean
• The foot follows in the same ‘footsteps’ (cheesy pun, I know…lol) and is very well packed
• That also links into the fairly firm feel of the whole cigar, there is a tiny give when squeezed but not much, I think I’ll blame that on the box pressing process
• The cap clipped off nice and easy but left me with a bit of a tight draw, hoping that doesn’t continue and it opens up soon
• Glad to report that the draw opened up nicely within the first inch

Burn:
• The toasting was easy and fairly even, getting me off to a good start easily
• I usually get some funky burn lines on box pressed cigars but through the first couple inches this one is flawless
• Not much to report here, as I get to the halfway mark I’m still moving along flawlessly
• Still more nothing to report, lol. No wavy lines, no canoes, no tunnels, just the way I like it!

Smoke & Ash:
• There is a ton of resting smoke coming off this cigar, could be a little too much if I were in an enclosed room
• Even with a tight draw, I’m still picking up a fairly good amount of smoke from each puff
• The ash on this cigar is a nice even tone of light gray and is keeping itself fairly clean and tight
• Got to just about an inch before the ash fell off
• Next ash got to about an inch again before I tapped it off cause it was looking ready to fall
• Seemed to get a pretty consistent 1 inch ash on these that stayed clean

Tasting Notes:
• Running the cigar under my nose gives an easily noticeable aroma of coffee, but mostly of cedar. It’s light and pleasant, not overpowering
• The foot does away with the coffee but does carry the aroma of cedar and maybe a little bit of greenery
• I get the same greenery and cedar flavor as I take a pre-light draw after clipping the cap. Also an odd liquor type of flavor, almost like infused but you can tell it isn’t, interesting to see if that will carry into the smoking experience
• Initial flavors are mostly woodsy and earthy notes, maybe with a hint of coffee in there
• The coffee flavors are developing a bit as the cigar burns, still very mellow but they are there, maybe with a bit of cocoa too
• The start of this cigar as been fairly mild for the most part, maybe just approaching medium and the retrohale has almost no bite but gives a smooth cedar and coffee finish
• The liquor flavor I was getting is making slight appearances here and there, I can’t quite put my finger on what it is but it’s keeping the experience interesting. It’s sort of sweet and mixed with the coffee flavors I guess my closest comparison would be Kahlua or something similar
• The whole cigar seems to be quite well balanced to me, I’m getting a good variety of flavors that keep changing up on me and keeping me interested, none of them are overpowering the others
• The array of flavors has stayed the same through to the last third but the fact that they keep taking turns being the dominant one has kept me interested and enjoying the whole cigar so far
• Flavors got a little more intense near the nub, but no harshness or bitterness so I got to enjoy it to the very end

Final Thoughts:
So I have to admit I came into this cigar with some hesitation due to my past experiences with Rocky Patel sticks. I’ve had a few good ones, but most were not in my flavor profile. Even with Lou’s claims of how much he enjoyed this I was a little worried. I’m happy to report that I enjoyed this cigar! I wouldn’t put it into my top 10 but I would keep it on regular rotation as a reliable mild/medium bodied stick if I can find it on sale or maybe in the bundles. It had an interesting set of flavors that were very well balanced and it burned superbly. I don’t really have anything negative to say. If there was one critique I could make it’s that the flavors were not very pronounced. They were there, but you really had to sit and concentrate to pick up on them. Maybe this is due to their extended aging? I’m not too sure… You could easily enjoy it’s smoothness without paying attention, but if the flavor were a little more intense, this might have been a top 10 contender for me.

Pairings:
It’s no secret that I’m a HUGE fan of the Innis & Gunn Brewery and everything I’ve tried from them to date. Their Oak Aged Beers are simply the best I’ve been able to find so far with a sweet caramely smoothness. Every year they also come out with a Winter Seasonal, and as I mentioned in my last review, I’m a bit of a sucker for Winter Seasonals. So I had to get this, their Winter Beer 2011! The crappy part is that it’s only available in a Sampler pack here. Although I really enjoy their other beers in the sampler, it comes with a glass. I think I’m up to 5 or 6 Innis & Gunn glasses now because I keep buying the sampler packs they have for their seasonal beers… lol. But enough about my ranting, this beer keeps to my expectations for this brewery and brings a TON of flavor to the table. Along with the classic Oaky notes, you can pick up some citrus, vanilla, toffee and the signature caramel smoothness. All of their beers seem to pair best with a good mild or medium bodied cigar, so it fit very well in with the Rocky Patel Vintage 1990. Other good pairing would be a similar beer like a blonde or amber, and possibly a nice cup of coffee.

Daniel T. (a.k.a. Dalamscius) is an IT Professional from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He enjoys cigars, scuba diving, hockey, fishing, nature and anything that challenges his mind. If he's not sitting on his big comfy couch or at work you can usually find him in a boat on top of the water or 100ft under the water enjoying a dive. He is engaged to a wonderful Fiance and looking forward to his wedding. Feel free to contact Daniel anytime via email (dalamscius[at]gmail[dot]com). And make sure to follow him on twitter http://twitter.com/Dalamscius

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