Cigar Review: Rocky Patel Decade

Rocky Patel Decade

Rocky Patel Decade

I held off until now on commenting about the list that Cigar Aficionado put out with what they believe to be the top cigars of 2009. This post is a perfect example of how my opinions are not to win over and influence people. Or maybe it is. I guess it depends on what side of the aisle you are on. There were a lot of questionable cigars listed. For me their list seemed to be stuck in the 80s for the most part. Fuente and Diamond Crown are good cigars don’t get me wrong but didn’t there time pass already?

Also can someone tell me how Pete Johnson only had one cigar in the list, and how it was the Ambos Mundos? Granted it is a decent cigar, but so many of his sticks blow that one out of the water. The top 10 of the list to me felt like I was reading the top 10 advertisers for the publications. And the biggest issue I had with the list was the cigar coming in at number 8.

I now offer to you an unbiased non-advertising influenced review of a cigar from that company…

Cigar: Rocky Patel Decade
Size: 5 x 50 (Robusto)
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Nicaragua
Filler: Nicaragua
Strength: Medium

Appearance and Construction (15/20): I really think Rocky Patel leads the marketplace in patch jobs. I could not believe my eyes that there were signs of a patch under the top band of this cigar. So prior to cutting and lighting I removed the band and sure enough it had one about the size of a thumbnail.  Other then this glaring issue, the Sumatra wrapper is beautiful looking with a decent amount of oils. The cigar is nicely rolled with a perfectly placed cap. There were no soft spots and it had a well packed foot. The dual band system denotes the brand on the top and the line on the secondary.

Flavor & Notes (27/30): Prior to lighting up there are notes of sweet earthy tobacco which to be honest were quite enjoyable. As I smoked the first third of the cigar the notes were leather and wood with a nice finish that I found to be quite enjoyable. The cigar is incredibly smooth as we move into the second third of the cigar. The notes continue to be leather and wood and I wish I had a nice single malt scotch at this point to pair with my smoke. The final third turned out to be much of the same with a continuing leather and wood.

Burn/Ash/Draw (20/25): The burn of the cigar was even and slow however the wrapper split on two different occasions. Once in the first third just above the burn line, but it never effected the over all burn. The second time was near the patch job which prevented me from nubbin the cigar. The ash was a tight marbleized gray that held on well past the first split and I did not ash til it was time to remove the secondary band. The draw of the cigar was ideal.

Overall (20/25): Perplexed. Granted the cigar is good, but construction wise the cigar is a nightmare. It wasn’t just this cigar either. Checking my notes on various Rocky Patel cigars especially the decade line I have notations of splitting of the wrapper, patch jobs and more. This an issue I’ve had with a lot of Rocky Patel cigars but yet a certain magazine ranks these high time and time again.

Rating: 82
Price: $8.00




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  • http://www.cigarobsession.com Bryan Glynn

    “And the biggest issue I had with the list was today’s cigar coming in at number 8.”

    Close, but no cigar (ha!!). The Olde World Reserve was #8, not Decade.

  • cj

    Bryan, he did not state the Decade was 8th, just that he was reviewing a Rocky cigar. He means he had big issues with it being 8 because of what is written in the rest of his review.

    I it an odd choice Barry, and I take the magazine simply because they offer it so cheap through the mail. I like Cigar Snob, I think out of Florida, and Smoke is o.k. as well. For me, the slap was picking a $25 cigar #1 when last year the 80th was not because of price! Nice review here!

  • cj

    Bryan, he did not state the Decade was 8th, just that he was reviewing a Rocky cigar. He means he had big issues with it being 8 because of what is written in the rest of his review.

    It is an odd choice Barry, and I take the magazine simply because they offer it so cheap through the mail. I like Cigar Snob, I think out of Florida, and Smoke is o.k. as well. For me, the slap was picking a $25 cigar #1 when last year the 80th was not because of price! Nice review here!

  • http://Herfer'sParadise JoeBlue

    You want splitting wrappers? Smoke a Cain or a Cain F. (Heck, you don’t even have to smoke them–just lay them in the ashtray and watch them pop.)

  • Peter

    I have never had any construction problems of patch jobs on my decades. I have no idea where you get your decades from but maybe it’s time to change suppliers because my decades are a 20 out of 20 in construction. A fabulous cigar with absolutely no flaws!

  • http://www.acigarsmoker.com Barry

    Peter,

    I handle the ordering for a local cigar shop so I get the decades direct from Rocky Patel. I’ve had a few patch jobs more so as of late. And unless you really look hard a patch is often hard to detect.

  • Peter

    I’ve been smoking cigars for over 15 years and I’m on my third box of decades but not robustos mine are torpedos with absolutely no flaws and no patch jobs. Maybe it’s a robusto problem I don’t know because I only smoke the torpedos

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  • Joe

    Never had a problem with the decade in the construction department. My only complaint about Rocky is that he makes to many cigar lines that in my opinoin are just average.
    The decade is a very flavorful smooth cigar and one of his best.

  • Peter

    I only smoke the decades and the 1992′s. I won’t even bother with the rest

  • http://tikibaronline.blogspot.com/ dmj

    “The top 10 of the list to me felt like I was reading the top 10 advertisers for the publications.”

    I have to take exception to statements like that; they leave cigar bloggers sounding more like 9-11 truthers than anything else. I should not have to point out that 2 of the top 10 cigars chosen for 2009 were Cuban. And how much advertising revenue do Cuban manufacturers send to CA? That’s a big fat $0. Padron was chosen as number 1; not a huge advertiser, either, if you count the number of ad pages sold to any particular company. Ditto with Oliva and EO (makers of the 601). Ashton is one of the largest advertisers and they came in 9th place.

    I don’t understand why people can’t just take the CA reviews as just someone’s opinion just like every other review, whether it be in some other magazine or online? I personally am a big fan of the RP Decade and haven’t had an experience with construction like you did. But I won’t accuse you of biasing your review because Rocky wouldn’t advertise with you. Conversely, looking at the list of cigars on the right, I could accuse you of being in the tank for CAO because they advertise with you…after all every one of their sticks is rated an 89 or higher. But, I won’t accuse you of that because I want to inherently trust people.

    Now, regarding CA’s reviews and ratings, I have detected a correlation between what cigar get reviewed and who advertises. I studied the whole ads vs. ratings issue over a couple months and found no correlation between number of pages bought and overall rating, but did notice that is is rare for them to review a cigar when the company making them does not advertise (with the exception of Cuban sticks). If you want to see a real conflict of interest in the cigar publication world, I invite you to check out “Cigar Magazine” sometime. On the surface, most people would like them better than CA because they tend to focus on cigars more, with plenty of related articles and reviews. But then you hear that they are owned by the same company that owns Altadis and you have to take a step back. Even if they tried for independent thought, it would be impossible to ever trust them.

  • rammer

    i don’t like Cigar Aficionado………. very slick and lots of folks who don’t smoke cigars on the covers…i.e. Carmen Zeta Jones…… What is up with that?

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  • dj

    Patch job?!

    See whadda newb I am: I’ve never even noticed!

  • Jeffrey Cohen

    Dear Barry:

    I am only 3 months into this cigar smoking hobby/obsession. I want to raise some concerns as regards cigar ratings, and would be interested in what you and your readers think about it.
    (1) I’m concerned that these ratings affect sales a lot more than they should. It seems the ratings have too much influence.
    (2) I’m concerned that the advertisers and cigar retailers misrepresent the ratings of a given cigar by referring to a rating that is so old that no one knows what has happened to the quality in the subsequent years.
    (3) I’m concerned that some retailers imply a cigar has a high rating when it was another size entirely that received the high rating, and not the one they are talking about.
    (4) I’m concerned that most of the cigars being offered have ratings that are older than 2-3 years, and are suspect.
    (5) Is it good for the industry that one publication in particular has so much influence?

    The wine industry has 2 separate competing catalog-length ratings publications* that rate many thousands of wines, but we’re lucky if a cigar is rated once every 5 or 10 years. I’m not talking about the very small subset of the most popular premium cigars that are rated every few years.

    There are very few current comparable cigar publications. Most of the cigar books date from the 1990′s, and there are no current comprehensive annual publications that rate cigars. By comprehensive I mean covering say 5000 current cigars, and by current I mean published either every year, or every other year.

    This leaves us cigar smokers in the dark. We have no current comprehensive authoritative set of publications to guide us.

    What do you and your readers feel about the concerns I have raised? (If this is not the best forum to use to raise these questions, what forums do you recommend?)

    Yours truly,
    Jeff Cohen

    *Wine Enthusiast Essential Buying Guide (Annual) (lists 50,000 wines – most are rated)
    Wine Spectator’s Ultimate Guide to Buying Wine (published every other year with ratings for 10,000 plus wines)
    Wine Report (annual – 432 pages – number of wines reviewed not known)
    There are many other authors that publish every few years on a smaller number of wines, for example Parker’s Wine Buying Guide, Hugh Johnsons Pocket Wine Buying Book

  • Rubix^3

    The Decades I have smoked have all had superb construction and smoking characteristics. My favorite of the RP lineup too. As for C.A.–advertising biased or not, I agree;
    how does “blind” tasting get you the Ambos Mundos out of all the Tatuaje line? Very odd indeed.
    Otherwise, I have found C.A. to steer me towards some great cigars over the years.

  • Sticks

    Both Rocky P. and Gurka have cranked out so many average cigars that I don’t even think of purchasing anything from them. Too much hype and not enough substance for the most part. I know that the both of them have some fine cigars but overall they flooded the market wth just so-so cigars at high prices. I am tired of all of they high priced so called premium cigars. Thanks for letting me vent.

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