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
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.