ROCKY PATEL CUBAN BLEND
TORO COROJO NATURAL
Wrapper: Nicaraguan? Corojo Natural (stated in FSS catalogue)
Binder: Honduran Ligero
Filler: Honduran Ligero
Place of purchase: Famous Smoke Shop Exclusive (bought online)
TASTING SHEET RESULTS
APPEARANCE: very good: uniform color, veiny wrapper, with nice seams and cap, visible dark ligero in the bunch, filler is full of visible stems, found a torn spot on the wrapper near the head, but well salvaged by the roller with no repercussions on the smoke
CONSTRUCTION: good to very good: nicely applied and cap with a firm bunch
DRAW: a tad on the light side of perfect on opening, later perfect
BURN: very good to excellent
AROMA: average, cold smell on the wrapper very faint, foot is giving me nice sweetness
FLAVOR: very good, nice mix
DOMINANT FLAVORS: leather, cedar, caramel and a touch of pepper
AFTERTASTE: earth, wood
STRENGHT: moderate to strong
Smoking time: ~ 110 minutes
GENERAL IMPRESSION: very good
PRELIGHT: leather, cedar, spice, salty tobacco
LIGHT: torch flame lighter, easily
BEVERAGE: coffee with cream
The stick opens with pepper, cedar and salty tobacco. Abundance of smoke. At half inch, caramel with floral notes emerges and joins pepper, which by now, is lessening a few degrees. The smoke has a tipical »honduran« finish – flat salty tobacco, not something I particularly like. Burn is excellent at this point, thin burn line with nice, compact grey ash. Opening does remind of a cuban cigar to a degree, but completely without depth. Nose blow peppery.
The smoke is a bit onedimensional, with flavors unchanged. Body in the upper medium. Dry, tangy finish with underlying charred wood. Leather notes appear with caramel retreating to background. At this point, the finish turns earthy and I am getting some light vanilla on the nose. The smoke can take a real beating with overpuffing, but simply refuses to overheat. Flavors keep delivering, with burn and draw excellent. No sign of tar build-up, as expected from RP. Ashing consistently forms nice cone.
Body climbing to full, flavors remain: earth, leather, cedar dominate with pepper trailing behind and definite vanilla on the nose. Physical performance of the stick can match the best of them.
Just keeps delivering. Body settled in lower full. Minimal ash flowering at this point. Finish is turning somewhat metallic with charred wood. Even with all the moisture built up in the nub, still excellent burn line with no bitterness.
This is one tricky cigar. It tries really hard to immitate a cuban cigar, and in more ways than one, succeeds. Its name says it all: CUBAN BLEND. It really is reminiscent, but simply lacks depth of a cuban. There is no cuban twang. Things that reveal it`s pedigree are IMO:
- very thin burn line with excellent burn. Only well aged and stored cubans achieve that, at least from the ones I`ve sampled.
- »honduran« finish – I can only describe it by »flat« as opposed to rich, full and deep
- no coffee notes whatsoever, no wet, damp earth, and »different« leather (like new against old, worn)
Dare I suggest (and I am no blender, obviously) a tweak on the blend: a higher percentage of nicaraguan tobacco, no cello packaging and longer aging. If pressed, I would say it reminds me of a really young Ramon Allones SS.
Rocky truly is a great talent.