Thursday, July 22, 2010

Nording by Rocky Patel Toro Grande

Shape: Toro Grande
Origin: Honduras
Body: Medium - Full
Wrapper: Costa Rican Maduro
Binder: Mexican
Filler: Nicaraguan
Smoke Clock: 1 hr 25 min

Plopping down at one of my usual park benches amidst the meager number of families at the lake, I pulled out my Rocky Patel Nording and took it in with the surroundings.

My first glance at this cigar made me want to skip all the foreplay and get right to the smoke. The wrapper on this cigar is absolutely beautiful. Consistent color, seamless, smooth, and oily, the wrapper on Nording cried out to me, “Please smoke me!”

Before I gave in completely to this wily wrapper, I forced myself to take a whiff. Delicious wafts of sweet leather, earth, and spice glided through my nose and made me start salivating like a black dog on a hot day.

Unable to wait any longer, I snipped the end and took a draw. The very first thing I tasted was sweet iced tea. Inexplicable in an unflavored cigar, yet it was there. Another draw revealed leather and spice and… sweet tea.

At this point, waiting any longer to light this puppy would’ve been unbearable so, giving in, I lit up. Reading directly from my notes, the first word I wrote down was “heaven.” With plenty of pepper on the lips and palate, the first light profile rounded out with leather, oak, and cedar notes with a hint of that sweet tea I detected in the pre-light draw. The body started out round and robust and solidly medium.

As the first quarter progressed, wood & nut notes became formidable players in the profile. Spice continued to be a presence on the palate and through the nose with compost notes joining in. Towards the beginning of the second quarter, chocolate and coffee notes began to creep in with hints of toffee. Mmm mmm!

Cocoa and coffee with a sweet toffee background emerged as dominant in the flavor profile in the second quarter. This cigar was proving to be quite an incredible ride! A lot of the spice had abated by this point, giving way to evolving coffee notes towards the third quarter. Progressing through the second quarter, I noticed that there was a natural sweetness felt on the lips which made every puff that much more delectable.

The third quarter continued the trend set by the second quarter, but continued to evolve. This was most noticeable towards the end as cocoa and spice began to overtake the coffee notes and the sweetness ramped back up. This trend continued through the long and satisfying finish of this fantastic smoke.

This cigar held my complete attention throughout the entirety of the smoke, nearly blinding me to the babbling of the creek nearby or the playing of children and parents in said creek. My environment did effect me, however. Playing outside in the sun and amongst nature tends to bring out my artistic side, but this cigar moved me to poetry. If I may:

(Clears his throat)

Roses are red
Cigar smoke is blue
Nording is sweet
So pick up a few!

(Takes a bow)

Presentation: 4/5 – Excellent design running with the Viking theme, the band features two butting rams which, for me, invokes a Viking energy. Great use of color and contrast on the double bands.

Appearance: 4/5 – The wrapper was seamless, oily, smooth, and exhibited a beautiful dark red/brown color which was very consistent all over. This is pretty impressive considering the size of this stick. Absolutely mouth watering.

Construction: 42/45 – The pack was firm, leaving the draw feeling a bit tight, but the tight draw proved to be an illusion once I started smoking. The burn was pretty wavy but never presented any real problems.

Flavor: 43/45 – This blend blew my socks off, offering lots of sweetness and evolution throughout the smoke. A mind blowing blend to say the least.

Overall: 93/100 – I thoroughly enjoyed this smoke and will definitely be picking up another. From the first glance at this cigar until the time you set it down, the Rocky Patel Nording does not disappoint. This cigar is a cut above the rest and, in this reviewers opinion, cannot be beat at its price point.



Rocky Patel Decade Toro

Size: 6.5 X 52

Shape: Toro

Origin: Honduras

Body: Medium - Full
Wrapper: Equadorian
Binder: Honduran
Filler: Nicaraguan

Smoke Clock: 1 hr

It was a rainy day in the park, but that wasn’t about to stop me from enjoying a fine cigar. I took refuge on the porch of the Pavilion housing Cortland Repertory Theatre (where I’m working for the summer), and went to it.

That day it was the Rocky Patel Decade that I had brought along with me, a cigar that I eagerly looked forward to.

Passing the stick beneath my nose, I detected oak and cedar notes with some underlying leather and peat. If the pre-light aroma was any indication, this cigar had the makings of a refined and relaxing smoke. I snipped the foot and drew, tasting sweet alfalfa on the palate with a light amount of pepper on the lips.

Eager to dive in, I lit up and was rewarded with light spice and sweetness, complimenting what seemed a definitive bbq flavor at the start. This opened up in the first quarter, exhibiting those oak, cedar, and leather notes which were detectable pre-light. A caramel note emerged towards the end of the first quarter, complimenting the wood notes in a subtle yet specific way, like the smell of a freshly dipped caramel apple. Coffee and chocolate notes also began to emerge and mingle with the already tasty profile.

The second quarter was slowly overtaken by the coffee and chocolate notes, supported by caramel with cedar and leather remaining firmly in the background. Rolling smoke through the nose revealed a pure compost note which was otherwise undetectable on the palate.

Rain continued to spatter the ground as the third quarter began. The coffee notes continued to overtake the remaining flavors in the profile with chocolate remaining a strong supporter. Caramel notes slid into the background but remained present and enjoyable through the end.

This was a nice relaxing smoke which fit perfectly into my dinner break from work. Smoking the Decade provided me with exactly what I needed then, a bit of calm relaxation on an otherwise stormy day.


Presentation: 2/5 – I’m not a big fan of the bands on this stick. There are three of them, but only two carry a consistent color and design theme, which appears a bit under thought and lazily designed. The third band is so far from the other two in color and concept that it almost appears to be an afterthought which someone on the line thought might be a fun addition. Oh well. You can’t win ‘em all.

Appearance: 4/5 – The wrapper, on the other hand, is beautiful. Dark, consistent, oily, and seamless, this stick is a delight to the eye.

Construction: 40/45 – This stick is very firm with a soft spot at the head. The draw was pretty good, but I did feel like I was tugging at times. I experienced a few runs, but none required a relight as the cigar fixed itself.

Flavor: 42/45 – Simple: Sweet earth, chocolate, coffee, and caramel dominate this tasty flavor profile. Very pure flavors which I found to be relaxing and very enjoyable.

Overall: 88/100 – This cigar was a solid smoke, very relaxing, and quite tasty. I’d recommend picking one up to give it a try.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pinar del Rio Cubano Especial

Size: 5 X 52
Shape: Robusto
Origin: Dominican Republic
Body: Medium
Wrapper: Brazilian Arapirca
Binder: 1998 Dominican Criollo
Filler: 1998 Dominican/Nicaraguan Criollo
Smoke Clock: 45 mins

Over the weekend, as per usual this summer, I made my happy way into the heart of beautiful Dwyer Park to enjoy the beauty of the day. Low and behold, I had an excellent cigar to keep me company.

I found a nice secluded picnic table to rest on and pulled out my Pinar Del Rio 1878 Cubano Especial Capa Madura. Passing this stick beneath my nose I detected leather, cedar, and manure supported with an underlying sweetness. Clipping the head of this cigar was effortless, like passing a sharp knife through hot butter.

Drawing on the now clipped stick, I experienced a lot of spice and earth, which left me expecting a very hearty smoke. I was not to be disappointed.

Upon lighting, I tasted a balanced degree of spice, dark chocolate, caramel, and leather, all standing alone and yet standing together. This flavor profile was fleeting however, giving way to a much more earthen experience.

The first quarter really established what this stick had to offer. Salt and pepper danced across the palate as leather and earth sat solidly as dominant players in this profile. Subtle notes of nuts crept across the experience as well but never became indiscrete. As the first quarter drew to an end, the spice began to mellow out which allowed the other flavors in the profile to peak through and display how pure and rich they were.

Throughout the remainder of the experience, earth and leather notes dominated the experience on the palate and the nose. However, when rolled through the nose, the smoke consistently elicited a delicate yet intricate compost note.

Despite my isolate location in the park, the wind managed to find me and picked up as I set down my Cubano Especial. The time spent enjoying this hearty smoke truly elevated me and had me looking forward to the next time I might lay my hands on one.


Presentation: 9/10 – I really like the way this cigar is presented. The band is bold and masculine with no frills or decoration. Hard lines and stark contrast draw your attention to the only thing that matters on this band, the name. The design very accurately represents this cigar: bold and straight forward.

Appearance: 8/10 – The wrapper of this beauty is quite dark and consistently so. It is also very oily and toothy with very little seem to be seen.

Construction: 31/35 – The cigar was firm throughout with no soft spots and the draw was quite open despite the firm pack. However, the burn was a pretty inconsistent, causing a few serious runs which required touch ups.

Flavor: 41/45 – The profile was very hearty with earth and leather notes dominating. It was simple and straightforward but provided an excellent smoke with pure flavors and a nice depth to the profile.

Overall: 89/100 – This cigar was an excellent and straightforward smoke. The profile is hearty with earth and leather notes dominating with a depth to the profile. This well presented and attractive stick has an excellent draw and pack but burns unevenly. Despite the burn, this cigar is an excellent smoke that I would recommend to medium bodied fans.