December 1, 2017

Cigar Review: Rocky Patel Winter Collection 2018 Robusto

Rocky Patel Winter Collection 2018
It was in 2009 that we saw the first Winter Collection by Rocky Patel Cigars, and the cigar was a hit. I know I loved the cigar with its great PA Broadleaf wrapper, and when they were all gone I was upset. I didn't care for his other seasonal lines but the Winter line really stuck with me. The wintertime is a tough time for cigar smokers who have to smoke outdoors, and in the wintertime when I smoke outside I want a cigar that is going to warm me up and keep me interested. I always look for a cigar that can go great with a nice warm beverage, or can keep you going all on its own. I want something with a lot of rich flavors, spices, and a solid body. Well, the Rocky Patel Winter Collection 2009 did that, and when I heard there was going to be a Winter Collection 2018 I was just as happy, and hoping it would perform as well as the last blend.

I have always been a fan of Rocky Patel, and love what he has done and is doing to the cigar industry, and that begins with his blends. For years he has worked closely with great individuals in the industry, but I was so happy for him when he got his own factory in 2009. I know he is still working closely with his friends from before, but it is always great to see someone go out on his own you may say. His factory, Tabacalera Villa Cuba S.A., in Esteli, Nicaragua has been producing some great cigars since it was opened, and I love that they are embracing the old Cuban style method with that by rolling the cigar entubar style, having two binders, and finishing it with a great triple cap. The factory started off with the Rocky Patel 1961 and the Rocky Patel 15th, and now we are many lines further in and they are doing just as great.

The Winter Collection 2018 begins with a gorgeous Ecuadorian Habano wrapper that looks like it is either Colorado Maduro or Maduro in coloring. It has a dual binder, one from Costa Rica, and the other Mexican San Andres, and has fillers form Panama and Nicaragua. As you probably know I love cigars with Ecuadorian Habano wrappers and anything with Nicaraguan tobacco. But I am a huge fan of Costa Rica, Mexican and Panamanian tobacco as well. There are not many manufacturers who use that tobacco frequently. Mostly I think of Rocky, Gran Habano, Jesus Fuego and AJ Fernandez, and that is a shame because the tobacco is so unique and very flavorful.
Winter Collection 2018 (nice bands...I though Rocky was a Green Bay fan?)
For this review I chose the robusto vitola which measures 5 1/2" with a 50 ring gauge. The cigar is slightly box pressed, similar to the Alec Bradley Prensado, and it has a beautiful wrapper to it. The coloring is that of dark milk chocolate, and I would put it in the Maduro coloring in my opinion. The wrapper really reminds me of the Thunder by Nimish, but that is due to the coloring mostly. This could be a leaf from a different priming, not necessarily the same. There are very few veins present in the cigar and it is not oily but smooth to touch. Holding the cigar in hand it is very firm and the triple cap was placed perfectly. The aromas are that of spice, rich earth, oak and cocoa, and I know this cigar is going to be a treat.

I light up the cigar, and let it get a little way into the first third before really analyzing the smoke. Right away though I am picking up nice spice notes. Once I have smoked some, and I am in the first third I really begin to pick up lovely bits of spices. Most of the spice notes are that of pepper, but I am also getting bits of cinnamon, cayenne and paprika. I am also getting nice flavors of chocolate covered espresso beans, and a finish of rich earth, leather and oak. I would say the cigar is smoking around medium in body, and it has a great burn. The ash is a lovely light charcoal gray, and it is producing a wonderful amount of smoke.
Beautiful Colorado Maduro coloring on the wrapper
When I get into the second I find it to really show a lot more spice notes. It is still very balanced, and at no point do the spices overpower my nostrils, but I can definitely get a lot red and black pepper. I am not getting any chocolate notes in this third, but I am picking up a lot more coffee, oak and leather. There has been a nice and noticeable change in the flavors in this third, and it really keeps me on the edge of my seat. The strength is now closer to full, but still very well made and balanced. The burn is still performing wonderfully at this point, and the ash is holding on strong.

As I get into the final third I am beginning to see a return of the first third flavor profiles. There is still a nice bit of spice with the cigar, but the rich earth and cocoa notes from before have returned. The cocoa and espresso notes play off one another perfectly in this cigar, they always do with any cigar, and the finish of rich earth, leather and oak is great. It still burns just as well in the final third as it has throughout, and this cigars ash has been great. It is a very strong ash, and it has some great coloring to it as well. When I put the cigar down in the end it was still burning cool, and there was very little left of the nub.

I really enjoyed this cigar, and I like that Rocky has been releasing a Winter Collection ever so often. Whether I prefer this cigar over the 2009 version is a tough question, because it has been some time since I smoked one of those cigars. The wintertime is such a poor time for cigar smokers who smoke outdoors, but the flavors in this cigar really warm you up, and is perfect for those cold days and nights. This cigar reminds me somewhat of  the past Winter Collection, and it really reminds me of a Graycliff Double Espresso and the Espresso line by Graycliff. I give this cigar a 91. If you like rich, spicy and complex cigars that are very balanced then this is your cigar.  I suggest you buy a box of them as well since they are only limited to around 2,000 boxes in each vitola. Cigars by Rocky tend to move very well on their own anyways, but when there is a limited amount of cigars produced then I suggest you move quickly and acquire some while supplies last. Enjoy!
Liked how the photo came out
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