Photo via cigars.com
Aged, Limited and Rare. Well those sound like 3 great adjectives to describe any cigar (or scotch, or bourbon, or whiskey, or …). While Rocky Patel Cigars is a well known brand, it’s also the name of the man who started the company. Rocky Patel was a lawyer who sold his legal practice to open a cigar company in 1995, and has gone on to produce 95, 93 and 92 rated cigars over the years. So it’s no surprise the 2018 Second Release Aged Limited Rare series was rated a 94 and the #5 cigar of 2019 by Cigar Aficionado. Rocky Patel’s website itself gives a great history on these cigars: “In 2016, Rocky blended a cigar featuring an exquisite San Andrés wrapper. Deciding that this blend would develop even further with age, he ordered a short production run of 120,000 cigars. The cigars were laid to rest in an aging room and locked away for two years. Its contents are a mystery but the rest is history.” The shape is a little interesting because it’s a box pressed (so shaped more like a rounded rectangle than a circle), and was also slightly thinner than most toros. I used a punch cut and then lightly toasted the cigar with my torch lighter before fully lighting. The draw was perfect, not too tight, not too loose, and it produced a smoke that was thin in appearance, but tended to stay on your palate for a while after exhaling.
First Third: There’s a distinct hit of black pepper on your lips as you start to draw at the beginning, but it fades away pretty quickly. Mostly an earth flavor to start, with maybe some light notes of chocolate or cocoa. As I noted with the smoke above, the finish is rather long and enhanced because of the “chewy” smoke (thick and stays on your palate).
Second Third: Second Third: The earthiness takes a little bit of a back seat in the second third as the sweetness of the chocolate increases a little bit. The black pepper notes are mostly gone, and you still have light notes of the earth. The ash was strong, but not as strong as I would have expected from such a highly rated cigar (or maybe I was talking too much with my hands?). The construction was absolutely solid though, as the draws continued to be great.
Final Third: The flavors flip again, as the earthiness now takes over as the strongest note, with the sweetness from the chocolate fading away pretty quickly. The black pepper also came back a little bit as it had mostly disappeared in the second third. I did also want to mention that as I got the end of my burn, the cigar was leaving quite a tingle on my lips, which was unexpected but fun.
I was given a 4-pack of chocolate stouts by my neighbor when we went out to smoke some cigars, so that was what I ended up pairing this with. The sweetness of the chocolate stout blended very well once the chocolate/cocoa flavors kicked in on the cigar, but was a little harsh with the black pepper on the first few puffs. I would definitely recommend a thicker sweeter drink with this cigar, like a stout or a porter beer. I’d be curious to try it with some different whisky flavors as well. I would imagine it would go great with some smoky and leathery scotches, but maybe not as well with the more floral ones.
This was one of the first highly rated cigars I’ve reviewed, and the difference between this and most of the others I’ve done is quite distinct. While it doesn’t boast the strong notes of a lot of flavor infused cigars, the subtle notes and the unexpected sweetness were a great combination that I was not expecting. I’m not a fan of too strong of a black pepper note and this was probably close to my limit of enjoyment, but considering the black pepper faded pretty quickly it ended up a great smoke for me. The ALR Second Edition is definitely another great feather in the already full cap of Rocky Patel.
Mfr: Rocky Patel
Length: 6 1/2 in
Product: ALR 2nd Edition
Wrapper: San Andrés