Stating this very bluntly – 2009 was not a great year for the Rocky Patel line.   Rocky released two sticks – the 1961 and the Patel Brothers.   I will be the first to admit, I did not care for these two sticks.  But when I visit many cigar shops around the country,  I notice that these boxes are full in the humidor.   Whatever the reasons, I’m sure the folks at Rocky Patel were aware of this as they prepared for 2010.  Therefore, they had to make sure their signature release for the year – the Rocky Patel 15th anniversary would have its “A” game.   I’m pleased to report that with this stick Rocky is back.

While this was Rocky Patel’s showcase cigar of IPCPR, it was actually released prior to the start of the show.   The cigar is named to commemorate Rocky Patel’s 15th anniversary in the cigar business.

First a few facts on the 15th anniversary:

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Jalapa Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

The stick itself is a box press.  It is very impressive and available in four sizes:
Corona Gorda 6 x 46
Robusto 5 x 50
Toro 6.5 x 52
Torpedo 6 x 52 (some debate if this is actually 6″ or not)

While this was the showcase cigar of IPCPR, it was actually released prior to the start of the show.   Taking a look at the stick, it’s a beautiful box press.  It has a rich look to it, so it is very appetizing just from its first impression.

For the purposes of this review, I sampled the Corona Gorda. I found the cigar and easy light and did not have to fight or re-light this stick at all.   After the initial light, I immediately felt salty taste with the opening draws.  This is no surprise as I find this common thread with Nicaraguan tobacco.   But it was a surprise because I was expecting more a rich flavor right out of the gate.

The salty sensation transitioned to more of a spice.  This was not a heavy spice.  Definitely more of a cedar spice as opposed to a peppery spice.   The spice remained for the duration of the smoke.  As I started to get about 25% into the smoke, I began to taste some of the richness as a coffee tone soon would accompany that spice.   Continuing past the 1/3 point, another flavor tone began to emerge – hints of cinnamon.   I actually thought I was imagining the cinnamon taste, but from checking a lot of the online reviews, this was indeed a flavor picked up by others.    Throughout the smoke, the ash built up beautifully and held tight.  The stick had a nice finish – not harsh at all.  Overall, the strength of this cigar is medium and the body is in the medium to full range.

The price point might be the only issue with this stick.   Most retailers will probably price the four sticks in the $9.00 – $11.00 range.   While there is no question that this is a good stick, but gut feeling is that when the year is over – this will be more of a Top 20 cigar as opposed to a Top 10 cigar.   With a lot of good value cigars coming that are great smokes, the question will be how often will folks go to this stick at the price point set.  Time will tell on this one…

But the good news is that reports of Rocky Patel’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.   This is a good stick.  It is probably one the more seasoned cigar smoker will appreciate.   It is definitely worth checking out.

Assessment: Nice to Have