Rocky Patel Fifty

2011 has been a very busy year for Rocky Patel Premium Cigars with four new releases.  These new releases were unveiled at the 2011 IPCPR and were slowly rolled out following the trade show.   So far, I’ve had a chance to assess three of the four releases – the Rocky Patel Vintage 2003 Cameroon, Thunder by Nimish, and Xen by Nish Patel.   All have been solid cigars.  I have now had an opportunity to sample the fourth cigar – the Rocky Patel Fifty.  In this case, it looks like I’ve saved the best for last.  The Rocky Patel Fifty was an outstanding smoke.  I said recently the Rocky Patel Vintage 2003 Cameroon was the best Rocky Patel cigar released in recent years.  The Rocky Patel Fifty is even better.

This cigar has been in the works for some time and is coinciding with Rocky Patel’s 50 birthday – which occurred earlier this year.  The cigars were a four year body of work involving tobacco that has been aged for eight years.  While the Thunder and Xen were projects by Rocky’s cousin Nimish Desai and brother Nish Patel respectively, the Fifty was a project that Rocky Patel was prominently a part of.

This is intended as an limited run and ultra-premium line for Rocky Patel.  There will be only 2000 boxes of each vitola produced.  Each box is individually numbered.  Since I use the word “ultra-premium”, the price point is going to be high – $19 to $22 SRP – depending on the vitola size. The boxes are adorned with orange (Rocky Patel’s favorite color) crystal on a custom plate  – one on the inside of the box and one on the outside (see below for the inside plate with the crystals).

Box of the Rocky Patel Fifty (Photo from IPCPR 2011)

I do not factor price into a cigar assessment.   The cigar can be one dollar or one hundred dollars – ultimately, the consumer will decide if this cigar is worth the price.   Here is a break down of the Rocky Patel Fifty.

Blend Profile

Much of the details of the blend are being kept confidential..  The Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro comes from the seventh priming of the plant.  The binder will be a double-binder – origins unknown.

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Oscuro
Binder: Unknown (Double binder)
Filler: Nicaraguan (Proprietary “Secret”)

Vitolas Available

There will be three vitolas available.  Each of the cigars are box-press shaped.

Robusto: 5 1/2 x 50
Toro: 6 1/2 x 52
Torpedo 6 1/8 x 52

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For this cigar experience, I selected the Toro vitola of the Rocky Patel Fifty.   Toro-size cigars are my “go to” vitola, so this logically made sense.  Normally I don’t make much of the pre-light aroma of a cigar, but the Rocky Patel Fifty had an interesting tobacco-like farm aroma.  I found it quite pleasant and in some ways it reminded me of some Dominican cigars. 

I placed a straight cut into the cap of the Rocky Patel Fifty.  The pre-light draw provided me flavors of cocoa and baker’s spice.  While it wasn’t an overly complex dry draw, it still was a very good one.   At this point, I was ready to fire up my Rocky Patel Fifty and see what was in store.

Flavor Profile

The start of the Rocky Patel Fifty was one of the best I ever had from a cigar.  The flavor profile provided a high degree of complexity right out of the gate.   The very early part of the smoke provided nuances of  cocoa, chocolate, caramel, nut, orange citrus, pepper, and even a hint of the farm notes.  Yes, all of those flavors were present very early in the smoke in one form or another.  Eventually the orange citrus, pepper, and chocolate emerged as the primary notes with the nuts and caramel taking more of a secondary role.  The pepper notes are also present through the nostrils.

As the cigar moves through the end of the first third, the citrus seemed to slightly diminish.  The notes of chocolate and pepper were still very much present.  It is on the transition into the second third where this cigar undergoes an interesting metamorphosis.  The first third of this cigar was very much “new school”.  It has more of an exotic and complex profile.  As the second third starts, the Rocky Patel Fifty transitions to more of an “old school” profile.  The flavor profile is more simplistic, but not inferior by any means.

The second third saw the chocolate notes transition to more of notes of leather.  The orange citrus notes are still very much present.  The notes of nuts and caramel that were present earlier on have dissipated.  Meanwhile the pepper notes have taken on more of a classic baker’s spice.  As the Rocky Patel Fifty reaches the last third, the baker’s spice moves to the forefront with classic wood notes as a secondary note.  The finish to the Rocky Patel Fifty had some kick to it – in both strength and body (more on in that section).  The nub was firm and cool – the way I would expect any good cigar to finish.

Burn and Draw

The Rocky Patel Fifty scores very high marks with the construction attributes of burn and draw.   The burn was pretty much even the whole time.  It held up reasonably well as I smoked one of these with a breeze outside.  The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.  The draw was also outstanding.   Overall this cigar was a low maintenance experience to smoke.

Burn of the Rocky Patel Fifty

Strength and Body

From a strength perspective, the Rocky Patel Fifty was a very interesting smoke.   The best way to summarize this is that it starts out as a medium from a nicotine standpoint.  The cigar slowly increases in strength and toward the last 30 percent, it is very much full strength.  In fact, the strength really crept up on me at the end.  Overall, I’d say the majority of the smoke is medium to full in strength.  From a body standpoint, the flavors are very deep and robust – I’d definitely categorize this as full-bodied.   Even when the cigar reaches its fullest strength toward the end, it is not at the expense of the flavors.

Final Thoughts

This was definitely one of the more unique smoking experiences I have had this year.  I feel safe in saying this is the best cigar from Rocky Patel I have had.   The Rocky Patel Fifty is intended to be a limited run cigar.  I’d encourage it to remain a limited run cigar as this will keep it as a truly special cigar.  Overall, I’d recommend this to a seasoned cigar enthusiast.  If a novice cigar enthusiast wants to sample a complex cigar, I’d recommend it – but would warn them it does increase in strength.  Finally, I enjoyed how this cigar bridged a new age cigar flavor profile (first third) with a classic flavor profile (remainder of the smoke).  I look forward to smoking the Rocky Patel Fifty again.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: High
Strength: Medium to Full (Medium early,  Full toward end)
Body: Full
Assessment: Memorable

Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Tobacco World in Marietta, Georgia.