|Rocky Patel Hercules|
The Rocky Patel Hercules is a retail-exclusive cigar for Corona Cigar Company in Orlando, Florida. It is made by Rocky Patel Premium Cigars, who is no stranger to the retail exclusive business. Rocky Patel has launched retail exclusives for stores such as Holt’s (Rocky Patel Ocean Club) and Tinderbox Charlotte (1939 Reserve). While some cigar manufacturers have created a big splash for retailers with exclusive cigars, it seems the Rocky Patel retail exclusives have flown under the radar. The case of the Rocky Patel Hercules is one such cigar. While this cigar might be under the radar, it delivers what I consider a “powerhouse” cigar experience.
According to Corona Cigars web-site, the Rocky Patel Hercules is produced in “extremely small batches”. The cigars are also produced in Rocky Patel’s Nicaraguan factory. The cigar seems to be targeted to the big ring gauge cigar enthusiast who prefers something fuller in strength and body. While many cigar purists will knock a larger ring gauge cigar, I contend when a blend works in a big ring gauge, it is often hard to top it.
Let’s break down the Rocky Patel Hercules and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The Rocky Patel Hercules features an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper with Nicaraguan binder and filler.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Bnder: Nicaraguan Cuban Seed (Double Binder – one from Jalapa and one from Esteli)
Filler: Nicaraguan Corojo Long Filler
The Rocky Patel Hercules is available in four frontmarks. As mentioned above, these are skewed toward the bigger ring gauges.
Mongol: 5 x 54
Cretan Bull: 5 3/4 x 56
Barbarian: 6 x 60
Gnarly Club: 7 x 58
For this cigar experience, I went with the 6 x 60 Barbarian vitola. The Rocky Patel Hercules Barbarian features a chocolate colored Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. The wrapper has some visible wrapper seams and some visible veins. The wrapper itself is not toothy and has a slightly oily complexion to it. This particular Ecuadorian Habano wrapper was a little more unique than other wrappers of this type that I have seen. Not only did it had much more of a chocolate looking color to it, but it also was more delicate than most Ecuadorian Habano wrappers I have seen. I’ll discuss more on this a little later.
The Hercules utilizes two bands. The first band uses a gold, red, silver, oak, and light colored wood color scheme. Prominently displayed front and center on that band is the text “HERCULES” in large red font. Below that band is a secondary band utilizing silver, oak, and light wood in its color scheme. The RP logo is front and center with a cursive “Rocky” to the left of it, and a cursive “Patel” to the right of it – all in oak colored font.
From the foot there was a definite farm/barnyard aroma from it. This is something I typically like from a cigar.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
Given that the Hercules Barbarian has such a big ring gauge, the straight cut was pretty much a default option for me. Once I cut the cap off, I proceeded to start with a pre-light draw. The dry draw notes provided some nice complexity as it gave me a mix of chocolate, leather, cherry sweetness, and pepper. Overall, I was very pleased with the pre-light draw from this cigar. At this point, it was time to toast my Rocky Patel Hercules and see what the cigar experience would bring to the table.
The start to the Rocky Patel Hercules provided a healthy dose of chocolate and pepper. While this is not a cigar blended by the Garcia family, this cigar had some similarities to a Garcia family pepper blast at the start of a cigar. The pepper then settled down and became more of a background flavor. Meanwhile some leather flavors joined the chocolate flavors in the forefront.
The chocolate/leather/pepper combination held throughout the first third of the Rocky Patel Hercules. As the cigar experience entered the second third, the pepper spice moved into the forefront with the leather notes. The chocolate flavors diminished into a secondary note. I also detected some notes of dried fruit in the background.
As the cigar experience entered the final stages, the spice really kicked in. The cigar definitely had a combination of pepper and baker’s spice. The finish was spicy at the close. It had a little bit of harshness to it, but not overly harsh. The nub was slightly warm, but firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
I mentioned when describing the appearance of the Rocky Patel Hercules that the wrapper was delicate. This was evident on the burn of the Rocky Patel Hercules. With each smoke I had of the Hercules Barbarian, the burn line was a bit jagged. It was not so much that it was uneven, but it was a little jagged with some tiny tear marks. These were not major burn problems, but I didn’t get the razor sharp burn that I would have hoped for on this cigar. The burn rate and burn temperature were pretty much ideal, although the cigar was a little on the warmer side toward the nub.
As for the draw, this cigar drew excellent for a 6 x 60 vitola. This made for a very enjoyable big ring gauge smoke.
Strength and Body
It are with these attributes where the Hercules really shines. From a nicotine profile, the cigar starts out as a classic medium to full strength cigar. The cigar then builds in strength and by the midpoint of the smoking experience, this cigar is operating at full strength. The second half is going to be very strong. It definitely is one of the strongest cigars that I’ve ever had by Rocky Patel.
The depth of the flavor notes start out medium to full-bodied. Like the strength, the flavor notes get deeper. By the second half, this is going this also going to be a full-bodied cigar loaded with flavor. The strength and body remain balanced throughout the smoking experience.
Overall this is a very good cigar by Rocky Patel. A retail exclusive cigar should bring something different to the table, and in the case of the Rocky Patel Hercules this is exactly the case. This is definitely one of the fullest cigars I’ve had from Rocky Patel Premium Cigars in terms of strength and body. Right now there were very few cigars remaining at Corona Cigars when I recently paid them a visit, so there is no doubt the cigar is doing very well for the company. This is definitely a cigar that is more geared toward the experienced cigar enthusiast as I feel it is too much cigar for the novice. As for myself, I look forward to smoking this cigar again – and looking forward to trying some of the other ring gauges.
Strength: Full (Medium to Full to Start)
Body: Full (Medium to Full to Start)
Assessment: Nice to Have
Source: The cigars for this assessment were purchased from Corona Cigar Company’s Sand Lake Drive retail store in Orlando, Florida.