|Rocky Patel HR500|
At the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show, Rocky Patel Premium Cigars was showcasing a new cigar blended for baseball great Gary Sheffield. The cigar is called the Rocky Patel HR500 (also being called the Gary Sheffield Homerun Club Cigar). The cigar commemorates Sheffield’s 500th home run in Major League Baseball. Sheffield is only one of 25 individuals to reach the 500 home run plateau. The HR500 was one of six new blends that Rocky Patel Premium Cigars launched at the trade show. I recently smoked a pre-release sample and I found this to be a very good cigar and one that certainly is worth checking out.
We had an opportunity to talk to Sheffield at the 2012 Trade Show, and published one of the first interviews done with Sheffield by the cigar media. Sheffield was definitely excited about the project and was definitely passionate about being a part of the cigar industry. On the August 11, 2012 Kiss My Ash Radio program, Nimish Desai, Executive Vice President of Rocky Patel Premium Cigars gave a little more background on how the project came about. He also indicated that the project with Sheffield is a longer term effort:
“Gary Sheffield actually came to us through Thompson Cigars. He was looking for a company to make cigars, he is a friend of Joe Sylvester who is in Tampa, and Joe recommended us, and we’ve been working on a blend for him for about six months right now – going back and forth. And the idea is not only to do this cigar this cigar with Gary; he’s got a lot of friends in the industry whether it is baseball, football, basketball. And once they retire, these gentlemen are going to come under his umbrella and we’re gonna make cigars.”
The Rocky Patel HR500 is intended to be a limited release cigar – although no specifics of allocations have currently been released. Sheffield will also be serving as an ambassador for the cigar brand and will be doing in store promotional events throughout the upcoming months.
Let’s take a closer look the Rocky Patel HR500 and see what this cigar delivers. Since this cigar experience was based on a pre-release cigar, we will defer to a pre-review to provide some thoughts and perspectives around the cigar experience. We will revisit this cigar at a later date and provide a rating and score once we smoke a cigar that has made available to the retailers. It is also worth noting this write-up is based on a single cigar experience.
The Rocky Patel HR500 is a multinational blend featuring tobaccos from three countries. The cigar is highlighted by a very rich-looking Ecuadorian Habano wrapper. It also features Nicaraguan tobacco in the filler. In our interview with Sheffield, he seems to be a fan of this type (Nicaraguan) tobacco.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano Seed
Binder: Honduras Jamastran
Filler: Honduras, Nicaraguan
The Rocky Patel HR500 is being released in one size – a 6.1/2 x 52 Toro. It will be shipped in boxes of 20 and the packaging will have a look and feel of a baseball.
|Packaging of the Rocky Patel HR 500 –
Photo from 2012 IPCPR Trade Show
|Inner packaging of the Rocky Patel HR500 box –
Photo from 2012 IPCPR Show
|Outside of the Rocky Patel HR 500 box –
Photo from 2012 IPCPR Trade Show
The Rocky Patel HR500’s Ecuadorian Habano wrapper has a classic milk chocolate color. The wrapper itself has an oily complexion. There are a couple of visible veins, but the wrapper seams are well-hidden. There is a slight barnyard aroma from the footer.
The cigar features two bands. The first has a green, gold, blue, orange, and white color scheme. The design of the band has a baseball field in mind. Across the top of the band in a semi-circular fashion is the text “HOMERUN” in white font on a green stripe. The center of the band features the text “HR500” with a white etching on a gold background. Directly below that text is Gary Sheffield’s signature in white. The bottom of that band features a “home plate” design. Going around the back are white stars on an orange background.
There is a secondary band below the primary band. It is mostly gold with blue striping at the top and bottom. In white cursive font with blue trim it says “by Gary Sheffield”.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
For my smoke of the Rocky Patel HR500, I went with a straight cut into the cap of the cigar. When I commenced with the pre-light draw, I was treated to flavors of chocolate, leather, and citrus. The dry draw notes satisfied me, so I was more than excited to fire up the HR500 and see what the cigar experience would bring to the table.
The start to the Rocky Patel HR500 started out with a combination of leather, chocolate, pepper, and citrus to start. The flavor profile evolved to one of chocolate notes in the forefront, citrus in the background, and a light pepper spice on the after-draw. While the chocolate notes are in the forefront, they were not overly dominant and it allowed some of the other flavors to shine.
Later in the first third, I also detected some hay notes in the background. The citrus notes diminished to more of a subtle tertiary note. The pepper notes remained on the after-draw.
At the midway point, the citrus notes moved back to a secondary note. The pepper also folded in to the whole draw (as opposed to just the after-draw). The pepper and citrus continued to move up and by the last third, the chocolate, pepper, and citrus notes were all even. By this point the hay notes had dissipated. The close to the HR500 was actually quite smooth. The resulting nub was also ideal – firm to the touch and cool in temperature.
Burn and Draw
The burn to the Rocky Patel HR500 did require several touch-ups with my lighter to keep a straight burn. The burn line just seemed to want to meander from time to time. While the touch-ups with my lighter did the trick, I seemed to have to break out the lighter more than I preferred. The burn rate and burn temperature remained ideal. The HR500 also produced a nice firm ash.
As for the draw, I considered this to be excellent. This had a touch of resistance to it. If you have read my assessments, you know I prefer a draw like this. I found the HR500 a very enjoyable smoke to puff on.
Strength and Body
Given the HR500 is a collaboration with a sports celebrity such as Gary Sheffield, I expected a medium strength, medium-bodied smoke. The reason for this expectation is that it allows the cigar to be marketed to a large segment of cigar enthusiasts. From a strength perspective, this was exactly the case. From a body perspective, the flavors start out medium bodied. The flavors kick it up a notch in the last third and progress to medium to full. Overall the strength and body balance each other nicely – although I would give the body a slight edge at the end of the cigar.
Overall this was a very good cigar. Given that the wrapper is so rich looking, it might lead many cigar enthusiasts to think this is a flavor powerhouse. When you smoke the HR500, this is not going to be the case. What you are going to get is a medium strength, medium-bodied cigar for a good chunk of the cigar experience. Medium-bodied cigars are not going to overwhelm you with flavor, but they will provide what I consider “just enough flavor”. Overall I consider this a great cigar to give to a novice enthusiast or an experienced cigar enthusiast. As for myself this was an enjoyable cigar – and one I look forward to smoking again.
Body: Medium (Medium to Full in last third)
Source: This cigar for this write-up was provided by Rocky Patel Premium Cigars. Cigar Coop is appreciative for the sample, but in no
way does this influence this review.