Rocky Patel Private Cellar

At the 2012 IPCPR Trade Show, Rocky Patel Premium Cigars had seven new releases – including six new blends being launched.  One of the new blends that got considerable attention was the Rocky Patel Private Cellar.  Plans for this release were first told to Cigar Insider back in July, 2012 as this cigar would feature a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper.  However, of the Rocky Patel IPCPR releases, this would be one of the last ones to be released.  We had heard that Rocky Patel did not want to release this cigar until it had more age.  Over the past few weeks, I have had an opportunity to sample several of these blends.  I discovered with each subsequent smoke, the age seems to be doing some nice things.   While I’m not sure this is the strongest of the seven new releases, I do think the potential is there for this cigar.

On the week following IPCPR, Rocky Patel Premium Cigars Executive Vice President Nimish Desai appeared on 8/11/12 edition of Kiss My Ash Radio.  On that show, Desai indicated that the final blend for the Rocky Patel Private Cellar was only selected shortly before the show.  Based on this, one can infer this is why the Private Cellar was delayed for aging reasons.  Age really has proven to be a key factor on this cigar.  In two short weeks between samples, I saw much of the “green-ness” of this cigar dissipate.

Without further adieu, let’s take a closer look at the Rocky Patel Private Cellar and see what this cigar brings to the table.

Blend Profile

As mentioned the Private Cellar utilizes a Connecticut Broadleaf.  Many Rocky Patel Broadleaf releases have utilized a Pennsylvania Broadleaf, for this release the more popular Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper is used.  The binder and filler are from Nicaragua.

Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

Vitolas Available

At the time this cigar was released, there are three sizes with this cigar.  The cigars will be packaged 20 to a box.

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


For this smoking experience, I focused on the robusto vitola. The Rocky Patel Private Cellar features a dark coffee bean colored wrapper.  The wrapper itself is one that can be considered oily in texture.  The dark color of the wrapper does a nice job at hiding the veins.  The wrapper seams are somewhat visible upon closer examination.

The Private Cellar features two bands.  Each band has a purple, silver, and white color scheme. The primary band has a purple background.  At the center of the band is the Rocky Patel “RP” circular logo in white.  Above the logo is the text “ROCKY PATEL” – also in white font.  On the lower part of the band is a large silver stripe.  The secondary band sits directly below the primary band.  It has a large purple stripe in the middle with the text “PRIVATE CELLAR” in large white font.  On the top and bottom part of the band is silver, purple, and white pin striping.

Preparation for the Cigar Experience

For my smoke of the Rocky Patel Private Cellar, I went with my usual straight cut into the cap of the cigar.  It was then time to proceed with the pre-light draw.

One thing that is important is that the mind can influence the sensations on the tongue.  In the case of the Rocky Patel Private Cellar, one of the dry draw notes I got was a dry wine sweetness (thus relating to the name ‘Private Celar’).  It’s hard to say if this was the power of suggestion or if this was the basis of the name of the cigar.  However, on each of the samples, I did taste the dry wine sweetness on the pre-light draw and this would carry over to the smoke.  In addition to this sweetness, I detected some citrus notes, chocolate, leather, and a hint of natural tobacco.  

Overall, while none of the notes were exceptionally bold, it still provided for an interesting pre-light draw.  At this point it was time to fire up the Private Cellar and see what the smoking experience would bring to the table.

Flavor Profile

As mentioned one of the unique things I picked up on the pre-light draw was a dry wine sweetness.  This carried over to the start of the Private Cellar.  I also picked up notes of leather and pepper.  Eventually some chocolate notes emerged.  No flavor dominated until about the five percent mark when the chocolate and leather moved into the forefront.  The dry wine sweetness and pepper would play a secondary role.

Around the ten percent mark, the leather notes moved into the forefront.  The pepper notes were not quite primary and better stood out on the retro-hale.  The chocolate notes joined the dry wine sweetness in the background.  

The flavor profile held for a good chunk of the remainder of the smoking experience.  By the midway point, the chocolate notes had diminished.  The last part of the smoke saw the spice pick up some more.   The end of the cigar was not overly harsh, but I did feel the flavors were a bit muted.  The resulting nub was outstanding – cool in temperature and firm to the touch.

Burn and Draw

From a construction standpoint, I found the Rocky Patel Private Cellar to score very well.  The excellent construction is reflected in both the burn and draw of the cigars.  In fact, this might have the best construction of all of the 2012 Rocky Patel Premium Cigar releases.

From a burn standpoint, the Private Cellar had a razor sharp burn.  It required minimal touch-ups throughout the cigar smoking experience.  The resulting ash was tight with a salt and pepper color. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.

From a draw standpoint, the Private Cellar had a touch of resistance to it – and that is something I like in a cigar.  This made for an excellent puffing experience from start to finish.

Strength and Body

From both a strength and body perspective, I did not find the Rocky Patel Private Cellar to be overpowering.  This is a classic example of a “medium/medium” cigar in my book – meaning that the cigar has both medium strength and medium body.  I have no issues with cigars being medium/medium, but in the case of the Private Cellar I felt this was an area where it could have really benefited from some additional strength and flavor depth.  

The strength and body do complement each other nicely with the Private Cellar as neither attribute overpowers the other.

Final Thoughts

My experience with the Rocky Patel Private Cellar has been interesting.  On one hand this is a cigar that has gotten better with some age on it.  On the other hand, the cigar seems to be slightly mellowing as it ages.  Normally I have not considered the mellowing to be an issue, but as I mentioned this is a cigar that could benefit from some more strength and body.  Overall, I still consider the net effect of the aging to be positive as it has taken the “green-ness” out of this cigar. I am not sure this is a cigar for anyone – as I believe it has more of a niche flavor profile.  While I would give this cigar to a novice or experienced cigar enthusiast, I’d probably pay closer attention to their flavor profile to see if this cigar fits into it.  As for myself, I’d still smoke this again – and I’m curious to see how this cigar continues to evolve.


Burn: Excellent
Draw: Excellent
Complexity: Low
Strength: Medium
Body: Medium
Finish: Good
Assessment: See What You Think
Score: 88

Source: The cigars for this assessment were a combination of cigars purchased from Burners Cigars in Huntersville NC and a gifted cigar (thanks SG).