|Rocky Patel II-XXVI 2014 Toro|
The Rocky Patel II-XXVI 2014 is the second release in Rocky Patel Premium Cigars’ limited production II-XXVI line. II-XXVI stands for “2-26” and it happens to be the birthdate of company President Rocky Patel. Last year, the first Rocky Patel II-XXVI was released and it got considerable attention by the company. That cigar also delivered an excellent experience and it placed as the #26 Cigar Coop Cigar of the Year. It was back in October in our Cigar Industry Report that we noted a second Rocky Patel II-XXVI was coming for 2014. However for the most part, the release of the II-XXVI 2014 edition has been a low key. Recently I had an opportunity to smoke the Rocky Patel II-XXVI 2014. While I don’t think it quite captured the magic of the II-XXVI 2013 edition, it still ranks as an enjoyable smoke.
Like last year’s edition, the Rocky Patel II-XXVI 2014 is positioned as a premium offering. This year’s edition falls in the $13 to $14 dollar price range – pretty close to what the 2013 offering priced at.
The Rocky Patel II-XXVI 2014 is the fourth cigar to commemorate Patel’s birthday. In addition to the 2013 offering, the Rocky Patel 1961 (the year Patel was born) and the 2011’s limited edition Rocky Patel Fifty (to commemorate Patel’s 50th birthday) – also were commemorative cigars. The latter cigar finished as the Cigar Coop #12 Cigar for 2011.
Without further adieu, let’s break down the Rocky Patel II-XXVI 2014 and see what this cigar brings to the table.
The details of the Rocky Patel II-XXVI 2014 have not been disclosed. It is even not known if this is the same blend or a different one from last year.
Wrapper: Not disclosed
Binder: Not disclosed
Filler: Not disclosed
Like the 2013 edition, the Rocky Patel II-XXVI 2014 is available in three sizes. Production numbers are similar to last year in that there are 1,000 boxes of 20 produced for each size for a total of 60,000 cigars.
The Robusto and Toro vitolas are the same sizes as 2013. The Robusto Grande is a new frontmark and it replaces the Torpedo.
Robusto: 5 x 50
Toro: 6 1/2 x 52
Robusto Grande: 5 x 58
For this smoking experience of the Rocky Patel II-XXVI 2014, I smoked the toro sized vitola. The wrapper to the Rocky Patel II-XXVI 2014 has a chocolate brown color to it. There is a light amount of oil on the surface. There are some visible wrapper seams and visible veins on the surface of the wrapper.
There are two bands on the Rocky Patel II-XXVI 2014. Both are similar in design to last year’s versions, but feature an orange, silver, and white color scheme as opposed to 2013’s black, silver, and white. The primary band has a white background. On the center of that band is the circular “RP” logo in orange font with silver trim. There is a series of orange and silver “party-like” squares on the band.
The secondary band is also white. It features the text “II-XXVI” in orange font with silver trim. There is a series of orange and silver pin-striping across the top and bottom of the band.
Preparation for the Cigar Experience
As I normally do, I went with a straight cut to remove the cap of the Rocky Patel II-XXVI 2014. Once the cap was successfully clipped, I moved on to the pre-light draw phase. There were some parallels in the pre-light experience between the 2013 and 2014 editions. I picked up some notes of leather and cocoa. There was also a sharp spice (which is how I described the spice on the 2013 edition). The spice this time around had more of a red pepper flavor as opposed to a baker’s spice. Overall, I considered the pre-light draw of the Rocky Patel II-XXVI 2014 to be satisfactory. At this point, I was ready to light up this cigar and see what smoking experience would deliver.
The start to the Rocky Patel II-XXVI 2014 provided a short blast of white pepper. Notes of cocoa and earth emerged quickly. These notes moved into the forefront while the white pepper moved to the background. I found that the cocoa sweetness lent some sweetness to the blend. I was pretty impressed with retro-hale as I picked up the pepper spice and to a lesser extent the cocoa notes. Later in the first third, I detected a slight bittersweet espresso note in the background.
In the second third, the earthy notes had a slight advantage over the cocoa notes. The bittersweet espresso notes still remained secondary note. The pepper notes started to increase and by the end of the second third, the pepper and earth notes were on par.
The last third of the II-XXVI 2014 edition delivered much more in the way of pepper spice and earth. Much of the sweetness had dissipated. While there was a spicy close to this cigar, there was no harshness. The resulting nub was cool in temperature and firm to the touch.
Burn and Draw
The burn and draw performed excellent on the Rocky Patel II-XXVI 2014. The burn line remained relatively straight. The resulting ash was a salt and pepper color. I wouldn’t categorize it as a “tight” ash, but it wasn’t overly loose either. I did get some minor flaking, but nothing to loose points over. The burn rate and burn temperature were ideal.
|Burn of the Rocky Patel II-XXVI 2014 Edition|
The draw performed very well. Like the ash, it wasn’t too tight and too loose. I found this cigar a low maintenance smoke to derive flavors from.
Strength and Body
Strength-wise I did find the Rocky Patel II-XXVI 2014 edition to be higher than the 2013 edition. The 2014 edition started out medium to full strength and progressed to full strength by the end of the first third (the 2013 edition was more medium plus in strength). The strength really snuck up on me toward the end. The depth of the flavors of the 2014 edition was pretty much in the same wheelhouse. The cigar started out medium to full-bodied before progressing to full-bodied by the end of the first third. I found the strength and body of the Rocky Patel II-XXVI 2014 to counter each other nicely.
As I mentioned, Rocky Patel Premium Cigars seemed to have kept the release of the Rocky Patel II-XXVI 2014 on the low key side- and this includes keeping the blend details under wraps. I can say while there were parallels between the 2013 and 2014 releases, the 2014 release still produced a different smoking experience. I would still give the 2013 edition an edge over the 2014 release simply because I think the flavors were just better on that edition. The 2014 will also have a little less sweetness, and a little more strength. Overall, this is a cigar I’d position more for an experienced cigar enthusiast who likes something on the fuller side. As for myself, I’d still reach for the 2013 first, but if I were going for the 2014, it still would be worth a five pack in my book.
Strength: Medium to Full (1st 1/3), Full (Remainder)
Body: Medium to Full (1st 1/3), Full (Remainder)
Assessment: 3.0 – The Fiver
News: Cigar Week Wrap: Volume 2, Number 39 (10/12/13) (Reference to II-XXVI 2014)
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