In 2018, Rocky Patel Premium Cigars introduced the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve. What would be different about this cigar compared to other Rocky Patel releases is that the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve would be an exclusive cigar offered to the non-U.S. market. At that time, there was still a lot of uncertainty around what new releases could enter the U.S. market, so Rocky Patel Premium Cigars’ strategy was not off the mark. The cigar proved to be successful and in 2020, a decision was made to bring the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve into the U.S. market.
The Rocky Patel Grand Reserve was originally soft-launched in April 2018 at a private three-day event known as Mountain on Fire. Held in Sölden, Austria, this event is described as a three-day luxury experience with 120 guests in attendance, including company president Rocky Patel. 300 boxes of the Grand Reserve were brought to the event and sold out. As a result, the decision was made to formally launch it. The official launch of the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve took place at InterTabac 2018. The U.S. launched was originally slated for the 2020 PCA Trade Show, but the show was cancelled.
Without further ado, let’s break down the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve Toro and see what this cigar brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
Other than reports the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve contains tobaccos aged two years, details of the blend have not been disclosed. Production for the cigar is handled out of Rocky Patel’s TAVICUSA factory in Estelí, Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Not Disclosed
Binder Not Disclosed
Filler: Not Disclosed
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera Villa Cuba S.A. (TAVICUSA)
The Rocky Patel Grand Reserve is offered in three sizes – consistent with many of the sizes found across many of the brands in Rocky Patel Premium Cigars’ portfolio. Each of the three sizes are presented in 10-count boxes.
Robusto: 5 1/2 x 50
Toro: 6 x 52
Sixty: 6 x 60
The wrapper of the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve Toro had a medium brown color with a slight cinnamon color tint to it. On the surface there was a slight amount of oil on the surface. This was a wrapper that had some visible veins, and there were minimally visible wrapper seams.
The band of the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve has a very similar design to another cigar in the Rocky Patel Premium Cigar portfolio, the Rocky Patel Special Edition, but with a different color scheme. The upper portion of the band has a white background while the lower portion is red (the Special Edition is purple). The upper portion features the Rocky Patel circulos “RP” logo surrounded by gold adornments. On the red section is a white nameplate design with the text “GRAND RESERVE” in gold font. Below the nameplate are some additional gold adornments. The band itself has gold trim, but the red section has some additional white trim on the lower portion.
A straight cut was used to commence the cigar experience of the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve Toro. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw. The dry draw delivered a mix of natural tobacco, dusty earth, and cedar. Overall this was a satisfactory pre-light draw experience. At this point, it was time to light up the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve Toro and see what the smoking experience would have in store.
The Rocky Patel Grand Reserve Toro opened up with more notes of natural tobacco, dusty earth, and cedar. In addition, there was a combination of mixed pepper present. Early on the natural tobacco took control with the earth, cedar, and pepper notes settling in the background. On the retro-hale, there was an additional layer of spice more of the red pepper varietal.
During the second third of the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve Toro, there was a slow gradual increase in both the earth and pepper notes. The earth notes increased at a greater rate than the pepper notes. Meanwhile, the pepper and cedar notes remained grounded in the forefront. Toward the latter part of the second third, the earth notes joined the natural tobacco in the forefront, and near the end of the second third, the earth became the sole dominant note.
The final third saw the earth notes primary with the pepper, natural tobacco, and cedar notes secondary. This is the way the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve Toro remained until the end. The resulting nub was cool in temperature, but soft to the touch.
While the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve Toro maintained a relatively straight burn path and burn line, there were several touch-ups along the way. The number of touch-ups was more frequent than I prefer, but they did do the trick of keeping the burn on track. The resulting ash was slightly loose. This was an ash that had a salt and pepper color to it. As for the burn rate and burn temperature, both were ideal.
Overall the draw to the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve Toro was open, but not loose. Normally I prefer to have a little more resistance on the draw. At the same time, this still was a low maintenance cigar to derive flavor from, yet it wasn’t a cigar for which you had to worry about the combustion.
Strength and Body
The Rocky Patel Grand Reserve Toro is not a cigar that will be on the bold side. This is a cigar that started out mild to medium in both strength and body. By the second third, the Grand Reserve Toro moved into medium territory for both strength and body where it remained for the rest of the cigar experience.
When comparing strength and body, both attributes of the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve Toro balanced each other nicely with neither attribute overpowering the other.
The best way to sum up my experience of the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve Toro is that it does deliver a satisfying smoke. It’s not the best Rocky Patel cigar I’ve had, but it’s not the worst one either. The flavors of the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve are good, but at the same time, there wasn’t a “wow” factor with this cigar either. Coming in at $13.00, this cigar is not on the inexpensive side. While from a pure smoking experience it satisfied me, there are other cigars – including other Rocky Patel cigars, that will offer more bang for the buck. My advice is to give the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve Toro a try and see if it is something you want to invest in.
Key Flavors: Natural Tobacco, Earth, Cedar, Pepper
Burn: Very Good
Draw: Very Good
Strength: Mild to Medium (1st Third), Medium (Remainder)
Body: Mild to Medium (1st Third), Medium (Remainder)
Finish: Very Good
Value: Try a Sample
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop, except where noted