In 2017, Rocky Patel Premium Cigars added a new installment to its Vintage Series with the Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas (spelled like the San Andreas in California, not Colombia or Mexico). The Vintage Series is highlighted by the use of aged wrappers. In the case of the Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas, it features an 11-year-old wrapper (since it was released in 2017, thus the name 2006). Fast forward to 2021, and for the Tobacconist Association of America (TAA) Exclusive Series, Rocky Patel would release a limited edition, special size of the Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas known as the Bala. The Bala is a cigar that can best be described as looking like a bowling pin – thinner at the top with a gradual taper that maximizes by the footer. The Bala was first introduced in the Tabaquero by Hamlet line in 2016 and now has been seen in other lines. Today we take a closer look at the Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas in the Bala size.
TAA Exclusive Series consists of cigars made by leading manufacturers that are exclusively sold at TAA member retailers. The TAA is a small group of retailers. At press time the number of retailers is approximately 80. The TAA describes as:
The Tobacconists’ Association of America, Ltd. is a trade organization established in 1968 by visionary retail tobacconists. By providing education, communication, research, advocacy, and member discount programs, The TAA works with our members and the industry they support to offer the tools and relationship building opportunities needed to maximize professionalism and success.
There are 15 cigars released for 2021 as a part of the TAA Exclusive Series:
- CLE Signature THT-EKE 03/17
- Crowned Heads- The Lost Angel TAA Exclusive 2021
- JC Newman Brick House Beginnings Natural
- JC Newman Brick House Beginnings Maduro
- Diesel Disciple (Scandinavian Tobacco Group)
- E.P. Carrillo TAA 2021
- Gurkha Nicaragua Series TAA Exclusive
- Illusione TAA Exclusive 2021
- Joya de Nicaragua Cuatro Cinco Edición Americana
- Kristoff 685 Woodlawn Box Press
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 50 Oro Edicion 6 1/2 x 58 Chisel Natural
- La Flor Dominicana TAA 50 Oro Edicion 6 1/2 x 58 Chisel Maduro
- La Palina White Label Toro
- Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas Bala
- Villiger TAA Exclusive 2021
The following have been Rocky Patel Premium Cigars’ TAA Exclusive Cigar Offerings:
- Rocky Patel TAA Signature Series (2009 limited edition)
- Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary Robusto Grande (Former Ongoing TAA release)
- Rocky Patel Martinique (2018)
- Rocky Patel TAA Exclusivo (2020)
- Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas Bala (2021)
- Rocky Patel TAA Decade Habano (2022)
Without further ado, let’s break down the Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas Bala and see what this brings to the table.
Blend and Origin
In addition to the 11-year-old Mexican San Andres (from the San Andrés Valley of Veracruz, Mexico) wrapper, the Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas utilizes a Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and all-Nicaraguan fillers. Production comes from Rocky Patel’s TAVICUSA factory in Estelí, Nicaragua. It is the first of the Vintage Series to be produced in Nicaragua.
Wrapper: Mexican San Andres
Binder: Connecticut Broadleaf
Country of Origin: Nicaragua
Factory: Tabacalera Villa Cuba S.A. (TAVICUSA)
In addition to the limited Bala size for the TAA, the Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas is offered in four regular production sizes. Each of the five vitolas is presented in 20-count boxes.
Robusto: 5 1/2 x 50
Sixty: 6 x 60
Toro: 6 1/2 x 52
Churchill: 7 x 48
Bala: 5 3/4 x 58/50 (TAA Exclusive)
The San Andres wrapper of the Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas Bala has a medium roasted bean coffee color to it. There is a light sheen of the oil on the surface. The dark color of the wrapper does a good job at hiding the seams, but there are some visible veins. The “bowling pin” shape of the cigar features a gentle taper from the head to the footer. The footer is partially covered by the wrapper.
There are two bands on the Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas. The primary band is orange with a chrome color trim on the lower edge. On the band is a Rocky Patel “RP” circulus logo in black font with “Rocky Patel” above it – also in black font. Surrounding the “Rocky Patel” text is a chrome stripe on the left and right.
The secondary band is also orange. This band has chrome trim on the top and bottom. On the center of the band is the text” Vintage 2006″ in black cursive font with the “SAN ANDREAS” in a larger black print font.
A straight cut was used to remove the cap of the Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas Bala. Once the cap was removed, it was on to the pre-light draw. The cigar delivered a very straightforward flavor profile with notes of cocoa, earth, and cedar. Overall this was a satisfying pre-light draw experience. At this point, it was time to toast up the Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas Bala and see what the smoking phase yield.
The Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas Bala started out with notes of cocoa, cream, earth, mixed red and white pepper, and cedar. The cocoa and cream notes took over as the primary notes early on. Some coffee notes also emerged in the forefront complementing the cocoa and cream. The pepper, earth, and cedar notes settled in the background. On the retro-hale, there was an additional layer of red pepper.
As the Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas Bala moved through the second half, the coffee notes became more prominent. By the midway point, the cocoa and cream notes moved into the background, leaving the coffee notes as the primary note. During the second half of the Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas Bala, there was a slight increase in pepper and cedar.
The final third saw the coffee notes remain primary. The pepper was the most prominent of the secondary note. At the same time, the cedar, earth cocoa, and cream rounded things out. This is the way the Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas Bala came to a close. The resulting nub was slightly soft to the touch and cool in temperature.
While the burn of the Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas Bala required a little TLC around the partially closed footer to start, once the cigar got going, this was a low-maintenance burn. The cigar maintained a relatively straight burn path and straight burn line with minimal touch-ups. The resulting ash was firm with a silver-gray color. The burn rate and burn temperature were both ideal.
The draw of the Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas Bala also scored nicely. This had a touch of resistance to it – which is something that I like. At the same time, this was a low-maintenance cigar from which to derive flavor.
Strength and Body
The Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas Bala started out with medium strength, and flavors that were medium to full-bodied. There wasn’t much change in the intensity levels. In terms of strength versus body, the body maintained the edge from start to finish.
It’s been a long time since I’ve said this about any TAA Exclusive release, but the Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas Bala is a home run. This cigar delivers an experience that I would expect from a TAA cigar. Given how poor the TAA Exclusive cigars have performed collectively, this was a welcome cigar. This cigar is excellent and on top of that, it cigar is priced nicely at $7.00. I sincerely hope Rocky Patel Premium Cigars continues to produce this cigar in the future. Rocky Patel is certainly doing some incredible things with Mexican wrappers. We’ve seen this with the Rocky Patel Winter Collection (2020 Cigar of the Year), and the Rocky Patel Quarter Century (#5 Cigar of the Year)
This is as good a TAA cigar a I have smoked. It is a cigar that I would recommend to any cigar enthusiast. As for myself, this is a cigar I would smoke and buy a box of. At 92 points, this far exceeds the Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence.
Key Flavors: Coffee, Cocoa, Cream, Cedar, Earth, Pepper
Complexity: Medium Minus
Body: Medium to Full
Finish: Very Good
Value: Box Purchase
Cigar Coop Standard of Excellence
News: Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas to Debut at 2017 IPCPR
Brand Reference: Rocky Patel
Photo Credits: Cigar Coop