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Rocky Patel’s original Winter Collection blend was released in 2009, and turned out to be a big hit, earning rave reviews from many notable sources. Late last year the all-new 2012 Winter blend hit our humidor, and I’ve been clamoring to test it out ever since. Featuring a cool mix of Panamanian and Nicaraguan filler tobaccos, dual Costa-Rican and Mexican binders, and an Ecuadorian Habano wrapper, this worldly blend seemed like it might be right up my alley. So for today’s review, I pulled out a sample of the Toro( 6 ½ x 52), to finally see what Rocky’s new seasonal blend was all about.
The wrapper on the cigar was super-oily and silky, with light, non-obtrusive veins. This stick had some of the sharpest box-press construction I had ever seen, it was kind of thin, and almost had the feel of a “wafe” to it in my hand. After snipping the cap, this cigar gave off enticing pre-light tasting-notes of sweet, dark, dried fruit, milk chocolate and a spicy white pepper. It was time to spark up.
This stogie opened up with a pepin-esque peppery zing, followed by savory notes of dark fruity sweetness. The draw was easy, and the smoke itself was creamy and full. As I ventured further in, the pepper settled down a little bit, and notes of leather and cream made their way to the forefront.
The 2nd third of the stick presented the same basic flavors, but in this portion they came across much smoother, and very well-balanced. By this point, a nice two-inch grey and black tiger-striped ash had accumulated, and no burn problems had occurred. Leather and creamy anise were the dominant notes here, accompanied by a smooth peppery-spice note ever-present in the background.
The final third was definitely my favorite part of this stogie. The pepper note vanished, and a delicious, light, malty sweetness took over. Subtle notes of cocoa and nuts emerged, and the culmination of all these flavors together made for a perfect compliment to the unique taste of the quality tobacco blend of the binders and filler. The smooth-smoking continued until I was holding nothing but a tasty, smoldering nub.
The Rocky Patel Winter Collection 2012 started off very robust, and bold in character, and then slowly evolved to a smooth and creamy profile, both of which were enjoyable and well-executed. This was definitely what I would consider a “clean” smoke, in that it left very little aftertaste on my palate. Far from boring, the Winter Collection 2012 was packed with tasty and entertaining complexity, which is something I can’t say for a lot of cigars I’ve reviewed. I found myself really digging the entire smoking experience, from the look and feel of the stogie, to the awesome taste, and perfect burn. This was probably my favorite Rocky blend yet, and I have to give it a grade of A+. This, ladies and gents, is what a premium cigar should be like: interesting, tasty, and hassle-free.
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