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The latest Rocky Patel cigar to land here at Best Cigar Prices, the Gary Sheffield Home Run 500 was blended to commemorate baseball legend Gary Sheffield’s (you guessed it!) 500th home run. A limited release, the HR 500 contains a blend of binder and filler tobaccos from Honduras and Nicaragua housed in an Ecuadorian Habano-seed wrapper. Choosing the size to smoke for today’s review was very easy, as the cigar only comes in the Toro (61/2 x 52) size.
Before I get into the cigar, I feel the need to mention how awesome the HR 500’s packaging is. The Spanish cedar-lined box is covered in the same actual rawhide used on MLB baseballs, and features authentic-looking red stitching. I’m not even a baseball fan, but I thought these boxes were undeniably well-done.
Anyway, back to business – The cigar wore a slick brown Habano wrapper with a slightly reddish hue to it, and was covered with two bands, a large main band with the Homerun 500 logo, and a smaller one with the words “by Gary Sheffield” on it. Construction looked to be up to speed, and pre-light draws gave off a spicy and woody tobacco flavor backed up by a faint citrus note.
After a thorough toasting the stogie lit up with very little effort, and I was immediately met with a very full flavor of earth, espresso, and light baking spice with a pinch of white pepper on the finish. This was pretty much the jist of the first 3rd, and as I burned further in the cigar became increasingly creamy and smooth, nicely offsetting the baking spice notes that had began to ramp up quite a bit. One thing that really stood out about this cigar right off the bat is that it had by far the darkest ash I had ever seen on a cigar. It doesn’t seem to come across very well in the photos, but the ash on this thing was seriously dark brown with thin black stripes. Weird.
In the 2nd third of the cigar the flavor transitioned to a deeply rich tobacco with undertones of cocoa, and a good bit of black pepper on the finish. During this portion the full-bodiedness of the cigar was really shining through, and some tasty caramel sweetness began to emerge. This particular range of flavors remained consistent for a while, and then suddenly, just when I was really getting used to the full, robust taste this stogie had going on, the profile shifted to one of the aforementioned rich tobacco, along with a light, zesty, and dry baking spice.
As I finally burned into the last third of the HR 500 both the body and flavor of the cigar had mellowed out to a nice medium level, and the palate-tingling deep tobacco taste remained the star of the show. Sweet little nuances of milk chocolate and cream popped up every now and then, and this stogie burned smooth and cool until the end.
This stick had all of the flavor I would normally associate with a powerhouse cigar and none of the overwhelming ass-kickery or bite. In terms of flavor transition and complexity, the Home Run 500 performed well beyond my expectations and kept it interesting all the way. As far as burn and draw are concerned, this stogie gave me no problems at all. Rumor has it that this is the first of a series of sports-related smokes that Rocky plans on putting out, and if this blend is any indication of the level of quality we can expect from them, you can bet I’ll be smoking every last one. I’m giving the Rocky Patel Home Run 500 a well-deserved B+ grade, and I couldn’t possibly recommend a better cigar for fans of both baseball and complex smokes. Although Rocky hasn’t been specific up to this point in regards to the exact number of HR 500 cigars being produced, they are a limited release, so I suggest scooping up a box before they disappear.