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Out of the many, many new Rocky Patel blends announced at IPCPR 2012, one that seems to be getting a fair amount of pre-release attention is the Rocky Patel Freedom. The blend consists of a Habano Oscuro wrapper stuffed with a mix of premium Nicaraguan interior tobaccos, and regarding the inspiration for the new line, Rocky has been quoted as saying, “I have spent a great deal of time in Washington fighting alongside others in our industry’s fight to preserve our rights to smoke cigars- this cigar is representative of that.” Considering the amount of time and energy we here at Best Cigar Prices have spent fighting that same fight, this sentiment is one we can certainly relate to, so for today’s test-smoke I whipped out a sample of the Freedom Robusto (5×50) for evaluation.
But, before we get into the review I want to make a brief side note: The cigar I am reviewing is in fact a test sample from the trade show (note the plain banding), and may not be entirely representative of the finished product that will land on shelves in September. Unusual travel times and storage methods can sometimes affect these testers in some wacky ways, so even after a couple of week’s rest in our humidor this particular stick may or may not be up to optimum performance. I’ll be sure to let you know once the real batch arrives.
Anyway, the Freedom appeared to be solidly constructed, with an ample and sturdy triple cap in place at the head. The wrapper was pretty slick and oily, with a few light veins running through the length of the cigar. Color-wise, this stick definitely did not have the near-black hue that I typically associate with the term “Oscuro.” To my eye this was more “Colorado maduro”, but hey, what do I know? Pre-light notes were faint, but I did pick up a vague and dry cedar taste before sparking up.
Right off the bat the cigar had a smooth, clean taste of unsweetened cocoa and black pepper. The burn line was off to a pretty wavy start but the draw was great, with what seemed like just the right amount of resistance. A little further in I began to pick up a bit of white pepper, and some nutty character as well.
The second third introduced a new layer of coffee and cream, which added some complexity and just a touch of sweetness to the profile. The smoke was both creamy and airy, and by the time I had reached the two inch mark the pepper had all but vanished and the uneven burn had corrected itself. During this portion the stick came across as mellow-to-medium in body, and I was enjoying nice, easygoing, and tasty puffs as I watched a sturdy black and white-striped ash continue to build.
As I burned into the final third, notes of smoky cedar and a malty sweetness joined the already-delicious flavors at play, bringing the taste profile full circle. At this point I was thoroughly impressed with the complexity of this cigar, and wishing that I had more than one sample. Then, sadly, with almost two inches remaining, the R.P. Freedom went out on its own. I’ve never been one to re-light a cigar, so for me this meant the session was over.
The Rocky Patel Freedom turned out to be very tasty, and far from what I was expecting. This stogie was complex, well-balanced, and for now I’m going to give Rocky the benefit of the doubt and attribute the burn issues to the fact that this was a “sample” cigar. Perhaps in a few weeks when the first boxes arrive I’ll do a redux review and see how the official release stands up to the sample, but for now I have to give the Freedom my stamp of approval. I’ve always said that some of Rocky’s blends stand out far above the rest, and based on my first experience, I think this may be one of them.
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