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Noob Reviews: A new smoker’s guide to the best beginner smokes
If you ever have the fortune of meeting Nimish Desai of Rocky Patel Cigars you’ll be sure to have a fully stocked humidor the next day; cigars are practically falling out of his pockets. Amongst the fine smokes he dished out, I did happen upon one Rocky Patel Vintage ‘99 Connecticut Robusto (5 1/2 x 50). Well known for his heartier blends, Rocky went with a mellower profile for this stick, which made it a perfect choice for Noob Reviews.
A few days later I got a chance to sit down and look over this popular smoke, noting the familiar dual-band keeping in line with the ‘90 and ‘92 blends. The combination of the 7-year-aged wrapper with the 8-year-aged Dominican and Nicaraguan guts give this stick a construction to behold; it was tough as nails with no give at all. The cap was curiously lighter in color than the body, making it look as though it was wearing a little helmet. The aroma of the cigar was faint, but I could smell a very sweet, sugary wood. Through a firm draw my palate detected a perfectly even mix of wood, plum, and tobacco.
While inaugurating the first third of this stick I was treated to freshly ground black pepper and something that was not quite cedar but not quite oak; it could have been Bubinga for all I know, but what matters is that it was absolutely delicious and beyond smooth. At about 20 minutes in, some potent baking spices started to show up on the front end, with the velvety wood receding just enough to let a tasty bread flavor come though. Also poking around was that faint lacquer note that’s been showing up in my recent smokes. I guess my palate is finely tuned to that scent, perhaps an old relic from my days in shop class.
Further down the road a classic, sweet creaminess rolled in and dominated the finish. The wood flavor decided to compliment this by taking on some caramel characteristics, making the body of the smoke hearty and chewy, almost like I was eating dessert. Through this section the creaminess and savory bread flavor were duking it out for rights to the finish. There were also some passing notes that I just couldn’t pin down; they were flavors I’ve simply never tasted before, but hope to see again.
This is the first review I’ve had to do inside. Last week was a cold, rainy precursor to what many a cigar smoker in the northern regions will face all too soon: bodies stiffening against the cold, wind cutting through you, frozen hands, quiet grumbling, chapped lips, and overcrowded cigar lounges. Winter is coming. The window for relaxing outside with a fine cigar is shrinking quicker than any of us want to admit. So, like a squirrel packing away acorns for the season, get out there in these next few, fleeting weeks and enjoy every last puff while you still can.