Rocky Patel Royale
Rocky Patel is one of the most famous cigar makers in the industry. I think it is basically a fact that all cigar shops in the universe carry at least one of his numerous brands. And there are many to choose from! The Royale is one of six recent releases, including the Nimmy D, Platinum, Bold (Nish), Sheffield, and Ray Lewis.
I must confess; I do not usually smoke anything made by Rocky Patel other than one that he makes for my local shop, Havana Mix. They have a house cigar called the Beale St. that really surprised me by how good it is. Outside of that, I just haven’t been very impressed with other cigars he makes. Not that they are bad, they just don’t stand out to me as interesting, more middle of the road if you will.
In this case, I was given the Rocky Patel Royale as a gift from a friend of mine. They told me that it was a really good cigar and needed to try it. When I said, “I’m sure it is, but I’m not going to buy that cigar”, they gave it to me. Maybe I should try that more often!
One thing I discovered when looking up some information on this cigar is that there is some confusion on the leaves that make up this cigar. It is evident that the wrapper is Ecuadorian Sumatra, but from there, the discrepancies pop up. Some sites list the binder as Nicaraguan; others say it’s a double binder of Connecticut Shade and Broadleaf. The filler is also listed as both Nicaraguan triple ligero and others say Honduran and Nicaraguan. I am not really sure which is correct and honestly don’t care.
I must admit the Rocky Patel Royale is a gorgeous looking cigar. The shapes of the torpedo plus the box press look really stylish. The milk chocolate wrapper is also appealing. There are very few veins on the front-side of the stick, but on the backside, there are several prominent ones. Nonetheless, it looks and feels silky smooth.
There are two bands on the Royale, the top band with the RP logo and a bottom band with “Royale”. The bands are a reddish brown, or burnt sienna if you will, with the logo, name, and trim in gold. Both are pretty snug, but will slide if pulled firmly. Overall, a very classy look.
Often times, box-pressed cigars can be a little under packed and squishy. That is not the case on the Rocky Patel Royale. It has a very firm, though light, feel to it. Looking at the foot, it appears to be well packed with filler. There is no real give to the stick when squeezed.
I am guessing that a cigar that looks this good also smells really good too. I was right! The foot has nice aromas of cocoa and earth. The barrel has aromas of sweet chocolate and caramel. Typically, I try to avoid torpedo-shaped/figurado cigars because I feel that most do not smoke as well as their parejo counterparts. When I do, I usually go with an angled cut, almost 45 degrees, which is what I did for this one. The pre-light draw is somewhat resistant, revealing notes of molasses, cocoa, and earth.
Since it was pretty cold that night, I went with my triple flame torch to make sure it lit up completely. The draw is still a tad tight, but I am able to get a decent amount of smoke on each draw. In the first third of this Rocky Patel Royale, I have to touch up the cigar as the burn starts to get too wavy. For the rest of the smoke, it is not perfectly even, but the burn doesn’t get too out of hand.
In the last third, I end up cutting the cap a little more due to excessive tar build up. When I do, the draw improves considerably. It made me wish I had done that near the beginning. Lesson learned! The ash on the RP Royale is not nearly as pretty as the cigar itself. It starts to curl and get loose pretty quickly. It does last about ¾” before I tap it off. It is pretty dark, mostly black and gray.
So far, the Rocky Patel Royale has scored high marks for its presentation and aromas, but not so high in draw, burn, or ash. Plus, there is tar build up throughout the smoke. Lets see if the flavors are good enough to bail it out.
The first third starts out with a mild bitterness akin to hops that came from the wrapper rather than the smoke. There are also mild pepper, cocoa, and earth notes. Just as the “good” bitterness from the wrapper begins to smooth out, some “bad” bitterness develops from the tar build up in the cap. I am able to wipe it off and continue on.
In the second third, there is a nice, mild pepper on the retrohale, a touch of cocoa, earth, and cedar flavors. A faint nut flavor also develops. Unfortunately, the tar comes back near the end of this section and, with it, the unpleasant bitterness. I finally do what I should’ve done in the first third and clip a little bit more off of the cap.
With just a simple clip, this cigar transforms in the final third. What a difference. The flavors of cedar, cocoa, nuts, mild pepper, and savory meat taste so much better than in previous sections. The bitterness is gone and the draw allows for more smoke to coat my palate. I now begin kicking myself for waiting this long to do it.
While I normally try to nub cigars I smoke, I leave almost an inch on the Rocky Patel Royale. For one, I was cold. Secondly, most of this cigar was not that enjoyable and I was about over it before the change in the final third. Though I felt there was more flavor and strength in the final third, overall, this cigar was medium in strength and flavor. Smoke time was around 1 hour 20 minutes, though I could’ve stretched that another 10-15 minutes.
Would I Buy It Again?
Buy it? No. Smoke it again? Yes.
Is It An Everyday Smoke?
Not for me.
Would I Buy a Box?
While I recognize that part of the issue with this Rocky Patel Royale Torpedo could have been the initial cut on the cap, I don’t think that all the unpleasantness of it can be blamed on that. With the Royale having an appealing appearance, I was expecting a more flavorful cigar, but was disappointed. The tight draw and reoccurring tar build up were big turn offs for me.
Having said all of that, I do think this cigar has potential and I would want to try it in a toro or robusto. I just don’t see paying over $10 to do so. Maybe I can get someone else to give me one!