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Staff Reviews

Rocky Patel Decade Staff Review

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

Rocky Patel is a living legend in the cigar world. He’s built a stellar reputation over the past 20 years through his dedication and commitment, not only to making fine cigars, but also to expressing a sincere enthusiasm for his customers. I’ve met him numerous times over the years, both as a guest here at the Holt’s headquarters in Philly, and at a number of our annual cigar trade shows. Let me tell you, the guy is always a total gentleman and he’s genuinely pleased to hang out and share a cigar with you. You don’t see that kind of candor every day, but it makes sense why Rocky excels in the cigar industry. Selling cigars is a people-oriented endeavor.

Outside of all the accolades I could shower on his personality, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of Rocky Patel’s cigars. A cigar-maker can be as nice as a piece of pie, but without some mad tobacco-blending skills, you’re probably not going to get too far in this biz. Perhaps no other cigar has defined Rocky Patel better than Decade, or at least that’s my personal take. It’s been a top-seller in his brand’s portfolio for years and, in my book, it gets a ton of kudos for consistent flavor and seamless construction.

Rock Patel Decade is a quality, aged concoction of all-Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos carefully tucked under the oily sheen of an Ecuador Sumatra wrapper leaf, which has also been fermented for a good bit of time. Decade hails from Nestor Plasencia’s El Paraiso cigar factory in Honduras, where it’s handcrafted in a handful of classic shapes, including a pretty wide 6 x 60 size called the Emperor. Although the Torpedo seems to resonate with a higher number of Rocky fans, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Toro, which is also box-pressed like the Torpedo. It burns just a touch cool, but doesn’t relinquish any of the blend’s welcome intensity.

A nice blast of black cherries and dampened earth emerges in the cold draw. You can really anticipate the peppery profile you’ll taste just by holding the foot of the cigar up to your nostrils and taking in a deep sniff. Decade displays a texture that is refined, but just a little rough and somewhat reminiscent of brown butcher paper, although the leaf is much darker in color.

Every time I fire one up, the first draw brings the spice to life. Earthy notes of cocoa and black cherries gush onto the sides of the palate, while the more peppery flavors engulf the top of your tongue and certainly influence the overall aroma. Although Decade is complex, it doesn’t step on itself, meaning the flavors remain in agreement from pretty much start to finish. A creamy and nutty taste overrides the blend’s most resonant qualities, which is certainly a welcome attribute as the spice intensifies slightly in the final third. That’s really why I prefer the Toro. A certain fervor of tastes is divulged by the conclusion of the cigar, and the Toro prevents any over-concentration of spice or heat. It’s an easy cigar to smoke down to the nub, especially if you’ve aged it a bit in your own humidor at home.

Decade is a marvelous introduction to Rocky Patel, as long as you’re up for a more medium to full-bodied blend. The cigar was originally blended to commemorate Rocky’s tenth anniversary in the business. Although a number of other anniversary cigars exist in the Rocky Patel portfolio today, Decade still ranks as my first choice when I’m in the mood to celebrate, or raise a toast to relaxation with a Rocky in my hand.


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