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Staff Reviews

Rocky Patel Sixty Staff Review

Tom O. O's picture

Tom O.

Well, as we head into 2023, we’ve got a fresh crop of the ‘Top 25 Cigars of the Year’ for 2022 to evaluate from Cigar Aficionado, and near the top of the rankings, at No. 2, is a gargantuan and glorified smoke from Rocky Patel called the Sixty, and today I’m smoking it in a 6-by-60 size of the same name, Sixty.

Rocky Patel has been a premium cigar-maker for nearly three decades, transitioning from a career as an entertainment lawyer in Hollywood in the 1990s. Despite his unconventional path into the cigar industry, Rocky Patel is admired by cigar lovers as much as his cigar-making peers, many of whom hail from families who’ve been growing and blending tobacco for generations. Rocky’s charismatic personality, dedication, and drive have made the Rocky Patel brand a force to be reckoned with. Premium cigar shops around the world carry his cigars, and his portfolio has grown dramatically since its debut.

The latest cigar Rocky unveiled, Rocky Patel Sixty, was blended in honor of a major milestone – his 60th birthday. And in keeping with the trend for extra-thick cigars, the Sixty size is handcrafted in a popular 6-inch format with a hulking 60 ring gauge. Rocky Patel Sixty is produced at Rocky’s Tavicusa factory in Estelí, Nicaragua, where dozens of his best cigars are made, including the 92-rated Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary and the 95-rated Rocky Patel Sun Grown Maduro, which also scored ‘#2 Cigar of the Year’ honors, back in 2016.

Rocky Patel Sixty cigars are dressed in ornate cigar bands that run nearly the entire length of each cigar. A classic ‘RP’ logo graces the upper band. A black-and-white image of tobacco crops is vertically flanked by a second pair of bands that read ‘Sixty’ at the top and ‘60’ at the bottom in lifted golden characters. There’s no mistaking the Sixty for another Rocky Patel cigar. They’re shipped in shiny red boxes of twenty.

One aspect of cigar-making Rocky excels at is marketing. He knows how to package his cigars to make them pop off the shelf and his enthusiasm for the product is contagious when you hear him talk about any blend in his portfolio. Rocky Patel Sixty is no exception. A toothy milk-chocolate-hued wrapper, grown in Mexico’s famed San Andrés tobacco fields, conceals a hearty blend of premium Nicaraguan long-fillers. The Sixty is box-pressed, too, giving it the appearance of candy bar.

Before firing up this chunky smoke, I gently peel off the lower cigar bands, revealing more of the cigar’s gleaming wrapper leaf. It’s best to slice the cap with a big-ring cutter, like the Xikar M8, when you’re cutting a fat box-pressed shape. It’s tricky enough to cut a fat cigar with a standard cutter, but a box-pressed size can sustain unwanted damage to the wrapper if you force it in between blades that won’t open wide enough to embrace the cap.

I smoke large ring gauge cigars out of curiosity more than preference. The differences between thick versus thin cigars can affect the flavor, and I’m intrigued by fatter shapes when the critics fawn over them. Rocky Patel Sixty is supple and well made. A close inspection from head to foot shows consistent density, and the cold draw displays creamy and spicy notes of cocoa and pepper. I take my time toasting the foot until the center and perimeter are equally aglow. Slow ignition prevents the cigar from tasting charry.

The Sixty starts off easy. Pleasant notes of leather and caramel come to life as big wafts of smoke bathe my palate without too much intensity. The sweet and spicy flavor San Andrés wrappers are known for is a touch diluted by the large ratio of filler tobaccos employed to create the cigar’s extra girth. Rocky ages the Sixty for two full years, though, to ensure the profile is as smooth as possible by the time the cigar is in your hands.

Notes of black pepper and nutmeg unfold throughout the first quarter of the cigar. Hints of caramel and espresso add a nice dimension while a firm ash forms at the foot. Although fatter cigars can be tiring on the jaw, the draw is much cooler and the cigar burns slowly, giving the flavor time to ruminate with more delicacy. A good amount of spice comes through the nose.

Mellow notes of leather, nuts, and coffee bean characterize the lion’s share of Rocky Patel Sixty. It gets spicier in the second half but stops short of overwhelming the palate. Overall, the strength is medium, but the cigar’s intensity is offset by its ring gauge, so you don’t necessarily have to save the Sixty for after dinner. A big, creamy finish emerges over the course of an hour and twenty minutes, so set aside plenty of time before you smoke this behemoth. 

The construction, flavor, and aroma of Rocky Patel Sixty merit a respectable 88-point rating in my book, but I’m not gonna launch it into the stratosphere of the absolute best cigars of 2022. I’ll leave that up to you, but you should put it on your radar if you’re a fan of fat cigars.


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