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Staff Reviews

Rocky Patel Sun Grown Maduro Toro Staff Review

Shane K. K's picture

Shane K.

I’m smoking Rocky Patel Sun Grown Maduro in a box-pressed 6.5 x 52 Toro today. In 2016, Cigar Aficionado ranked Sun Grown Maduro as the ‘#2 Cigar of the Year’ in its annual Top 25 list. The accolade shows off brand founder Rocky Patel’s commitment to his craft and the continual evolution of his cigars.

Rocky brings an element of glitz and glamour to the cigar industry few other cigar-makers possess. He left a high-profile career as an attorney in Hollywood in the early 1990s to pursue his love of premium cigars – an unconventional path by many standards. He’s a natural fit, though. Rocky cherishes the cigar industry because cigars bring people together. Fans of his brand love to attend the dinners and events he hosts at cigar retailers around the country.

Rocky embodies a philosophy of the hot, new, and trendy. He adds and subtracts cigars from his roster on a regular basis to keep connoisseurs curious about his brand. It’s a formula that works for him and satisfies cigar lovers who are ever in search of the latest cigars to smoke. Rocky Patel Sun Grown Maduro adds to a portfolio which has grown substantially over the past two decades.

Sun Grown Maduro is handmade in Estelí, Nicaragua. The blend is based on the original Rocky Patel Sun Grown from the mid-2000s, but the Maduro version is drawn from an oily Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper and an exclusive recipe of Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos. The cigar’s wrapper is very dark. It’s an espresso-bean brown with a touch of oxblood. Sun Grown Maduro is soft to the touch from head to foot and displays no veins or imperfections. Its band leaps out with white, red, and gold colors and a font reminiscent of the Old West with matching filigree.  

Unsheathed from its cellophane, Sun Grown Maduro emits an enticing and sweet bouquet. Notes of raisins, earth, and peat draw you in. Its cold taste is striking. The second Sun Grown Maduro hits your lips its perky character is undeniable. A sweet, savory, and penetrating profile reveals notes of mesquite and Kodiak chewing tobacco. The flavor is cutting but not unwelcoming. Soy sauce comes to mind.

With a few flicks of my soft-flame lighter, Sun Grown Maduro commences with a troubled burn. Its loose construction encourages an uneven cherry and a flaky, inconsistent ash. More concerning, the cigar’s initial taste is chalky, dark, and lacks the bright and intriguing flavor of its cold draw. Fortunately, the profile improves throughout the first third. It flattens out with stark, smoky flavors of earth and espresso. The Toro burns fast and passes a touch of spice through the nose.

Although Sun Grown Maduro is classified as a full-bodied cigar, its light and airy draw leaves a less intense impression. The cigar’s runaway combustion evens out over the middle third. Its taste is still less interesting than before I lit it, but it is not offensive. The Maduro delivers a straightforward profile of smoky, earthy flavor.

Notes of red pepper and wood emerge in the final stretch. At last, Sun Grown Maduro reclaims the complex taste it displayed when I first put it to my lips. Savory notes of soy sauce and peat return with a pleasant sweetness. I aged the specimen I’m smoking for several weeks in my personal stash to give the blend plenty of time to mellow out. I believe the strategy benefits a number of Broadleaf wrappers, particularly in Rocky’s portfolio.

Rocky Patel Sun Grown Maduro finishes in a series of slow, steady draws with more depth than I expected. Although its relaxed construction and untidy ash leave something to be desired, the blend shows no bitterness or unwanted taste. Consider this cigar standard Rocky faire and worthy of a spin in your rotation. If you’re in search of other Rocky Patel cigars as a point of comparison, the ‘Luxury Collection’ and ‘Red Carpet’ Collection regularly land at the top of our sampler sales charts.


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