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Staff Reviews

Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 Staff Review

Tom O. O's picture

Tom O.

Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 is a mellow Honduran handmade finished in a silky Connecticut Shade wrapper, and today I’m smoking a 5.5-by-50 Robusto to give you the rundown on why this is a sensible box to toss in your coolerdor during the summertime.

Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 debuted back in 2006 and was blended to introduce Rocky Patel cigars to beginners and fans of milder blends. If you’re familiar with the 95-rated Rocky Patel Decade and 96-rated Rocky Patel Sixty, Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 is less spicy and less intense. A golden-blond Connecticut Shade wrapper leaf embraces a nutty blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan Ligero long-filler tobaccos, aged for eight years.

A never-ending stream of strong, new cigars to smoke has flooded store shelves for the past twenty years to keep up with consumer demand for full-bodied blends. However, milder cigars still sell the most. Why? Because they appeal to everyone from beginners to serious aficionados. Premium cigar-makers like Rocky recognize the importance of gaining the loyalty of new cigar enthusiasts as they develop their palates.

Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 is a continuation of Rocky’s seminal Vintage Series, which includes Vintage 1990 and Vintage 1992 cigars. Both blends were big hits with the critics and consumers, and the 1999 blend showcases one of Rocky’s first Connecticut Shade cigars. This light and creamy edition comes in a 20-count box, and each cigar is sheathed in a pair gold-and-white cigar bands. The cigars retail in the vicinity of twelve to fourteen bucks apiece. My expectations are always high for cigars that cost over ten dollars.

When I grab a Robusto from the top row of a fresh box and slide the cellophane off, I can tell the cigar is well made and the wrapper was carefully selected because there aren’t any noticeable seams or veins. When you smoke a cigar with an authentic Connecticut Shade wrapper, you can anticipate a nutty sweetness that is hard to mimic in Connecticut-seed tobaccos grown in other countries.

When I clip the cap and savor a few cold puffs, creamy notes of white pepper, hay, and cedar characterize Rocky Patel Vintage 1999. This pristine Robusto fires up with ease while elegant clouds of milky white smoke fill the air over my desk. I’m sipping a blonde roast coffee with Vintage 1999 because it’s an easy cigar to smoke before noon.

Over the course of five to ten minutes, pronounced notes of wood and pepper overpower hints of vanilla bean and buttered toast. I wish there was more sweetness in the beginning, but the Vintage 1999 unfolds with a partially dry texture that’s just a touch herbal and chalky. While it’s still a solid cigar to smoke with coffee, I’d be more inclined to enjoy it with an ice-cold everyman beer in the future.

Throughout the middle, Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 doesn’t change a whole lot, although hints of brown sugar and wheat bread introduce a bit of complexity. The ash flakes off in a few places, but the cigar has burned perfectly otherwise. Tasting notes of cedar and white pepper precede a medium-bodied finish of citrus and baking spices after the bands are off and I’m nursing the nub. About fifty minutes have gone by. 

I think Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 is a fitting Connecticut Shade cigar and worthy of your time, but I also think it’s priced just a little steep when you factor in the competition. If you’re a fan of Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 cigars, consider sampling the bestselling Rocky Patel Velvet Edition as well as ultra-affordable bundles of ‘RP’ Mulligans Clubhouse Select and ‘RP’ Mulligans Trophy Series. All three mirror Rocky’s finest Connecticut-wrapped handmades for a serious bargain.


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