Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rocky Patel Olde World Reserve
Size: 6.5 x 52 (Toro)
Tobacco: Nicaragua (filler), Honduras (binder), Costa Rica (wrapper)
Price: $9.90

Special thanks to my favorite cigar company CigarsDirect for sending
me 4 Olde World Reserve cigars to try and review.

I first saw this particular cigar back in 2006 while visiting a local B&M named Cigar Depot. The box of OWR was sitting right next to a box of Padron 1926 and
in fact had a slightly higher selling price of $22.50 per cigar. It was--and still is, as far as I know--Rocky Patel's superpremium cigar, although prices have since descended to the $7-10 range.

The Maduro:
I split my maduros with Shaun. We smoked the first one on his back porch in late Fall 2008, paired with Willett,a new single-barrel bourbon his wife had brought back from Kentucky. Wow! what a combination. It was so good, we paired them again a few weeks later in early December while watching the SEC college football championship game. Alabama lost to Florida in the 4th quarter, but despite my heartbreak, at least the cigar was superb.

The OWR maduro sports an an elegant brown band around its head, and a paper sleeve adorns its foot. It's prelight aroma is dense and bespokes a toasty, medium-body smoke. The post-light flavor, however, is much more sophisticated: tastes that shift from an early spice to a muted coffee and then finally a smooth maduro-sweet climax. The burn was perfect, slow and cool, lasting nearly 2 1/2 hours. As I've said before in this blog, I'm not a big fan of maduros, but this one was clearly top-notch. The only real drawback was the blackish-brown stain on my fingers, which suggests this cigar may have been dyed during the fermentation process.

This cigar would probably have rated an 8.0 or 8.5 on our 10-leaf scale. Because of the stained fingers, it got lowered slightly to a 7/10.

The Corojo:
The maduro was so good, it really set up my expectations for the corojo. This corojo wrapper is actually a cross-breed between a pure corojo (rare) and a criollo.

The first OWR corojo I tried was spongy, all the way through the cigar, despite having 9 months of age in 65-70% RH. I gifted one to Shaun, who had the same problem with his. These cigars wouldn't stay lit no matter what we did. They wouldn't burn straight. They tasted bland, like a medium-bodied bundle stick.

A few weeks later, I gave it another shot. This second one did not feel spongy to the touch but it still canoed and extinguished itself when left unattended for more than 45 seconds (and no, that is not an exaggeration!). The taste was bland, followed by bitter, followed by foul. I couldn't even finish it.

Last night, I smoked my final OWR corojo (and I mean that as a definitive statement. I will never smoke another one the rest of my life). This one, too, was very spongy near the foot, so I dry-boxed it for a week before smoking it. No construction issues with this one, but the taste of the cigar did not improve. After an initial pleasant burst of spice, the flavor drained out almost immediately, leaving me 90 minutes to puff on what I imagine rolled up newspaper must taste like. At least the scotch (Bowmore Legend) was good.

I cannot remember being this disappointed in a cigar since I smoked that $40 Don Carlos Edicion de Aniversario in May 2008. At least that cigar was decent, even if it didn't live up the hype.

The OWR corojo ranks only a paltry 3/10 on the 10-leaf scale. (It might have fared worse, but I reserve the bottom "1" and "2" ranks for Polish cigars and Cremosas, in that order).

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