It all started at about 4:00 P.M. on Thursday, Dec. 31. One of my coworkers had just picked up a box of Private Selection 70th Anniversary by Rocky Patel Robusto and was kind enough to hand me not one, but two! Interestingly enough, this is one of the few 70th Anniversary cigars I had not smoked in its final version. That was reason enough to go for it.
Now I know there’s always the risk of sounding like a shill when I review a private blend cigar, but damn if this wasn’t one of the best cigars I smoked all year, and you can think whatever you like. (If I had smoked it sooner I probably would have mentioned it in Our Most Impressive Cigars of 2009 article.)
Rocky’s cigars seem to improve year after year, and it looks like there’s no ceiling in sight. This limited edition 70th Anniversary selection offers an extra-long-aged longfiller blend of various Nicaraguan tobaccos, a Honduran binder and a gorgeous Ecuadorian-grown Cuban seed wrapper leaf that adds a lot of flavor to this full-bodied blend. If that sounds a bit cryptic, blame Rocky; I think he wanted to keep the 70th by Rocky Patel cigars blend in his designer suit pocket. Moreover, just today read the following applicable quote by Rocky in a recent online cigar review: “I don’t make a blend and give it to 10 people – I trust my palate and I know what I’m looking for.” (Why am I not surprised?)
From the first puff this cigar was right in my wheelhouse. The smoke was intensely aromatic and flavorful; rife with earthiness, sweet spices (nutmeg, for sure) all underscored by a rich woodiness. Each puff was amazingly creamy, easy, and every bit as flavorful as the one before. The ash was very firm with a clean burn, too. I paired it with a glass of Tawny Port, which made a great match, as well.
I let the cigar rest between puffs. There was no way I wanted it to get tarry or bitter and it paid-off. Even by the last third the cigar remained smooth and creamy and glowing with caramelized flavors. If you like complex flavor, there’s plenty here for you. I’ll stop there, only to add that I hope your first cigar of the New Year was as enjoyable as was mine. Now I can’t wait to try the other one.
Appearance – 9
Construction – 9
Draw – 9
Burn – 9
Aroma – 9
Flavor – 9
Balance – 9
Total Score: 9.0
Feel free to chime in on your New Years cigar.
~ Gary Korb