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Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 Perfecto

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So I’ve been doing the bloggy thing for eight months and haven’t reviewed a single smoke by Rocky Patel. In political parlance, I guess that makes me out of touch with the values of herfing America? I figured there were more than enough RP reviews to go around already. But this is the season for pandering, so at long last I bring you a Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 Perfecto.

For the most part, I find Rocky’s smokes to be okay. But after the Vintage 1990 and 1992 lines, he just started producing too much stuff for me to keep track of. It’s what I now call “Gurkha syndrome.” My branding background tells me that flooding the market with line extensions of varying quality is a bad idea. I assume Rocky’s bank book tells a different story.

This 4″ x 48 perfecto is a cool little size, wrapped in dark, Honduras-grown Connecticut Broadleaf. The binder is Nicaraguan and the filler is a blend of Dominican and Nicaraguan.

I clip the sloppy cap and trim a quarter-inch from the perfecto foot. The draw is firm but manageable. The flavors immediately remind me of Nestor Plasencia’s CI Legends Maroon Label, with up-front sweetness backed by wood, leather and earth on the finish. This resemblance is no coincidence, of course, as Patel’s smokes are made at Plasencia’s Danli, Honduras factory.

I quickly run into problems with the draw. It has loosened a little, but also heated up dramatically. The burn is straight, but I now have to nurse this in order to keep the temp in line.

Approaching halfway, most of the early sweetness has faded and it picks up some acrid notes. The flavor is thin and turning ashy. I definitely preferred the first inch, even with the fussy performance.

I hold out some hope for the final third, since I’ve been able to manage the combustion rate and the draw is fine. The flavors, however, have pared themselves down to char with just a hint of coffee grounds and earth. I surrender, mildly annoyed, with about an inch remaining.

UPDATE: For other views on this smoke, check out Cigar Inspector and Walt from Stogie Review, both of whom were underwhelmed. Meanwhile, Patrick A. at Stogie Guys was far more enthusiastic, giving it “4.5 stogies.”

CONCLUSION: Beyond brand whore-ism, I can’t see a reason to buy this one. At its best, it tastes like the CI Maroon Label, a nice smoke which sells at half the price of the RP Vintage 1990. At its worst, it’s thin and bitter like another $2.00 Plasencia offering, the 5 Vegas Series “A”. So even if one likes the flavor of the 1990, and I generally didn’t, it can be had for well below the RP’s MSRP.

SCORE: 80

7 comments

1 Cigar Inspector { 10.21.08 at 11:20 am }

I reviewed this one a while ago and I would agree with you.
I can see no reason to buy it again.

2 Kevin { 10.21.08 at 5:17 pm }

No, there wasn’t much to like, Denis. I DO like the Vintage 1992 line, or at least I did last time I had one. I went through box of the Churchill size back in ‘04. Goes to show the difference the wrapper can make, given that the filler/binder combo is the same in both the ‘90 and ‘92.

3 Matt { 10.24.08 at 5:30 am }

Your photography skills are amazing. Your blog here could easily earn you some jobs shooting product for cigar companies. I wish I had the equipment, and more importantly the skill to take photos of my cigars that were just half as good as your photos.

As for the RP. I agree with your assessment here. I have never been a fan of these or any RP’s for that matter. I am however looking forward to trying his Summer blend. The mix of tobaccos he uses in it has me intrigued. I have a couple to smoke but haven’t gotten around to them yet. So much to smoke, so little time.

4 Kevin { 10.24.08 at 9:20 am }

Many thanks, Matt. When the natural light is kind, taking the shots is half the fun for me. I agree — the manufacturers should hire me and pay me off in limited editions and experimental blends! :)

Haven’t tried an RP seasonal blend. I do have a Vintage ‘92 perfecto lying around. I may review that one sometime soon. Haven’t had a ‘92 in ages, though I once enjoyed them.

5 ROTHNH { 11.03.08 at 11:57 am }

I’ve “sampled” at least five or six different Rocky Patel blends. I admire the man. His cigars? Not so much.

6 cigarfan { 11.03.08 at 9:41 pm }

Rocky reminds me of an author who writes so prolifically that he has to publish under a pseudonym to avoid oversaturation. I like his smokes, even his cheap stuff like Fire, but those of us who are always pushing the envelope for something new, small batch boutique cigars and the like, might be tiring a bit at this point. We’re yearning for the new, the radical new flavor, that rare Florida Goose Creek Double Ligero Limited Edition that we’ve dreamed about, and can only hope for.

7 Kevin { 11.06.08 at 7:27 am }

Yeah, the flavor of those Goose Creek Red Double Ligeros might be “radical” all right! :)

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