Monday, August 11, 2008

Rocky Patel Summer Collection (lancero)


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With a name like "Summer Collection", you would think this cigar is catered to women. Believe me, we know all about seasonal collections when it comes to clothing, but cigars? That seems a bit unusual. But Rocky Patel has managed to come out with an unusual concept in his brand new Rocky Patel Seasons Collection. This line will have four unique blends corresponding to each season. I'm lucky to be living in a location where I actually experience all four seasons in a year, so I am curious as to how he envisions a flavor corresponding to each one.
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The Summer Collection is the first blend to come out. It is composed of Nicaraguan filler tobacco from the three different regions of Condega, Esteli, and Jalapa bound by African Cameroon. The wrapper is Habano seed from Ecuador. This cigar is available in four different vitolas: a robusto (5x50), toro (6 1/2x 52), toro grande (6x58) and lancero (7x42). They retail for about $6.65 to $8.60 and are offered in boxes of 20.
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My lancero looked "summery" enough with it's "earthy soil" colored wrapper which sported some hard veins and water spots. It would fit right in with the less than perfect looking produce I like to pick from my parents garden every summer. A vine ripened tomato with some blemishes on it still tastes better than an early picked tomato ripened in a grocery store bin. This cigar also tastes better than it looks.





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three tiny water spots
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Before I get into the taste, I should also mention that the lancero has a Cubanesque look to it with it's straight layered cap with pig-tail twist. It has a spicy and earthy aroma with a slight floral hint. The foot smelled of a sweet dark tea. The cigar feels mostly soft with some firmness near the cap. The pre-light draw was a little firm for my liking and displayed some fruity tobacco notes.
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This cigar actually showed some nice complexity early on. The initial flavors were a nice dark semi-sweet chocolate along with some noticable Cameroon spice and creaminess blended in. Next came some toasted hay flavor which makes you feel like you are down on the farm. The finish is toasty along with a citrus like acidity. The cigar eventually settles into a dark chocolate and leather body with a tea like finish that is short and clean. There are some traces of sweetness but it barely lingers and quickly fades away.
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The second third develops a nice leather flavor sans any bitterness to take it over the edge. Slow patient smoking is key to enjoying the first half of this stick. Once again I tasted dark chocolate with a tea-like finish with some acidity on the end. The sweetness goes away and is replaced by a tasty roasted peanut flavor after a leathery intro.
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The final third takes on a more savory character. The draw began to tighten up on me and I was struggling with having to re-light the cigar many times to get adequate smoke. However, I was still getting some nutty flavor with a much longer finish. I would best describe this cigar as being medium bodied and medium strength. The last 2 and 1/2 inches was a struggle as some unenjoyable bitterness crept in and took hold of the cigar. It would probably be best to end it right there lest you want to forget how great this cigar started.
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Overall, I would say that I am impressed with the blend for the Summer Collection. I could tell that the blender really thought about the taste profile to characterize this season. After tasting this cigar, I am looking forward to trying the rest of the cigars in this line as they come out. I even like the design of the cigar band. It has a shiny aluminum foil like design with a pressing that looks like something you would see on the side of an ice cream truck. Maybe that's just me, but I like it. Great job Rocky Patel and company!


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