Created to celebrate Rocky Patel’s 60th birthday in 2021, the Rocky Patel Sixty pulls out all the stops to honor the man, myth, and legend in the cigar industry, Rocky Patel. Aged a minimum of 2 years in the Rocky Patel headquarters after being rolled, these cigars are said to have some of the oldest tobaccos in the Rocky Patel warehouse portfolio. For detailed information and videos of Rocky and his team creating the Sixty line of cigars, visit the Rocky Patel website at: https://www.rockypatel.com/cigar-campaigns/sixty-by-rocky-patel/
On to the review….
Video Review: If you would like to watch the video review of the Rocky Patel Sixty, please visit the following link. While there, don’t forget to like and subscribe!
Aesthetics (Construction/Shelf-Appeal): Three beautifully detailed bands almost completely cover the cigar. Very eye appealing from the consumer’s point-of-view with gold embossing and excellent color scheme. Very dark, smooth, maduro wrapper, however, the cigar felt light or under filled in my hand. Fantastic square box press with nice tight visible seams. Cap was a triple seam and overall cigar was beautifully made.
Performance (Draw/Burn): Very, very loose draw, to the point that it was a wind tunnel requiring no effort to smoke. Burn was extremely wavy throughout the smoking experience needing to be touched up several times. Ash was a wonderful white with mixed of gray sprinkled throughout. Smoke was a thick, soft, creamy white.
Flavor (Tastes/Aroma/Body/Strength): Cold draw was a dark fruit raisin taste accompanied by a small hint of earth and spice. Smoking taste profile noted cereal, buttermilk biscuits, earth, wood, and leather. Aroma was woody and savory with a creamy, soft texture. Body was full throughout the smoking experience and the strength I would classify as medium.
Overall Impressions (Value/Experience/Pairing): The Rocky Patel Sixty is a very good cigar, however, the size, looseness of the draw, price, and burn issues do not justify a second purchase for me, at least at the Gordo size. These characteristics make it seem that the cigar was under-filled and a bit expensive in the pricing category. The tastes were nicely refined, and I did enjoy the body to strength smoking ratio. I do plan to try this cigar in the robusto format and hope some of the performance issues are resolved with the smaller size.
I paired my Rocky Patel Sixty with a Versailles Brewing Company (VBC) Legit Kentucky Cream Ale. The beer and cigar paired well together with the beer offering an opposing balance to the heavy flavors and body the cigar presented on its close. The VBC Legit was crisp and refreshing, with nice light malty flavors and plenty or carbonation. It reminded me of a nice refreshing champagne.
I’m glad I was able to try the Rocky Patel Sixty and was able to confirm that the larger ring gauge cigars are not for me. I do look forward to trying the Sixty in other vitolas but will not be picking up any more of the 60 ring gauge samples.
Happy National Cigar Day! Or at least I think I read that somewhere… Even if it’s not, we have beautiful weather in my part of the world, and a lazy Sunday calls for a good cigar.
Most of us probably associate Pappy Van Winkle as one of the most sought-after, high-end bourbons in the world. Admittingly, I have had the fortune of sampling some 10-year-old Pappy and although it was very smooth, it’s by far, not the best bourbon I’ve ever had. As we will note later in this review, don’t get caught off guard by the hype associated with a brand name.
With that being said, the Pappy Van Winkle line is rolled and produced by Drew Estate Cigars at La Gran Fabrica in Esteli, Nicaragua. The Tradition line debuted in 2018 and includes the following vitolas:
Corona 5 ½ x 44 (Exclusive-not marketed)
Coronita 4 x 46 ($15.00)
Robusto Grande 5 ½ x 54 ($22.00)
Belicoso Fino 5 x 50 ($25.00)
Toro 6 x 50 (Exclusive-not marketed)
Churchill 7 x 48 ($24.00)
The Tradition line is the second release in the Pappy Van Winkle Cigar portfolio, with the first being Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Fermented. I was a bit worried that being produced by Drew Estate, the company would attempt to infuse some type of bourbon flavoring into the cigars, similar to their Acid line, however, this is certainly not the case. So, let’s jump in and see what the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Cigar is all about.
On to the review….
Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Attributes
Size: Robusto Grande
Length: 5 ½
Ring Gauge: 54
Wrapper: Ecuadoran Habano Oscuro
Filler: Dominican Republic; Nicaragua
Price: $22.00 USD
Pre-light Inspection: Cold smell yields a nice rich tobacco and earthy barnyard mix. The wrapper is a medium to light brown in appearance with minimal veins. Cap is pristine and the large double bands display a picture similar to the bourbon outlined in a cardinal red. Cold draw did not yield any specific tastes and the draw seemed initially tight.
Opening and First Third: The cigar opened with a spicey black pepper and moved its way into a leathery dry toast. First third was medium in both strength and body. The burn a bit wavy but needed no touch-ups producing a very pure white powdery ash. The draw was not tight as I though on the pre-light and instead could be defined as effortless.
Second Third: Moving into the second third, I had to remove the first, smaller, label identifying the cigar as Tradition. I was very careful to remove the band, however, the cigar started to split once the band was removed and continued this trend the remainder of the smoking experience. Tastes continued to show a nice toastiness that was complemented in the room note. The aroma, coupled with the toast, reminded me of a nice bakery. There was an awkward metallic taste note that sporadically appeared in the second third. A mild hint of soft red wine, similar to a pinot noir, appeared at the end of the second third and my hopes were that this continued into the last part of the smoke. Body and strength continued to be medium and the burn was very wavy due to the split wrapper.
Final Third: I ended up touching the cigar up heading into the final third in hopes of stopping the split. This did help initially, but the cigar had to be touched up a few more times in order to make it a successful finish. The toastiness continued through the end with the aroma reminding me of sweet graham. The metallic taste decided to show up on a more frequent basis in the final third but was also accompanied by a unique nutty almond paste note. The body of the cigar finished out medium/full while the strength boasted itself into the full category.
Overall Impressions: The Pappy Van Winkle Tradition was a nice cigar and I’m glad I had the opportunity to smoke it. Like the bourbon, I feel this could be a hyped-up line due to its name and tradition. Would I recommend other folks try the line, absolutely as it is a good cigar. Would I fill my humidor with a box for aging, probably not. At a price point of $22.00 each, this is a good cigar but not worthy of a second go in my rotation. To be clear, there are a lot of other cigars on the market, in the $8 – $10 price range, that I enjoy on a much more regular basis and that I would reach for before the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition. Would I suggest maybe picking one up to enjoy on the golf course or with some buddies? Sure! But for the long term, this will probably be my one and only Pappy cigar.
Cigar Score: 3 out of 5 boxes
A full video review of the Pappy Van Winkle Tradition Robusto Grande cigar can be found on The Pipe Professor YouTube channel at the following link: https://youtu.be/DeNx1DThurs
The Introduction & Pouch #1: Sir Walter Raleigh Original
A few weeks ago, I came across a sale on the Pipes & Cigars website for pouch tobaccos. As I looked through the prices on the pouch tobaccos, I began to wonder why I had never actually tried any of the staple Over the Counter (OTC) pipe tobacco pouch blends during my pipe smoking tenure. After lighting a bowl of something not OTC, I reminisced on the fact that I started pipe smoking with my local tobacconist blends (Schwab’s Pipes N Stuff Ideal and Big Blue Blend) and immediately moved into Cornell & Diehl blends, Dunhill EMP, McClelland Frog Morton Series, and at the time Tewksbury’s Hobbits Weed (Rest in Peace).
I concluded that my pipe smoking journey had completely by-passed where a lot of pipe smokers start the hobby.My thinking further reasoned that many of these blends are highly revered and have stood the test of time, some for a century or more. If folks have been enjoying these blends for that long, maybe I really am missing out on something spectacular. I knew I couldn’t just let the opportunity pass without at least trying some of the blends, so, after moving through another bowl or two, I decided to place a large order with P&C and catch up on the pouches I have missed out on during my pipe smoking journey.
So, where to begin? In all fairness, I decided to put all the pouches (plus some others I already had in my cellar, unopened) in a large bag and do a random pull to begin smoking my way through each to see what these infamous OTC blends all are about. I detailed the process for this little experiment on my YouTube channel with a video called Introduction to A Study in OTC Pipe Tobacco Pouches. You can view the video here or I will quickly review the process and guidelines below.
Guidelines to the Study
Pouches will be reviewed in a random order, one per week, until all pouches have been sampled.
Each tobacco will be smoked a minimum of four times; once in an unfiltered Missouri Meerschaum Country Gentleman Corn Cob pipe, once in a Missouri Meerschaum Pride filtered Corn Cob pipe, once in an unfiltered Huck Finn Missouri Meerschaum Corn Cob pipe, and once in a Ropp Superior paneled briar pipe.
As I smoke through each blend, I will place them in rank order, updated with each review here on the webpage. Blends will move up and down the list until I have smoked through all the OTC Pipe Tobacco Pouch blends.
Without further ado, let’s jump in to our first OTC Pipe Tobacco Pouch, Sir Walter Raleigh Original.
Sir Walter Raleigh Original
Let’s be honest, if you are a pipe smoker or have ever smoked a pipe, you have more than likely heard of Sir Walter Raleigh pipe tobacco. I was excited that this pouch was the first random draw to come out of my bag. Supposedly having been around since 1927, this name and tobacco blend is easily a staple in our timeless hobby. With a blend that has survived almost a full century, I was eager to experience the successes that have carried this blend forward for 91 years. Similar to other pipe tobacco enthusiast, I headed to the Tobacco Reviews webpage to read the description and find out more about the tobacco. From the Tobacco Reviews website:
“An aromatic burley blend with hints of cocoa and Oriental spice, the Sir Walter Raleigh regular mixture has been a popular favorite of countless smokers for generations. A traditional blend of burley tobaccos made in Kentucky.”
This description sounds wonderful and lovely making me want to jump right into smoking. Before doing so, let’s take a look at the blend breakdown.
Info & Overview
Brand/Manufacturer: Sir Walter Raleigh/Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG)
Category: Aromatic Burley
Blend Components: Burley
Flavorings: Anisette and Sweet Sugar
Cut Type: Course Cut
Available Packaging: 1.5 oz pouch/7 oz can/14 oz can
Price: $4.62 USD per pouch/$20.04 per 7oz can/$38.18 per 14 oz can
On to the review…
(Sir Walter Raleigh Pipe Tobacco First Impressions YouTube video can be found here)
From the Pouch: Upon opening the seal I am met with a very rich, pleasant tobacco smell, similar to Red Man or Levi Garret chewing tobacco with prominent notes of chocolate. The tobacco color consists of dark browns and the cut was more shag than course in my opinion. Moisture content out of the pouch was perfect, however, I did find a few stems that needed to be removed before packing and smoking.
Smoking Notes: The tobacco was easy to pack and light. In fact, the burn and performance of the tobacco was not bad at all. I had no problem keeping each bowl lit and the tobacco burned at a nice pace. The strength of the tobacco was mild and the body was an overall mild + (almost medium bodied). The major problem with this tobacco is the taste and aroma. They are both non-existent. I ended up smoking a total of six bowls of Sir Walter Raleigh Original (four in the cobs and two in the briar). Not one single smoking experience provided me with any flavor. Truly, not once did I get any tastes good or bad from this smoke. It was just….there. The room note at times did hint toward a chocolate essence, however, I’m honestly not sure if that was real or my mind hoping for it. Granted, it is important for a tobacco to perform well in the bowl, however, I smoke to enjoy great tastes and smells in from my pipes and tobaccos. I got neither from this blend.
Overall Impression: 91 years of blandness. Maybe I missed something, but I never got anything from this blend….nothing! Flavor was non-existent, at times the room note hinted at a coco chocolate but rarely developed, and the strength of the tobacco was very mild. The tobacco did burn well and stayed lit easily, so that is one positive. If I am going to spend money on tobacco and put forth the time and effort of enjoying a pipe, it will not be on Sir Walter Raleigh Original pipe tobacco. This will easily be my first and only pouch of this tobacco. 91 years this blend has survived! Wow, my mind is blown on why and how.
Tobacco Score: (2 out of 5 pipes)
Stay tuned as we study a different OTC Pipe Tobacco Pouch next week. Until then don’t forget to slow down, simplify, and sip on a pipe. Cheers!
Current Order of OTC Pipe Tobacco Pouch Enjoyment
Sir Walter Raleigh (it’s the only one I’ve smoked thus far and won’t be here long, guaranteed!)
Happy 2021! I am excited that the first cigar I am blessed to smoke and review this year is the Padron Family Reserve 50-years Maduro No.50. I purchased a 10-count box of these cigars back in 2015 and yes, am just now opening them for enjoyment. Before getting to the review, lets discuss a little about this cigar and its significance in the Padron portfolio.
In celebration of their 50th year in the cigar production business, the Padron family chose to celebrate the milestone with the creation of a regular production cigar line, Family Reserve. Finding their beginnings in 1964 by patriarch Jose O. Padron, immigrant to the United States from Cuba, the Padron cigar company is currently based in Miami, Florida with crop growth and production occurring in Estelí, Nicaragua. It goes without saying that Padron cigars started as a family endeavor and continuous as such to this day. Although 2018 saw the passing of founder Jose O. Padron, the company continues its forward motion and success under Jorge Padron, son of the late Jose O. Padron. The following are the six lines in the Padron portfolio, all of which encompass various shapes, sizes, and wrapper leaves (natural or maduro).
Padron 1964 Anniversary
Padron 1926 Serie
Padron Family Reserve
Padron 50th Anniversary
For more information of the Padron family story visit their website at: https://padron.com
On to the review….
Padron Family Reserve 50-years Maduro Attributes
Ring Gauge: 54
Price: $25.00 USD ea.; $250 USD 10ct. Box
Pre-light Inspection: The Padron Family Reserve 50-year sports a gorgeous box press, similar to most cigars in the Padron line. The deep, dark, smooth wrapper leaf has minimal veins and provides an unlit aroma of sweet cocoa and rich earth. The bands are extravagant and easily accent the specialness of the cigar. The upper, main band is a deep wine red embossed with gold lettering depicting the Padron name and Family Reserve label. Underneath the main band we are presented with a number ID band typically of Padron’s 1964 and 1926 lines. These secondary ID bands help prevent counterfeiting of the cigars and personalize the smoker’s experience with the stick. The second band is cream colored with gold lettering displaying 50 years. The cap of the cigar is smooth, round, and well-applied. The solid roll showed a jam-packed foot with no soft spots detected on the pinch throughout the cigar’s body. Upon cold, pre-light draw I was presented with an effortless resistance, typical of most Padron cigars. Cold tastes showed hopeful notes of earth and leather (similar to a new leather belt).
Tasting Notes and Performance: Throughout the smoking experience the cigar never required a touch up and the burn was suburb and straight the entire time. The cigar produced a medium gray ash that showed beautifully stacked, wavy layers. The tastes I noted throughout were earthy barnyard, dark cocoa powder, black coffee, and a mild pepperiness, all wrapped in a thick, creamy, white smoke. The cigar was very well balanced in its tasting profile, however, very typical of a Nicaraguan maduro (certainly a Padron cigar). The cigar provided a full-bodied experience and was medium-full in strength. It’s easy to understand this is a cigar to be savored, not smoked like a steam engine. The room aroma was a mix of sweet tobacco and soft yeasty bread. Total smoking time was 74 minutes.
Overall Impressions: I have high expectations cigars that costs $25.00 a piece, and the Padron Family Reserve 50 Years Maduro delivered on this expectation. With that being said, at this price point, this cigar is certainly not an everyday smoke. I am pleased with the balance and eloquence the cigar shows and look forward to dipping into the box on special occasions or with friends over dinner and drinks; however, if given the option of spending $250 on another box or putting that cash toward a 25-count box of Cubans, I will stick with the latter. The only negative point against this cigar is the price. However, luxury experiences call for a luxury price tags and if you have some extra dough laying around, I can assure you that investing it on a Pardon Family Reserve 50 years will pay you back with an extraordinary smoking experience. If you have the opportunity to pick one up, do so. It will be worth your time and money.
In response to the famous Dunhill (now Peterson) Early Morning Pipe, Cornell & Diehl released their own version of EMP at the Chicagoland Pipe Show “several years back” (Tobacco Reviews, 2020). Blended by Craig Tarler and Bill Runowski, the Good Morning blend is said to be a spot-on match to EMP. Some of you may have seen my ‘Pop-the-Top’ review of this blend on The Pipe Professor YouTube Channel a few weeks back. If not, feel free to watch the first impressions review of C&D Good Morning here. After smoking through ¾ of the tin, I feel I now have enough experience with the blend to give it a fair and just assessment. So, let’s go ahead and jump right in.
Info & Overview
Brand: Cornell & Diehl
Blend Components: Virginia, Latakia, Orientals
Cut Type: Ribbon
Available Packaging: 50g tin
Price: $10.41 USD
Tin Date: 05/2020
On to the review…
From the Tin: Keen observers will note from my original impressions video review, that I had difficulty pinpointing specific descriptive attributes from the tobacco straight out of the tin. My hope was that as the tobacco had time to air out in the tin, something more would develop; and to my surprise, it did. After revisiting the blend over the course of a week, the tin note showed characteristics of heavy oak, burnt/charred wood, walnut, and dry hay. The tobacco is said to be ribbon cut; however, I was able to find chucks of flake tobacco throughout the ribbons. From the visual perspective, I would argue the blend is heavy on the Virginias when compared to its Latakia and Oriental counterparts.
Tasting Notes: Being hopeful that the tasting department for the tobacco would experience a similar positive uptick that the tin note did, I smoked C&D Good Morning in four different briar pipes and one cob. Unfortunately, the taste of the tobacco was overall dry and flat. As I stated in my YouTube review, the blend is nothing like Dunhill’s EMP. C&D Good Morning is very much a Virginia forward blend. In fact, there were several times I questioned if Latakia or Orientals were even present in the blend at all. The tobacco did show tasting notes of dry grasses, herbs, and smokey/burnt leaves with the overall strength of the blend being mild to medium. The room note was just “so so” and similar to the taste, reminded me of cigarette smoke, which I’m not a huge fan of. The tobacco did perform well, burning down to a nice grey/white ash. Overall, I enjoyed the blend the most in my Missouri Meerschaum Mark Twain as the corncob pipe added a nice supporting sweetness to the tobacco’s tasting profile.
Overall Impression: You may have guessed it, but this blend is not for me. When honestly reflecting on everything, I did have preconceived high hopes for the blend as it was supposed to be a Dunhill EMP match. Seeing as EMP is one of my all-time favorite tobacco blends (and I have smoked a lot of it), I can confidently say the current run/production of C&D’s Good Morning, is not even close to an EMP match. I’m not sure if something has changed with the blend over the years, but I will for sure not be purchasing any more in the future.