Others’ Picks for 2016: Rocky Patel Sun Grown Maduro

  • RP_SGMadVitola: Robusto
  • 5” x 50 ring gauge 
  • ~$8.99
  • Purchased from Burns Tobacconist

This was one of the hardest-to-swallow top picks I had ever seen. Not because it was a Rocky Patel (although I have to admit that nothing I’ve had from the company would ever come close to a “top rating”…even the ones I like), but because I had smoked one before and it was simply one of the worst cigars I had ever smoked from Rocky Patel. In all fairness, though, that previous cigar was either a trade show sample or road stock from our rep…either way, it was horrible…and a good object lesson in why cigars kept under those conditions probably aren’t the best for sampling.

The 5” x 50 ring gauge Robusto was named the #2 cigar by the big lifestyle mag, so I was happy to pick up the same size from the shop I work at. While I’m used to RP’s blends being Honduran-based, this stick uses Nicaraguan filler and binder, along with a Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper…in other words, it should be fantastic for my palate. The dark chocolate colored wrapper had an oily feel and an aroma of manure and cedar, with a touch of cocoa powder. The prelight draw had some sweet hay and indistinct wood, as well as a touch of of cocoa.

After lighting up, I got tons of red pepper up front. After a few puffs, some barely sweetened chocolate flavor came through, along with gritty earthiness. The draw was a little tight at the outset. The biggest takeaway I got in the first five minutes of smoking was: “I’m not hating this!” That first time I experienced this blend, I hated the first five so much that I basically gave it another five minutes to get right, then tossed the cigar because I just wasn’t enjoying it.

Turns out I should have given the Sun Grown Maduro another chance sooner. While I probably still wouldn’t feature it on my end-of-the-year-top-smokes list, it isn’t a bad smoking experience at all. I still favor the RP 20th Anniversary over it, but I think I will come back the Sun Grown Maduro from time to time.

David Jones

David has been smoking premium cigars since 2001. He is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Leaf Enthusiast. He is a full-time retail tobacconist, working for Burns Tobacconist in Chattanooga, where he has also organized the Chattanooga Tweet-Up for the last four years. He is also an independent graphic designer and typesetter. Twitter: @dmjones1009

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