Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 Toro

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Rocky Patel is one of the few survivors of the “Boom” years of the mid to late 90’s. With help from Nestor Plasencia his Indian Tabac brand gained a reputation as a solid “boutique” cigar, and it’s still a grand smoke. I had a Super Fuerte maduro the other day that really made my day.

Richard over at Blankmindblog reviewed an RP Vintage 1992 Robusto and it put me in mind of the 1990 version that I’ve enjoyed in the past. After rooting around in the humidor I found a couple that I couldn’t wait to fire up to see if my opinion or the cigar has changed over the past few months.

Both the 90 and the 92 Vintages are made in Danli, Honduras with tobacco that was meant for Astral cigars. In the mid nineties U.S. Cigar thought Astral would become the next Montecristo and stockpiled bales of wrapper leaf in its warehouses. A large quantity of this never made it to market, and sat quietly ignored, gracefully aging and awaiting its fate. Patel came across it and snapped it up after discovering its quality. There were two types of leaf in the stockpile: Ecuadoran Sumatra from 1992 and Honduran broadleaf from 1990.

The 1990 toro measures 6 1/2 by 52, is box pressed, and looks pretty rough. Broadleaf won’t win any beauty pageants, but it can be extremely tasty.

Richard noticed a construction issue with the 92, and I’ve noticed it as well. I’ve never encountered this with the 90 though. The 90 burns a little uneven, but it corrects itself, and the draw is quite good. It’s a medium bodied smoke that I find extremely smooth up to the finish when it gets a bit heavier and the taste turns slightly tarry. The predominating flavors are wood and cherry. The broadleaf is very aromatic and worth the price of admission alone. All in all a very refined medium-bodied cigar. A great mid-day smoke.

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11 thoughts on “Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 Toro

  1. Man, last time I had one of these it felt odd, as if hardened toward the outside while still supple inside. Needless to say it split right down the middle soon after lighting. I thought it felt funny at the tobacconist shop but bought a couple anyway. Now I wish I had a couple of good ones in my humidor. Oh Well…

  2. I’ve had this experience with sticks that need to stabilize. This is especially a problem when cigars are delivered in the mail. Going from air cargo cold to desert heat confuses the hell out of my poor smokes. Just like you say, they’re firm to the touch but they split in half, or burn down the side. I’ve learned to be patient and send them to their room for a week (at least) before touching them. This usually fixes the problem. But since you got these from your tobacconist it doesn’t sound like stabilization was the problem…

  3. Great post, but I’m interested in talking more about Astral. CI.com is obviously trying to get rid of Astral. For example, they are selling boxes of Astral Vintage ’96 for $49.95-$59.95 per box. I haven’t smoked an Astral in many years. How do they smoke? More specifically, how is the Astral Vintage ’96 and is this particular deal of great value?

    Thanks!

  4. I hate to cast asparagus at any cigar maker, Chris, but I have to admit that I haven’t enjoyed Astrals in the past. But like you, it’s been a few years since I tried one, so maybe it’s time to give them another shot. For now I can’t really say, but if I find a spare stick at the B&M I’ll be the guinea pig for ya.

    It’s been a while since I looked at this post. I gotta wonder how long that stock of 1990 leaf is going to hold out for RP… it’s almost as large as that misplaced lot of 1959 Cuban tobacco someone discovers every so often!

  5. Good roundup of the RP blends. And so we agree on the “Fire” – great taste for low price.

    Thanks for your post on my site, just wanted to acknowledge. I wasn’t sure if anybody ever stumbled across my pages. Now I know there’s at least one…

    -Jake

  6. Jake — I just discovered your site and I’m really enjoying your reviews. They’re entertaining, articulate, and thoughtful. It definitely looks like you’ve caught the cigar bug. Congratulations!

  7. Hello, this is my first post. I find your cigar reviews to be very helpful. I am an up and coming connesseur. Are you guys going to do a review on the La Cima cigar? I had the pleasure of smoking one last week with Arsenio Ramos. I really enjoyed the stick. I also have a question about the different flavors you guys pick up on your pallets. How are you able to identify them? I’m having a bit of trouble in that department. Keep up the great work.

    • That’s a great question, Stephe. Probably deserves a whole post to answer, but the quick answer is that it’s totally subjective, but you can still “educate” your palate by learning to identify different smells. Go to your spice rack and learn to identify the different spices without looking at the labels. You can do the same thing with different types of wood and flowers. Cooking is a good way to hone your palate too. Drinking wine is another way to test your palate: check this out.

      I haven’t seen La Cima cigars anywhere, but I’d smoke anything Arsenio has worked on. I’ll have to see if I can round any of these up. Thanks for the tip!

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