Brand Owner: Rakesh Patel
Tabacalera: El Paraiso – Danli, Honduras
Model/Vitola: Olde World Reserve Torpedo (Maduro)
Size: 5.0 x 54 (figurado — box-pressed)
Wrapper: Costa Rica (Maduro) — Nicaragua (Corojo)
Binder & Filler: Nicaragua (rumored a little India too)
Cigar Aficionado Rating: 88 —2007 (I think this is way to low)
Other vitola sizes available
- Robusto 5.5 x 54
- Toro 6.5 x 52
All sizes are offered in cedar chests of 50 with a choice of Corojo or Maduro wrapper
Some background on Rocky …..
Rocky Patel is a shining example of what passion and hard work can achieve. He uses what he calls the shoe-leather express, his arduous but successful way of getting out the word on his cigars. He started in LA but now home and headquarters for the energetic 45-year-old is in Naples, FL but you rarely find him there. His road shows began in 1998, and they never seem to end: in both 2001 and 2002 he logged more than 300 days on the road. His travel schedule never seems to get any lighter.
Rocky is a natural born salesman. He sold china and cutlery door-to-door in high school, participated in Junior Achievement, sold grapefruit by the case and raised money in college for muscular dystrophy research. He moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin, as a teenager, where he developed a lifelong love of the Packers to rival that of local born Cheeseheads. (In one proud moment he presented members of the team with his cigars.)
Patel, an entertainment and product liability lawyer turned cigar salesman, had a cigar-smoking girlfriend who “made him” join the Grand Havana Room in Beverly Hills. He went to his first cigar trade show in 1996 and was mobbed for business. This was the beginning of his strong relationship with the cigar industry as a major player.
Rocky says, “The problem with practicing law was it was like taking a final exam all day long. You’re always stressed. In this business I’m always thinking about cigars and how to make them better — but I’m excited about it. I’m a perfectionist and I live to win, not just play. The cigar business is the same thing: acquiring the best leaf, creating the best packaging — it’s constantly on my mind.”
Per a quote on his website, the Hollywood lawyer turned cigar maker loves the quality of Padron, the construction of Davidoff, and the consistency of Fuentes. Patel wants to incorporate all of these admirable qualities into his cigars and make them affordable. His are definitely great cigars, so it would seem he is succeeding.
Patel’s original Indian Tabac brand has nothing to do with his heritage (he was born in India, and his real first name is Rakesh) but everything to do with the on-again-off-again Indian Motorcycle brand. Patel, who owns the Indian Tabac Cigar Co. with a silent partner, has to pay Indian Motorcycle a licensing fee on the brand. In 2003 he put aside the Indian Tabac brand name he worked so hard to build to create another — Rocky Patel Vintage Series. It was risky, but a huge success.
Since both still exist, a point of clarification on the relative importance of the Indian Tabac and Rocky Patel brands to each other. As of the end of 2006, Indian Tabac sales were steady but made up only about a third of their revenue. The Rocky Patel branded lines made up the rest. When Rocky introduced the Vintage 1990 and 1992 Rocky Patel lines at the 2003 RTDA, it was a calculated risk. He wanted to change the direction of the products and marketing but felt it would be too difficult to do with the Indian Tabac brand. His intuition proved correct as the Vintage brands were a run away success. The Vintage 1990 and 1992 cigars are still the company’s flagship lines today. The Rocky Patel lines with their extensions now represent 70+% of company revenues.
Patel’s cigars are currently manufactured in Nestor Plasencia’s El Paraiso factory in Danli, Honduras. Rocky works with Plasencia to develop and refine the blends they want to offer. In fact, Rocky spends 60-70% of his time in Honduras working with the factory. The rest of his time is split up between marketing and running the operations.
The Old World Reserve (“Master Blend 7XX” as it is designated on the box) was introduced at the 2005 RTDA in New Orleans, LA. That initial iteration, Rocky’s first attempt at the OWR, never made it out of New Orleans, and was ‘re-introduced’ at RTDA 2006 in Las Vegas, NV. This uniquely delicious and buttery smooth blend of tobaccos is actually quite mellow yet very deep in flavors. Olde World Reserve is Rocky Patel’s most expensive creation so you would certainly hope it has “the right stuff” and IMHO it definitely does. It is masterfully blended using top-quality tobaccos, extensive fermentation and aging processes, and the highest of quality control standards. Doesn’t matter if you are part of the Rocky Fan Club or not, you should give this cigar a try.
Exhibition Floor — RTDA 2005
I have read folks who compare the OWR to the Padron Anniversary blends (1926 and 1964) but I think they are potatoes and grapefruits, with dissimilar profiles and therefore, not really a “better or not” situation. Both brands are top notch!
Some of the hype and buzz claim the OWR to be Rocky’s Vintage and Edge lines on steroids. Although you can pick out some similar characteristics with the other RP lines, I think the flavor depth of the OWR sets it apart.
Please note, the three sizes of the OWR are very different, each offering a unique smoking experience. That is another interesting thing about this line of cigars. The combo of size and wrap makes for a different experience, and variety is the spice of life, right? This review is based on the Torpedo size wrapped in a Maduro leaf.
Bottom line up front …..
I am a big fan of full flavored cigars which is why I like many vitolas Rocky has to offer (Vintage, Sun Grown, Edge jump to mind). Seems crazy to say, but the Olde World Reserve is a cut above. All of Rocky’s magic is realized in this cigar. Overall, an exceptional example of blending that is extremely well-balanced and surprisingly smooth. Don’t let the hype descriptions of power and strength scare you off! Even if you are a mild to medium cigar buff, try this cigar. I think you will be very pleasantly surprised. The Olde World Reserve is an eventful smoke that fully satisfies the palate of even the most discriminating aficionados. A very rich smoking experience!
Although it is a bit of a stump for a torpedo, these sticks are gorgeous to look at. The band is sophisticated and the foot is sleeved in a gold speckled brown tissue paper with the “RP circle-o-dots” logo in gold at the center. The sleeve is easily removed revealing the dark mottled wrap, smooth and oily. In the sunlight, a rosado hue in the background color is evident. The cap is a little ruddy looking but well constructed nonetheless. Tightly packed, the stick is firm to the touch but fairly light in the hand. The wrap has very subtle sweet tobacco scent and the foot, soft earthy wood. Clip was very clean, no stragglers. Draw was perfect and tasted of strong southern sweet tea. As I toasted the foot the exquisite aroma wafted around my head and I began to salivate. It did take some effort with the torch to get this one lit but once there, no more external fire required.
The Smoking Experience
Right out of the gate, the flavor is spectacular with earthy wood and leather rolling over the palate and a tinge of sweetness on the nose. After a few pulls, a nice thick volume of cool smoke and in between puffs, beautiful curls of blue smoke from the foot. As the blend warms it settles to a creamy smooth base of toasted nuts, leather and wood with notes of sweet fruit on the nose (kind of raisiny). During the last third, an enjoyable espresso and bitter chocolate flavor develops and becomes more definitive toward the nub. Initially, the finish is nutty and rather short but evolves to a longer intense toasty espresso in the second half with a bit of pepper on the tongue. This cigar has an awesome aroma similar to “The Edge” but not quite as sharp and consistently sweet to the nub. Draw remained perfect from light to nub and the burn was clean.
The ash was medium gray and held on well. Curiously, the stack of quarters effect common to most cigar ashes was present but began to swirl. Unusual looking to say the least. I only ashed this cigar once at the band. The nub carried the rest to the ash tray.
In terms of strength, the first half rests squarely in the medium column and then it begins to intensify. The last inch and a half are definitely full strength. I would say it carries a mild nicotine kick but definitely not overpowering in any way. I suggest you do have something on your stomach for maximum enjoyment.
Short in physical stature but long on smoking time, this gar took me an hour fifteen minutes to smoke. And time well spent I might add!
2006 OWR (top) and 2007 OWR (bottom)
I have always been curious about where these cigar makers get the volumes of tobacco required to make consistent stogies year after year. Like the Vintage 1990 … where is all that 1990 tobacco stored. It’s certainly gotta be bigger than a warehouse (or 100 warehouses for that matter), the number of those cigars that have hit the street since 2003. Just as an experiment, I retrieved a 2006 OWR Maduro that has been resting in my humi since September 2006 and one I purchased for this review. As you can see above there is a definite color variation in the wrap but I’ll be doggone, I smoked ’em both and couldn’t taste a bit of difference. Rocky is good … I mean real good at what he does.
My take …..
I’ve tried a healthy share of both corojo and maduro wrapped OWR and come to the conclusion that, while both are good, I enjoy the maduro most. IMO it’s richer in flavor and offers a very nice sweetness from the wrapper leaf. The maduro is also very (very) smooth in character with an earthy backbone that’s deep and rich. Overall, this is a great cigar, one worthy of the highest of ratings from those who know cigars best.
MSRP on the Maduro Torpedo is $525.00/50 or $10.50 per stick. Best online price at the moment is Cigar Place at $39.95/5 or $7.99 per stick. My local B&M charges a whopping $11.12 per stick which is outrageous (and I told him so). Expensive, but if you want the finer things in life you have to pay the price. Definitely a exquisite cigar. If I were you I would try at least one and then decide if wallet dipping is in order. For me $8 is an easy decision!
Initially released as a limited edition cigar, the Olde World Reserve was only available in traditional brick and mortar tobacco shops. That is no longer the case as they can be found online just about everywhere. I began compiling a list of online vendors but it became so lengthy, I gave up. Just Google it! It pays to shop around on this one. They are a challenge to find in stock but the hunt is well worth it!
Like it … Yes
Buy it again … Yes
Recommend it … Absolutely
What others are saying about
Olde World Reserve by Rocky Patel …..
1 May 2005
David Savona – Cigar Aficionado
Rocky Patel built his Indian Tabac cigar with endless trips to American tobacconists and Honduran cigar factories. Now he launches a self-named brand. PDF
“It has always been my rule never to smoke when asleep,
and never to refrain when awake.” (Mark Twain)