It’s not Frankenstein. It’s not even the Frank. But it’s alive! Rocky Patel’s Renaissance cigar is born again, resurrected from the scuttled remains of the Edge Sumatra.
But it’s not that simple. It never is. Reanimation is not for amateurs. So a little more detail.
Rocky Patel’s Decade, Edge Sumatra and Renaissance cigars are all different blends but they bear a passing resemblance because they share the same, or nearly the same, wrapper leaf. The wrapper used for all these cigars is, (or was, in the case of the Edge) a very nice Sumatra leaf grown by the Oliva Tobacco Company in Ecuador. The only problem is that there is a finite amount of this splendid weed, which means that Rocky had to make some hard decisions about how to allocate it.
The Decade, an Anniversary cigar with an excellent reputation, was assigned the best of the higher primings. This put the squeeze on the Edge Sumatra, which at the time was using the same leaf. Because there wasn’t enough wrapper to go around, the Edge Sumatra was discontinued. But it was still a nice (and popular) blend, so Rocky brought it back using a lower priming wrapper leaf from the same plant and called it Renaissance. It was understood that the Renaissance was the new Edge Sumatra, but it didn’t taste quite the same due to the lower priming wrapper. It just wasn’t “edgy” enough.
To satisfy the ravening crowd, Rocky brought back the original Edge wrapper with the same filler blend, but he kept the new brand name and released it as a limited edition. And that is how the Edge Sumatra became the Renaissance. Which is why it is a renaissance, quite literally.
The most impressive aspect of this robusto is the oiliness of its dark colorado maduro wrapper. It feels a bit narrow for a robusto, but the roll is solid and the draw is spot on. The head is formed well, but the cap is not picture perfect. I solved that by shearing it off. The stick burns evenly and builds a solid ash.
The Drop Test
After smoking this cigar for about ten minutes I managed to fumble it. While reaching for the ashtray I somehow lost finger traction and watched in horror as the cigar slipped away and smacked on the concrete of my garage floor. I was sure my poor robusto was going to be battered and bruised beyond all hope of recovery. I brushed off the ash and dirt and to my huge surprise I found it totally intact. Not a crack. Not even a chip.
The drop test is not an officially sanctioned element of the KOTF reviewing methodology, but in this case the Renaissance robusto passed with flying colors.
Overall excellent construction, with bonus points.
I almost want to call this cigar “Decade Lite.” The wrapper provides a piney aroma with fruity notes; the cherry that comes through reminds me a lot of the Decade. There is a touch of chocolate and a sweet spice — not pepper — that is easy on the palate. It’s not as rich as the Decade, but it seems similar. The aftertaste is pleasant and mild.
At the half-way point the smoke is still smooth and genteel with an excellent aroma and no bite. The smoke is medium in body, with moderate nicotine.
In the last section I noticed a more herbal base flavor. It combines nicely with the aroma, which is still bright and piney. The combined effect is rich and complex without being overbearing.
As a descendent of the Edge (if not an actual Edge in disguise) I was expecting a heavier cigar with bolder flavors, but it turns out this cigar is a middleweight, an elegant and accomplished middleweight. I guess the other Edge blends aren’t as heavy as they profess to be either. Either way, I think the Renaissance could take ’em on points.
The robustos in this line retail in the 7 to 8 USD range, which is a fair price given the quality. It’s a little less than the Decade, and about the same as the Olde World Reserve, both of which I think are slightly superior cigars, but I like the fact that the Renaissance has been flying under the radar. The Renaissance is a fine cigar in any case. And it passed the Drop Test.