Friday, January 8, 2010

Delicate but Rewarding: Rocky Patel ITC 10th Anniversary Torpedo

I've noticed that box prices for the RP ITC 10th Anniversary have fallen dramatically since the line was first introduced. Like others who avidly follow the Rocky Patel brand you might wonder if this is because the ITC 10th is a bad-tasting cigar.

The answer is no. The RP ITC 10th Anniversary torpedo, like the robusto which I reviewed last year, is a nice full-bodied, medium strength cigar with a lush draw and pleasantly doughy flavor profile.

The problem - and the reason I think people aren't buying this cigar - is that the wrapper is exceedingly delicate and flaky. On both cigars I smoked, there was flaking immediately after I removed it from the plastic sheath. The head also tends to unravel if you're not tender with it. Fortunately in neither case did the flaking interefere with the draw or enjoyment of the cigar. It just looked crappy and required very careful handling.

The ITC 10th anniversary is now quite a bargain, and a great smoking experience if you are willing compensate for the flaws. This means you shouldn't smoke it in cold or breezy weather, but in a place where you can be calm and relatively motionless. Don't jam it in your mouth and start mowing the lawn.

Also be careful when taking the cigar out of the plastic wrapping -- I'd recommend cutting away the plastic carefully with scissors, rather than pushing the cigar out through one end. If you can manage to store this cigar at higher humidity (maybe 73 percent) it might offset some of the delicacy.

If you are a Rocky fan and are willing to live with some constructional inadequacies, you are in for one of the best 3 dollar smokes around. In flavor I would compare this to Pepin Garcia Series JJ (though not quite as good or strong), Padilla Achilles (much better) and of course Rocky's own Indian Tabac Classic corojo line (with none of the bite and much more complexity and nuance).

In summary - even though it is "high maintenance" and will never win a beauty contest, the ITC 10th Anniversary torpedo is a scrumptious smoke. At current low prices, you have little to lose in trying one.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Padilla Miami Churchill - Dark Medium Finesse

Padilla Maimi offers an excellent narrow Churchill, dark and beautifully constructed. It lights quickly and proceds with a fine open draw. The flavor is a rather straightforward woody/leathery maduro, with plenty of rich, balanced smoke that never turns harsh or bitter. The burn is not perfect but with an occasional slight touchup stays whole from beginning to end. The cigar smokes well all the way to the nub.
As for the flavor, I find the 5 Vegas Miami -- also blended by Pepin Garcia -- a bit more interesting. However the Padilla Miami Churchill begins in peak form and continues that way for the full length of the cigar, never veering off into a dull or jarring puff This is simply an excellent medium-bodied cigar with substantial complexity and subtlety. It is well worth the 5 bucks I paid for it online.
Some people are winning these for $3 apiece on cigarbid, which is an absolute steal. Worth trying and, if you like maduros, it might become one of your favorites.