I’ve been really ill for a few weeks. You know how people say they have a flu? And then there’s the real flu? Actual genuine influenza that affects pretty much every body system and knocks you flat for weeks? Well, I had that. Then, having been diagnosed with asthma as a child (though it’s usually well-controlled) naturally I got pneumonia also. And since I am allergic to penicillin, naturally I had to take those horrible horse-pill erythromycin antibiotics, which almost make you sicker than the illness. So needless to say, I haven’t been smoking much.
But I’m much better now, and I’ve been waiting eagerly because right about the time I came down with this plague, Holt Cigar Company kindly shipped us their Rocky Patel Luxury Collection Toro Sampler for review, which I have been just dying to try. I’ve liked every Rocky Patel I’ve tried thus far, and so a sampler featuring two each of five luxury RP cigars sounded like an early birthday present to me! Incidentally my darling hubby also ordered me a box of Rocky Patel Fusions for just the joy of smoking, since I enjoyed that one so much.
So to start with I selected the Ocean Club, largely because of its exceptionally attractive aqua and teal-coloured nautically-themed gilded label, displaying ship’s wheels and a wavy water line under the word “ocean.” (As you might be able to tell by my chosen background in the photos, I’m into nautical stuff.) It is a box-cut toro with a light-shaded matte barber-pole rolled wrapper, with almost no visible veins. It is billed as a medium-bodied cigar with a Nicaraguan Connecticut wrapper, Nicaraguan and Dominican long-fillers and a Mexican binder, made in Honduras. It is six inches long and a 52 ring gauge.
The wrapper note was faintly of leather; and the double cap clipped in the double guillotine with a little bit of peeling. I fired it up and the first few draws were . . . not bad. It was weird; for the entire first half-hour out of the harbour the jury was out and I just couldn’t make up my mind if I liked it or not. Once again Rocky surprised me with a unique flavour profile, this one of leather, a hint of cucumber, and something that was a metallic undertone in the aftertaste. That was what I couldn’t decide whether or not I liked. On opposite draws it variously reminded me of Cuban iron, or cigarette tobacco. Naturally when it reminded me of a Cuban, I was delighted with it; but when it reminded me of cigarette tobacco, I was subtly repelled.
Half an hour out took all the wind out of the sails and it went out (admittedly, having not smoked in some time, I was taking my time with it and may have neglected it) and so I clipped and re-lit. I found upon relighting that the subtle cigarette taste was completely gone, and thus I settled into enjoying the voyage. By this time it had acquired a hint of white pepper; not much, just a tiny bit of spice for interest’s sake, and that also helped to mellow and blend that odd aftertaste into the overall flavour profile. Unfortunately it hit becalmed waters yet again almost exactly half an hour later, and after diligent tacking against the wind convinced me that the ship was under sail after all, it went out once more.
That was fine; I had to get ready for work anyway. So I clipped it to prevent the burnt taste from spreading and moored up.
I returned from work, ate dinner, and once again sounded out of harbour to resume the voyage, which required the removal of the band at this point. I found that the Ocean Club is a far better smoke for the second dog watch than the forenoon; its flavour was improved again by evening, a meal, and a mocha accompaniment. The wrapper cracked a little near the foot at the second re-light but my sails required no mending and they caught my wind just fine. I smoked this down to the nub, which took another thirty-five minutes.
If I might once again draw your attention to the books in the photos, these are the classic Aubrey-Maturin novels of historical nautical writer Patrick O’Brian, which many of you might be more familiar with in the form of the Russel Crowe movie Master & Commander (which in no way did justice to the books, incidentally). I picture this cigar as the sort of thing that the title characters, Captain Jack Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin, might enjoy. Though I’m sure “Ocean Club” was meant to evoke images of a luxury yacht, it is possibly just a shade above a working man’s cigar, but not quite suited to true aristocracy; instead being more to the nature of a good officer’s smoke.
I liked it! I will try the second one in the set in the evening next time to see if it improves the overall experience, rather than the slow start this one had.
You can get the Ocean Club Toro at the Holt Cigar Company, to which it might be exclusive since I couldn’t find it anywhere else online, for $8.55 USD for a single or about $120 for a box of twenty; or as part of the Holt Cigar Company’s Rocky Patel Luxury Sampler, as I did.
That’s a lady’s perspective!