Sorry that I missed you all last week! It was a very busy week, with a new job starting and a lot of errands to run. In addition to picking up extra hours at the bookstore I may soon be working part-time in a temporary position with the Canadian Census, so I may have to shift the day I do my column. If so, it will likely be on Tuesdays or Saturdays, so please bear with me as things shift in my daily life.
In my opinion, a morning cigar is always best if it’s lighter. So since I was smoking in the morning I was excited about the Rocky Patel Velvet Edition Toro I had slated to review. Part of the Rocky Patel Luxury Toro Sampler sent to us by Holt’s Cigar Company, I was immediately attracted to its clean-smelling Ecuador Connecticut wrapper with its matte finish and small veins, presented in an attractive navy and gold label, which surrounded medium-bodied “mellow aged Nicarguan tobaccos.” It’s a fairly firmly packed cigar that gave only slightly when I squeezed it, but not enough so that I had any reason to be concerned about the draw. The Toro is six inches long and a 52 ring gauge. Its double cap clipped almost perfectly with my double guillotine cutter, leaving just a hint of a tail at the center.
I lit it with a cedar spill and toasted the foot. Its room note reminded me of lightly-toasted bread, and I found the first few draws light and extremely smooth. The initial flavours were of a sweet something with a citrus-juniper overtone and maybe a hint of white pepper. I found myself initially reminded of gin as I was trying to pin that down, which isn’t surprising, considering that gin is made from juniper; but I in no way mean to imply that it was anywhere near as harsh and it certainly didn’t bite like that! I find as I am putting together this article that many reviews describe an oak flavour but I didn’t find that; it seemed more of a cedar or perhaps even birchwood flavour to me.
I found it every bit as mellow as descriptions promised. It burnt almost perfectly straight and even left a long cylindrical white ash. I smoked it cold as I worked on some articles and the first third lasted 45 minutes on its own.
The second third took on the oak flavour that other sources have suggested, along with nuttier flavours and an element of not-unpleasant burnt toast, and perhaps a hint of some earthier elements. Again the Velvet Edition offered a fine performance in stamina; this stage lasted about an hour. So even if you have a meh opinion of the flavour profile it’s a lot of bang for your buck, and I was quite enjoying the cigar myself. I found it to be a perfect accompaniment with my morning coffee.
However, it did go out just before I started the final third. I re-lit the stick immediately and then I was reminded of a cedar campfire with a honey undertone, and perhaps just a hint of a mild coffee. That lasted about twenty-five minutes before it finally smouldered out, and there wasn’t much left of it when I was done.
A perfectly fine smoke, with no construction problems at all, and its gentle and subtle flavours and vitamin N content were just perfect for a morning pick-me-up. I enjoyed this one considerably and may just pick up a small box of them for morning jump starting!
I imagine the Velvet Edition must be a relatively new offering from Rocky Patel, as Holt’s site only had one customer review posted (and that particular customer was not as pleased as I was, giving it a two and half star “it was okay” rating.) You can pick up a box of twenty of them at Holt’s for $119.95 USD or a single for $8.55 USD; or you can get it as part of the RP Toro Luxury Sampler, as I did.
That’s a lady’s perspective!