It was time to sample the last cigar that I had yet to try in my Holt’s Cigar Company Rocky Patel Luxury Toro Sampler, which they sent us to review. The final selection was the 10th Anniversary offering from Rocky Patel, the Decade. The scent of a dark Grand Marnier liqueur chocolate wafted through the room as I removed the plastic, to reveal a very dark chocolate coloured Sumatran wrapper with some almost-black spots where it has fermented more than in other places. You can see it if you look closely; this lovely maduro was almost an oscuro. It’s unfortunate that I had to sneak this in as my morning cigar on Thursday, because maduros are always better in the evening, but you do what you can.
The Decade is a box cut cigar, measuring 6 and a half inches in length and a 52 ring gauge. The wrapper was shot through with a lot of small veins and no visible seams. A tidy double cap crowned the stick. The label was a classic parchment look with subtle ornamentation and patterning in a darker ivory and gold, which made a sharp contrast against the dark surface of cigar. On close inspection it reminded me of 1960s kitchen linoleum or the decor of a mosque.
Its semi-firm pack suggested to me that despite the fact that I wrote in my last review that I didn’t think a bullet punch was a good idea on any cigar bigger than a robusto, I thought perhaps I might try it out to start with, since I hadn’t used it in a while. I could always clip later if I changed my mind or found that the draw was too difficult. Then it occurred to me that we had yet to demonstrate a cigar punch for our Tobacco University series, so I made a short video of how to do that on my phone and you can expect to see that on Monday!
Toasted coffee beans was the closest I can come to describing the scent when I toasted the foot, and the first draw delivered more of the promised scent. I quickly came to agree with the billing of the cigar as full-bodied; like many other RPs, its Honduran fillers and binders pack quite a punch and I discovered that right away. It gave forth rich, thick, spicy smoke that carried with it hints of cocoa, oak and pepper. I found that as I was finishing up the first hour of the smoke and heading off to spend some time with my mom that it was leaving a beautiful cylindrical white ash.
I smoked the second third intermittently between driving to my mom’s house and while visiting her when she was outside smoking cigarettes, so I can’t really say for sure how long it lasted. I estimate about 45 minutes between all the breaks, and that’s with two short clips to preserve the flavour between putting it out. So it definitely scores high on longevity and structural integrity! During the second third the predominant flavour profile was of dark coffee and a hint of nut and mint.
I smoked the final third, which took another amazing 45 minutes, once I arrived home and after dinner. Now, that’s how you’re supposed to enjoy this cigar! This was the perfect finish to the unusually good roast beast dinner that had been prepared that night. Dark and smoky and full of rich textures, going back to the toasted coffee beans and now with something that reminded me of black forest cake. I did find that I had to clip the end of the cigar to get a strong, sustainable draw out of the final third, but I was expecting that, and I smoked it down to the nub. It went out once in that time and others might have called it done, but I wanted more!
So of the entire Luxury Toro set, I think this is probably the best of the lot. Obviously others were impressed by it too; the Decade Torpedo made Cigar Aficionado’s Top 25 Cigars of the Year (I presume in 2005 or 2006, since it was made as a celebration of Rocky’s first ten years in business, but I can’t confirm that because the website wasn’t clear.) I loved it. No complaints. My only regret is that these guys know they’ve got a winning product here, since its typical price point determines that I will probably not be able to include the Decade in my regular rotation and likely will enjoy it more in mixed sets. Still, I have to give it:
You can get the Decade Toro at Cigars International or Thompson Cigar for about $10 to $11.50 USD for a single, about $50 for a five pack, or about $189 to $200 USD for a box of 20; or you can get it as part of the Rocky Patel Luxury Toro Sampler from Holt’s Cigar Company, like I did.
So that’s all the cigars in the sampler! But, since I promised to review the whole thing, I’ll be taking a short break but I will be reviewing each cigar again in a “Once More with Feeling” series before I give my overall opinion of the whole set.