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Stogie Reviews: Rocky Patel Decade Emperor

5 May 2009

When he launched his cigar operation in the mid-nineties, few expected an outsider like Rocky Patel to survive for a decade. He had no Cuban heritage and no ancestral roots in an industry dominated by firms that are often family owned and operated for generations.

RP Decade EmperorRocky, however, did much more than merely survive the cigar boom. Bolstered by critical acclaim, blockbuster sales, and a reputation as one of the hardest working men in the business, his star rose to iconic status. And his Decade blend celebrates how he achieved ten years of success “against all odds.”

Speaking of odds, odds are you’ve probably tried at least one of the original four vitolas offered in the Decade lineup since they were released in November 2007. These smokes have garnered tremendously high ratings from Cigar Aficionado which, as one retailer recently told us, has driven consumer demand to the point of shortages on B&M shelves.

But most of you likely haven’t yet had the opportunity to sample the newest Decade size: the six inch by 60 ring gauge Emperor. Released in March, this cigar was born of Rocky’s success with wider sticks and intends to capitalize on the current “thicker is better” trend that’s reverberating throughout the industry.

While the Robusto, Lonsdale, Torpedo, and Toro Decade cigars are all box-pressed, the formidable Emperor boasts a typical parejo shape. That’s about where the differences end. It too is handmade at Nestor Plasencia’s El Paraiso Factory in Danlí and is composed of a dark Ecuador Sumatra wrapper and binder and filler tobaccos from Nicaragua.

Fairly soft to the touch, the Emperor yields an abundant pre-light aroma of cherry and chocolate. Its generous proportions include plenty of texture and tooth but few veins or seams.

From the very beginning you can tell this is the sort of cigar that has an incredible amount of flavor with very little strength. I encountered tastes of cocoa, nuts, and cream with a long, spicy finish. No harshness to be found. Of equal importance is the fact that the plentiful resting smoke produces an intoxicating scent that’s akin to a Vintage ’90 or ’92.

The white ash is soft, sandy, and flaky, and the draw—as you’d expect from such a wide cigar—is very clear. Unfortunately, the burn requires more touch-ups to stay even than I’d like from a stogie that retails for approximately $10-13 apiece.

Not withstanding that flaw, this marvelous 120-minute smoke includes enough subtlety and nuance to impress seasoned cigar veterans and enough forthrightness and accessibility to win over newbies. That’s why I’m giving the Rocky Patel Decade Emperor four and a half stogies out of five.

[To read more cigar reviews, please click here.]

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

6 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Rocky Patel Decade Emperor”

  1. dmjones Tuesday, May 5, 2009 at 3:08 am #

    Sounds like a winner–can't wait to get my hands on one!

  2. C Friday, June 19, 2009 at 7:02 am #

    Smoked one of these recently, amazing flavors. Highly recommended to anyone, its so smooth with a good medium flavor.

    I compare the decade to the Padron 1926. If your a Padron or Nicaragua fan buy these today. The decade series stand as one of my favorites, just wish the price was lower! but I know this is the high end of the Rocky's line.

  3. sirpantsornot Friday, June 19, 2009 at 2:07 pm #

    my buddy smoked one of these last weekend at my place. It was putting out so much smoke that his whole head dissapeared when he exhaled. He loves em.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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