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Stogie Reviews: Rocky Patel 1961 Robusto

9 Dec 2009

Two entirely different cigars were introduced at this summer’s IPCPR Trade Show bearing the year 1961. One was the Frank Llaneza 1961 by Altadis, which commemorates the year the master blender began crafting cigars. And the other was the Rocky Patel 1961, which honors the year the cigar superstar was born.

Rocky Patel 1961 RobustoNothing but an odd coincidence. Names aside, the latter was one of three new blends launched by Rocky Patel in New Orleans this August (the other two being Patel Bros. and Corojo Especial). It is the first to be made at the Tabacalera Villa Cuba, Rocky’s newest factory in Nicaragua.

The Rocky Patel 1961 is built with Nicaraguan filler tobaccos, a Honduran binder, and reddish, oily habano-seed wrapper from Ecuador. It comes in four traditional sizes. Included are a Corona, Toro, Torpedo, and a five inch by 50 ring gauge Robusto that sells for approximately $6-8 apiece.

The first thing you notice about this cigar is its unique double band. The top half, displaying a tobacco plant with an intricate root system, spills over onto a maroon background band, making for a distinctive presentation.

Also distinctive is the 1961’s vigorous pre-light aroma. You don’t have to get your nose too close to the textured wrapper or the coarsely packed foot to get a heavy dose of cocoa, earth, and a bit of spice.

That spice is likewise evident on the lips for the cold taste, which pulls through smoothly despite the Robusto’s firm feel. Then, after establishing an even burn, the initial flavor takes on characteristics of black pepper, dry wood, and nutmeg. Powerful and full-bodied, to say the least.

I am thankful that, after a half inch or so, the profile starts to settle down, enabling more nuance and complexity to shine through. The new tastes include sweet candied nuts and cream—excellent compliments to the bolder base flavors. Everything stays on an even keel as long as you maintain a relaxed smoking pace.

Meanwhile, expect this Robusto’s combustion qualities to be superior to most other Rocky Patel blends. While I’ve consistently encountered the need to fix the burns on several of his lines, this one is better behaved. That adds a lot to the enjoyment of the 75-minute smoke.

So the 1961 Robusto is worthy of my recommendation, especially if you prefer big flavors. It may seem like Rocky comes out with something new every week, but don’t let this fall off your radar. It earns four stogies out of five.

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

Patrick A

photo credit: Stogie Guys

11 Responses to “Stogie Reviews: Rocky Patel 1961 Robusto”

  1. Chris V Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 5:34 am #

    New factory indeed. I had the pleasure of visiting it very early on. The factory manager is a VERY impressive guy and I have NO doubt that the spike in construction quality is something of his doing. I’d like to say I’ve tried this, but out of all the random blends etc. that I had there this profile doesn’t ring a bell. Oh well.

  2. dmjones Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 7:53 am #

    “It may seem like Rocky comes out with something new every week…” Out of the 15 or 20 new cigars Rocky has come out with in the past year or so (most of which seem to just be online exclusives for various companies) this is definitely an outstanding smoke. One of the best things he has done since the Decade two years ago.

  3. cj Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 8:35 am #

    I thought this cigar was very good, until I tried the brothers! Quality is job one with the Amish, and that wrapper on the brothers makes it box worthy. My local B&M placed a huge order at the show for a Rocky herf, and he was double booked, now they have no new Patel stuff as of yet due to a rift over the booking. Anyway, nice review as always!

  4. Patrick A Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 9:46 am #

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Chris, you’ll have to get your hands on one of these very soon. I think you’d enjoy it. If I had any more than the two Robustos I smoked for this review I’d send you some…maybe.

    Dmjones, I agree that the 1961 is Rocky’s finest creation since the Decade. He’s a hard-working guy with lots of travel, involvement with CRA, and new stuff…I hope he can keep up the quality control on this gem.

    Cj, I agree that the Patel Bros. is also an excellent smoke. It likewise earned four out of five stogies in my review. But the 1961, in my opinion, has a slight edge—albeit not enough to merit a different rating.

  5. Chris V Thursday, December 10, 2009 at 5:57 am #

    OH!!! Patrick! My custom blends are in! Remind me to send you some when I get back to the US next week!

  6. Johnny Brooke - The Weekly Cigar Friday, December 11, 2009 at 3:13 am #

    Nice review. I need to try this, sounds good.

  7. jv Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    This 1961, the Patel Bros, and his 2010 exclusive releases at Famous Smoke. The Vudu, Patel Bros Next Generation, and Famous Signature Rocky Patel are all very good. All but the 1st Patel Bros are the same blender-Amelicar Castro. I may have butchered his name but he's good nonetheless. If you like spicy cigars they all fit the bill.

  8. MickeyD Sunday, January 2, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    I've not been a big fan of RP's multitude of offerings, with only the Connecticut and and the ITC Classic and regular Maduro (not Super Fuerte) pleasing my palate and finding their way into my rotation. But I just smoked a 1961 robusto and must say – this is one helluva good stogie! Your review is spot on and the flavors blend well with one's favorite adult beverage. This one is a keeper!

  9. Michael D Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 1:58 am #

    This 1961 was a wonderful smoke. Your review was spot on in regards to flavor, but I didn't have too much luck with the burn like you did. I had to touch it up a couple of times because is was running down one side. None the less, I definitely enjoyed it and will burn a couple more. Thanks for the review.

  10. Dave Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    I first tried these a couple of years ago and loved them. I don't know what happened but I can't seem to find them anywhere. Was this line dropped?

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