If you look at the Rocky Patel website, you will see the following write-up on the company’s Grand Reserve cigar line which was released to the International market in 2018:
“As the demand for his cigars boom abroad, Rocky Patel decided to dedicate a special brand exclusive to the international market. It’s called GRAND RESERVE, and it features a unique blend created by Rocky to cater specifically to the global marketplace. So what is this tobacco blend? Rocky is not divulging. All he’ll reveal is that his top-secret blend is rolled in Nicaragua. If you reside outside the United States, look for the medium-bodied Grand Reserve at your local tobacconist. And if you’re an American citizen vacationing abroad, be sure to look for this fine cigar wherever premium sticks are sold.“
Things changed as of July of 2020, as this outstanding cigar, that has been out of reach to US consumers, is now available in the States.
The blend is still top secret, but Rocky Patel assures that the leaf used in it has been aged at least 2 years.
As is the case for the international market, the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve is expressed in three vitolas and comes packaged in 10-count boxes:
- Robusto (5 1/2 x 50) – MSRP $12.00
- Toro (6 x 52) – MSRP $13.00
- Sixty (6 x 60) – MSRP $14.00
For this review I sampled two Grand Reserve robustos that I purchased from Ambassador Cigars & Spirits in Troy, MI as part of the Stogie Press mission to help keep the lights on.
The Rocky Patel Grand Reserve is a gorgeous looking medium brown cigar that has a light Colorado reddish tinge to it and a fine oily sheen. The wrapper is light on veins with a fine vein webbing throughout. The packing is tight and the cigar is solid to the touch from head to foot. The presentation is finished with a well applied cap.
A single large band adorns the cigar using a red, white, and gold motif. The top of the band proudly displays the company’s logo in gold on a white background along with an ornate scrolling. The bottom declares this as the “GRAND RESERVE”, printed in gold on a white badge that is centered on a deep red background.
The pre-light aromas add to the enticing look of the cigar with a light baking spice aroma along the barrel and butter and fruit aromas off the foot.
The look and pre-light aromas of the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve had me chomping at the bit to fire it up, but first I sliced the cap straight across the shoulder and gave it some cold draw puffs that was spot on with restriction and offered a slowly growing cayenne pepper note that warmed the palate.
Well, the only thing left to do was finally fire this one up, which I did using my triple flame torch, warming the foot to an even orange glow. The foot took to the heat well as I drew in the first puffs of pepper and floral laden smoke. Follow along as I burn this one to ash.
Cigar Review Notes
- Right off the first puff I am greeted with notes of pepper and floral
- Light grey begins to form on a crisp medium char line
- Smoke is thick, creamy, and full volume
- Dry fruit and cream slowly move in as the pepper recedes
- Burning through the 1st third, a milk chocolate appears that pleasantly evolves into dark chocolate notes
- Light nut aroma wafts off the foot early on
- Savory spice enters and starts to take control of the profile
- Aroma shifts to a rich maple syrup in the second third
- Spice increases moving through the second third
- Extreme ash finally fell revealing a well centered burn cone
- Strength has been increasing through the journey
- A touch of cream enters in the final with a hint of fruit, I noted the cream note lingers nicely on the palate
- Medium to Full in Strength
- Total Smoking Time was 1 hour and 40 Minutes to the nub!
Overall, the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve Robusto was by far one of the best cigars I smoked this year. It is a shame that this has been hiding from the US market for two years, though I applaud Rocky Patel for releasing finally it to the US consumer. With all that is going on in 2020, we can’t travel internationally, but we can certainly enjoy this gem of a cigar, which started with alluring pre-light aromas and flavors, and just continued to deliver an elegant smoking experience from foot to nub. It held an outstandingly long ash and burned all but pristinely through the journey. There was a slight wave in the burn deep in the second third. This is most certainly a box worthy cigar. I rate this a solid 97.
Point Deductions: (-1) Slight Wave deep in Second third
Bonus Points: (+1) Extreme Ash; (+1) Buy a Box; (+1) Positive experience is the same through multiple samples