Monday, February 8, 2016

Rocky Patel Ocean Club Toro

Country: Honduras
Wrapper: Nicaragua
Filler / Binder: Dominican Republic, Mexico, Nicaragua
Length: 6
Ring: 52
Cost: $8.55

Background:  Rocky Patel has been a player in the cigar industry for over 20 years, and has created a number of memorable blends. This one comes courtesy of Holt’s Cigar Company, as it is exclusive to their store. It comes in 4 sizes – Robusto (5.5x50), Sixty (6x60), Toro (6x52), and a Torpedo (6.5x52). For the purposes of this review, we went with the Toro since it’s included in a sampler that will be the focus after all individual reviews of the sampler are complete.

Appearance (0-20):  The color combinations of the bands draw the eye in pretty quickly. The varying blue shades when set in a combination with gold lines is a good choice, with Rocky’s normal stamp on the top band in white. Flanking that stamp are two ships wheels, whereas the bottom band has the Ocean Club name. It does the correct job for me – since I feel like maybe this one should be smoked on a boat somewhere. The cigar itself has a couple of small items to note: there are some minor veins throughout, a bit of loose tobacco that seems to have been pressed into the wrapper during packing, and a small ridge or two that should likely have been smoothed out.
Score: 16

Construction (0-20): Picking up the stick gives you a lightly silky feel to the touch. It feels at least relatively well packed. The cut is relatively clean, though prelit draw seems a bit on the loose side. However it lit up really easily and oddly enough the tobacco beginning to burn actually helped to tighten it slightly (to the point where I was pleased with the resistance). The ash, while flaky, performed relatively well by holding on for at least an inch to an inch and a half at a time with no issue.
Score: 17

Strength (0-20): Holt’s puts this one at the medium strength area, and I think they are close to being right there. The strength actually varies quite a bit through the smoke. It begins off close to being full, but as the smoke progresses, it slowly ramps downward and almost hits the point of being low strength.
Score: 16
Flavor (0-20): The initial light was one of the most common flavors - pepper. It was really strong to say the least, but there was a slight balance of roasted nuts on the back end of things. It fades into the background, becoming a bit of an afterthought to the leather and rich cedar flavors that move to the forefront. There’s some inherent sweetness, but it’s almost barely discernible. The rest is much of the same with a bit of alternation between the leather and cedar flavors coming to the front of the line. It becomes more and more mellow and smooth though and by the end...
Score: 14

Value (0-20):  The MSRP of $8.55 is a price I personally wouldn’t pay for a smoke like this. While consistent with its flavors, it just doesn’t stand up against others of this price territory. BUT, people who enjoy something straightforward may find this to be right in their wheelhouse.
Score: 13
Additional Notes: Paired with water. Provided by Holt's Cigar Company.

Overall (0-100): Okay, so here is the skinny – the Ocean Club isn’t a terrible cigar, even though I’ve seen some middling reviews out there on it. The flavors, while a little one dimensional, are pleasing to the palate and actually work pretty well together. Combine that with the fact that it’s a lighter cigar, and you have another piece that works well within the confines of the cigar itself. Construction is decent, and the same can be said of the appearance. Where this falters is when you put it all together and try and place it up against some of the big boys in the $7.50 to $10.00 range.

For someone who wants something lighter that they don’t have to think about too much, this is a good choice. ANDDDDD if you were to take a look around at some of the other mixed packs that Holt’s has to offer, you would find a way to get this at a much more affordable price where it would be considered a bargain. I’d recommend starting there.

Score: 76

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