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Do you ever find in life that when you have a particular talent or are really passionate about something people will tell you things to make themselves feel better , because otherwise they would have to elevate to your level?. A perfect example of this was when people said these exact things to Rocky Patel “Ten years ago they said our little cigar company would never make it”. Then “Five Years Ago they said we’d never last”. “Three years ago they started paying attention”. And now years later here they are in the hands of millions of consumers, in fact in 2006 their annual sales were above $25 million and in 2007 Rocky manufactured 16 MILLION CIGARS, sounds like a really small company that wouldn’t last EHHHHHH? (that Canadian for don’t you agree) Let’s talk about how Rocky actually got himself to where he is today. Rakesh (Rocky) Patel was a Hollywood attorney representing such Hollywood stars as Gene Hackman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Patel became an avid cigar smoker in 1990, as a member of the Grand Havana room just minutes from his office, and this became his home away from home. As we all know allot of networking and new ventures are built around cigar smoking , more so in cigar lounges, I’m sure most of you are familiar with INDIAN MOTORCYLCES, if not there an extremely high end Cruiser motorcycle that dates back to 1901 . Rocky ventured into a business opportunity with a fellow cigar smoker and started Indian Tabac, in the mid 1990’s it was to share the similararity of the Indian Motorcycle brand. In the Beginning Rocky was not very knowledged in the tobacco sector, Rocky had other people completely manufacturing his cigars for Indian Tabbac. Rocky decided it was time to Devote his time to the Cigar business and bought out his partner out of Indian tabac in 1997, and spent ALOT time in Nicaragua and Honduras working and learning about the trade, this included FIELD work as well, Rocky took over the Manufacturing process, The entire process took a complete 180 , Rocky began purchasing tobacco , fermenting it curing it , basically created his own assembly line where he was able to create his OWN BLENDS his way . Finally the time had come for Indian Tabbac to officially changed to Rocky Patel Premium Cigars in 2002 Rocky sold his Attorney practice and COMPLETELY DEVOTED his time to the Cigar industry. Following this milestone came the release of the World renowned beautiful Vintage 1990 Vintage 1992, an Amazing Medium Bodied Cigar that is full of flavour and great Balance, and even better Construction. In Turn it was rewarded allot of recognition to back it The Vintage Series received “Best of the Best” accolades from the Robb Report. ,the Vintage 1992 Torpedo was subsequently rated 90, The Vintage 1990 Robusto was rated 92 by Cigar Aficionado. WELL DESERVED , My opinion I prefer the 1990 but the 1992 is right up there. Since then rocky has released an additional 25 Rocky Patel brand cigars , and 11 Private Label cigars , not to Mention the JAVA’s which are the most well suited MORNING CIGAR , oh yeah I almost forgot the Indian Tabacc line to , man sure seems like that “little Cigar Company ” isn’t lasting is it ? An interesting Fact about Rocky Patel is that he does not have his own farm where they harvest ” their own” tobacco but, Rocky has an extremely close relationship with Nestor Plasencia, who allows Rocky to have his own employees in charge of allot of the operations in the manufacturing of his cigars, Rocky’s relationship with the Oliva family (one of Nicaragua’s largest Tobacco Families) and ASP allows rocky to obtain some of the best quality product available on the market. Now more recently the DECADE rated 95 points by Cigar Aficionado. Being rated 95 points is an amazing achievement it becomes classified as a “classic” it will go down in history with the numbers vintage aged Cubans that score 95 and above in Connoisseurs corner the decade has also received 91, 92, and 93. The Rocky Patel Decade was released to Celebrate its MILESTONE,
SIZE: 6 1/2 X 52
WRAPPER: Ecuadorian Sumatra
STRENGTH: Medium to full
MANUFACTURED: El Paraiso Factory
These cigars come encased in a beautiful box that says “Against alll odds” the undersides of the box has an illustration of Rocky in black and white of cigar production, nothing better than an amazing looking box of cigars just screaming look at me in the humidor. The Decade contains tobacco from Nicaragua, Honduras and Ecuador, what better than commemorating 10 years using tobacco from the regions that made you who you are. Manufactured in Nestor Plasencia’s El Paraiso factory, this tobacco has gone through allot of fermentation This beautiful Chocolate coloured Ecuadorian Sumatra Wrapper from the highest priming of the tobacco plant, houses some very nice small veins, and a nice shiny oily appearance, this slightly box pressed cigar is firm to the touch and packed very nicely, this is very evident on the foot of the cigar, the aroma is leathery and earthy with a slight bit of spice. I cut this cigar using my one of a kind Stainless steel self sharpening Scissors, the pre light draw was extravagant, After toasting the Foot of the cigar my tongue got the most of the pepper, which left my palate with smooth notes of earth, nuts, and cream, the burn is seamless and the draw is beautiful, the second third of this cigar is very creamy, and has a nice chocolate coffee flavour, with some woodsy notes the burn at this point is still very good. The final third was very smooth and consisted of cocoa and coffee, truly a delightful finishing touch , nearing the nub the spiciness returned with some earth to top it all off with a bite. I had the Joy of sampling all of the sizes in this blend including the Limited Editions talk about consistency!
A cigar that not only looks amazing but is defiantly full of flavour and perfectly BALANCEDDDD for a medium to full bodied experience, coffee, cocoa , woodsy earthy , and spicy , a perfect burn and great draw. For someone who had no Cuban heritage and no ancestral roots, or any cigar knowledge at all, in an industry that is truly dominated by farms that are often family owned and operated for generations Rocky has overcome all obstacles and beat the set out odds that the industry had for him and the fact that he would never last, WELL WHO’S HAVING THE LAST LAUGH NOWWWWWWWW
Eric D. Kukucka (Member of the Montecristo Lounge Sterling Heights Michigan)
The La Gloria Cubana Brand translated to “The Glory of Cuba” dates back over a hundred years and has a lot of Cuban history installed in the name. Created in 1885, Sociedad Cabañas Y Castro, the brand was then purchased in 1905 by José F. Rocha, and manufactured its cigars in Havana on Miguel Street. his death in 1954, lead to the purchase of the company by the cifuentes family, they took on both Bolivar and La Gloria Cubana, the production was then manufactured in the 4 stories high PARTAGAS factory in Havana, allot of the brands success is owed to Pepin Fernandez for all of his efforts in promoting the brand, you might be asking yourself who is Pepin Fernandez? Pepin is the owner of the Romeo Y Julieta Brand. The La Gloria Brand was honoured to be one of CUBAS REGIONAL EDITIONS with the La Gloria Cubana DELICIOSO, which means that the cigar is only available for purchase in Cuba, this was the first CUBA REGIONAL EVER RELEASED what an honour this is, by the way it was a limited release only 50,000 produced in 2,000 beautiful humidified ceramic jars. The other La Gloria Cubana brand holds some interesting history as well. Ernesto Perez-Carrillo Sr. a former Cuban Senator and Tobacco grower, like I mentioned before in previous reviews most of our top non-Cuban cigar manufactures “fled Cuba” and found new homes. In 1959, like most others he took with him a little piece of haven in other words the recipe and secret of La Gloria Cubana. Little Havana Miami, home to many Cuban immigrants, the year was 1968 and Perez’s cigars were becoming a neighbourhood favourite, the best was yet to come. Like allot of tobacco manufactures family is key to further success and tradition, 1980 was the year for Ernesto Jr. when he blended a combination of beautiful Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco, the birth of a new rich full flavoured La Gloria was born, he truly made his father proud. One of the greatest feelings in the world is when you are rewarded for all of your time and efforts, this was granted to Ernesto in 1992 when his blend received 90 points by Cigar aficionado, there’s nothing better in life than being rewarded for all of your hard work. The La Gloria Artesanos De Miami was ranked the # 9 Cigar of 2008 by Cigar Aficionado, and more recently the Serie R No.3 was awarded 92 hard earned points by both Cigar Aficionado and Cigar Insider. La Gloria Cubana Manufactures 23 different sizes of cigars, that offers amazing amounts of delicious flavours, and beautiful aromas.
WRAPPER: Capa Oscura / Ecuadorian Sumatra
BINDER: Nicaraguan Proprietary
FILLER: Nicaraguan Proprietary
STRENGTH: Med- full (more on the fuller scale)
ASH: (white strong slightly flaky)
What is really interesting about this cigar is the beautiful presentation of the Box a Fire Red Hexagon shape, with a gold La Gloria Cubana N label on it. The N stands for Nicaragua, the cigar has a Woven N right in the center of the cigar. the wrapper offers a nice oily appearance to it, now speaking about the wrapper , allot of the IPCPR news letters from bloggers were stating this to be a ECUADORIAN SUMARTRA wrapper , well unless it is a dark Sumatra and even still this cigar is much darker than that , so imp going to stay with the Capa Oscura for the wrapper. It has some elevated areas on it and very few veins present and a beautiful cap. Now let’s talk a little bit about what exactly “proprietary” tobacco is. Proprietary Tobacco is tobacco in which has an exclusivity and ownership rights , many cigarette companies have “low nicotine” proprietary tobacco, basically is almost like a patent on a secret recipe, or rights of ownership of land, IN A NUT SHELL , THIS NICARAGUAN TOBACCO IS EXCLUSIVE The cigar has beautiful pre light aroma of woodsy spice, right of the bat there is allot of earthiness to the cigar, as it develops a little more throughout the first third taste very similar to raisins very odd but yet interesting, the smoke began to become smoother and very indulging, until the 2/3 portion of the cigar , this was the most interesting flavour I have ever experienced in a cigar in 8 years and thousands of cigars it was literally like a chocolate powder , from a hot chocolate or like cocoa powder , you can literally taste the chalkiness of the powder , I thought I was going crazy but I was told by a friend of mine about this taste I might experience, so Sunday night at the Monte lounge there were 4 other members smoking with me and they were all smoking the Serie N, I told them what they were about to expect and if they could agree with my tastings , an surely enough they all agreed , they too were in shock, the burn is perfect at this point and the chocolate flavours are getting richer , man this proprietary tobacco is something else, the burn and draw remain great. I’m at the final third of the cigar, and the chocolate flavours became slightly bitter for about 5 minutes, and then revamped themselves, there is a very slight hint of spice but very little more prominent in the chocolate department at this point, the cigar finished nicely and I was very impressed.
JSB (5 ½” x 54)
Rojo (6 ½” x 46)
Generoso (5 ¾” x 49)
Glorioso (6 ½” x 58)
I sampled all of the sizes listed above and they were all very consistent in all departments, flavour, draw, burn and construction.
This new La Gloria is a full Bodied Power house but yet tamed with a beautiful balanced smoothness of amazing chocolate flavours, aside from the very unique packaging, the Nicaraguan proprietary tobacco makes it extra special, and if you haven’t tried one yet what are you waiting for?
Produced in the Dominican Republic La Gloria Cubana is one of the most sought-after cigars in the world.
Eric D. Kukucka (Member of the Montecristo Lounge Sterling Heights
Size: Belicoso 6 1/8 X 52
Wrapper : Ecuadorian Cabano
Filler: Honduran/ Nicaraguan
Trinidad is named after the 16th Century city of La Santísima Trinidad (The Holy Trinity). Here’s a little history about the Trinidad Cigar that might be a shock to many. Even though Fidel Castro is always seen with a COHIBA in hand this is not his true cigar of choice nor his brand as many would claim. The Trinidad Brand dates back to 1969 in Cuba at the El Laguito factory The Trinidad Fundadores was the cigar produced EXCLUSIVELY for Fidel since 1980 aside from Fidel Castro the only individuals to consume Trinidad cigars were Foreign Diplomats. Now that’s not to say that Cohibas were not a gem cigar that were given to diplomats but Trinidad were the Cream of the Crop The year was 1998 and the connoisseurs and consumers of Cuban cigars were in for a surprise, the Trinidad label became available as an export to Mexico and Canada, soon after in April 98 it was released for worldwide distribution aside from the US of course. In 2003 Trinidad Cuban brand released 3 new sizes Coloniale, the Reyes, and the Robusto Extra. Now the cigar I am reviewing is not a Cuban but this Nicaraguan Honduran based twin has allotted of potential to be a patriarch of non Cubans in my opinion. The label as u can see from the pictures does resemble the Cuban Trinidad label. Altadis’s famous quote for this cigar was “what Embargo”? and to some extent I find this true , it does offer allot of the same characteristics of a Cuban, and that always makes me feel like my money was well spent. I have had the luxury of smoking all of these Trinidad’s and even a 1997 Fundadores which I smoked in 2007 and it was exceptional. Although the best Trinidad I have ever smoked in which I owned a box of and have none left was the 2006 TRINIDAD BOOK TORRE LZNAGA VOLUME No 6 there was only 500 cases ever produced I guess I wasn’t thinking when I smoked the last one. The Name Lznaga was named after one of the towers erected in the city of Trinidad back in 1816, So the Trinidad name has allot of history
This cigar has a very beautiful Ecuadorian Cabano Wrapper that has a very appealing overall look to it , slightly toothy and does have a few nice veins running through it the wrapper does have some nice oily texture to it as well which helps compliment its appearance immensely and it does have a nice weight which complements the construction. The look of the wrapper is a very important characteristic to me it just makes the cigar look that much more appealing. This cigar has a beautiful pre-light aroma that makes u want to stop wasting your time and just smoke it. The first third of this cigar was had some cedary notes followed by a beautiful creamy taste with a slight peppery undertone finish. When I reached the second third the cigar increased in its creamy flavours but the cedar stayed constant. What I really loved about this cigar was the final third/ finish, cigars tend to have a stronger finish or tend to get bitter/hot, the Trinidad actually became CREAMIER which was the highlight of this cigar.
For a cigar that will reward you with great creamy flavours and nice cedary notes, a beautiful finish, and an appearance that you can give to anyone and not be afraid of disappointment especially the other sizes aside from the Belicoso which all contain a beautiful pigtail cap which is Cuban tradition. “WHAT EMBARGOOOOOO”
Eric D. Kukucka DD
Liga Private No. 9 Robusto
I’m going to begin calling to mind Nicaragua; home to some of the world’s finest tobaccos, home to cigar family history that dates back years upon years upon years, a geographical cornerstone to every cigar we all enjoy today. Now let me tell you about a company that gained its birth in Nicaragua as late as 1998! Before 1998, Jonathan Drew and Marvin Samel owned a small boutique shop in the world trade center , a mere 16 square foot kiosk to be exact. What is interesting about the Drew Estate story is the fact that it is still very similar to the way that a lot of the big names in cigars today are who they are. Jonathan Drew moved to Estelí with very little money and a few rollers. Jonathan lived in struggle for a year in Nicaragua until 1999 when he returned to the big apple with new blends and a merging idea for their cigar line, and with none other than Scott “ACID” Chester! Jonathan and Marvin really wanted this to be their OWN company and not one to be contracted out, once again doing things the “hard way “. ACID was not the first cigar from Drew Estates lineage, but it is defiantly one of their most popular. A cigar that has remarkably infused flavors! However, their first cigar was actually “La Veija Habana “. It was now the year of the millennium (2000) and it was time for the next generation Drew Estate cigar line…. the NATURAL. This cigar was a big success because of its rich flavors. In 2002 the company’s factory began pumping out astronomic numbers. 2004 was the year of a big move to MIAMI and an even bigger move of a new hire “Steve Saka ” – the new Drew estate President . 2006 highlights the release of the new cigar “Chateau Real” …which by the way is a great cigar. In July 2007 Jonathans big dream came true, a vision that had been foreseen for many years – “La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate!” From 1998 and sleeping above a factory on a worn out mattress, to 96,000 Square feet of a beautiful cigar valley in Nicaragua….the company’s success is more than a dream come true for Jonathan. Like I said this story reminds me of how a lot of the older farmers fled Cuba with only a few dollars in their pockets and started their small tobacco farms in Nicaragua which are now much larger than what they had back in Cuba , it’s like the same “It was meant to be” thing with Drew Estate!
“The only person you are destined to become, is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
WRAPPER: American Habano
FILLER: Nicaraguan Honduran , Dominican
STRENGTH: Med- full (more on the fuller scale)ASH: (white strong)
Liga Privada…. what’s the most interesting about it?
One of the best things to me about this cigar, is the meaning behind it ” hencho exclusamente para el jefe’” – which means made exclusively for the boss, (Steve Saka) and “Liga Privada”! Try this amazing smoke for the first time, or stock up your humidor selection of Liga Privadas this week at CFO Troy or Sterling. They are one of the deals of the week February 13th – 19th and being offered to us at $1.00 off all sticks regular retail price! Lucky Us!!!
Thanks for reading, Check back next monday for my next review!
We would love you to comment & let us know YOUR review of the Liga!
Eric D. Kukucka DD
The roots of a tree can run yard after yard after yard beneath the ground, yes this process takes years and years but as the years go by the roots continue to run deeper and deeper and deeper. This analogy is very similiar with the TORANO family, which is why the quote is “OUR ROOTS RUN DEEP”. The Toranos families roots run as far back as the early 1900’s (1916) to be exact, Recent immigrant from spain to the Island of Cuba Don Santiago Torano fell in love with the tobacco leaf, soon after he became a broker of leaf tobacco.
Don Santiago was graced with the birth of three sons Jamie, Jose, and Carlos. Sooner than later the 3 sons grew older and the Torano’s involvement with tobacco increased drastically . Going from being a tobacco broker to having 17 farms in Cuba by 1959 supplying such manufactures as PARTAGAS AND H.UPMANN, they not only distributed tobacco to nearly every factory in cuba but also world wide including the United States of America.
I believe the saying is “all good things come to an end” well like most of the top notch non-cuban cigar makers today the Government nationalizing their tobacco farms forcing them to flee the country. the Torano family moved to the Dominican Republic. Carlos Torano was known in the Dominican by all for teaching them how to grow authentic cuban seed tobacco or “Piloto Cubano”. Carlos Torano died at the age of 57 in his curing barn due to a massive heart attack . After working for General cigar for many years Jamie Torano left General and started growing tobacco in Nicaragua, Jamie passed away in 1974, his son Jimmy took over the opperations on his fathers behalf.
The year was 1975 and Carlos Torano was about to joing his cousin in the Family buisness, Carlos had received a degree in Economics and Finance and wasnt too keined for the longest time to pursue his fathers footsteps, but it was the right time and place. The Torano family joined with the Perez Family, the Torano’s focused on the buisness portion and the Perez more-so on the farming, Carlos’s mentore was Alfredo Perez Carlos said “everything i learned, everything i am today, I owe to Alfredo”. Rember the saying i used earlier all good things come to an end ? well this is again true 1979, United States government embargo on all Nicaraguan Goods, Torano family again forced to relocate. Having major suppliers such as General, Newman Family, Swisher International, Consolidated Cigar, and Villazon Relocation was a must, and in a timely fashion . 1981 Mexico, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica were the Regions selected, Land was being purchased farms being built managers being hiered and yes Tobacco began being cultivated, The Torano family was booming with their tobacco sales, until again “all good things came to an end”.
1997 the Cigar market was flooded with over production, on to the 4th Generation to come in Charlie Torano a lawer left his practice to become in charge of QUALITY CONTROL, and opperations . The year was 1998 and the FIRST torano owned factory in Danli Honduras, soon after another factory was built in Nicaragua. Cigar Production for the Toranos in 2008 was 20 million, Torano’s have many cigars rated in the 90’s and supply some of the top manufactures in the buisness with their Tobacco. The Torano’s produce an amaing product at a very reasonable price. Carlos and son Charlie work along side eachother, and Charlie now shares the passion that has been instaled in the name TORANO for the last 94 yers as the 4th Generation of the family THAT’S DEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!
The Cigar I am reviewing is the Torano Single Region ROBUSTO
One region, One farm, One Fine Cigar, Jalapa Nicaragua home to some of the worlds finest tobacco, Jalapa is known for producing a beautiful tobacco including its amazing ligero filler, this specific cigar is produced from the EL ESTRO Farm in Jalapa, this farm is small and is located in the northern most growing province of Nicaragua. What makes this farm so unique is the fact that it is irrigated by a natural stream, for centuries this mineral rich water together with the soil have enabled this particular farm to grow some of the most aromatic and finest tobacco produced. Tobacco Grown in Jalapa is very distinctive in its sweetness, and carries with it an elegant smoothness. Single region for decades has been essential in the success of amazing wines and coffee’s. The Torano family has just proved this importance in this beautiful cigar. This Jalapa wrapper is extremely oily, and there are a few paper thin veins present, the cigar is extremely well constructed, this is very evident on the foot, the pre light aroma was very prominent in the cedar department, the pre light draw was excellent and gave off alot of sweetness. After toasting the foot, the first third of the cigar was packed with an amazing sweet creamy flavour , there were some woodsy notes evident as well, with a hint of semi sweet chocolate, the burn at this point is very good and the draw is excellent and is producing a beautiful spicy aroma . the second third of this cigar truly developed itself into becoming very prominent in the leather department but having some subtle coffee notes throughout, the burn and draw is still excellent, the final third, a small amount of the smoothness returned, the prominence of the leather and coffee were far more evident, some cedar notes were present as well, this cigar was claimed to be on the full bodied spectrum but in my opinion it is Medium Bodied.
This was a great cigar that provided a great amount of smoke, and some great all around flavours, a beautiful looking cigar with alot of oils makes it stand out. The fact that the tobacco is all single Region is what makes it so special to me, great burn and draw top the cigar all off, This cigar is manufactured in 3 sizes I’ve had the pleasure of smoking this cigar in each of the sizes its offered in and all of the sizes were very consistent and offered great flavours.
Eric D. Kukucka
Member of the Montecristo lounge, Sterling Heights, Michigan