Written by Kevin Godbee

Thursday, 22 September 2005

User Rating: / 1

leisure and relaxationrocky patel
special events

Two days after Hurricane Katrina gave South Florida a slight brush, I had the pleasure to attend one of the many Rocky Patel events touring the country.

The event was held at Reel Smokers in Deerfield Beach, Florida on August 27, 2005. The power was still out, but a generator kept things going on and off. 

Sometimes we had air conditioning, and sometimes we didn't. That didn't stop the festivities though. I had the pleasure to meet Rocky Patel. He is extremely friendly, smart and charismatic.

Rocky Patel and Kevin Godbee

I scored some great smokes including the Vintage 1990, Vintage 1992, The Edge and the Sun Grown. They are all excellent cigars, but the Sun Grown was my favorite. 

For those who do not know, Rakesh "Rocky" Patel is the president of Indian Tabac Cigar Company, which he started in the mid-1990's during the cigar boom. Since then, Indian Tabac has come a long way, surviving the boom and bust, and back into the "new cigar boom" of today.

Rocky constantly travels the country meeting retailers and consumers alike. The combination of business savvy, personality and ever improving, high quality product has kept the company growing strong. In the cigar business, the quality of the product is obviously of utmost importance. 

Anyone who is an avid smoker will tell you that when Rocky blends a cigar, it tends to lean towards the sophisticated palate. It's really not for the novice. His blends are rather complex, like a great Cabernet or Petit Shirah, he reaches for a combination of balance and complexity. Unlike the philosophy of the puros being the best, meaning binder, filler and wrapper from the same region, Rocky believes these cigars become too linear. Says Rocky, "When blending tobaccos from various regions, it takes greater skill and knowledge but the end result is the symmetry and marrying of all these flavors to produce a great tasting cigar. I blend every cigar myself. It's absolutely time-consuming and painstaking. I'll literally go through a hundred blends until I settle into a palate winner. Most of my blends are a year in the making."

Recently, Indian Tabac has teamed up with Marvin Samel, founder of Drew Estate to co-produce the "Java" line. Marvin was at the event as well, pictured here with Rocky. Java is a mild to medium body smoke with hints of cocoa.
Rocky Patel and Marvin Samel
They say, "In Esteli, (Nicaragua) we select only the most beautiful leaves, double ferment them, while slowly infusing mocha java, and cocoa extract to an already perfectly smooth blend. Encasing each small batch of Java in slotted cedar trays, we allow the Spanish Cedar to add a slightly woody aroma to a long and rewarding finish." 

I think the Java is a unique, tasty, change of pace.

At the event, Rocky gave me The Edge to smoke. Their web site states, "The Edge is for professional smokers only. This unrivaled experience fills the acclimatized palate with spicy constituents accenting its full flavor.  It will leave the seasoned smoker weak in the knees without a harsh finish." 

They are not kidding. This is one heavy duty smoke.

The Sun Grown is my new favorite, however. It is a unique medium to full bodied cigar with a 5 year old Ecuadorian sun grown Sumatra wrapper. It is a rich & complex smoke full of sweet elements, similar to those experienced from smoking old Cuban cigars.  The long & full finish is just one of the many compliments to this extraordinary smoke.

Rocky and Reel Smokers put on a great event in spite of the hot humid weather with sporadic air conditioning due to the hurricane. The turn out packed the store, the bar and the outside patio.

I would like to thank Christopher Mey of Indian Tabac for his most gracious VIP treatment, introducing me to Rocky Patel and Marvin Samel and providing rich detail about all of the cigars. His business card reads, Credit Manager, but to meet him you would think he is the Public Relations and Sales Manager. The warmth, kindness and camaraderie demonstrated by Chris is also indicative of the entire staff that I met from Indian Tabac and Reel Smokers. These guys know how to party and have a good time, and they were all around a friendly bunch.

I currently have two humidors filled with an assortment of Rocky Patel and Drew Estate cigars, and I encourage you to do the same.

Kevin Godbee for Cigar Review

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