I've written my praise of Rocky Patel cigars here before, but this is something hard to ignore. We had a recent video blog about their 15th anniversary cigar, and I smoked one with great pleasure. This brand is awesome. A few weeks ago, Bill Westfield (one of our estate crew), decided he wanted to try some cigars to expand his horizons. Since Bill wasn't sure about what kind of cigar he wanted, and was open to all possibilities, I suggested he try a few and go from there.
Walking down to our humidor, Bill's eyes were scanning the rather large selection while trying to find something in the size he wanted. With so many boxes, wrappers, bands, and aromas, I suggested he attack his craving with some order. As mentioned in an earlier blog post, the Rocky Patel Edge
is one of our best selling cigars. Not surprisingly, the Edge
are also very popular smokes. This isn't the first time I've talked with an employee, or customer, and suggested they try one of each. While I have been known to smoke more than one cigar at a time, smoking them the same day (assuming there is time) is a great way to compare two or more. While this can be done with any cigar, these Edge cigars are all the same size (5"x 48 ring gauge), all have similar long-fillers (Nicaraguan and Honduran) and binders (Nicaraguan) with the difference being the wrappers. Connecticut shade dresses the Edge Lite with a creamy, caramel-colored leaf; the Edge Maduro has a dark, oily wrapper from fermentation that really adds a rich, smokey element like a bold cup of espresso; and the Edge Corojo (often neck and neck in sales with the Lite) has a flavor somewhere between the two others, with a deliciously spicy element.
When able to compare these cigars in the same day, it's best to begin with the lighter of all three, and work your way up to the Corojo and eventually the rich Maduro. Just like tasting cheeses, starting with something mild will allow room for additional richness without overpowering the palate. Tasting a mild cheese before working up to a blue Stilton is much the same as working up to a maduro.
Given that these cigars are so similar, this allowed Bill to better understand what makes a cigar taste the way it does. Many people are surprised that a thin layer of wrapper can change a cigar so much, but it makes a bit more sense that there are flavors absorbed on the lips that add to taste not found in the smoke. While they are all unique cigars, each has an excellent draw and consistency from box to box. One of the last steps to sorting cigars is by color, so every stick in the box is an identical shade.
The experiment resulted in Bill liking all three, but favoring the milder wrapper of the Edge Lite. Since our little experiment, Bill has enjoyed quite a few of these, and also understands that a torpedo is a very comfortable cigar in his teeth.
So, whether you decide to smoke these all on the same day or not, comparing can be a wonderful experience and help you better understand why you like something so much.