Rocky Patel Vintage 2003 Cameroon | Cigar Review

Wrapper: African Cameroon (Aged 8 Years)
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan, Dominican
Size: 5.5 x 50 “Robusto”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $7.00 by the box


A gift from a reader and after doing some research, I found this cigar gets a lot of respect.

The Cameroon wrapper is interesting in that it is a delicate and fragile leaf to work with and hence not seen very often. One reason is the fermentation process is a lot longer than other tobacco. The leaves are super thin and tear easily. The expense of growing the plant is much higher than most any other tobacco plant.

This stick was released at the 2011 IPCPR trade show.

There are currently four “Vintage” cigar blends. The first was the 1990, second; the 1992, third; the 1999, and lastly the 2003.

My gift giver told me the cigar probably had 9 months of humidor time. I don’t buy Patel cigars very often because of Patel’s old school approach to blending and aging. On average, a Patel cigar needs a good 6 months, or more, of humidor time before it reaches the blender’s intent.

When I worked for a living and made good money, I was able to buy large amounts of cigars each month and get in the rhythm of allowing cigars to age a year or more. But now that I am retired, and live on a fixed income, I can’t be cavalier with my cigar budget. I must buy the sticks I know . The ones that can be ready to smoke in 3 weeks. And unlike most of the A List reviewers, I buy 99% of my cigars for review…while they seem to have an endless supply of manufacturers and online stores feeding them.

Whining over.

The Cameroon is a nice looking stick. A mottled, oily, dark coffee bean wrapper with a seamless appeal and only a few small veins. It looks like a double cap but it is so impeccably constructed, I can’t be positive. The cigar is relatively jam packed with one soft spot near the cap. In the little bit of sunlight on this dreary morning, the light makes the wrapper look a bit caramel-like in color.

I have only one cigar and I’ve saved it for review so fingers crossed nothing goes wrong. On top of that, I don’t recollect ever smoking one. So this is a new experience for me.

I love the metallic blue double bands. Very snazzy.

I clip the cap and find aromas of strong cereal, sugar, prune, cocoa, and white cake.
Time to light up.

The first puffs compete with sweetness and a strong red pepper. The draw is spot on and smoke billows throughout the room. I get an immediate caramel flavor, followed by cocoa and coffee. There is a very nutty element and the cigar is earthy as hell.

The char line goes wavy and needs a minor touch up to be safe.

The strength starts out at medium body. The spice is rolling on all 6 cylinders. Clearly, this is a well-aged Patel blend.

The finish is very leathery. And a toasty component sweetens the pie. Nutmeg becomes a strong contender for the top 3 flavors.

I’m only half an inch into this cigar and I am very pleased with the flavor profile. This is what a nice humidor aged cigar should taste like. It gets down to business in the first puffs, not the last third like the Ave Maria Reconquista I reviewed yesterday. On that cigar, 3 months was not enough humidor time. And I pretty much wasted 2/3 of the cigar.

Creaminess enters the fray. It is like a cafeteria. At the 1” mark, the cigar is a flavor bomb.

Here are the flavors, in order: Creaminess, earthiness, spice, sweetness, caramel, nutmeg, cocoa, coffee, leather, nuts, buttered toast, and wood.

I am duly impressed. I check Cbid for pricing. Not a single one up for auction. I would love to have more but waiting 6-9 months…I don’t know. If you have a nice job and a nice cigar collection, then I highly recommend buying a box of these. This is one of the best Patel blends I’ve tasted.

The second third begins.

I shouldn’t whine about the absence of sun as Wisconsin’s neighbors in the Midwest are being forced out of their homes due to flooding.

I don’t want this cigar to end.

The strength moves up to medium/full bodied.

I cannot understate what a delicious cigar this is. It is very close to perfect for my tastes.

The cigar becomes very complex with a nice long finish. Perfectly balanced.

I read a couple reviews of A List reviewers I truly respect and I kept seeing the adjectives of Christmas spices permeating their descriptions. Having never really celebrated Christmas and having given up concentrated sugar over three decades ago, I can’ taste it. Now if it were Chanukkah spices, well; that’s another thing. And I cannot taste lox and bagels or latkes.

Let us pray.

I get a new flavor of peanuts. Salty out of the shell peanuts. Wonderful. The wood becomes a very potent cedar.

There is just no stopping this cigar’s flavor profile from constant expansion.
I love this cigar. It is homey and comfy.

I am at the halfway point and nothing has changed. It doesn’t have to. The flavor profile, complexity, and balance are on the money.

I gotta hand it to Patel. The use of a Cameroon wrapper knocks the ball out of the ballpark as if Mark McGwire smashed it. I think he just plays golf now.

The construction has remained maintenance free. A perfect char line and no issues with the cap except for my drooling.

The last third begins and the cigar is stronger now. But, thankfully, no nicotine.

The creaminess and sweetness are just out of this world.

Nicotine begins to creep in. I have 2” to go and I expect it will be a long 2” as the nicotine increases.
The flavor profile is exactly as described earlier.

As the cigar finishes, the flavor profile becomes more subtle. Some flavors, such as spice, nutmeg, toast, wood, and leather diminish quite a bit leaving the creaminess, cocoa, caramel, and peanuts.

The price point is a bit high but it is due to the Cameroon wrapper. So I understand it. Had this cigar used a more pedestrian wrapper, it should have been more in the $5-$6 range.
In some stores, a single will cost a buck or two more. In a B & M, expect to pay somewhere in the $10 range.

The strength remains at medium/full. The nicotine has become very strong. My head is spinning.

I highly recommend this cigar but one must be very patient. I don’t know if it needs 9 months but I would say it needs at least 3 months to attain its full flavor.

And now for something different:


Back in 1983, I took film classes at UCLA. I had just written, produced, and directed my first music video starring Eddie Munster for the song we developed called, “Whatever Happened to Eddie?”

You cannot see it anywhere on YouTube(This link is not the video, only the song that someone posted). You can listen to it but not see it. Why? Because every Halloween, or when the big production companies do a child star special, I get to sell the temporary rights to them for the use of the video. If I were to post in on YouTube, I would lose that right. I get on average $2500 for a one year agreement. So you can see my point.

I sometimes sell the whole package of the video, a mint condition 45 single, a rare mint condition T shirt and an autographed 8 x 10 promo photo of Butch and the band (Eddie and the Monsters) on eBay.

I took pre-production classes, production classes, post production classes and editing classes. All taught by towering people in their field.

The post production class was taught by John Thomas Lenox, an executive producer. He was producing the movie “Splash.” And instead of being taught about the intricacies of post-production, we got a class in Splash.

What an arrogant prick. Me this and me that. Every class was this guy extolling his brilliance.

But there were a few perks. He brought in other producers and Ron Howard himself who directed the film. That was a fun night. And if you are wondering if Howard is Opie? Yes, he is. Down to earth and friendly.

Previous to Howard coming in, Lenox took us to a pre-screening of the film. It was missing some sound effects and there was no sound track. We got to go to Disney studios to watch it.

During the question and answer period, with Howard, there was one jerk that was really mean and kept asking embarrassing questions. Remember, this movie was a fantasy/farce. And this idiot kept bringing up how the movie didn’t feel real. I have to hand it to Howard. He was a real gentleman and didn’t lose his temper.

At the end of class, I gave Howard a complete package of my Eddie Munster stuff. He knew Butch from back in the day and asked me out for a cup of coffee.

We went to some movie star hangout and had some nosh and Cokes. Howard didn’t drink. And neither did I. It was an exciting 2 hours. We talked more about life and I didn’t interview him which would have immediately turned him off. Something I learned during our PR excursions the record company sent us on all over the country. Treat a star like a peer and you’ve got him.

Several celebrities stopped by the table to say hello to Howard. Here comes the name dropping. There was Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon, Streisand, and Howard Cosell. What a mixed bag that I would never have expected to see. Howard politely introduced me and we shook hands. Carson was a big thrill as was Streisand. I have a great Streisand story that I will write up in tomorrow’s review.

We said our good byes and Howard told me he would peruse my video and give me a call. Guess what? I never got a call. LOL. It is the old “Leave your name and phone number in the ashtray and I will get back to you” syndrome.

Some of the lectures in the class were very boring and they always took place in near auditorium sized class rooms. There couldn’t have been more than 25 students. So I began to talk to this very nice looking chick.
After a few weeks, we would steal ourselves away and head for the bathroom. Each time I got a great blow job.

She was married and when we went to the Splash screening she brought her husband. She introduced us and all I got was the stink eye from the husband. Ooops.

At the end of the class, Lenox had promised a one on one with any student that requested it. I gave him an Eddie Munster package too. His assistant made an appointment for me and then they kept postponing it so I gave up.

He made the announcement for individual meetings as he handed out a piece of paper asking the students to assess the class. So of course, everyone gave this guy an A+ hoping for that one on one. The bastard offered the meetings so we’d give him a good score.

The other two classes were not as exciting and no blow jobs. The editing class was taught by an old timer who thought he was Douglas Fairbanks Jr. He had the whole look going for him. He must have been 70 years old.
He did take us to MGM and we got the royal tour. That was fun.

But all in all, the classes were just a waste of money. My project soon collapsed when the record company was taken to jail for embezzling. A real story of intrigue and underhanded dealings.

My dreams of becoming a music video mogul were dashed. Protection Status


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7 replies

  1. Another great review Phil. I am always amazed at your palate and ability to pull out subtle flavors. Reading your reviews has helped me refine my palate as well. I’m a huge fan of some Rocky Patel blends. My favorite is the Olde World Reserve.

    • Thanks Bryan. It is nice to have you as one of the family now. The readers that comment are a close knit group of great guys. Welcome and don’t be shy.
      Kat…or Phil

      • Many thanks to an anonymous reader that said some very nice words in his note about my ailing wife and his compassion for the Katman.
        (I hate being poor. My wife is not scheduled for surgery until July 8 because we had to wait for Colombia St. Mary hospital to approve us for Charity Care and it took 5 weeks for that to happen. Now, instead of one lump in her breast, she has three. My poor girl is beside herself with worry. We all are.)

        Man, does this guy know my cigar loves, or what?
        I've been bombed!!!

  2. Have not had one of these in a long time,and your review reminded me what I love about them,excluding the price. I always pick up a lovely floral note from these too,even on the retrohale. Probably my favorite Patel next to the Vintage ’92.
    Once again,best wishes for a happy outcome for your better half. We know it’s a scary time, but hope that the moral support from your devoted readers is at least of some small comfort for the two of you.

  3. Got one of these in a famous sampler. After the toss of a coin, my wife got to smoke it and she’s still grinning two weeks later.