Rocky Patel Hamlet Tabaquero | Cigar Review

Wrapper: Mexican San Andrés
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina, Mexican San Andrés
Filler: Nicaraguan
Size: 5 x 54 “Robusto Grande”
Body: Medium/Full
Price: $8.80 MSRP

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Hamlet_Paredes_Tabaquero

Today we take a look at the new Rocky Patel Hamlet Tabaquero.
Many thanks to Carter Tinsley for the stick.

The slide seems to be happening quicker than I expected. I need to re-think how I review. How I write. I am redundant. I am repetitive. I write silly. I’m going to try and be more concise and produce less effluence. I don’t want to go out looking like an ass because my mind doesn’t have the common sense to know when a good thing should come to its conclusion. We shall see how it goes. (I guess that if the bastards at Medicare would pay for the Alzheimer’s drugs, I’d be doing better. So I am not taking any Alzheimer’s meds.)
Thanks for sticking with me.

BACKGROUND:
Regular production
Debuted at the 2015 IPCPR trade show
Released September, 2015

From the Rocky Patel web site:
“Developed and blended by Cuban Master of Tobacco Hamlet Paredes, this cigar is an exciting addition to the Patel Family. Featuring a robust San Andreas (sic) wrapper with filler from Nicaragua and binders from Brazil and Mexico, this masterfully-crafted blend is a unique experience for any aficionado. The Tabaquero comes in a few traditional, as well a few rare sizes hand-picked by Hamlet Paredes. This cigar is the closest a smoker can get to a fusion of Cuban craftsmanship and Nicaraguan ingenuity.”

When are copywriters going to realize that San Andreas is a fault line? Not an area in Mexico. It is San Andrés…you dufus copywriter.

From the Cigars International web site:
“Hamlet Paredes was one of Cuba’s most sought after cigar rollers, often traveling internationally to do in-store rolling demonstrations. Rocky Patel aided Hamlet and his family in escaping Cuba and coming to the US, and now Hamlet is releasing his first cigar for Rocky, Tabaquero by Hamlet Paredes.”

From the Cigar Aficionado web site:
“If the name Hamlet Paredes sounds familiar, it’s because he was a former Habanos S.A. ambassador who became famous among Cuban cigar smokers through his in-store rolling demonstrations and Cuban tobacco seminars held at tobacconists around the world. Rocky Patel met Paredes through one such tobacconist and offered him a job.

“Robert Fox from the JJ Fox tobacconist in London introduced me to Hamlet,” Patel told Cigar Aficionado. “I was very impressed with his knowledge.”
Paredes now works for Patel and created the blend that is now known as Tabaquero Hamlet Paredes. Although the cigars are manufactured in Nicaragua, the cigar was first developed at Burn, Rocky Patel’s high-end cigar lounge in Florida.

“They’re made in Nicaragua at the TaviCusa factory, but were blended by Hamlet in Naples, Florida at Burn,” Patel confirmed. “His visa doesn’t allow him to go to Nicaragua, so we spent months developing this blend. Because he can’t go to Nicaragua, Hamlet does not physically roll these cigars, nor does he oversee them, but the blend is his.”

DESCRIPTION:
A good looking cigar. Stout and packed to the gills. Seams are tight. Very few veins. The wrapper is an oily, dark chocolate brown that is silky smooth.
The triple cap is flawless. The double cigar bands are bright and festive. No mention of Rocky Patel. Just Hamlet Paredes on the side. And “Master of Tobacco” on the other side.

SIZES AND PRICNG:
Corona 5.5 x 42 $8.00 MSRP
Robusto 5 x 50 $8.60 MSRP
Robusto Grande 5 x 54 $8.80 MSRP
Toro 6 x 52 $8.80 MSRP
Salomon 7.625 x 58 $8.82 MSRP

AROMAS AND COLD DRAW NOTES:
From the shaft, I can smell cocoa, sweetness, spice, berries, and cedar.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I smell dark chocolate, spice, sweetness, and cedar.
The cold draw presents flavors of earthiness, chocolate, cherries, and cedar.

FIRST THIRD:
The draw is a bit tight so I massage the cigar. Afterwards, the cigar smokes a cigarette.
First flavors: Chocolate, strong black pepper, sweetness, cherries, creaminess, cinnamon, licorice, pecans, fresh oranges, floral notes, vanilla, and cedar.

Strength is immediately medium/full. I got the posted “Medium” body from the web page on CI. I do believe they may be incorrect in this matter.
While lighting the outside perimeter of the foot, I noticed a small imperfection and it is exactly where the burn wants to make a run for it now. A touch up is needed to avoid a larger problem.

The draw doesn’t improve. There is a plug between the cigar band and the cap. I grab my awl and gently rotate it down the cigar a couple inches. Then I hear a crack. Crap. The wrapper has a slight tear in it now. That was the bad news. The good news is that now the Rocky Patel Hamlet Tabaquero has a clear and open draw.

The cherry sweetness keeps this blend from being ordinary.
It has taken an inch of futzing around with the burn line before it begins to behave. Fingers crossed.
There is a green vegetal element that seems to be made up of bell peppers.

I don’t know how long Carter had this cigar in his humidor but I do know he only sent me nicely aged sticks. And I’ve had the cigar cooling its heels in my humidor for well over a month.

Transitions begin. The Rocky Patel Hamlet Tabaquero has more elements of a fine boutique blend than an RP blend. I’ve found that RP cigars tend to hit you over the head with a ballpeen hammer. This blend by Hamlet Paredes is a kinder, gentler blend.
The black pepper has been stopped in its boots.

SECOND THIRD:
Smoke time is 20 minutes. Should have been longer save for all of the touch ups to the char line.
The Rocky Patel Hamlet Tabaquero is much improved in this second third.

Complexity kicks in. More flavors: Malts, toffee, hickory smoke, meaty, and oak are added to the lineup.
This is a nice blend. Strength remains at medium/full. I’m sure it will hit full bodied soon.

3third

Patel should use Paredes a lot more. Or break off with the regular Patel line and create a boutique side to the brand. He shouldn’t let Paredes go. The Rocky Patel Hamlet Tabaquero is far superior to almost any Patel blend I’ve smoked.
I don’t know what it is about old Cuban ex-patriates that gives them the edge over so many other blenders. But then, most of the New Breed brands are mostly young men. So age has no stranglehold on quality.

The Rocky Patel Hamlet Tabaquero is now bordering on exceptionally great.

Now all the flavors: Chocolate, creaminess, sweetness, cinnamon, licorice, orange, hickory smoke, cherries, cedar, malts, black pepper, toffee, floral notes, vanilla, meaty, oak, vegetal notes, and an earthy richness. No leather. Sorry.

At the halfway point, the complexity settles in and makes itself at home. Nice balance. Good finish. The chocolate is extraordinary now. Candy bar quality.
The black pepper returns. I like that.
Smoke time is 35 minutes.

4half

I can’t seem to take a decent photo this morning. Have a terrible case of the tremors.
I’m still correcting the burn now and again. It just won’t cooperate. This will definitely affect my rating.

5burn

I keep my cigars for review in a single humidor. And it is the one with the electronic Cigar Oasis humidifier. On top of that, I put in a Zederkoff digital hygrometer as a backup double check system. They are never more than .2% off from each other. As long as I am on the subject. You can buy these $40 Zederkoff hygrometers on Cbid for $7-$10 each. I have three. These are the most reliable hygrometers.

I am nearing the ginormous crack caused by using my cigar awl to clear a plug. It looks pretty nasty and I cannot glue it. This may ruin the review. We shall see.

6crack

While I’m not close to finishing the Rocky Patel Hamlet Tabaquero, I am ready to give it a rating of 90. But the burn issues will take a couple points away.

I don’t have a second stick to compare it to so I have no idea if this is a common occurrence. Which is funny actually. Paredes is known as a master roller. It was those skills that brought Paredes to Patel’s attention.
The crack is beginning to expand. I lay down a bead of cigar glue.

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LAST THIRD:
Smoke time is 45 minutes.
The Rocky Patel Hamlet Tabaquero reminds me of another blend. It’s a cross between the Espinosa Especial and the Man O’ War Side Projects Phalanx.
The crack looks like an open wound now. I’m not going to show a photo as this was my fault, not the cigar’s.

But it does say a lot for the construction of the cigar as most cigars would have fallen apart by now. So Paredes’ rolling skills are top notch. But then it would not have a crack if not for a large plug.

8third

I check a bunch of online stores. Almost every single one is selling the Rocky Patel Hamlet Tabaquero for MSRP. There are exceptions like Cuenca Cigars, Best Cigar Prices, and egars.com. All are about a buck less than MSRP. Clearly, this is a popular cigar.

The last third becomes the sweet spot. Very creamy. Very chocolaty. Malt plays a big part. The ancillary flavors all have something to add for a complete picture.

The real bummer is that this cigar just wasn’t rolled properly. I have burn issues right to the end.
Discounting the burn issues, this is a great cigar. Very flavorful. Complex. I would definitely like to have more.

RATING: 87 (Because of burn issues)

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4 replies

  1. You’re probably right. I have trouble remembering yesterday. So your comment reminded me of last winter. I do remember having troubles with my cigars due to the cold. And boy, Wisconsin gets cold. We got our first snow today and it only got up to 19° and windy.
    I up my humidor humidity in the winter to 70°. I probably would have forgotten to do this until you just reminded me.
    I keep my humidors in a corner of the living room away from drafts and my wife is cold blooded so we keep the house temp around 67°-68°. But at night, it does get cold.
    The crack though was definitely from my cigar awl. I heard it crack. That was my fault.

  2. Great review. I smoked the Corona and it burned flawless. I will definitely be getting more of these to fill the humidor.

  3. Great review. I smoked a Corona and it burned flawless. I got the same flavor profile that you had. I will definitely be adding more to the humidor.

  4. Nice review. Probably too late but there is a contest going on with that cigar from Rocky. Check inside the label to see if your a winner. Details and prize offerings at Rocky Patel web sight! Almost any cigar from Rocky is usually top notch construction in my opinion, I’m surprised to hear of the problems you had but it can and obviously did happen. I’ll probably wait to try these a bit until all the excitement settles down and they start showing up at a discount and auctions etc., as I am a cheap S.O.B. and resist paying retail for any cigar! Love your reviews and find myself agreeing with your opinions more often than not!