Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Size: 6 x 54 Supremo
Price: $10.50 MSRP (Around $1.50 less online)
Today we take a look at the Rocky Patel Dark Dominican.
I bought 3 sticks from my local B&M: Havana Cigar Lounge in West Allis. Shout out to Tyler Jeffrey and Jarrid Willoughby.
Rated 91 by Cigar Insider, Mar 21, 2017.
Debuted at 2016 IPCPR trade show.
From Cigar Aficionado:
“Dark Dominican will be rolled at General Cigar Co.’s General Cigar Dominicana in Santiago, where the non-Cuban versions of Cohiba, Partagás and La Gloria Cubana are produced. While General Cigar makes Patel’s Vintage 1990, 1992 and 1999 brands in its Scandinavian Tobacco Group factory in Danlí, Honduras, Dark Dominican will be the first Dominican-made brand from Rocky Patel.”
SIZES AND PRICING:
Corona 5.5 x 42 $9.50
Robusto 5.5 x 50 $10.05
Churchill 7 x 49 $10.45
Supremo 6 x 54 $10.50
The wrapper is so dark that it looks like it is coated with black paint. Certain portions of the shaft show lighter shades of rusty brown.
The stick is extremely toothy feeling like fine grit sandpaper. I was impressed with the sticks I got at my B&M so I bought a 5 pack online. All share the same quality of being rustic…almost like a Rum Crook. The cigars damn near make a right turn halfway down the shaft.
There are huge veins, Lumpy and bumpy to the 10th power. It’s almost as if the cigars were free rolled without a form being used.
This is really a funky looking cigar.
AROMAS AND COLD DRAW POINTS:
From the shaft, I can smell lots of sweet things: milk chocolate, sweet cream, caramel, café latte, black pepper, black cherry aroma is very strong, and malted milk balls.
From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell a turnaround on the cocoa…it transitions from milk to dark chocolate, black pepper morphs into strong red pepper that elicits three quick sneezes that make my eyes water, espresso, cherries, caramel, cedar, malt, and chocolate covered raspberry.
The cold draw presents flavors of dark cocoa, red pepper, malted milk balls, cherry pie, caramel, cedar, espresso, and toasted rye bread.
I could not find a single review of this cigar. Not one. And it’s been in stores since last summer. I smoked one at the cigar store during a Patel event they were hosting and I was surprised that it had a nice thing going for it. Part of it probably had to do with the fact that the cigars were stored without cellos allowing them to breathe.
The Rocky Patel Dark Dominican comes out swinging immediately. Big bursts of both black and red pepper, sweet cocoa, salty pretzel, malt, caramel, and strong cedar arrive with the first puffs.
I don’t need my PerfecDraw cigar poker…which surprised the hell out of me considering how deformed the cigar is. The draw is on the money.
A smoky quality appears that is mostly an amalgam of different woods: Oak, hickory, and cedar.
The burn is behaving beautifully with an almost snow white ash.
Normally, I would not pick the largest size made for a review but this is all they had at Havana Cigar Lounge. As the stick is packed to the gills with tobacco, this is going to be a long journey. Fortunately, I have taught myself to take naps during a review without interrupting its flow.
Creaminess shows its head in the form of something sweet like coconut crème pie.
The strength is dead center medium. Sites that sell the cigar mostly call out the strength as medium/full but the Patel web site says its medium…so go figure.
There is some Worcestershire sauce going on in the background. This stuff is made up of malt vinegar, molasses, anchovies, tamarind, onions, garlic and other minor elements. I can’t taste fish but I do taste salty brine.
The creaminess is all in now. The spiciness has receded a bit. But at a little over 1” in, flavors seem to want to make a bigger impression that the start provided.
The Rocky Patel Dark Dominican becomes savory rather than sweet at this early stage.
Same thing happened when I smoked the stick at the shop. The first inch was slightly interesting but nothing really happens til after that. Now it’s a party.
Transitions start. A bit of complexity reaches out. The finish, which was short earlier, is now much tastier causing lip smacking on my part.
The balance is now clearly evident as the tobacco interplay is more cohesive.
I was immediately attracted to the funky look of this cigar as it looks like nothing else in the Patel line. This is not a cheap cigar but these days…not much is except for catalog brand bundles.
This is a regular production blend. And while no one has decided to review til now, I believe the Dark Dominican will catch on. I believe there is a stigma to Dominican blends. Most experienced smokers prefer Nicaraguan tobacco. Or complex mixes of leaves. A Dominican puro usually signals something old school.
So far, the ash hasn’t moved. My goal, my friends, is to use my voo doo techniques to make it hang til I can get a photo before it disengages.
Smoke time is 40 minutes.
Strength hangs in at medium.
We just hit the very complex moment in the blend that sends it to the moon, Alice.
Creaminess is killer. The spiciness returns in the form of strictly black pepper which I can taste at the back of my throat. Espresso is dark and decadent. Dried fruit is now part of the lineup. The steak sauce elements are potent. I swear I can taste onion and garlic.
The Dark Dominican has reached the “It” factor. Chock full of interesting, evolving flavors I find most pleasing. Complexity is full bore now.
I’m a big fan of the Rocky Patel Special Reserve Sun Grown Maduro that got #2 in Cigar Aficionado’s top 25 cigar list of 2016. And was #13 on my 2016 list.
This blend mimics the Sun Grown…even though it is primarily a Nicaraguan blend. Other than that, I can’t think of another Patel blend that the Dark Dominican tastes like.
The Sun Grown is a couple shekels cheaper than the DD…but I believe the complexity is stronger than the former. I suppose with more humidor time, the lag between the start and the wonderful promise this cigar brings to the table, will be shorter.
Normally, Patel blends are a tad old school requiring extensive humidor time before you see the blend really blossom. The DD is more new breed. Less humi time and a happier customer.
This is a great morning cigar. Unless you like to smoke mild Macanudos. Spoiler alert…later into the cigar, the strength gets ratcheted up and becomes a knee knocker.
When that happens, and I finish the cigar, I find myself leaving my man cave; bouncing back and forth against the walls, as I make my way to the kitchen for breakfast to retaliate against the nicotine buzz.
Despite the bizarre bent dick appearance to this very rustic stick, the construction is spot on. No runs. A perfect char line. And an unencumbered draw.
I reach the halfway point after one hour of smoke time.
An unexpected positive reaction to this blend makes me realize that Rocky has the talent at his disposal to make, in my experience, a fine boutique blend. All those $12+ sticks you see so often on the boutique brand online stores do not tower above this blend. The DD fits right in for a unique cigar journey.
At the cigar shop, everyone was picking up boxes of The Edge. I was the only one to grab a few of these cigars. Sure, the Dark Dominican is much more expensive than the Edge…but still; the shop was selling singles and no one seemed to be interested in trying something new.
I don’t know why no other reviewer has touched the DD. It’s an excellent cigar blend. You are lucky that your Uncle Katman is adventurous bringing your attention to a rather unknown Patel blend available everywhere.
The steak sauce plus the creaminess and the very strong black pepper are the stars of this show. Sweetness hangs back but is just enough to take the edge off the extreme savory qualities of the blend.
The DD is quite complex now. Transitions are on point. The finish is long.
And now the strength has reached a potent medium/full. Nicotine begins to kill brain cells.
OK. The Rocky Patel Dark Dominican is a sicario. Given a couple more weeks of humidor time, the blend will start with a bang instead of making you wait til the second third to see what the blend has to really offer your palate. I recommend 4 weeks of humi time. While I bought, and am reviewing, a cigar I bought without a cello, the 5 pack I ordered all came in cellos. I will just pretend they don’t exist and come back to them in a month or two. If there is a striking difference, I will return to this review and amend it accordingly.
Sweetness reappears. There is luscious caramel, dried fruit, molasses, and cherry pie.
This is the ticket. Savory and sweet. Nice combo.
I so enjoyed my first stick that I paid full price for a 5 pack online. Instead of $10.50 a pop, they go for $9 online for this size. In fact, you can knock $1.50 off of every size online. And if you do the box thing, it brings the prices down to around $8 per stick.
I would love to have a box. The Dark Dominican is a real treat.
Smoke time is one hour 20 minutes.
Strength hits full with extreme prejudice. Wow. My head is spinning. Eat, eat, eat before you light this up. Or expect to fall down the rabbit hole with Alice.
The intensity of flavors is those found in a robusto or corona gorda. Really. In this particular case, I’m happy to be smoking this tree trunk.
You’re going to dig this cigar.
I sometimes wonder where manufacturers get their cigar reps. The Patel rep seemed uninformed. I asked how much humi time I should give the DD? He told me it needed no time at all. He then pointed at all the different Patel blends on the table and said all of them are ready to smoke immediately. “You know they are aged before being boxed, right?” Whoa. I just stood and listened to this fool tell me that humidor rest doesn’t make any difference. It is like discussing politics or religion. So I kept my mouth shut and didn’t argue with him.
At $9, this is no rip off.
A nice nuttiness shows up. Elements of almond and cashew. The blend attains a permanent smokiness that makes me think of sunny summer BBQ’s.
A sip of water and flavors rush to my palate. So complex and balanced.
No burn issues. No plugs. No harshness. No bitterness. Good solid cigar blend.
This is by far, the best Patel blend I’ve had in ages.
Final smoke time is one hour 50 minutes.
And now for something completely different:
This will be my last Butch Patrick story for a while. I have added several stories to the last few reviews so you will watch my “Whatever Happened to Eddie?” video.
We had a PR agent that booked us on damn near every talk show in the U.S. It got to the point that I really got to know Butch’s history while attending a gazillion talk shows listening to his interviews. So much so that I could have pretended to be him.
I bring this up because whenever we sat in the green room, the host of the show or the production assistants always mistook me for Eddie. I really didn’t think I looked anything like him but you have to remember that he had been out of the spotlight for years. No one knew him as an adult. At the time we met, Butch was parking cars at his father’s several poker palaces in Gardena.
Back in 1982, The Mike Douglas Show was still on TV. It was one of those day time talk shows that started in the 50’s and lasted til the early 1980’s. It was Douglas who allowed John Lennon and Yoko to be co-anchors for an entire week and allowed them any guest they wanted. That took some balls. You gotta give Douglas props for that.
When the show was on its last legs, it went from normal syndication to airing on TBS. My press agent got Butch Patrick a guest spot to promote our “Whatever Happened to Eddie?” project.
This adventure was actually easy peasy. Instead of flying all over the country, all we had to do was drive to Hollywood from Long Beach.
I went to all the TV show interviews and all the radio interviews with Butch. I needed to make sure he arrived on time and sober.
I had my own idea of how an entertainment manager should look and bought an expensive 3 piece pin striped suit. I looked exactly like Alexander Haig.
The show taped late afternoon. We arrived and were ushered to the Green Room which was a holding area for the guests.
The two major guests were Barbara Eden and Earl Holliman. Of course, everyone knows Eden as the Genie…but Earl Holliman was a character actor. He played the cook in the legendary sci-fi movie of the 1950’s called, “Forbidden Planet.” He also played Angie Dickinson’s side kick cop on “Police Woman” on TV. He found himself being liked by John Wayne and appeared in several of the Duke’s films. (I met Wayne while doing bass session work for legendary actor Chill Wills in his Huntington Beach recording studio.)
Meeting Eden was a thrill and she was even more gorgeous than on TV. She also had a boyfriend the size of the Hulk with her. This guy’s job was to be intimidating and it worked. I wanted to approach Eden but I didn’t want to get body slammed by her bodyguard.
Due to my years in the music industry, I became used to meeting movie stars and rock stars. I learned the patter to engage them…but the moment you behave like a fan, you were dead. So I had to act like a peer. Talk about everything but never go into crazy mode bringing up questions that turned the subject off. All my time in the biz, I never asked for a single autograph no matter how much that hurt.
Holliman and I struck up a conversation and I told him about the burgeoning birth of MTV and rock videos. We, of course, had brought our rock video that accompanied our song. The more we talked, the friendlier he got.
We did talk about the classic “Forbidden Planet.” I grew up on that flick. Earl liked talking about it and he said he felt he was miscast. I freaked. I had to convince him that not only was he not miscast but was great in the role. Big smile on Holliman’s face.
Just before the show started, we heard Douglas enter the green room from his dressing room. He heard Butch and he said, “I know that voice. Hello Butch.”
I got to meet Douglas and I was shocked at how old he looked. They had enough pancake makeup on him to bury him in it.
Douglass took one look at me all dressed up and seemed to be stunned. My first thought was this…I was thin, in good shape, had all my hair, and was a good looking kid.
He thinks I’m gay. I mean, he literally did a double take when he saw me. We shook hands and I swear he looked afraid of me.
So Butch did his shtick in a very good interview but it was cut short because a washed up magician/mentalist, The Amazing Kreskin, was hogging Butch’s time. Even Douglas was perturbed because at one point as he rolled his eyes. I’d never seen a talk show host look disgusted on camera because he couldn’t get rid of a guest. This Kreskin tool wouldn’t let up with his stupid Magic 101 tricks.
When it was over, Butch and I left and walked down the corridor to the elevator. Earl and Douglas both leaned out of the doorway to say goodbye; and Earl yelled, “See ya Phil. Take care. Have a good one.” I was thrilled and told Butch. We got into the elevator.
As the doors closed, I told Butch how cool Holliman was.
Butch turned to me and said, “Earl Holliman is gay.”
All I could think of was I gave Earl my business card. Would he call me for a date?
He called a couple weeks later. He asked if I wanted to go somewhere cool that would surround me with movie stars. I made excuses that between my work at the recording studio and the Butch project that I just didn’t have time. Earl was clearly disappointed.
Holliman called a week later for the same reason. I told him I wasn’t gay and he hung up on me. I wanted to say “I go fag. You die.” But “Analyze This” hadn’t been released yet, so nothing clever came out of my mouth. Just like my cigar reviews.
Categories: CIGAR REVIEWS