Rocky Patel Hamlet 25th Year | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Ecuadorian Habano
Binder: Pennsylvanian Broadleaf
Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan
Length: 5.5 X 50
Strength: Medium
Price: $8.75

Today we take a look at the Rocky Patel Hamlet 25th Year.
I actually bought a couple of these. Mooch status put on hold.

Released October 2017
Regular production
From Cigar Aficionado:
“Hamlet Paredes, the former Habanos S.A. ambassador who signed on with Rocky Patel Premium Cigars and released a brand in 2015, is set to debut a milder blend called Hamlet 25th Year at this summer’s upcoming IPCPR trade show.

“Paredes, according to the company, has worked on the new Hamlet 25th Year since last fall in response to consumers who asked him to create a milder option compared to his original Tabaquero Hamlet Paredes (a medium- to full-bodied brand, whose five sizes averaged 88.6 points in a January 19 Cigar Insider vertical tasting).

“Every rolling event I would host, I would be asked for a medium or even a mild cigar, and my first blend was very robust,” said Paredes in a press release. “So now I’ll have a cigar for the everyday smoker on the market.”

“Hamlet 25th Year, which will be a regular-production cigar, features an Ecuadoran Habano wrapper, Pennsylvania broadleaf binder, and filler from Nicaragua and Honduras. The name is a nod to Paredes’ 25 years of experience in the cigar industry, which includes his time working as a Habanos S.A. ambassador traveling the world educating consumers with in-store rolling demonstrations and Cuban tobacco seminars.

“Hamlet 25th year will be packaged in distinctly blue, 20-count boxes in only three sizes: Robusto, measuring 5 1/2 inches by 50 ring gauge; Toro, 6 1/2 by 52; and Sixty, 6 by 60. Suggested retail prices range from $8.75 to $10. The company says that they wanted to keep the available sizes “simple” and in line with the most popular sizes on the market today. The original Tabaquero brand never had a 6 by 60 size, so the company wanted to oblige fans.”

Robusto 5.5 x 50 $8.75 (Can be had, on average, for less than $8.00)
Toro 6.5 x 52 $9.30 ($8.40)
Gordo 6 x 60 $10.00 ($9.00)

A non-descript looking stick. Ordinary. Completely covered in a phalanx of veins in all sizes. Seams are visible. Soft spots here and there matched evenly by hard spots. A very oily wrapper that is the color of chocolate/gingerbread. Smooth in places in addition to some toothy areas. A nice triple cap.

From the shaft, I can smell cream and cinnamon, spice, floral notes, potato chips, cedar, apples and pears…some espresso and cocoa.

From the clipped cap and the foot, I can smell black pepper, sourdough bread, cedar, malts, fruit, mocha java, and white grapes.

The cold draw presents flavors of sourdough bread, malt, cedar, creaminess, espresso, mild cocoa, and strong black pepper.

The draw is stiff. A blockage just below the double cigar bands. I grab my PerfecDraw cigar poker and clean out the cigar’s tunnel of love. The draw is spot on now with just the slightest of resistance.

Flavors emerge immediately: Creamy, black pepper, lots of malt, white grapes, sourdough bread, cedar, espresso, salty, kiwi, and earth, wind and leather.

The strength ratchets up quickly going from a few moments of medium to hitting medium/full a minute or two later. This stick may be a barn burner.

I’m in a Joe Bonamassa mood this morning. If you haven’t watched his Live at the Greek Theater DVD, this is a must…Let ‘er rip. He pays tribute to Freddie King, B.B. King, and Albert King.

The burn line behaves as it fears the riding crop I hold in my teeth while typing.
Complexity begins to ooze like yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog’s eye. Lovely.
Transitions feel the urge to do the Macarena on my palate. The finish begins its own cha cha on my teeth.

I’m not a big Patel fan. Certainly, he has put out some very good blends but the way he saturates the market must have made him richer than Trump. I’ve been a Hamlet Paredes fan since the first blend debuted. In fact, I attended a Patel event at my local B&M and while folks were grabbing for the Edge boxes, I was yelling that they should be taking a look at the Hamlet blended cigars…I was completely ignored, naturally.
An early balance develops as the blend begins to spread its wings. Or maybe a better analogy is that the whole profile begins to open like a Japanese fan…exposing more and more of its guts.

The cigar was greeted by a few reviewers with lukewarm enthusiasm. As the cigar was released 7 months ago, there is an obvious lack of reviews. Never a good sign for a major manufacturer or its product. Clearly, a lot of reviewers chose not to review this cigar as it wasn’t worth the time or anger it might create from the Patel organization. All these guys hold grudges. They demand loyalty. If you don’t give it, you don’t receive it. At one time, I was on the Patel reviewer’s list until the one day I gave one of his blends a so so review. That was the end of our relationship. It happens a lot.

I do have a small coterie of manufacturers I deal with that crave constructive criticism. And have no issue with a reviewer speaking his mind as long as he appears to know what he is talking about…(I know, this leaves me out).

This is going to be a typical Patel blend in that the first third isn’t bad but nothing to wax my moustache over. I absolutely believe I will see a major transformation in the second half.
This blend was designed to be a milder version of the other Hamlet blends. So far, it has plenty of punch. Maybe not full strength but still potent. And I’ve had this cigar in my humidor for over 3 months.
It’s a waste of tobacco to smoke a Patel with less than a few months of humi time.

Smoke time is 35 minutes.
Strength recedes into its cave. Now, more of a straight ahead medium strength cigar.

Flavors and balance have tapered off. That beautiful early list of flavors has been tamped down to the point that the blend doesn’t taste like much. I was hoping for the opposite effect at this point in the experience.
I get blips of sweet spots but only momentarily. Methinks the second half will see that exploration of ecstasy and a pair of new Depends.

The cigar goes out. Damn.
The re-light brings on an awkward flavor of cardboard that dominates what is now a mediocre blend of flavors.

By this point, I should have been swept off my feet. I see the same conundrum from other reviewers. The constant back and forth between fine cigar to yard ‘gar happens so often that it leaves us brainiacs confused about what to think.
I have some very funny pen pals. Larry Beeman wrote the following to me in an email and I had to share it:
“Your reviews are a little like playing ping pong with Forrest Gump. Compelling, challenging and punctuated by an occasional, “Oh, Jen-nay”. A classic example from your recent write up of Macanudo Inspirado: ‘Cinnamon is a mover and a shaker now…sublimating the black pepper as its bitch.”
So that’s the final determination…I’m the Forrest Gump of cigar reviewers…I can live with that.

The Rocky Patel Hamlet 25th Year is on cruise control. No veering into interesting directions…just a linear approach to blending and not up to par for Paredes. That’s a shame because I love the Rocky Patel Hamlet Tabaquero. Now that’s a cigar.

I found maybe half a dozen reviews…instead of the usual couple dozen. It’s a lot of work to write a review; the research, the photographs, the writing, and loading all your information to your blog…takes me on average 3 or so hours. It’s a lot of intensity that can be stressful trying to get it right every time. So to be cold cocked by a less than stellar blend is disappointing. I could stop right here and shit can my review for the day…or I can continue until either the blend does something to interest me. We shall see.

Halfway point comes at me after 50 minutes.

And the stick of mulch finally yells “Olly olly oxen free.” A reversal of fortune begins its new journey. The first half was a waste of my time. The second half, as predicted, begins to show promise.

Construction of the cigar has been first rate, except for that blockage. I’ve needed no char line touch ups and all in all, it’s a sturdy cigar.
The ash is very flaky. Constantly falling into my delicate lap.

Crawling from the black lagoon is the following resurgence of what should have been here all along: Creaminess, malt, heavy black pepper, salty with a touch of sour, coffee, and a touch of cocoa. The sweet factors are sorely missing. The Rocky Patel Hamlet 25th Year seems only interested in exposing its savory side.

The blossoming continues with an unexpected return to premium cigar status. Flavor dispersal is more enveloping as my palate begins to recognize pleasantry.
The Hamlet is moving in the right direction now…finally. The difference between a great cigar and a good cigar is always consistency. Which the Rocky Patel Hamlet 25th Year lacks. Too bad as I’m now beginning to enjoy the tobacco sausage.
Cardboard returns to the fold.
Strength moves to medium/full.

Smoke time is one hour 20 minutes.
Black pepper reduces the cardboard intrusion. I’d love to taste something sweet in this amalgamation of unsure elements.
Flavors recede. Sonovabitch.

I still have most of the last third to go and I am confident that I will not be enjoying the fruits of a passionate blend because it seems that none of that precious commodity was used in the design of this blend. It’s an overpriced stick v. quality.

Total bummer, dudes. I had high hopes. I thought something was up when I thumbed through all my recent cigar catalogs and could not find this blend anywhere. Sure, all the big units are selling the blend but they aren’t advertising it in print. Hmmm…

I believe Hamlet Paredes ventured out of his comfort zone trying to blend a mild to medium strength cigar. Yeah, even the tamped down medium strength is disappearing and falling back into the mild/medium category…this has never happened to the best of my recollection.
There have been many hints exhibited that showed promise…only to be dashed to the rocks over and over again.

$8-$10 for this stick is artificial pricing. Reality dictates it should be a $4 cigar. Or abandoned completely when product disappears. While saying it is a regular production cigar, I bet within a year, you will see this cigar vanish from the market.

The most frustrating thing about this cigar is the fleeting moments of excellence that seem to permeate the drekiness of the blend. Flashes of passion only to be exterminated by something gone wrong during the blending process.

With an inch to go, the blend is delicious. But a pattern has been written in stone that those moments of palate pleasing flavors are merely ghosts in the ether. Sort of a prick tease.

The Rocky Patel Hamlet 25th Year is just not worth the dough. I bet Paredes hosts some regret. I don’t know the politics of dancing when it comes to Patel and Paredes but it feels like this blend was rushed and not fully fleshed out before the decision to release the cigar in this format was determined.
You can skip this cigar. And now I can’t get my 3 hours back.


And now for something completely different:
Here is one I haven’t told in a long time….
My band, Curved Air, was touring with Black Sabbath. Now this was the stupidest pairing in the world. Our two bands were oil and water. And we were scared to go on first.

Curved Air almost, without fail, headlined its own gigs. And we played a healthy 2-1/2 hours. When we supported a big band, we were only allowed 45 minutes. You have to remember that the road is not that much fun and you live to play. So waiting all day to play and then only get 45 minutes was disappointing. Fortunately, being the support act only happened now and again.

While Curved Air was basically a stable bunch of people who smoked weed and hash, Sabbath was doing heroin. And their fans were totally out of control. A mob.
As we took the stage, people booed. Oh lord.

Curved Air was a really big band in England, South America, Japan, and Europe. We weren’t used to getting booed.

We always started with a high energy instrumental. And then we would introduce Sonja Kristina. And she was always dressed in high end slut clothing. The crowds always went nuts. Even the Sabbath crowd. The booing stopped once she was on stage. She was slinky and sexy. The little boys wet themselves.
Well, we did our magic and but the crowd became restless. Even yelling out Black Sabbath at times.
Knowing she had to win back the crowd, Sonja really did a number.

She started to shed her clothes. And she would take turns kneeling in front of me, and the guitarist, and the violinist giving us fake head. The crowd nearly turned the arena upside down.

This caught the attention of Ozzy who was just off stage. He was a big fan of CA. And he stood there during our entire set.

He walked on stage and the place went nuts. He grabbed Sonja and she knew what to do. She got down on her knees in front of him and undid his fly. She reached in with one hand and began to lick the outside of his pants. He took the microphone away from her and made all sorts of lewd comments. I thought the crowd was going to storm the stage.

The band and I were laughing big time. There was nothing shy about Sonja. Ozzy pushed her hand away and yanked out his petunia.

Sonja took the mic back and began to sing our only Top 10 hit, “Back Street Luv.” The band followed her. She stood there singing with Ozzy’s dick in her hand. Roadies and security had to stand at the front of the stage and were throwing the more excited fans off.

After the gig, both bands and all of the roadies not working, headed to the “in” club in town. We sat at a big half-round booth. Sonja sat next to Ozzy. And then all of a sudden she disappeared. She was giving Ozzy head underneath the table. Ozzy’s facial expression never changed.

A roadie that Ozzy always picked on turned the tables on him. He took a shit into his hand and dropped the turd into Ozzy’s drink. The roadies fled the table. Sonja did not. And Ozzy never saw it coming as he lifted the drink to his mouth.

As soon as turd touched his lips, he stood up knocking the entire table on its side. He started cursing. Sonja scrambled to get out of there. Ozzy knew who did this and chased him around the club.
Darryl, Curved Air’s leader, told us this might be a good time to split.
When we were the backup for some big group, it was usually for only 3 gigs. And this gig was out third and last.
For some reason, we never toured with Black Sabbath again.


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2 replies

  1. Great story Phil! It’s a real-life example of getting shit–faced!!

  2. I like this cigar because it is quite light. The H logo is very beautiful

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