R.O.C.F Rope D | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

Wrapper: Dominican
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican
Size: 6 x 52 Torpedo
Strength: Medium
Price: $10.00

Before I start, I have a current event to discuss. On February 6, 2019, Milwaukee Officer Matthew Rittner was killed in the line of duty. He was part of the Milwaukee TEU (Tactical Enforcement Unit) team along with my son-in-law, Hawk. They were buddies and Matt always had the best cigars to pass around. He was 35 and an officer for 17 years. He also spent time in Iraq as a Marine.
Our family is devastated. Matt was the breacher and caught a bullet to the side when he swung the big hammer on the door. My son in law was not on duty at the time and was scheduled for a 4pm shift. But when TEU goes out, Hawk is always the breacher. Always. We are saddened by Matt’s loss. I’m sure that someone will post a Go Fund Me page. I will notify you all when I know. God bless our first responders and keep them safe.

Today we take a look at the R.O.C.F Rope D.
Samples were provided by Matt B.

From the ROCF web site:
“In the Dominican Republic, lies the factory of a man with a dream, Ismael Olivan, and the dream that man has is to bring to the market revolutionary hand crafted fine cigars, for a revolutionarily reasonable price; Cigars that the everyday person can afford to smoke, and enjoy the luxury lifestyle that those before them enjoyed. Through this dream Rodriguez Olivan Cigar Factory was born. R.O.C.F. cigars are made by incredible people, for incredible people, to the highest quality standards that can be held. No dyes, no artificial additives, no trash; Just quality fine tobacco cigars for a great price.

“How do we do it you may ask? how can we ensure we have a quality product? Simple, we take care of the wonderful employees who strive to help us make this dream a reality!

“At R.O.C.F. we pride ourselves on quality of life and work environment for our employees. We have taken the steps forward as we pave a path, ensuring our workers have been well provided for in our climate controlled factory to ensure high standards of quality of life.”

When I go to their web site, I find no information on this cigar so I’m winging it. The first thing I notice is that it is a little more than 3/8” short of its proclaimed 6” length.
Very similar looking to the CAO Fuma em Corda or Amazon Anaconda. The wrapper is a dusky hued espresso color wrapped in tobacco leaf stem. When I’ve smoked the CAO blends, I always removed the umbilical cords first. You don’t want to smoke its stem.
Seams are tight. Lots of veinage. A 1” long shaggy foot. A nicely applied triple cap. There is a nice resistance when I squeeze. And there is the slightest hint of tooth.

Bam. Huge dose of fresh flowers. Big aromas of dark chocolate, espresso, malt, chocolate covered raisins, black pepper, gingerbread, cedar, barnyard, and some barnyard.
The cold draw presents flavors of mint chocolate, peat, espresso, black pepper, barnyard, and cedar.

I successfully removed the leaf stem choking the cigar from the cigar band downward. I’ll mess with the hangin’ rope near the cap later.
The draw is perfect…I put my PerfecDraw cigar poker away for another cigar.

One of my favorite Rod Stewart songs is playing: “Every Picture Tells a Story.” Love that song…back before Stewart went rogue and ditched his pal musicians for session guys and gals.

The foot is not shaggy in the way we expect. It isn’t shaggy at all. It is merely missing the wrapper. The binder is tight so this should be interesting.
Lighting a cigar without the wrapper attached at the foot, is always deceptive. It gives you a taste of the innards but how much is that wrapper going to change things an inch from now? (If I had a dime every time a girl said that to me when I was single…).

Brun issues on the exposed foot. A fix ‘er up is required. The draw is just my style…some resistance but not causing my cheeks to cave in.
First flavors up…black pepper, some generic sweetness, mint, espresso, and cedar.

The cigar could have done without a missing 1” of wrapper. It caused burn problems and flavors did not really begin to kick in til the wrapper was contributing. Almost a wasted first third.

I’m past that point now and flavors emerge: Vine fruit like cantaloupe, allspice, mild lemon zest, a touch of vanilla, brown sugar, and gingerbread.

Strength is a solid medium. And I don’t think it’s going to get any stronger. But then what the fuck do I know?
So far, this doesn’t taste anything approximating a $10 stick. Sure, it’s fancy looking but it has enough age on it so something should be stirring my loins.

Not a single online review. Oy.

Is there redemption for the R.O.C.F Rope D in the second third? I hope so.
Creaminess appears for the first time. That’s what it was missing.

The profile opens up and allows the cigar to breathe. Maybe it’s breathing a little to fast as the burn is a little quick. Must be under filled.

A tad bit of black licorice, pie crust, lots of oakiness, the chocolate gets stronger, the fruitiness defines itself as berries, candied lemon peel, and kiwi. Nice.
The strength surprises me and finds itself in the medium/full arena. More up my alley.

Still, I get the feeling that the manufacturer was more concerned about the flashy look that its contents. But then I’m just not a fan of most Dominican puros. My palate turns up its nose all on its own.
A pleasant blend. Just no shock and awe. For $10, I expect a little excitement.

Mustiness appears. Drat.
This blend is mostly show and in possession of little substance.

Getting the stems just below the cap are a pain in the ass to remove. I know some of you like to smoke those things, but I don’t. If I hadn’t removed them, the giant cigar band will catch on fire as the cigar burns down.
A little complexity arrives. Transitions are minimal at best. The finish is strictly black pepper. Not exactly jumping for joy here.

In the cigar’s defense, I could project the opinion that it needs extraordinary humidor time but I don’t think so. The cigar has months of naked humi time. It tastes passionless. No imagination in the blending. Where was quality control?

The cigar is only going to last for maybe 45-50 minutes. Seems lacking for a cigar this size.
It’s a roller coaster. Flavors pop and then lay in the gutter to be kicked by guys like me. Inconsistency. Frustrating to get a hint of potential blending techniques and then it disappears into the ether and becomes a Gurkha second. WTF?

This is the best part of the R.O.C.F Rope D. Flavors really stand out in a very positive way. No more mustiness. Complexity wants to be acknowledged. Transitions go into high gear. The finish becomes interesting. Timing is everything. Too little, too late.

The blend feels more like a shallow copycat version of the similar CAO blends minus the intensity.

The online store sells some of the most gorgeous wrapped cigars I’ve seen. It’s almost as if they are trying to compete with Fuente on those rare sticks with crazy designs.

I can dig the last third. It just shouldn’t have taken this long for the cigar to get its shit together. Hence, no reviews of the cigar available.
If you have the cash and you want to impress someone with a fancy shmancy looking stick, then this baby should be your choice. Just don’t be there when they smoke it.

The mustiness returns and ruins everything. Damn.
I promise next review will be a great cigar. If not, you can have your money back.



And now for something completely different:
Into the Way Back Machine….

The Byrds…the American Beatles…

In 1966, at the height of their short career, I got to meet and hang with The Byrds… (“Mr. Tambourine Man”, “Turn! Turn! Turn!”, “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better”, “Eight Miles High”, “So You Want to Be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Star”, “Ballad of Easy Rider”, “Mr. Spaceman”, “My Back Pages”) at the Golden Bear in Huntington Beach, CA. I adamantly believe all their songs hold up even today.

The Golden Bear was a nightclub in Huntington Beach, California from 1923 to 1986. It was located on Pacific Coast Highway, just south of Main Street. It started out as a restaurant and eventually hosted such artists as Janis Joplin, Lovin’ Spoonful, Buffalo Springfield. Bob Dylan, Arlo Guthrie, Hoyt Axton, Jackson Browne, Jimi Hendrix, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Dave Mason, Tower of Power, The Chambers Brothers and Jerry Garcia, Doors, Jefferson Airplane, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Neil Young, Jose Feliciano, John Denver, The Mamas and Papas, Steve Martin, Dizzy Gillespie, Robin Williams, et.al.

The Golden Bear was a small venue. Seated 300 people.

The Byrds only played two dates with two shows per night. It was impossible to get tickets. So, my buddy, Elliot Kushell, had an idea. We would pretend we were reporters for the Long Beach Press Telegram newspaper.

I called the Golden Bear and introduced myself as a reporter. I just knew they wouldn’t buy it. I was 16.
An hour later, The Byrds’ manager called back and said he would get us backstage passes.
Elliot and I were ecstatic.

We got there and not a single reporter was there. Unless they were in the audience. We were the only people allowed back stage with the band. Did I mention we were 16?

I brought along my Sony reel-to-reel that my grandfather bought me for my Bar Mitzvah. And I brought two cameras: A Kodak Instamatic and a Polaroid.

We met them as soon as we got there. We were invited into their dressing room. A drab and tiny room. Not much larger than a big closet.
Right away, they were friendly and generous.

I got a 45-minute interview with Roger McGuinn (I still have it). I took lots of photos. During the concert, I just wandered to the front of the stage and took pictures with my Instamatic. No one bothered me.

I was amazed at the access we had. We either stood at the end of the stage and watched or we wandered backstage without interference. This had to be a first.

Back stage, I used my Polaroid. David Crosby asked if he could use it so he could show me some tricks. He knew how to get double exposures with the thing.
So, he took a bunch of crazy photos. I hung on to them for decades and then out of nowhere, they just disappeared. It’s very difficult to hang on to photos for 5 decades.

Strangely, I never saw them drink alcohol or smoke any weed. They were sober.
And neither Elliot nor I had used weed at that age. Things were different then. Kids weren’t smoking pot at age 10.

We discovered in the interview that Roger went to a guru on a regular basis. Remember…this was the era of Peace, Love, & Understanding. The Beatles started it all with the Maharishi.
This guru told McGuinn his original name of Jim was wrong for him and changed it to Roger. Very cosmic and Zen…lol. Roger. Haha…now that’s a major cosmic change.

I asked for an autograph and, apparently, he wasn’t used to his new name yet. He started to write the letter J and then stopped and wrote Roger. I wish I still had that piece of paper. I’m sure I could get $10 for it on eBay.

Roger let me hold his famous Rickenbacker 12 string that was the signature sound of The Byrds. It got that “jangly” sound.

There were girls in the dressing room, of course. And David made sure that they all sat on my lap. I almost passed out. And I was embarrassed because I had the God driven wood of a horny 16-year-old.

The evening lasted for 6 hours. All of it exhilarating. When it was over, each of The Byrds gave me a big bear hug. I couldn’t believe it. We had bonded.

The next day, I wrote an article based on the interview and submitted it to the teeny bopper magazine “Tiger Beat.”
A couple weeks later, it was returned to me, bleeding with red notes. I was told that my article “was not cuddly enough.” I swear to God. Those were the exact words.

That was the official start of my writing career. Disgraced by Tiger Beat.

Later…how I met Bob Dylan through my pen pal relationship with Roger McGuinn…



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7 replies

  1. Those arent actually stems on the cigar. Like the cao amazons it’s a strip of leaf that is twisted like a rope. It can be smoked. Also as a home cigar roller I’ve found most stems taste exactly like the leaf. Now the big thick part at the bottom can be a bit bitter but most of the time you cant tell. Have you ever noticed most of the high end padrons still have pieces of stem still in the filler?

    • I guess you have to have a palate for a tobacco rope. I tried smoking the Amazons with the ropes and found them all to be bitter and I did not like it.
      Different strokes, I guess…
      Thanks for clearing that up, Ethan,

  2. Sorry to here about the lose of the officer killed in the line of duty, and to here that your son in-law is safe. The way this country is going with all these police shootings is terrible. They put their life on the line every day for the good people in the world only to have their life cut short for some reasons that I can’t comprehend. My prayers go out to Officer Rittner’s family, and may Hawk stay safe in his future call outs. Sorry for getting of the cigar subject but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. My thoughts go out to you Phil and your family, may he stay safe.


    • Thank you, Kirk, for your kind words.
      Rittner is the third cop in 8 months to be killed in the line of duty. It has been nearly 20 years since it’s happened in Milwaukee.
      To make things even more unbearable for the family is that they want to bury him (the funeral is Wednesday, Feb. 13) in a national cemetery. But since he was in the Marine Reserves, they won’t allow it. The man took time from his police duties to do three tours in Iraq. Unbelievable.
      I wouldn’t want to be a cop. Or any first responder. I don’t have their cajones.

  3. Once again, I do not publish “Anonymous” comments. Too bad, it was a good story about David Crosby.

  4. I had a chance to meet David Crosby at a concert in upstate New York some 30 plus years ago at the Broome County Arena he was doing a CSN concert and he had just come back from an extended stay at a private club in Texas. He came out on stage with Stills and Nash. Both of his band mates stepped off stage and let David play solo, he played for nearly an hour the first thing he did was make an apology for the way he would possibly play due to his long layoff, he said he got to play a little in the “HOTEL” he was staying at but not enough to play to his ability when he was playing regularly. He led off with “Almost Cut My Hair” and the audience erupted with applause. He was a little of key but nobody cared, then Stills and Nash returned to play with him for another hour or so, it may have been one of the best concerts I ever attended. I knew a rodie at the time and he asked if I would like to meet Cros back stage, naturally I accepted the invitation. What an experience to meet an idol of mine and to sit with all 3 of them it was a night I’ll never forget. I do know he was straight at that time in his life. I really thought that sometime during the concert his old band mate Neil Young would make an appearance because it was his coming home concert but unfortunately he was a no show, but still a night I will never forget. I wish that I had seen you (Phil) in concert in your hay days of the music scene but I never did get that chance. Please keep up the great R&R stories along with the excellent cigar write ups,
    Thanks for all you do.


    • Great story, Kirk.

      Back around 2000, I was working in NorCal for a structural steel shop project managing.
      I had one customer who was a couple years older than me. He was the GC’s PM. His name is James.
      He was a road managed for CSN&Y for two years when he was younger.
      He told me that Neil Young always threw a big party for the benefit of some music school somewhere in the chic area of Napa Valley.

      My buddy got invited and he was standing in a group kibitzing when Young joined the group.
      James extends his hand to shake with Young and asks, “Hi. And you are?”
      Young explodes with anger.
      “You don’t know who I am?”
      Young lit into him telling him how famous he was…
      James smiled and never told him that he was their road manager.
      That took some balls.

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