Rocky Patel Puro Cubano by Hamlet | Cigar Reviews by the Katman

  • Wrapper: Ecuadorian Cubano
  • Binder: PA Broadleaf
  • Filler: Honduran, Nicaraguan
  • Size: 6 x 52 Toro
  • Strength: Mild
  • Price: $8.60

Today we take a look at the Rocky Patel Puro Cubano by Hamlet.


Actually, I should rename this heading from Background to Bullshit. No one has reviewed this cigar. I’m sure it is a wonderful cigar and a mere oversight by the entire cigar smoking community. Couldn’t find a thing about this cigar except at online stores. This cigar must be so bad that while I did check out Rocky Patel’s web site, there is a whole section about Hamlet Paredes’ cigars…the Puro Cubana was missing from that list. I’m here to rescue this cigar from obscurity. Still for sale everywhere, so someone likes it.


World renowned as an expert tobacco blender and master cigar roller, Hamlet Paredes has spent 25 years honing his craft. Paredes was born in Cuba but immigrated to the United States with the help of Rocky Patel. Hamlet now works for Rocky at Burn in Naples, Florida, and has created some of the finest cigar blends on the market today.   

“Now they’re releasing a super-premium to pay tribute to Paredes’s heritage — Puro Cubano. With a stunning Habano wrapper around a dark Pennsylvania Broadleaf binder leaf and hearty long-fillers from Nicaragua and Honduras, Puro Cubano delivers a medium to full-bodied strength register and a complex flavor profile. Note the natural sweetness, rich, creamy nuances, and its toasty finish. Another fine release from the mastermind pairing of Hamlet & Rocky!”


Not a great looking stick. Minor amounts of oil on the wrapper. But seams are not visible. Frankenstein’s monster-like veins permeate the cigar giving it a Young Frankenstein look. I believe it is a triple cap…almost seamless. A heavy in the hand stick but with just enough resistance to avoid being called rock hard. The wrapper’s color is non-descript yellow/tan.


Aromas are faint but include creaminess, milk chocolate, butter brickle, cedar, lemongrass, and a hint of white pepper.

The cold draw presents flavors of hay, barnyard, mild milk chocolate, and cigarette tobacco. And not a lick of creaminess. Nicht gut.


The draw resistance is actually pretty good. It is filled to the brim stick…so it has this going for it. I put my PerfecDraw away for another time.

Right off the bat, it tastes like nothing. Excuse me, I was wrong…it tastes musty. I know I’m smoking a cigar because I do taste tobacco. Some red pepper arrives. (This is going to be a very long review for me).

There isn’t a hint of pleasantry residing in this blend. Tastes exactly like a Nish Patel Connecticut 3rd.

I’ve had this cigar for months. I actually bought some without checking them out first. Color me embarrassed.

If the strength was any milder, it would be flash paper.

And of course, I get a run in the first half inch. Right on.

I’ve got The Hague on speed dial.

I gotta tell you at this early juncture, Patel and Hamlet have got a lot of balls to keep this on the market. At nearly $9…I really should compile a top 25 List of Shame.

More than an inch in, and I’d rather be smoking dental floss.

Zero. No flavors except for some spiciness. Not even the proverbial earth, wood, and leather. Although, licking my pants belt might taste better.

No character, no complexity, no balance, no transitions, no finish other than dirt, and no flavor. Just what I’ve always wanted to smoke.

Now I get why they were so inexpensive…but not that inexpensive. I got them on a discount online store. The employees must have had a happy circle jerk because some moron (me) bought a fiver.

With no improvements on the horizon, I doubt highly I will finish the cigar or even get past the halfway point. This is a dog turd of mammoth proportions.

This is why I really dislike the cigar industry. And probably why they dislike me. This is horseshit by Patel. This guy will sell anything. He is a mass producer of a few good sticks and the rest are haggis; but with no flavor. Anything for a buck and to keep Patel’s lifestyle right where he wants it.

Shame on Hamlet Paredes. I remember when he made good cigars. Patel sucked that right out of him. “Come join my company and I’ll have you making the worst blends on the planet in no time? Eh? Huh? Here is a big stack of money. I know your address and family members and where your kids go to school.”

Who could resist an offer like that?

I’m hallucinating a slight touch of peanut butter. Fucking-A! A flavor!

Can’t wait to try a sip of water so here goes…it makes the water taste like dish soap. Good on ya’ Hamlet.

The strength has gone from mild to invisible. What a great magic trick. How does he do it?

You know, a little integrity goes a long way. You put out a piece of shit for $9 and not a single reviewer will touch it with Nish’s dick, the least you can do is shit can the whole production and take a write off…not foist it on an unexpecting customer base who like your cigars. But nooo…Some assholes will buy this and think it has exactly the right taste for their palate. They never considered that cadavers don’t have palates.


I actually made it to the second third without knocking my laptop to the floor.

Umm…big improvement now. The peanut butter is gone. But the barnyard is screaming laughter. It really tastes like a $1 stick. Probably cost them 3 cents to make.

But that’s OK. Patel can use some public shaming now and again. Someone has to be the village idiot who screams to the world in intangible clicks and whistles.

Amazingly, the run has corrected itself and the char line is perfect. Well, one thing out of a hundred things ain’t bad.

I’m not bothering to take any more photos of this ass-sicle.

I’m getting a memory flashback. I remember what the boys locker room smelled like on Fridays when everyone stuffed their jock straps into their socks and took them home for mom to wash. Yeah, that smell. If you were walking home after school and your friends saw you with that sock, no one came near.

Patel should make cigars in the shape of jock straps. Sort of Culebra but with a twist.

Man, if this cigar were any more linear, it would be a yardstick.

You know those cheap Connies you see at your local cigar lounge for $5? Someone always buys them and either enjoys them right there at the store…or they don’t enjoy them because it’s an oral fixation thing.

At the halfway point. In the early 60’s, the C.I.A. tried to kill Castro with a poison cigar. Never got fleshed out but a good idea. Boy do I have the cigar for them now. I can feel my heart palpitating and my blood pressure dropping. I can see my Grandpa Kohn! He is shaking his head in disgust.

This fucking cigar will fucking ruin my fucking morning and day. I will probably be cursed with this gawdawful flavor in my mouth all day.

How does a premium cigar go from zero to nothing in no time flat?

There is absolutely no forward progress. The cigar continues to taste like stale hay without interruption. Why am I still smoking it? Why wasn’t I born rich and good looking?

I believe smoking 3-1/2” is penance enough.

I will bypass the last third and go directly to a rating and an old rock story.

You buy this cigar and I will come to your house and fuck your dog. And if it’s a boy dog, I will tell myself I’m not gay.


And now for something completely different:

Back to good ol’ rock n roll.

We were high on hash or weed all the time. On the road. Off the road. In rehearsals. In the recording studio. And that last one killed us. Especially me.

By the time we had moved past promoting the Live album, we were at Island Studios in the Jamaican district of London. Cheap bastard, Miles Copeland, got us an untested producer that had been a crack engineer on some of the best, and most famous, albums of the time. But he had no idea of how to control a band…especially one filled with arrogance.

Except for me, the band was all egomaniacs. I played the proverbial negotiator as two distinct camps formed. The first was Darryl the leader and violinist. Along with Mick Jacques the guitarist.

The other camp was Sonja Kristina, the singer, and Stewart Copeland, the drummer.

All new songs were written by Darryl and Sonja with the assistance of Sonja’s lover, Norma Tager. Tager was an American novelist and poet and struck up a friendship with Sonja. Those three went at each other like cats and dogs. We only heard about it as the other three of us were not allowed in the composing portion of the album. We became merely hired guns for the album. I should have been paid more.

But I still wrote my own song I wanted on the album called, “I Broke My Leg in Yucca Valley but My Heart Lies in Palm Springs.” And those were the entire lyrics to the song which was mostly an instrumental featuring me on bass. It was very high energy along the lines of Mahavishnu Orchestra.

Darryl could not grasp it and bailed out on us as we worked things out in the studio. That left Mick on guitar and it was over his head too. That left me and Stewart and Sonja. Very weird.

Jose Feliciano had made his first trip to London while we were recording and had brought the now world-famous percussionist, Paulhino de Costa with him. During a playback of the song, he jumped up, grabbed Paulhino and dashed into the recording area. They both saved my song, and it was the hottest tune on the album…well, I thought so.  Further causing me to slip away from being in the band for very much longer.

Curved Air was a progressive band. The musicians were all classically trained in the best universities of England. They all came from families with money. And they were arrogant to a fault.

Darryl probably had some sort of mental disorder like ADHD or bipolar. He was moody and had fits of anger that shook the room. And then he would be the nicest guy on the planet.

Sonja was just plain strange. Very insecure. She needed constant attention and reinforcement of her abilities. And she had a mean streak. Too many years as a junkie, I presume. Although, she had finally cleaned herself up by the end of the Live album tour.

Drugs took their toll on her body. She was a beautiful woman but as Yohannian put it, “…the body of Lance Armstrong.”
We did the normal thing bands did during that time period. First, we laid down the rhythm tracks which took two weeks. After that came the layering of other instruments and vocals. I don’t like that method. I much prefer playing live with the band in the studio…always more cohesive.

I had this feeling in my gut that the songs were lame. I couldn’t tell anyone because I was still the new guy and was in neither camp. The drummer, guitarist, the singer and I were smoking dope during the whole recording process. It forced us to do a lot of corrections during the mixing process. This pissed off management.

Curved Air decided to venture into a different direction with the Midnight Wire album. It was too Americanized and done poorly. It was my playing that had such a big influence on the direction, yet I was not asked to help in the compositions.

As a result, I felt my bass lines..given to me instead of allowing me to work out my own, were very lame and understated…too understated. It was a real drag. It’s one thing to be a session player; but I was a member of the band and relegated to: “Kohn. Play this.”

RCA had a big party for the play back of the album. All suits and fancy dresses were at the playback. It was the first time I had heard the record played in its entirety.

I was shocked as I heard whispers when my song came on. No one got it. I brought real progression to the album and the suits didn’t like it. Too progressive and too jazzy.

It was at this point, that upper management made the decision to scrap the album and start again. A patsy was needed and who better than me to get chucked from the band?

I had nothing to do with the compositions. I had nothing to do with the mixing or producing. I was treated like a side man the entire time. Yet it was my fault that the album sucked.

They re-recorded the album with real record producers. Big shot brother team from Miami.

Dumping me before the new recording was the meanest thing ever done to me. I was cast aside like a lump of dog shit.

When the re-done album came out, there were virtually no changes and they had even kept some of my bass playing…without giving me credit of course. Or royalties.

This was just an eye opener on how nasty the music business is. I still carry a grudge for what they did to me. They left me stranded in England with no money. The band, and management, refused to give me any dough to stay alive. Just tossed me aside.

So, the roadies brought over every piece of gear they could get their hands on and shoved it into a big lorry and delivered it to my house in Edgeware.

It allowed me to sell the equipment and have money to live on. Management didn’t do a thing when they found out about this. Guilt, I suppose. The asshole Managing Director actually told the roadies to get my Fender P I bought from Martin Turner of Wishbone Ash. They were Miles Copeland’s first band. Those fuckers.

I hung around England for a few months trying to find something. A new band. But my money ran out and I had to make a hard decision. Be dirt poor and keep trying…or go home. I chose to leave London and return to the States.

There is no loyalty in that nasty business. But I kept on chooglin back in Long Beach, California with a recording studio, was a session player, and a talent manager. I spent a total of 12 years in the biz and then just gave up. Because I got into the management side as well as playing music, I had to become ruthless and crooked. I had a day of reckoning when I realized that this isn’t me. To be successful in this business, I was becoming a real mother fucker asshole to get what I wanted. It worked. I just didn’t like what I was becoming. I grabbed my structural engineering degree from before I entered music and settled down; but all the while still playing out on the weekends. The construction gig paid for me to continue to play. I was OK with that.

Those years give me plenty of talking points at parties and even though I got the shaft after two years with the band, I got to do something I only dreamed of when I was younger.


5 replies

  1. Hamlet must have signed a contract that greatly restricts his options when blending. I don’t think he has lost his touch. I don’t enjoy any of his releases for Patel, but the cigars he blended with Rob Ayala have become flavor bombs. It must come down to mullah.

  2. Hey Keith,
    I agree 100%. He sold out to Patel. It must be humiliating for him…all the way to the bank.

  3. I have to agree. Ive had the ones he made w Rob, and they’re pretty dang tasty! What the heck is this abomination?

  4. Your palate is spot on, the Hamlet Tabaquero is a decent blend though.

  5. Thanks Markus,
    I can’t remember what I said about the Tabaquero…I’m sure I was very kind…no?
    Be cool Daddy-O.

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