It all started in September of 2014 on a school trip during my 12th year in high school to the capital (Stockholm), when we got a few hours for ourselves and I decided to visit a cigar shop called Cigarrummet. I entered the shop and bought my very first Rocky Patel cigar, a Decade Toro that I got to enjoy at a very trashy bar that we snuck out to during the evening. I was 18 at the time, had only smoked cigars for 9 months, but I knew at that point this was a good cigar, and it brought a confidence in me to do my very first box purchase. Here’s something I at the time didn’t really think about, not all cigars are a like, even if you like a cigar from a brand it doesn’t mean you’ll like everything from the brand. So I ordered two boxes of cigars, two different cigars I hadn’t tried before ordering. Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 Broadleaf Perfecto and Rocky Patel Freedom Torpedo. Long story short, I didn’t like them at all, the Freedom I managed to trade away with other people and the Vintage 1990 I had friends who liked them so I let them smoke them instead.
After that fail of a purchase it didn’t sway me away from the brand, I just made a stupid decision of buying the pig in the bag without seeing it first. I instead bought singles of the Vintage 1992 Sumatra, 1999 Connecticut and 2003 Cameroon, three different blends I absolutely loved and was a bit bummed out I didn’t buy boxes of instead, oh well.
Actually my first Rocky Patel I smoked was in May that same year, but it took a few years before I figured out it actually was a RP. I got it at Big Smoke Copenhagen 2014 and the cigar was called Rocky Patel Nörding Robusto, a cigar I have never seen since that event.
In August of 2015 we finally got the news that Rocky Patel had changed importers in Sweden to Kind Cigars and that Kolja Kukuk, Director of Marketing & Manager of Rocky Patel Cigars in Europe would come and host some events around the country. First we had an event at Mellgren Fine Tobacco, and we got to try out some new cigars to the market. Decade Cameroon, Super Ligero, The Edge Candela/Corojo/Connecticut/Habano/Maduro and a bunch of different sizes of the other mentioned lines. A few days later Gothenburg Cigar Society hosted the annual cigar festival, this year at the famous rooftop terrace at Hotel Pigalle. Rocky Patel was one of the brands who held a tasting during the festival, a tasting of beer and cigars. (Sadly I didn’t attend this tasting as I had hosted the brand at the shop a couple of days before). [Photos borrowed from Kolja, as I can’t find any I took over those days].
If you read my previous story I can just say Kolja was one of those people who backed me, and showed kindness and support for my entusiasm for the cigar industry. During that festival we got to chat a lot and get to know each other and find out we had quite similar interests. We had a jolly time with fantastic champagne and a great many cigars.
Later on that year in December he came back to do an extra event at the shop, releasing the line called Prohibition, it came to two variants Mexican San Andres Maduro and Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro both in Toro sizes. It was a great event and people liked the cigars. But that evening is a night I will never forget.
The event was over, we were all sitting in the lounge enjoying our cigars, talking about cigars of course as you do. So Kolja asked us if we knew anyone who had a box of the Punch Northern Lights Excusive Países Nordicos, a cigar limited to 1500 boxes made from 2009. So I said I had 3 singles at home with the box, he offered me to do a trade if I could get home and get them, so I said yes why not, if I could get something of a similar value, so we agreed on that. As the evening was getting closer to come to an end at the shop, Kolja came to me and said, “How about I get those 3 cigars and you get one cigar tonight” I was thinking that doesn’t sound fair 3 for 1, as the cigars where pretty rare as they where, but he assured me it was a fair trade for me, I sat there thinking how can it be fair. Then Martin Nelson, the owner of Kind Cigars came up and asked what was going on, and Kolja told him about the deal, not mentioning what cigar he was trading just hinting about what it was, and Martin turned to me and said “André take the deal you wont regret it, trust me on this, you wont regret this!”. So now two power figures of the industry is telling me this is a great deal for me, so I say “Fine I’ll do it, how bad can it be?”, so we finish up at the shop and I head home. We later on decide to meet up at a mutual friends apartment to do a after party session, Kolja and Martin had swung by the hotel to pick up some bottles of champagne and some cigars. We sit down I hand him the cigars and he says to me “Before I give you the cigar, you have to promise me you will smoke it now, if not I will give you the other 3 cigars at a later date” so I say “Yes I will smoke it now” I’m thinking *what can it be really*? So he hands me a glas tube with a cork on it, and inside there is a cigar I never would have thought I would ever see in my life. A Davidoff Cuba Dom Perignon from 1985, I get so shocked and stunned I just say “I can’t smoke this, this is to expensive and rare!” so he just replies “Okey then, I’ll have it back..” I don’t let him finish he’s sentence before I say “No, I’ll smoke it! Now!”. I take it out of the tube, smell it, feel it and decide to cut it, but what’s that all I have is a V-cutter, my hearth breaks inside as I realise I have to use a V-cutter on an legendary rare cigar, I swallow my pride and cut it. Light it up and take my first puffs on it, it not like any other Davidoff I’ve ever smoked before, not really like any other cigar either it’s just perfect. It was an smooth and well balanced smoke with a hint of freshly toasted bread. Just to top of this experience we drank a slew of expensive champagnes. I also got a very special cigar from the owner of the apartment a Arturo Fuente Don Arturo Destino al Siglo but this one with a 12 year old Cameroon wrapper on, from Carlito Fuente Jr’s personal humidor. I know, I was in disbelieve myself, I was 19 years old myself at the time and I didn’t understand how I could be in a position like this, how did I end up here?
2016 we get the introduction of a new line called Twentieth Anniversary, pretty self explanatory to celebrate 20 years of the brand. But this time we actually get to meet Mr. Rocky Patel himself, which is pretty rare for us in Europe to do. The event goes great, and of course we have an after party, but this time at Hotel Pigalle. Lovely bunch of people, we drink way to much champagne and have a lovely time, or I should say we have a lovely time, Mr. Patel didn’t like the restrictions for smoking we had here in Sweden, so we didn’t really get a long so well. At the time I was working half time at the shop and as a night porter at Hotel Pigalle, so if anything would happen during the stay I would get the blame from my boss or my colleagues at the hotel. So I tried to handle the situation as best I could without making him more pissed of at us. During the breakfast (yes we partied so late I stayed until breakfast) we really didn’t see eye to eye, he had a very American view oh how things should be and couldn’t take no for an answer. The sole reason for me being scared to loose my job at the hotel, he didn’t care about and that we (the hotel and guests) would get a fine if someone smoked in the hotel room he didn’t care about. So I will say this now, I don’t like Mr. Patel himself, and I’ve meet him a few times after this incident and he hasn’t treated me well or with respect then either. But I will not connect him with the brand when I review the cigars or smoke the cigars in general. As for me Mr. Kolja Kukuk is a MUCH better representative for the brand than the man behind it. And I am proud to call Kolja my friend and inspiration within the cigar industry and I am forever grateful for the kindness and generosity he has shown me over the years.
In 2017 we got the introduction of the Fifty-Five and the Special Reserve and had an event of those two and later that year we had another event. So basically two times a year we tried to have an RP event at the shop.
2018 was special again with the introduction of the Hamlet 25th Year Anniversary, and Hamlet Paredes himself came to the shop to roll cigars in person. This was very interesting to see and the costumers could ask him to make special cigars, and of course one of them asked for a Salomones and he rolled his eyes and did it. Always someone asking for those special sizes. It was a very fun event and after party of course.
In 2020 we had two RP events or I should say first we had the Cigar Smoking World Championship Swedish Qualification Tour where it had just been decided that the Rocky Patel CSWC Mareva would be the new competition cigar. Then later in the year we had the release of the LB1 Robusto, Hamlet 2020 Toro and Vintage 2006 San Andreas Toro.
There have been other events and instances over the years where I have smoked Rocky Patel, but these are the once which has ment the most to me or I had/found photos of.
I must say Rocky Patel Cigars as a whole are good cigars, nothing more nothing less, its not a brand I found say is a must have, but also it a nice brand to smoke once in a while. I will of course try anything new that comes out from the brand, like the other day I bought one of the new releases to try for a review. But something I learned from my first box purchase I will probably never buy a box of them again, but singles are alright.
Rocky Patel don’t only make cigars, they make lighters, cutters, ashtrays and merchandise. They have their own cigar lounges in USA called Burn by Rocky Patel. All of that and more you can check out on their website here.
If you want to check out all my reviews of Rocky Patel click here.
Cigars that I’ve had from the brand: (I’m just going to mention the different lines as the list would be to long otherwise)
- Rocky Patel CSWC
- Rocky Patel Decade
- Rocky Patel Decade Cameroon
- Rocky Patel Fifteenth Anniversary
- Rocky Patel Twenthieth Anniversary Natural
- Rocky Patel Fifty-Five
- Rocky Patel Grand Reserve
- Rocky Patel Special Edition
- Rocky Patel Hamlet 2020
- Rocky Patel Hamlet 25th Year Anniversary
- Rocky Patel Hamlet Liberation
- Rocky Patel Hamlet Tabaquero
- Rocky Patel LB1
- Rocky Patel Number 6
- Rocky Patel Nörding
- Rocky Patel Platinum Maduro
- Rocky Patel Quarter Century
- Rocky Patel Royale
- Rocky Patel Sun Grown
- Rocky Patel Sun Grown Maduro
- Rocky Patel The Edge Candela
- Rocky Patel The Edge Connecticut
- Rocky Patel The Edge Corojo
- Rocky Patel The Edge Habano
- Rocky Patel The Edge Maduro
- Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 Broadleaf
- Rocky Patel Vintage 1992 Sumatra
- Rocky Patel Vintage 1999 Connecticut
- Rocky Patel Vintage 2003 Cameroon
- Rocky Patel Vintage 2006 San Andreas
See you in the next “My Journey With:“.
/ Cigar Reviewer André Dias
P.S. Clarification I’m just telling my story with the brand, my own opinions and experiences, we don’t have any deals between us, I’m not paid by them and I don’t have any contracts with them. I’m just a consumer and fan of the brand. As you’ll see with my other “My Journey With:” posts that will come in the future.