The recognized method for rating any cigar includes deliberating on the look and feel of the cigar, its draw and burn rate, and how it tastes. Over the years, I’ve developed an affinity for specific cigars because of their size, brand, strength, and flavor. My rating system was never what you’d call sophisticated, but I knew what I liked and my preferences matured to where my humidor is now filled with mostly robusto- and belicoso-sized smokes of medium- to full-bodied strength.
One of the other stogies I picked up during this visit was the Vintage by Rocky Patel 1992 Torpedo which I smoked a few days ago. This was a true international cigar with filler tobacco from the Dominican Republic & Nicaragua, a binder from Mexico, and a wrapper from Ecuador. It’s a six and ¼ inch by 52 ring gauge with a distinctive box-pressed shape that I enjoy [gives it a look of style].
The wrapper was smooth and slightly oily, with visible veins, and prior to lighting it I was a little concerned because this was one of the most tightly constructed cigars I’ve ever purchased. But it lit without difficulty and I was able to easily draw smoke through the cigar. The burn line was somewhat uneven, as you may note from the picture, although this have been attributable to the breezy conditions on my ‘back porch.’ It still produced a nice, solid light-grey ash, a good amount of resting smoke, and a rich, consistent aroma. The dominant flavors for me throughout the duration of the cigar were wood (primarily oak) and earth tones, but with no harshness and a strong finish (hung around for while after its inevitable end).
While this cigar is rated as medium-bodied, I wouldn’t recommend it for a ‘cigar aficionado plebe’ because it was highly-flavored. Of course, the sensitivity of your taste buds is what determines a cigar’s taste and strength. That’s what makes the cigar manufacturing process so fascinating for me and why I find the end products true works of art. Even within my narrowly defined range of cigar preferences, there are an abundance of companies growing, harvesting, and blending tobacco and hand making cigars in my favorite size and strength that will each have their own unique characteristics and taste. And if I let them age properly in my humidor, their taste will change over time.
So I’ll continue my ‘sampling’ with the objective of training my palate to become more receptive to the flavor tinges of each cigar I smoke. With any luck, I’ll become a better rater, but I’m certain I’ll most definitely enjoy the process.