Rocky Patel himself introduced the Grand Reserve, specifically blended for the European palate, at the spectacular event “Mountain on Fire” in the Austrian Alps, However, to this day, the exact blend hasn’t been specified and remains a closely guarded secret.
In this article, you will discover the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve as we review it according to the following considerations:
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- Brand: Rocky Patel
- Range: Grand Reserve
- Reviewed Vitolas: 6 x 52 Toro
- Wrapper: n/a
- Binder: n/a
- Filler: n/a
- Factory: Tavicusa, Esteli, Nicaragua
- Handmade: Yes
- Body: Medium – Full
- Estimated Smoking Time: 100 Minutes
- Pricing: $12 / Single [Buy Now]
Originally designed for the European market and global audience, the Rocky Patel Grand Reserve is an intriguingly complex, medium-plus cigar with a tremendous track record, continuously earning very high ratings. Meanwhile, the range was also introduced to the American market because of its international success.
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Rocky Patel Grand Reserve Look & Feel
- Wrapper Hue: Mahogany
- Rolling Consistency: Evenly constructed
- Spring: Quite firm with a few soft spots
- Aromas: Toasted graham cracker, funky wet wood, bitter-sweet raisins
The look and feel of this cigar by Rocky Patel are pristine. The mahogany-coloured wrapper has minimal veins, whilst offering a glossy, oily, and really inviting overall presentation. The role is mostly even, featuring only a few little soft spots every now and then. Overall though, after having smoked quite many cigars of this line, the cigars almost always felt perfectly constructed.
The aromas off the wrapper and the foot faintly remind me of toasted graham crackers, as well as a funky hint of wet wood. A bittersweet raisin component rounds the aromatic profile off and adds a subtle layer of sweetness.
Rocky Patel Grand Reserve Review
All cigars, mostly in boxes, were carefully stored in large airtight coolidors, expertly humidified by 69% Boveda packs and meticulously monitored with a Boveda butler. I have smoked all different vitolas and many sticks of this line, however, I specifically revisited 3 Toro-sized cigars for this review.
- Draw: Ideal, just enough resistance without being too tight
- Aromas: Bitter chocolate, burnt caramel, raspberry
The cold draw is an intriguing experience all by itself. It reveals a most subtle chocolate quality, accompanied by burnt caramel with a sprinkle of dried raspberry powder on top. Offering just the right amount of resistance, neither too tight, nor too lose, the draw is ideal making for a rather rich and complex sensation before even lighting the cigar.
1st Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Bitter cocoa, black pepper / piper longum, cloves
The first third starts with bitter cocoa alongside some of the more mellow chocolate notes that I had experienced in the cold draw. There are more espresso and toffee qualities after a few, initial puffs, graciously enveloped by a lingering bitterness.
An intriguing combination of burnt nuts, pepper spice, and clove starts to emerge and becomes more prominent in the back of the palette.
There’s plenty of subtlety, plenty of elegance, and finesse, which are embedded in a deep, opulent overall profile, offering nuanced sensations and new aromas with every single draw.
2nd Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Sour cherry, hazelnut cream, forest honey
Approaching the second third, the Grand Reserve reveals sweet apricot jam. I also sense a hint of sour cherry, yet again encapsulated in bitter aromatic components as well as a chocolaty note that I discovered earlier. Offering a salty kick of minerality, shist and dried tea leaves, I wonder where the spice route will lead me.
Just when the pepper becomes more prominent on the palate, a creamier sensation of forest honey adds balance and sweetness to the smoke.
The palate is stimulated at the front and lateral rear, accounting for a steady build-up of salivation. Between the fruity, peppery and sweet components, the second third intriguingly tackles all the senses and makes for a highly complex experience with excellent balance.
Final Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Brightly shining cherries, allspice, creme brulée
Still mesmerized by the multi-faceted evolution of the cigar, I detect a creamier evolution that reminds me of overripe banana and the burnt sugar on top of creme brulée, which makes for an interesting and charming transition to the final third of the cigar.
Once again brightened up by a lively sour cherry fruit component, all is laced tightly into a gracious, elegant and medium to full smoking sensation.
- Ash Backbone: A bit flaky with a rather dark color
- Burn Angle: slightly wavy combustion
- Temperature: Warm and invigorating
- Draw: Ideal
- Final Smoking Time: 100 Minutes
The draw of the cigar, as already experienced with the pre-light, is nothing short of ideal, and it was excellent with every single Grand Reserve cigar I have smoked over the year. The burn line, however, because the wrapper is quite thick and oily, appears to be slightly wavy.
Every now and then I had to take care of the burn with a few little touch-ups. Overall though, no major issues occurred that would worry me all too much or distract from the pleasant experience. The ash backbone is flaky and darkly colored, but again, this doesn’t do any harm to the performance as a whole.
Furthermore, the smoke was invigorating with a warm, mellow feel to it.
The average smoking time came to around 100 minutes for the Toro.
Don’t judge a book by its cover, but the holistic presentation of the Grand Reserve is very well executed with pristine elegance.
The cigar offers a rather prominent ring, using the same color patterns as the box and other marketing sujets. Some of the boxes in my coolidor have particular meaning to me because they were given to me during the global launch event, bearing Rocky Patel’s signature.
The Grand Reserve is being offered in three different vitolas: there’s a 5 1/2 by 50 Robusto, the 6 by 52 Toro, which I’ve been smoking for this review, and a 6 by 60 as the biggest ring gauge of the entire line. They’re all presented in boxes of ten.
Despite the ornate and glamorous look, this is a cigar that you could smoke on many different occasions. As a matter of fact, it’s quite memorable to smoke it together with Rocky Patel at IceQ, high up in the Austrian Alps.
Yet if you sit down in a traditional European coffee house, smoking Grand Reserve on the outside terrace with a cup of espresso, that feels like the perfect occasion.
Whether you fancy a late nightcap, an afternoon smoke or a lunch break cigar, this is an excellent match because the overall aroma and flavor profile is not over-powering, mellow, superbly balanced, and very harmonious.
Rocky Patel Grand Reserve Cigar Pairings
My beverage of choice with this cigar is a plain and simple, straightforward espresso. No sugar, no milk, just a shot of espresso with a thick and oily crema on top.
Alternatively, a glass of apricot juice also makes for a perfect combination, even though in a totally different way. Since you eliminate the extra bitter component, the apricot juice will provide a more luscious and a far more velvety sensation, with a nutty underlying quality, resembling the marzipan-like kernels of the stone fruit.
If you’re looking for a boozy beverage to lift your spirits, my recommendation would be a well-aged Grappa from Italy. It didn’t quite fare as well as I hoped with the standard pairing choices, be it Cognac, Whisky, or various rums. I find the grappa, on the other hand, just offers another layer that you wouldn’t elsewhere.
Food-wise, you HAVE TO (yes, I insist) to try this cigar with a slice of Sachertorte.
Despite the fact that I might be biased, given my Austrian heritage, the interplay of chocolate, apricot jam and bitter-sweet, proudly sitting next to this fabulous smoke revealing allspice, licorice, and similar cocoa, caramel, and stone fruit nuances, is just lip-smackingly delicious.
Add a dollop of whipped cream and you might get a faint idea of heaven right there.
Even though I’d love to know the different tobaccos that were used for the blend of the Grand Reserve, I also enjoy and appreciate the mystique that goes around this particular line.
Go on a treasure hunt of aromas and flavors, without the distraction of some technical details, but embrace all these beautifully luscious, complex aromas and flavors that the Grand Reserve will reveal. It’s a beautiful smoke that will not disappoint, no matter the occasion.
"An excellently manufactured and highly acknowledged blend by Rocky Patel that has seen tremendous success on the international as well as the American market."
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