Review: Rocky Patel Private Cellar Robusto (Prerelease)

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A flurry of press releases about Rocky Patel’s new lines came out just prior to the IPCPR convention and trade show in Orlando, among which was news of a brand new line called the Private Cellar.

“Private Cellar is a personal favorite – a blend that I have been working on and aging for a number of years,” said Rocky Patel in the press release. The cigar is billed as being medium to full-bodied and uses Nicaraguan tobacco for the binder and filler with a Broadleaf Connecticut wrapper from the USA.

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The Rocky Patel Private Cellar is being debuted in three vitolas:

  • Robusto (5 x 50) – $8.50 (Boxes of 20, $170.00)
  • Toro (6 1/2 x 52) – $8.75 (Boxes of 20, $175.00)
  • Torpedo (6 1/8 x 52) – $8.85 (Boxes of 20, $177.00)

All are being packed in boxes of 20 with single stick MSRPs between $8.50 and $8.85 and a shipping date of October 15, 2012.


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Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s light this stick up.

Rocky Patel Private Cellar Robusto 1

  • Cigar Reviewed: Rocky Patel Private Cellar Robusto
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera Villa Cuba S.A.
  • Wrapper: USA Broadleaf Connecticut
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Nicaragua
  • Size: 5 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 50
  • Vitola: Robusto
  • MSRP: $8.50 (Boxes of 20, $170.00)
  • Date Released: October 15, 2012
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 2

The Rocky Patel Private Cellar has a slightly dark brown wrapper that is smooth to the touch with just a few veins. The pre-light aroma is decidedly peppery, leading a dry aroma that has some notes of wood and nuts. The cap clips off cleanly and easily, revealing a slightly firm cold draw with notes of some dark chocolate, front of the tongue spice and just a slightly meaty note.


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decent hit of pepper and spice opens the first third of the Rocky Patel Private Cellar with the taste quickly opening up with a tanginess that wakes up the palate. The cigar is medium or almost medium-minus in terms of body and flavor, but the sharpness of the pepper adds a good deal of character and for the most part overshadows what sweetness may be there. While the dark gray ash is strong, the burn line quickly becomes uneven and eventually requires a jumpstart on one side to help it catch up.

Rocky Patel Private Cellar Robusto 2

By the second third, the spice has largely died down leaving behind a light, dry wood note and a smooth smoke. The pepper returns past the midway point, and the flavors are mounting a return in the second half. The underlying tanginess from the first third is still there, coloring the wood and earth notes that come out. The burn line issues have largely resolved themselves while the smoke stays plentiful and carries a healthy bit of pepper into the nose.

Rocky Patel Private Cellar Robusto 3

The final third sees a steadily building of flavors, especially when the burn line gets to the band. The spice is still there, but has shifted into the background, making way for a distinctive if a bit thin earthiness to emerge, carrying it with it some clay and minerality. A hearty salami note starts to appear as well, and makes this third by far the most flavorful of the three.

Rocky Patel Private Cellar Robusto 4


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Final Notes:

  • I give Rocky Patel credit for announcing the specific shipping date on these prior to the show. One thing that bugs me about new releases at the trade show is how varied and uncertain the release dates can be.
  • The boxes for these are a reincarnation of the Patel standard box—something that could be seen as a bit disappointing given that these are supposed to be Rocky’s personal favorite. Given how much bling the Rocky Patel Fifty got, I would have thought these would have gotten a bit more in the design department.
  • I’m also a bit surprised that the ring gauges are being limited to 50 and 52 in the initial release. I can’t imagine the flavor profiles are that much different between the sizes. If a company is going to release several vitolas, I’d rather see a 10–16 range of ring gauge.
  • These pre-release samples came with just a white band; the regular production cigars will be dual banded with a purple and silver color scheme.
  • Given his love of the finer things in life, I’d be interested to see what Rocky’s private cellar actually looks like.
  • Just because if popped into my head, Private Cellar would translate to Spanish as bodega privada, which makes it sound closer to a well-known cigar already on the market.
  • The cigars for this review were provided by the Rocky Patel Cigar Company at IPCPR 2012.
  • Final smoking time is about one hour and 20 minutes.


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The Bottom Line: Like a lot of Rocky Patel’s offerings, there’s not a lot to disagree with in the Private Cellar: the smoke is smooth, the flavors are agreeable and the price is pretty reasonable. What hindered this cigar from being a standout was how thin the flavors were in the first two thirds and how it seemed like the spice was trying to make up for it. That’s not to say they were one dimensional, just that it felt like the thinness of the flavors were trying to be covered up. While I don’t think I’ll be picking any additional ones up, that doesn’t mean they’re not worth trying, and it doesn’t mean that the Rocky Patel Private Cellar is a cigar I’d turn down if offered or feel like I was suffering through just to be polite. Rocky Patel makes some pretty good sticks; this one just doesn’t crack the top fiveof his releases for me.

Final Score: 84

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Patrick Lagreid
About the author

I strive to capture the essence of a cigar and the people behind them in my work – every cigar you light up is the culmination of the work of countless people and often represents generations of struggle and stories. For me, it’s about so much more than the cigar – it’s about the story behind it, the experience of enjoying the work of artisans and the way that a good cigar can bring people together. In addition to my work with halfwheel, I’m the public address announcer for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks during spring training, as well as for the Salt River Rafters of the Arizona Fall League, the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League. I also work in a number of roles for MLB.com, plus I'm a voice over artist. I previously covered the Phoenix and national cigar scene for Examiner.com, and was an editor for Cigar Snob magazine.

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