Custom blends have been made for any number of different celebrations and events over the years, but one of the newest releases from Rocky Patel Premium Cigars, Inc. was created specifically for a cigar smoking contest.

Earlier this year, the cigar company announced the Rocky Patel Cigar Smoking World Championship, a three-viola line that—as the name alludes to—was crafted for the Cigar Smoking World Championship (CSWC), an annual event that attracts competitors from all over the world. Founded in 2010 by Marko Bilic, president of the International Cigar Club Mareva, the event is made ups of competitors trying to smoke a cigar for as long as possible without the stick ever going out.

The event does live up to its global name as there are a number of qualifiers and semifinal events before the final in Split, Croatia this year. All of the events—which are hosted around the world—use the same cigar, which historically has been a Macanudo but is now being made by Rocky Patel.

Here’s how Charlie Minato described viewing a qualifying event last year:

The rules for this activity, basically smoke a cigar the longest without it going out or the ash falling, are downright intimidating. However, the prizes for winning the qualifier are extremely generous and I’ve only heard great things about the event in Split.

Those rules also mean that the air conditioning, which could disadvantage those sitting underneath it, is also turned off and the room becomes rather hot and smoky pretty quickly.


The new blend incorporates a Mexican San Andrés wrapper covering a Nicaraguan binder and filler tobaccos sourced from both Honduras and Nicaragua. While there are three different vitolas as part of the release, the 5 1/8 x 42 Mareva size was chosen as the official cigar of the competition and all of the cigars are being rolled at Patel’s Tabacalera Villa Cuba S.A. factory located in Estelí, Nicaragua.

Although the Rocky Patel Cigar Smoking World Championship was shown off at the Intertabac trade fair last September, the line didn’t ship until this past January.

  • Rocky Patel Cigar Smoking World Championship Mareva (5 1/8 x 42) — $8.75 (Box of 10, $87.50)
  • Rocky Patel Cigar Smoking World Championship Robusto (5 x 50) — $9.75 (Box of 20, $195)
  • Rocky Patel Cigar Smoking World Championship Toro (6 x 52) — $10.75 (Box of 20, $215)

  • Cigar Reviewed: Rocky Patel Cigar Smoking World Championship Mareva
  • Country of Origin: Nicaragua
  • Factory: Tabacalera Villa Cuba S.A.
  • Wrapper: Mexico (San Andrés)
  • Binder: Nicaragua
  • Filler: Honduras & Nicaragua
  • Length: 5 1/8 Inches
  • Ring Gauge: 42
  • Vitola: Petit Corona
  • MSRP: $8.75 (Box of 10, $87.50)
  • Release Date: January 2020
  • Number of Cigars Released: Regular Production
  • Number of Cigars Smoked For Review: 3

Somewhat diminutive in size and covered in a dark reddish brown wrapper, the Rocky Patel CSWC features quite a bit of oil on it, making the cover leaf supple and slick to the touch. The cigar is also nicely firm when squeezed and one sample has a small but noticeable soft spot right under the main band. The aroma from the wrapper is a combination of strong earth, rich raisin, creamy cedar, peanuts and dark chocolate, while the cold draw features flavors of peanut shells, cedar, black pepper, leather, cocoa powder, raisin sweetness, black pepper and a touch of spice on my tongue.

The first third of the Rocky Patel starts out with a dominant candy-coated peanut flavor on the palate, followed by lesser notes of cedar, leather, bitter espresso, anise, cocoa powder and a touch of floral. There is a very distinct brown sugar sweetness present on the retrohale, along with quite a bit of black pepper and some slight spice on my tongue. Construction-wise, the draw is excellent after a simple straight cut, while the burn needs to help whatsoever this early in the game and the smoke production is both surprisingly dense and copious as it emanates from the foot. In terms of strength, the Rocky Patel tries hard but barely makes it to a point firmly between mild and medium by the end of the first third.

There are quite a few changes in the profile during the second third of the CSWC, starting with the dominant flavor, which morphs from a candy-coated peanut note to a sweet floral flavor that combines nicely with additional notes of  creamy peanuts, bitter dark chocolate, leather, hay, lemongrass and a bit of tree bark flit in and out. In addition, the brown sugar sweetness remains quite strong on the retrohale, where it is joined at various points by both black pepper and mint, although the latter note is there and gone almost before I can place it. The overall construction that includes the burn and draw continues to impress, while the overall strength is increasing slowly, ending the second third still a ways from the medium mark.

As the final third of the Rocky Patel CSWC begins, the flavors shift again, with a combination of chocolate sauce and espresso beans taking the dominant spot, both of which combine wonderfully with the other flavors of uncooked bread dough, creamy cedar, citrus, peanuts, hay, leather and raisins. In addition, the brown sugar sweetness is still prevalent on the retrohale, while the black pepper has actually increased a little. Thankfully, there is no change in the construction with both the draw and burn continuing to give me no issues while the overall strength does finally manage to barely cross into the medium category, although stalls out there.

Final Notes

  • Rocky Patel may be the most avid user of the orange color for cigar lines in the history of cigars: after a bit of research, the color—or slight variations of it—has been utilized for the Rocky Patel 50th, Rocky Patel Catch 22,  Vintage 2006 San Andreas and Sindicato Masters Series by Rocky Patel, although that is far from exhaustive list.
  • If you are wondering what size a Mareva is, the moniker is actually the Cuban factory name for the petit corona vitola which traditionally measures 5 1/8 x 42.
  • It has been said on this site before, but bears repeating: Rocky Patel is universally thought of as one of the hardest working men in the business, and attends quite a few events every year. He is also one of the biggest proponents of the CRA and people’s right to enjoy cigars.
  • Oleg Pedan of St. Petersburg, Russia, was named the champion of the Cigar Smoking World Championship last year with a total time of three hours, 26 minutes and eight seconds.
  • Like many events, it’s unclear what’s going to happen to the Cigar Smoking World Championship in 2020. A number of qualifiers have been postponed due to coronavirus.
  • Growing up, I was a big fan of eating small amounts of uncooked dough while my mother was making homemade bread, and that flavor is what I tasted in final third.
  • I thought I smoked slow, but my final smoking time only averaged one hour and 6 minutes for all three samples.
  • Rocky Patel advertises on halfwheel.
  • The cigars smoked for this review were purchased by halfwheel.
  • While none of our sponsors have the Mareva vitola in stock, Corona Cigar Co. is selling both the Robusto and Toro sizes of the Rocky Patel CSWC on its site now.
91 Overall Score

The cigars I run into on a monthly basis tend to run the gamut from one end of the spectrum to the other: releases with amazing construction or those needing touchups in seemingly every third; blends featuring amazing complexity to those that almost put me to sleep by the halfway point. However, there are very few blends that manage to put everything together to be enjoyed at the same in the same cigar, something the Rocky Patel CSWC does with almost effortless abandon. From the multitude of flavors—dominated at different points by candy-coated peanuts, sweet flora and chocolate sauce—to construction that is virtually trouble-free, the Cigar Smoking World Championship excels on almost every level. Throw in the fact that it is available in the criminally underappreciated Mareva vitola, and you are left with one of the best new cigars I have smoked this year.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.