Rocky Patel Premium Cigars is certainly known for cigars, but the company has dabbled into the world of accessories with branded ashtrays and a handful of branded lighters. While the company has released branded lighters that aren’t that much different from other options on the market as far as the mechanism or number of flames, in April 2014 a new design showed up that had an interesting name and a design that was certainly different from the majority of other similar products on the market.
The first thing that has to be addressed is the name, as the Rocky Patel Laser Lighter ($59.99) does not feature an actual laser, at least not one used to light your cigar. The name comes from a red light that might be a small laser–though I’m not entirely sure about that and inclined to think it’s just a red bulb—that comes alive when the lid is flipped open and directs your attention to the prominent RP logo in the center of the lighter and where the ignition is found.
The lighter has a fairly elegant design in this presentation: a ornate latticework adorns the front of the lighter used for this review, with a smooth and solid dark gray metal on the sides, back and lid. It’s also available in a number of finishes, including Black Plate, Gunmetal Carbon Fiber, Pinstripe, Silver Carbon Fiber and Silver Tux.
Now if this lighter looks familiar, you might notice that the ignition design is very similar to some lighters being put out by JetLine, though I have been told by an official at Rocky Patel that JetLine is not making the lighters for them.
It’s a deceptively light unit, as there’s a bit of heft in the hand but it is by no means heavy or commanding with its weight, and the size and design feel natural. Similar designs have been seen on the “Burn by Rocky Patel” lighter, a dual flame torch that has been on the market for a while.
The process of igniting the Rocky Patel Laser Lighter is fairly simple, and may just be the easiest ignition I’ve ever encountered on a lighter. Simply flip up the lid to expose the jet and start the fuel flowing, then push the penny-sized red button in the middle of the lighter to trigger the piezo ignition. It is about as frictionless of an ignition process as you could ask for.
It’s here where I have my first minor issue with the Rocky Patel Laser Lighter, in that when I flip open the lid and hear the butane flowing out of the lighter while I wait to light it, I can’t help but feel like I am wasting money. Now if you make a concerted effort to get the lighter ignited quickly, this should be a fairly minor issue, or possibly even a non-issue. But I could imagine seeing a lot of people using this lighter while talking or otherwise splitting their attention and may not be quite as quick to push that red button.
To extinguish the lighter, simply return the lid to its original position, a fairly fast if not always perfectly graceful movement as both the thumb and index finger are in positions that don’t naturally facilitate the lid flip. Again, it’s a minor point, but when comparing the efficiencies of using this lighter to those of other devices, it doesn’t score quite as high.
In actual usage of the lighter, at first I can’t say I noticed much difference between it and other single flame torches on the market, but after spending a few weeks with it, I noticed that it offers a bit more precision than its competitors. It was with a larger ring gauge cigar where I really felt like an artist painting on a canvas with this lighter, as the incredibly fine tip of the flame turned the brown tobacco a glowing orange and I could easily see the path the flame was taking. While I have a fondness for triple-flame torches that make quick work of lighting a cigar, albeit in sometimes a brutish manner, working with this more detailed flame was certainly a treat.
To achieve this fine point, I found myself turning the lighter’s flame adjustment knob higher than I usually would, and really for only one reason. While it’s not totally intrusive, I found the hinged lid of the lighter was too close to being in the way when the flame was low that I kept trying to avoid it. It’s a minor detail, and certainly something you might not find to be an issue, but the only way I could find to overcome it was to turn the flame up so that I could hold the cigar a bit farther away from the lid.
As I’ve said in other lighter reviews, the amount of heat and flame put off by the majority of torch lighters these days is more than enough to light your cigar, and the Rocky Patel Laser Lighter is no exception. I torched up everything from lancers to 6 x 60s with this and it handled them all with ease. In reality the flame doesn’t need to be as high as I found myself preferring, but because of the design of the lid and the way I light my cigars, it worked best for me.
The trade-off of this choice of course is that it burns fuel much quicker than on a lower setting. As I mentioned earlier, from the moment you flip open the lid until you close it, butane is flowing, and after using it for several weeks I am convinced that this lighter has one of the smaller fuel tanks I have come across. A test of burn time with a full tank came in at just over seven minutes, which when you divide that over a couple of cigars, or a cigar that needs a touch-up or two, doesn’t amount to that much time before the proverbial empty light comes on.
One of the unique things about the Rocky Patel Laser Lighter is the fact that it requires a battery to operate—a small button battery that in my experience is pretty easy to find and change. When the battery dies, the lighter ceases to be functional, as the unit won’t light up nor will it ignite. The lighter comes with an extra battery and it didn’t show any signs of getting unusably weak in the time that I used it, though it did plant a seed that if I were to make this my primary lighter, I’d need both a supply of butane as well as a battery in my supply kit. While I’ve never been in a situation where there was only one lighter, I could see how a dead battery could cramp a night of cigar smoking if this was the only lighter available.
To change the battery, it’s a fairly simple process: there is a very small screw on the base of the lighter near the fuel valve, which means you’ll need a very small screwdriver, smaller than a typical around-the-house tool. I should stress the term very small as this is one of those procedures where you’ll want to be in a well-lit area and working on a table or some other surface where you won’t be likely to lose the screw. A few turns and the screw comes out, then you’ll need to gently lift the metal panel out. There’s a plastic tab you’ll grab hold of to pull out the tray where the battery sits, which is when you’ll be able to replace the battery. Reverse the process and you’ll be good to go.
After using the Rocky Patel Laser Lighter for nearly two months, I have to say that for the most part I have been very impressed by and pleased with the way the lighter performs. The fine tip of the torch flame has given me some of the best control over lighting cigars that I can recall in sometime, and it has more than enough power to tackle a 60 ring gauge with the delicacy needed for a lancero. It feels great in the hand and is fairly conspicuous when it’s in my pocket, not feeling overly bulky but not feeling light and cheap by any means.
That said, I do have a few points of contention with it: first, the fuel tank borders on unacceptably small, as it felt like I was filling the tank at least twice a week. While I’m smoking more cigars than probably a fair amount of people, it was a bit of a frustration, particularly when a cigar needed to be touched up and the lighter would flame out on me, forcing me to find another one or fill this one up. If you are a frequent cigar smoker, and in particular if you smoke a good number of cigars over the course of a day, then be prepared to have to fill this lighter up regularly.
Also in the fuel-related gripes: how there is no fuel window on this lighter is beyond me, as it seems to be a part of almost every premium lighter on the market (some even have two), which I would consider the class into which this lighter would fall. While it doesn’t have a three-digit price tag, or even one in the upper two digits, it’s certainly marketed to compete with XIKAR and Colibri, both of which pretty much have fuel windows as a standard feature. While I know that adding a fuel window adds a bit of cost, it would seem that this lighter could bear it. Plus, it would seem that given the color and light scheme of this lighter, that they could do something pretty cool with a fuel window as another stage in which to show off the visual appeal of this lighter. Given my above point though, maybe watching the fuel supply get rapidly depleted would end up doing more harm than good.
Second, my first impression of the lighter wasn’t ideal, as once I received it I used it to light up my next cigar. When I went to empty my pocket, I found a small piece of metal that had suddenly appeared, a piece that turned out to be the flame adjustment collar that surrounds the fuel valve. While I got it back on for a moment, when I went to refill the lighter the pressure of the butane blew it off and I couldn’t find where it ended up. While this may sound like a huge issue, it turned out not to be so much, since I would have needed a small screwdriver or similar tool to adjust the flame, and that same tool can be used to adjust the core adjustment knob. If anything, the lack of that secondary collar seemed to loosed the seal created by the butane canister to the fuel valve, as it felt like I had much more fuel not ending up in the lighter than I get with other lighters.
I’m also not terribly in love with the curved base of the lighter; it has no problem balancing on its bottom but rocks just a bit, which inclines me to just set it down on its back. For some reason or another, I like having a lighter that can stand up straight on its base as I think it might reduce some of the scuffing that can occur, though it’s certainly not a deal breaker by any means. I’ve already covered the other end of the lighter, as I would like the lid to flip out of the way a bit more, though again that can be worked around.
While I have some issues with the Rocky Patel Laser Lighter, I still like it and see myself using it in some sort of regular rotation. If a few changes were made, particularly in regard to the size of the fuel tank, I could certainly see myself saying I really like it, but at this point I’m not willing to extend that adverb. If you don’t plan on using this for longer cigar sessions, or if you don’t mind refilling your lighter more than the average, and you don’t mind having the Rocky Patel logo featured prominently on your lighter, this is certainly a solid and viable option that is worth consideration.
Site sponsor Serious Cigars lists the Rocky Patel Laser Lighter in stock, which is where this unit was purchased from.