Review: Rocky Patel Sun Grown Maduro
After reading some review’s of Rocky Patel’s Sun Grown Maduro I knew I had to try it and that was over two years ago. I bought one and threw it in one of my humis knowing I probably wouldn’t get to it quickly. You see, at the time I really wasn’t a hard charging maduro fan. I’d smoke a maduro here and there, you know, like a Padrón 1000 series maduro, which I really enjoy, but it wasn’t exactly lighting my afterburners enough for me to start looking for the next badass maduro out there. It just isn’t my go-to wrapper. Give me something cloaked in a Habano, Rosado, an Oscuro or even a Ligero wrapper – that’s my sweet spot. Then I smoked an Undercrown maduro. All maduro hell broke loose and I officially became a card-carrying member of the maduro club. Couldn’t get enough of them. When its done right the maduro is a rich, decadent and delicious treat. The trick is finding the right ones. I’ve since learned even the venerable and inexpensive Punch Maduro Lion’s Club (corona), while just a “dog walker”, is an excellent everyday maduro if you need a quick fix and it gets better with a little age on them. Some maduros are almost black due to the fermentation process, but subtle variations in techniques and of course tobacco lead to a small spectrum of dark colors. People often mistake the dark color for being representative of an ultra strong cigar when in reality the maduro is one of the smoothest, richest and tastiest of the bunch. If you haven’t tried a maduro or maybe they just aren’t your go-to preference, there’s plenty of good ones out there and you could be missing out. Regardless, Rocky Patel’s Sun Grown Maduro will change the way you think about these fermented beauties.
Rocky the lawyer. Rocky the cigar czar. Rocky the traveler. However you choose to describe Rocky Patel, chances are pretty good you’ve smoked at least one of his cigars. And liked it. A lot. From the ashes of the 90’s cigar boom to his drive for cigar-world domination today, Rocky Patel brought his fledgling Indian Tabac Cigar Co. to Rocky Patel Juggernaut through sheer will and a quest for perfection. Rocky was able to build his brand using an oft overlooked business concept: differentiation. Blends, marketing, packaging, branding – it made a difference. Oh yeah, and it also helped that he created many cigars that generated a faithful following. His cigars may be made in Nicaragua and Honduras, but Patel prefers a global office where he will try to convince everyone that they need to smoke his cigars, and yes, his travel schedule is, in a word, brutal. He’ll be the first to tell you that success without that tireless drive is fleeting. Even after a number of distinguished accolades for his cigars and unlike some who let of the gas, Rocky stomps it with both feet launching new blends, glad-handing new fans, and unashamedly proclaiming to the world his cigars are the best and we should all be smoking and enjoying them. A lot.
Did you know: Prior to building his cigar empire, Rocky was an entertainment and product liability attorney in Los Angeles, California.
- Profile: Full
- Vitola: Toro [Box Press]
- Length / Ring Gauge: 6.5″/ 52
- Purchased: Local B&M
- Origin: Nicaragua
- Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
- Binder: Nicaragua
- Filler: Nicaragua
- Cutter: Colibri V-cut
- Lighter: Colibri Firebird
- Price Paid: $8.50
This cigar, released in 2015, needs no introduction. Garnering praise from all corners of the cigar cosmos, Cigar Aficionado then blew the doors off by giving the Sun Grown Maduro a 95 rating and #2 Cigar of the Year honors in 2016. Now a staple in the cigar world’s maduro line-up, this Nicaraguan honey is proof again that Connecticut Broadleaf is the preffered skin for a maduro. The Sun Grown Maduro comes in 5 vitolas and is packaged in boxes of 20. Pricing, surprisingly, is very similar between B&Ms and online stores. Our little number here has about 6 months of age on her. The box press is well done and the dark, oily Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper foreshadows a robust flavor palette. The firmness of the stick is good and uniform. The triple cap is nicely done. There are no veins to speak of and the seams are only semi-visible. Lots of barnyard and caramel aromas emanate from the shaft complementing the pungent cocoa powder from the foot. The draw is excellent with a ‘V’ cut and there are lots of dark chocolate and caramel on the cold draw.
Post light, I was greeted by a nice mélange of cocoa and dark cherry intonations complemented by hints of nutmeg and earth. The profile settles in after a few puffs with caramel and oak tones. There is a light spice initially but fades quickly. There are wonderful allspice notes in the retro and graham/honey sweetness on the inhale and palate. The finish is nice and long and is tinged with baked bread and chocolate. Throughout the initial “third” the combustion is superb and the ash is tight with a salt and pepper contrast. This gal easily holds a stiff, 1″ ash.
There’s a noticeable transition to a more oaky profile with hints of cocoa and dessert wine. There’s a savory herb-like quality to the retro now. I like the subtle anise in the profile that nicely balances the stronger oakyness. The Sun Grown Maduro is incredibly rich and smooth, decadently so! Up to this point, the strength has remained largely subdued, registering somewhere between medium and full. This maduro has not put a burn wrong yet and the smoke aroma is just hypnotizing.
The final transition ratchets up the strength to full but still delights with hints of dark cherries against a full cocoa and cedar profile. Into the last couple of inches the finish remains toasty, but the richness and complexity fade with the profile becoming more harsh. The burn too becomes more jagged signaling the end of what has become a near religious experience.
It’s hard to believe I was not a fan of maduros. The key is, as I mentioned before, was that I simply hadn’t chosen the right ones, or at least for me personally. Without question this cigar is far and away THE best maduro this cigar junkie has ever put in his maw. It has literally everything going for it – beauty, quality, a phenomenal palette, complexity and value. Put simply this is a great cigar. You’d have people skipping church for the opportunity to paw at one of these. To say this cigar is boxworthy really doesn’t do it justice and by “boxworthy” I don’t mean go-to. I’m not suggesting in any way that this cigar is not worthy of an everyday smoke, no sir. If thats your MO, more power to you. Its worth more than that. I’m breaking this baby out for those times when you need those ultra Zen moments. This is a blockbuster 2-hour movie disguised as a cigar waiting to arouse your senses, tease you and steal your heart. – In Fumo Pax!