Among the largest fish in the sea when it comes to the PCA trade show, among them the absolute biggest is Rocky Patel. The company has quite the reputation and is a very widely known name so of course, they would have one of the biggest (if not the actual biggest) and busiest booths at the show.
They did however return with the same booth we are used to seeing but I like this booth very much so that isn’t a negative thing. The booth is filled with smaller display cases in the heart of the booth, rather than a few larger ones around the perimeter or an otherwise mostly single or central location. All of these are lined with an orange Rocky Patel logo and word mark at the top keeping everything very uniform. There is also a bar that does serve beer and another area reserved for live music. The only thing missing from here is dinner with the show, which would be enough for me to cement myself here for all three days.
There is also plenty of meeting space and at all times there was consistent traffic in the booth with sometimes being packed to the edges. What helps is not only does Rocky display a lot of products but he has a big sales team who has many customers to meet with. Then of course being a very hospital booth, people like to hang out and smoke which is never a bad thing.
First and foremost, Rocky Patel is a name every smoker and extremely occasional smoker knows. I still run into people who have had maybe a handful of cigars in their life and don’t know shit to be frank but always knows “…uh I usually buy those Rocky Patels.” This is because the company has done a great job building their brand from the ground up from budget, to premium to now ultra-premium. Now ready to make that next leap, Rocky Patel showcased a $100 cigar. Yes, you read that right.
One of the very first things we saw when meeting with Nimish Desai was the new Rocky Patel Conviction. Rocky says that everyone has a conviction. It uses a Mexican San Andreas wrapper over Nicaraguan binder and filler. The filler is mostly made up of tobacco from the 2014 crop year and from Condega and Esteli specifically. It is being described by RP as “medium-plus” in profile. It is also only being offered in one size, 6 1/2 x 52.
The packaging is sharp and certainly a significant part of the price tag. It features metal tubes that are certainly solid with a decent amount of weight for a cigar tube which is normally made from thin metal. While we weren’t specifically told that the box was a humidor, looking at it – it would appear that it is a humidor that was designed to fit all of the tubes perfectly as the primary box, but very well can be kept and used as a humidor after which for the price, is a nice benefit. I would look at it as if you were buying a loaded humidor. Conviction will be produced at Rocky’s Tabacalera Villa Cuba S.A (TAVACUSA). factory in Nicaragua.
Next, we saw the new Dark Star cigar from Rocky Patel. This cigar features a Honduran Corojo wrapper with a Honduran binder and fillers from Honduras and Paraguay. What is interesting is the use of tobacco from Paraguay which off the top of my head I can’t recall another cigar who has used it, but I am not saying it has never been done, it’s just rare. It will be available in four sizes:
Short Star (4 x 60)
Robusto (5 1/2 x 50)
Toro (6 x 52)
Sixty (6 x 60)
The Dark Star will have an MSRP of $10.50 – $12.50 and will ship in boxes of twenty. Expect these on store shelves in October of this year as well. These are a regular production product.
We saw a $100 cigar from Rocky Patel, a $11 cigar and then we saw a bundle aimed more towards those on a budget. Stacked in bundles on display was the Seed to Smoke. Available in three different wrapper variations, this is a short filler cigar with long leaf wrapper and binder, sometimes referred to a “Cuban Sandwich” style. It is available in a Honduran Maduro, Honduran Connecticut, and Mexican San Andreas. It is also available in three sizes, toro (6 x 52), Churchill (7 x 48) and Sixty (6 x 60). These are made at El Paraiso in Honduras and have an MSRP of between $2.50 – $3.95 each or $50 – $79 for bundles of 20. These will also ship in October.
On an accessory side, Rocky has had accessories for the last several years but the stuff we saw at PCA 2023 was even better than what’s already out there in my opinion. The first thing we saw was the Davenport Lighter. This lighter was sleek, classic and sophisticated while performing well with four jets and a nice leather wrap around the body. It feels great in the hand with just the right amount of weight. It is the kind of lighter I would expect to see on someone’s desk right next to a sleek tabletop humidor.
It is available in Blue/Silver, Black/Black and Brown/Silver options and is priced at $85.10. These began shipping last month.
But wait…there’s more. Two more lighters in fact. This is the Genesis lighter, and it features a slim curvy design with three jets inside. It is offered in Gold/White, Silver/Blue, Gunmetal/Blue and Bronze/Burgundy. It also retails for $85.10 and shipped last month.
And finally, the last product that Rock Patel was showing off was the Conviction lighter. It is also a triple jet lighter and come sin Blue/Silver, Blue/Gold, White/Rose Gold, and Black/Gold. It has an MSRP of $75 and shipped last month as well.
Born and raised in New England, Matthew Tabacco began smoking cigars and living up to his unique namesake in 2017. What began as just a social indulgence became a world of everything premium cigars- learning from some of the biggest and best in the business. From casual smoking to lighting up on the hit podcast The Smokin Tabacco Show, Matthew can usually be found in some of the largest smoke shops in the Northeast enjoying a cigar, talking business, or preparing for a show.