Rocky Patel White Label - Connecticut Shade at its Best
Posted by Greg Rosenberg on 10th Mar 2023
Rocky Patel is one of those unlikely leaders in the premium cigars that didn’t come from a line of cigar men. In fact, he came onto the scene at a time when the field was inundated with new brands trying to cash in on the cigar boom of the 1990s. But Patel had a genuine spirit and passion for cigars. 30 years on, hindsight makes that much clear, as Rocky Patel Cigars continues to put out some incredible and inspired premium brands. One prime example is the super-premium White Label series.
Rocky Patel White Label
The Rocky Patel team arrived at the 2021 PCA Trade Show with a lot to show off—three brand new lines. In celebration of Patel’s 60th birthday, there was the Rocky Patel 60. The company also rolled out two companion brands, the mild Connecticut Shade wrapped White Label, and its bold, hearty counterpart, Disciple.
Made in Nicaragua in Patel’s TAVICUSA factory, the cigar of mild-medium body features a U.S. grown Connecticut Shade wrapper and binder from Estelí, Nicaragua. For filler, we have a blend of Nicaraguan leaf and Honduran from the Jamastran Valley, as well as a third undisclosed filler leaf.
You can find the Rocky Patel White Label among TobaccoPipes’ selection of premium cigars in two sizes—Robusto (5X50) and Sixty (6X60).
Especially noteworthy for the White Label is the genuine Connecticut Shade wrapper, grown in the Connecticut River Valley. Most Connecticut Shade these days comes from Connecticut seed grown in Ecuador. This alternative, sometimes preferred for its more reliable yield and inexpensiveness, still makes for a fine smoking experience, but for the quintessential, velvety smooth Connecticut character, there is only the tobacco cultivated in the southmost New England state—unlikely though it may seem.
David Savona accounts for the Connecticut River Valley’s unique character in a 1999 issue of Cigar Aficionado—
“The soil around the valley is silty, the product of glaciers that scraped the northeastern part of America as they crept down from the Arctic. People have planted Connecticut seeds in various parts of the world—Ecuador, Honduras, even Canada—but only tobacco grown in this small valley looks and tastes like true Connecticut shade.”
There’s something spectacular about a mild cigar that doesn’t compromise on dynamic flavor. At the super-premium level, a few brands have decisively occupied such a niche, notably the Montecristo White Series or Davidoff Signature No 2. At such a tier, any blend ought to be judged in context with the excellency to which it aspires. As Rocky Patel’s contender, White Label well justifies its super premium status.
Experiencing White Label
White Label comes in an elegant white leather box with rose gold trimming.
The stick is fitted with a large band which keeps with the box's color pallet, as well as a sheen white ribbon around the foot. The light brown Connecticut wrapper is silky to the touch.
The opening notes offer cedar wood, almond, and hay with a light citrus accent. Emphasis on a toasty nuttiness develops with a creamy note.
There's just enough resistance on the draw—the smoke is lush and burn rate very agreeable.
Halfway or so, sees a rise in a toasty breadiness. Nearing the last third, light pepper previously noticed in the retrohale sits a bit more forward, with just the lightest pinch in the sinus. Higher notes of citrus and grass diminish, while the cedar and nuttiness are principle throughout. The cedar woodiness darkens a bit approaching the nub.
Overall, White Label offers a supreme smoking experience, especially for those looking for a luxury tobacco experience with an appreciation for subtlety.