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Rocky Patel Freedom toro

Tonight, the Nubbit brothers review the Rocky Patel Freedom, and, for once, talk about Cigars and Cuba.

Draw: Mmm, fresh, out of the cellophane, it has a sweet acrid smell – like fiberglass resin, or bulk commodity paper. Or, cognac. A moderately dark wrapper, with many veins, but a seamless construction. I notice it is fairly supple compared to the brittle sticks of yor. I’m growing confident in my humidification skills. It punched nicely through a very short, well applied, cap.

Punch: Mine smells yummy – I’m getting the quintessential cigar smell, alfalfa grass. Dark wrapper with some small veins and a nice matte finish. After punching it, the draw is very tight, so I’m going to cut it in hopes of getting past a high density region here at the head. Rats, that made no difference. Now I’m digging in the cut with my punch in hopes of getting a better draw. No good. I’ll just give it a run with the tight pull and see how that goes – I really don’t want to cut the whole cap off.

D: For me, the dry-draw is very sweet, more of the cognac or brandy flavor. Modestly tight. Whoa — I may already have tongue-tingle just from the dry draw!

P: My pre-light draw tastes similar to the aroma of the wrapper, only milder.

D: A little toasting reveals nothing new; it’s a cool evening (58 degrees) and that may be enough to suppress the oils quickly. Let’s light this puppy!

P: The most notable characteristic of the first draw is pepper on the finish. There is coffee – like a chocolate covered coffee bean, with the chocolate sucked off. In spite of the tight draw I’m getting a good volume of smoke from this Rocky Patel Freedom.

D: Strong. Wow. The flavor is loud, and hard to pin down. Definitely pepper on the finish. But surprisingly, I’m getting ham. Oven-roast ham: a thick slice, honey-glazed.

P: I’m having trouble connecting my tongue to my vocabulary. I want to puff and puff and puff it until I have identified the flavor completely.

D: I think you’ve done fine. You’ve identified chocolate coffee bean. You could throw words at it all night, but not describe it perfectly. But hot-boxing it? That, my brother, would be a mistake, as even I am feeling this cigar already.

P: Good point. I may just indulge in a preemptive Pop-Tart!

D: Well played. The Freedom cigar line was introduced by Rocky Patel in August of 2012. According to, Rocky was quoted as saying, “I have spent a great deal of time in Washington fighting alongside others in our industry’s fight to preserve our rights to smoke cigars – this cigar is representative of that.”

I just lost my ash at about an inch in; it was crispy, but not as stiff as others we’ve enjoyed lately. To me, this seems to be a faster smoke, but that may also be because it is a pleasant smoke. I notice that the initial WOW strength has mellowed somewhat. The pepper is mostly green pepper with a little jalapeno in the finish. The middle flavor is now a mild ham; maybe this taste is some saltiness along with the “meat” flavor, and the sweetness is evocative therefore of ham?

P: I’m getting a woody, milk chocolate on the finish, with less pepper and some cedar starting to show here, starting the second third.

I think one of the reasons I like smoking cigars is it gives me a reason to eat Pop-Tarts in the evening!

D: I’m really enjoying this cigar. I notice it idles pretty well. One puff to stoke it, and then you’re back at full readiness.

I’m probably at the half-way point. I’m getting more of Punch’s chocolate coffee in the attack and middle, and I’m seeing the pepper fade more from the finish. I think what I’m describing is a uniformity of the flavor profile now: the flavor is still complex, but it is more consistent through the stages of the puff.

I also observe, that the draw is tightening up. This MIGHT be because we’re nearing our dew point on Kansas.

P: I’m having a problem with my burn being kind of ragged on one side. Also, I find I’ve got to keep working it regularly to avoid dealing with the taste of re-stoking each time. And… my lighter is out. I’m going to have to get into the habit of recharging it after every two smokes or so.

D: Apropos to nothing… have you seen the movie “IQ? It’s a romantic comedy starring Walter Mattheu as Albert Einstein. It also stars Meg Ryan and Tim Robbins. I had seen it before, first run, but I saw it in the Netflix listing on my Wii last night, and said, “Oh, we’re watching THIS!” …very enjoyable. I think you’d get a kick out of it.

P: Netflix on your Wii? I guess you’ll be making some adjustments now that Nintendo is cutting off significant support for the Wii?

D: Yes. I’m already looking for deals on controllers, batteries, and those game titles I think I might not be able to live without. Something my nephews really enjoy are the Lego games line. They have the Star Wars and Indiana Jones games for their console. I thought I might pick up the Pirates of the Caribbean and others that are outside their mean liking.

P: I think I just got a taste of cinnamon!

D: Then you should probably stop smoking the Pop-Tart!

I’m coming into the last third, and the draw is now quite tight. The temperature out here has dropped two degrees, and I’m thinking that condensation is going to be a regular cause for tightening up during evening smokes, as this happened previously as well. The flavor remains sweet and even overall, with more creaminess now.

P: I was talking with my friend Peter who founded the Phoenix Cigar Club, and he was describing some friends of his in Miami, and visiting Little Havana with them a while back. He said that there are people there from Cuba, who would be doctors in Cuba, but they’ve come to Miami and are working as cigar makers, for minimum wage and no benefits.

D: That’s a respectable trade anywhere, in my opinion, being someone with the skill to roll a cigar, consistently, for production. Cuba has socialized medicine, yes? Maybe even at our minimum wage they are earning more here?

P: I don’t know. That’s a good question. If any of our readers have insight, we’d welcome that.

D: I’m getting into the last inch or so. I’m getting a flavor overall that suggests egg-nog – there’s that meat/protein flavor that has gone to egg, the dairy creaminess which I’m beginning to associate with the “end of a cigar” and some kitchen spice, like nutmeg, and still the overall sweetness. Not unpleasant, for all that.

P: Lucky dog. Mine has gone out… Again! And there’s no overwhelming motivation to relight it. I’m already feeling it, and I know I’ll have to stoke it constantly once it’s re-lit, and I still need to be able to walk into the house.

D: Mine just went out too, and after only a brief pause. I’m down to an inch or less of wrapper, and I think I, too, won’t relight. I can’t imagine the flavor will improve any, and generally, I believe I’ve gotten the full benefit from this cigar.

Spurn it or Burn it?

P:  This Rocky Patel Freedom is a definite burner. I’m putting it in my top 5 in spite of the problems I had keeping it lit. Nice flavor, good complexity, and a pleasant medium intensity. At $8.50 it is right in the mid-range sweet spot. I’ll put a box of these on my birthday/Christmas list.

D: I’m loving it! Burn, baby, burn! This is one of only a few cigars that I currently would consider buying a box. It was sufficiently complex, overall pleasant tasting smoke. I only touched up once, and this was late in the evening when I suspect the dew point is an issue. Setting that aside, this is a good anytime smoke for when I have two hours to unwind. I’d also want to try another one again, soon, earlier in the day, and see if I can avoid the tightening draw.

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