A Smoke With Rocky

On Saturday afternoon I dropped by the Cigar Inn on Second Avenue in New York City to see Rocky Patel. He was there for the entire day, greeting cigar smokers and talking about his many lines of cigars.

Rocky never stops—he’s always somewhere on the road, whether its in a cigar factory in Central America or a cigar shop somewhere in the United States or abroad. The guy is tireless, and he seems to feed off the energy of the cigar smokers around him who enjoy his company. Everyone seems to love the guy.

And he’s making fine cigars. Remember his Rocky Patel Decade, which scored 95 points in Cigar Aficionado last year? That’s a number few cigars hit.

The cigar shop, home of the Cigar Aficionado lounge, was bustling, pretty impressive for such a sunny weekend afternoon. I was handed a dark cigar that Rocky makes special for the Cigar Inn, and I lit it up as I walked through the store, saying my hellos to the Fakih brothers, Billy, Gus and Bass, who own Cigar Inn. (Nice smoke—very spicy on the start, good flavor throughout.) People were all over the shop, smoking cigars, sampling drinks, and listening to live music played on an eight-string guitar. I liked their latest addition, a little walled off seating area outside the shop. It’s great for al fresco smoking now that the weather has turned gorgeous.

I spent some time chatting with a few of the people who were there to see Rocky, including a young couple from Washington, D.C. who came up just for the event. Nice people, really into their cigars. (A power puffing couple, if you will.)

Rocky and I caught up, and he told me he has some big projects on the horizon, such as a Patel Brothers cigar (featuring him and his brother, Nish) and a Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary cigar, both of which are coming out around July. 2010 is his company’s 15th year in the business. Seems like I was just writing about his 10th anniversary!

Rocky also has some bigger news, but I promised to be quiet about it for now. You’ll read about it soon.