Issue: Cigar Aficionado: Jan 01, 2015 | Score: 94
Rocky Patel has been in the cigar business for nearly 20 years. His new Royale, which has been on sale since 2013, might be his finest creation ever.Patel got his start by having cigars made for him in Honduras. Over the years he has sought increasing control over his cigars, and today he relies more on Nicaragua than any other country. The Royale comes from his Tabacalera Villa Cubana S.A. factory, located in the manufacturing mecca for Nicaraguan cigars, Estelí, where Patel is making an increasing number of his cigar brands. In addition to rolling cigars in Nicaragua, Patel uses an enormous amount of Nicaraguan tobacco in his blends. He recently embarked on a plan to begin growing some of his own.The Rocky Patel Royale is crafted with two binder leaves of contrasting look and style: Connecticut shade, a light, thin leaf known for its mild flavor, and Connecticut broadleaf, a thick, rugged leaf with a brawny earthy flavor. This lends complexity to the blend, which is held together by a comely Ecuador Havana wrapper leaf.The Royale is a rich, spicy smoke, with pleasant hints of chocolate. It's a delicious cigar, giving Patel his best-ever showing in a Cigar Aficionado Top 25 test.