5" x 50 ring gauge / approx. $7.75
Rocky Patel has grown his cigar business very quickly in just over 15 years, spreading fairly recently into the branded lounge business. The first was, I believe, "Burn by Rocky Patel" in Naples, Florida, about 3 or 4 years ago and there are a few others around. The Burn Special Reserve is a cigar made for the lounges originally, but it has made its way into some other shops, including the one where I bought this sample in Knoxville. 3 sizes of Burn are available...I went for the Robusto as I often do in these situations. The exact blend is not revealed, but the filler and binder is all Nicaraguan and the wrapper is a dark Ecuadorian Sumatra leaf.
The banding of the Rocky Patel Burn Special Reserve is interesting and somewhat unique...it is more of a Mediterranean motif than I've seen on many cigars, with the gold beading around both the main and secondary bands, and the latticework on the secondary foot band. The wrapper did not have an oily appearance; to the touch, it felt oddly oily and a bit dry at the same time...maybe papery, yet still oily, would be the best way to describe it. The wrapper leaf had an earthy, leathery aroma to it, while the foot was rich and sweet with notes of chocolate. I clipped the end and it seemed to result in a clean cut, but then I noticed large stem ends sticking out so I picked at them a bit and several chunks came out, leaving a bit of a hollow spot at the head and a draw that was almost too loose. The cold draw had a decent flavor of earth with a bit of cocoa and a tiny bit of spice.
Lighting was quickly and easily accomplished with a single flame lighter. The Rocky Patel Burn had a strong earthiness right up front, with a bit of black coffee flavor as well. The retrohale was very peppery. So far this stood out from other Rocky Patel products I can remember simply in the fact that it is primarily Nicaraguan...and it definitely tasted like it! It was fairly full bodied right from the start and had plenty of earth and spice...it is a cigar that if someone gave you while you were blindfolded, you would guess "Nicaraguan" as the primary country of origin without much trouble.
There was not much flavor change as the Burn burned into and through the second third...lots of earth, lots of spice. The second time I tapped ash I found a large void in the exact enter of the cigar, indicating that quality control in the rolling process probably was not at its best the day this cigar was made. The void contributed to a mediocre draw that I would have to deal with at least until I got past it. Other than that construction seemed very good with a strong ash and even burn line.
I struggled with the draw through the rest of the second third, but by the time the final third got underway it had worked itself out. The flavor during the last third was...pretty much the same. That ended up being the primary problem with this cigar: lack of complexity. As I said before, the Burn is definitely Nicaraguan in flavor profile, but it lacked nuance or change that is essential to any great cigar...throughout it was just earth, coffee and spice. I found this one-note nature to be disappointing. It was, however, better than pretty much any other Rocky Patel product I can remember at or around this price point, which is something to consider. It had a medium to full body and a decent amount of strength; the price is accessible for almost everyone, as well.