The Cigar Intel 2014 Cigar of the Year is. . . The Rocky Patel Cargo
What? You’ve never heard of this cigar? No worries. Here are the details.
Sizes and Shapes: Rocky Patel Cargo comes in eight sizes and shapes:
- Churchill (7.0 x 50)
- Churchill Extra (Presidente) (7.5 x 52)
- Double Corona (7.0 x 48)
- Robusto (5.0 x 50)
- Super Toro (6.5 x 52)
- Toro (6.0 x 50)
- Toro Habano (6.0 x 52)
- Torpedo (6.1 x 52)
Strength: Medium to Full (Smoky says it’s more Mild to Mild/Medium but that guy thinks Undercrowns are only a Medium)
Price: $1.99-$2.49 per stick. Holy crap, can you believe this price?
Background: Rocky Patel Premium Cigars released the Cargo at the International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Association (IPCPR) Trade Show in 2010. The cigar originally came in only two sizes, Toro Grande (6.0 x 48) and Toro (6 x 52). As shown above, Rocky Patel Premium Cigars replaced both original sizes with eight different sizes and shapes covering the gamut of traditional cigars. Originally, the Rocky Patel Cargo came in either a 500-count crate for $489 and a 25 pound box for $459. I’m not sure what the heck this was all about. Where the hell do you store a crate with 500 cigars? These two options are no longer available. Today, Rocky Patel Cargos come cellophane wrapped in bundles of 20.
At the IPCPR Trade Show in 2010, Nish Patel stated the Rocky Patel Cargo is “a mix between our 15th Anniversary cigar and a 1961 cigar.” Here’s Nish Patel introducing the Rocky Patel Cargo.
The man, the myth, the legend, Rocky Patel himself said the following about the Cargo at the IPCPR Trade Show. “I think it is one of the best cigars for under five dollars.. . . It’s a beautiful cigar. . . medium plus, lot of character, and it’s a great value for under five dollars.” Here’s Rocky Patel discussing his Cargo cigar.
Source: Rocky Patel Cargos are only available through Cigars International. To be more specific, Rocky Patel Cargos are only available through Cigars International and their subordinate companies. Cigars International owns a number of domain names and sells via the Internet under many different names, e.g., Cigar.com and PipesAndCigars.com. Additionally, you can find Rocky Patel Cargos at a discounted price on CigarBid.com, also owned by Cigars International.
Propaganda: The Cigars International website has the following to say about the Rocky Patel Cargo. “Never heard of Cargo? Understandable, only Central America has released more brands than Rocky Patel since 2005. Here’s the skinny. Despite Rocky Patel Cargo’s modest appearance, this medium-bodied blend delivers full-flavored goodness in spades. Nicaraguan tobaccos are carefully combined . . ., then hugged by dark and oily Ecuadorian-grown Connecticut wrappers to produce a rich and creamy bouquet. Earth, sweet cedar, leather, and espresso bean linger on the palate just before a sweet series of gentle spices completes each puff.”
Cigar.com states, “A value brand for the everyday enthusiast from one of the industry’s top-notch manufacturers, Rocky Patel Cargo offers a medium body with a semi-complex finish. Anyone familiar with Rocky Patel cigars understands the quality control that takes place in his factories. Rocky consistently creates award-winning blends due to his immense focus on construction and production. Well-blended and aged to perfection, it’s hard to come by an RP cigar that won’t satisfy your every need. Cargo is a nice, affordable blend from Rocky. Draped in a dark brown Connecticut, . . . Nicaraguan blend will hit your taste buds with deep flavors of cedar, earth, and espresso that’ll linger on your palate for a medium finish. Nothing too exciting about this blend besides being a value brand from top manufacturer Rocky Patel.”
Look: Over the course of 2014, we smoked hundreds of Rocky Patel Cargo cigars. Many appear to be semi-box pressed. Not sure if they are box-pressed for less time than normal to give the appearance of box press or what is going on. Perhaps the bundles are stored under pressure in a large container causing the cigar to gain a box pressed appearance. The wrapper is chestnut brown and is generally in good shape. Sometimes there is discoloration of the wrapper. The cigars tend to have very little sheen except for the cap. Veins were minimal.
Feel: Now for the dirty little secret about our 2014 Cigar of the Year. It is mixed filler. There’s a reason why Nish Patel stated the Rocky Patel Cargo is “a mix between our 15th Anniversary cigar and a 1961 cigar.” When released in 2010, the Cargo was likely a mix of the cuttings from the Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary and Rocky Patel 1961 cigars. The Rocky Patel 1961 is now discontinued but we believe the Rocky Patel Cargo is currently made from the cuttings from a variety of Rocky Patel’s premium cigars. Nish—If you read this, please let us know what the current blend consists of.
So, why the long discussion on mixed filler when talking about the feel of this cigar? Because mixed filler cigars often feel softer than long filler cigars. Many of the Rocky Patel Cargos feel soft in some spots. Don’t be alarmed my cigar smoking friends as there is a huge benefit of this. Mixed filler cigars generally burn more consistently. Frankly, I can’t remember smoking a Rocky Patel Cargo that had a burn issue.
As a side note, I recently operated on a Rocky Patel Cargo and the filler is, in fact, mixed filler. The binder was the same as a long filler cigar and the filler consisted of chopped up tobacco in roughly ¼” pieces. Another plus is that there are no veins in the filler. Often, vein material is included in the filler of a cigar. Not in the Rocky Patel Cargo. Just straight tobacco leaf.
Smell: Woody with a hint of sweetness.
Taste: The cigar is marketed as medium to full bodied. It is definitely in the medium range but full seems a bit of a stretch. The Rocky Patel Cargo is smooth, well-balanced, and consistent. It is not, however, complex. It seems pretty hard to make a mixed filler cigar that is complex. But you smoke 10 of them and they all are going to taste the same. We’ve experienced way more expensive cigars that every dang one in the box tastes different.
Location: Having smoked hundreds of these over the course of the year, we enjoyed them indoors, outdoors, at cigar shops and cigar bars, on the back of a boat in the British Virgin Islands watching the sun go down, on the deck, in the garage, and in my basement smoke room while writing this review.
Accompanying Beverage: Iced tea, coffee, beer, port, scotch, bourbon, Pepsi Max, club soda and lime, etc. depending on the setting.
Other Comments: Since Smoky and I smoke so many of these we end up buying a lot of them off Cigarbid.com trying to save a few bucks. If you notice Smoky or I bidding on them please don’t bid against us!
Rating: Clearly, we love this cigar. The Rocky Patel Cargo IS the Cigar Intel 2014 Cigar of the Year and a Nubber Classic!